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Questions to ask in your diversity and inclusion survey

2 Feb 2021 - Blog

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) surveys measure how fair and inclusive your workplace is. You can run separate D&I surveys or include questions about D&I in your annual survey.

Diversity and Inclusion is a sensitive topic and something people feel very strongly about. Your D&I survey should include clear, actionable questions that reveal how different groups experience your workplace culture and highlight areas for improvement.

In this blog we’ll show you which questions are best at accurately measuring Diversity and Inclusion.


Missed our latest D&I webinar? Find out more here.


Why do you need a diversity and inclusion survey?

A Diversity and Inclusion survey gives an accurate, anonymous picture of how inclusive and fair people feel your culture is. Even if your organisation has a diverse employee demographic, you may not have an inclusive culture.

Benefits of running a D&I survey

    • It’s a safe place for people to share feedback. D&I is a sensitive topic. Employees might feel uncomfortable sharing concerns or observations with their line managers or HR. A Diversity and Inclusion survey offers a safe, confidential way of listening to your people.
    • More inclusive = more engaged. Feeling like you have been treated unfairly at work has a direct link to a lack of employee engagement. On the other hand, research shows that more inclusive organisations are more engaged, creative and successful.
    • More inclusive = more innovative. More inclusive environments allow for more innovative and forward-thinking organisations.


Find out more about the business and moral case for D&I here



Would you like to know more about our Diversity & Inclusion surveys? Download a sample question-set or get in touch to ask about your D&I survey. 




 Find out more about our D&I surveys here.


How do you measure diversity and inclusion? 

To assess diversity and inclusion, you can either run a separate survey with questions specific to D&I or add a D&I index into your employee survey.

  • Running a separate D&I survey  

A full D&I survey helps organisations understand what is driving your score for D&I, and how your responses vary by demographic. Survey questions cover various aspects of Diversity and Inclusion, to provide results you can act on and compare progress against.

People Insight recommend including 3 ‘output questions’ in your D&I survey. The responses to these questions combine to give an overall picture of how fair and inclusive your organisation is.

Read on to find out which questions to ask in your D&I survey.


  • Adding a D&I survey index

A survey index is a section of questions within your employee survey. These questions are usually about a specific issue that drives engagement and can be reported on as a group. Adding a D&I index into your employee survey gives a glimpse of where your organisation is at with diversity and inclusion. Usually, we advise organisations to ask the 3 D&I ‘output questions’ mentioned above. Asking about D&I in your employee survey is a helpful exercise to get a benchmark of how inclusive your organisation is. However, it lacks the deep-dive insights of a specific D&I survey.


Read more:

How Vinci use a D&I index to create an inclusive culture within construction


  • Including D&I in your joiner and exit surveys

Some organisations choose to ask new employees about their experience of inclusivity at work. Sending a short survey to employees after 6 months in-role can help organisations understand how inclusive their workplace is for new joiners.

Equally, you can include a few questions about Diversity and Inclusion within your exit interviews. This can tell you whether departing employees found your organisation an inclusive place to work.



Would you like to know more about our D&I question-set? Download a sample or get in touch to ask about running your Diversity and Inclusion survey. 



 Find out more about our D&I surveys here.


Questions to ask in a diversity and inclusion survey 

People Insight have designed a question-set to assess Diversity & Inclusion within organisations. These questions have been developed by our organisational psychologists and apply to organisations of all sizes and sectors.

The question-set is ready-to-go, but can also be adapted to suit your organisation or to measure a specific aspect of D&I.

Aspects of Diversity and Inclusion

People Insight’s D&I survey questions are based on robust evidence and research into various aspects of D&I including:

  • What makes a comfortable place for someone to work?
  • Which behaviours make people feel included?
  • How do you build a safe and inclusive culture?
  • Which leadership behaviours do people need to see to believe in an inclusive culture?


Diversity and Inclusion survey design

Our expert review of Diversity and Inclusion informed a set of 30 quantitative questions, developed by People Insight with input from Tali Shlomo, Diversity & Inclusion and Wellbeing thought leader.

Within the D&I survey, questions cover the following themes which are proven to impact on how employees experience their workplace culture:

  1. Diversity
  2. Inclusion
  3. Fairness, Equality, Respect
  4. Development & Reward
  5. Leadership

When you review your survey results, these themes will help you highlight priority areas for action.

People Insight’s question-set also includes 3 ‘output questions’. Your scores for these give an overall measure of how inclusive your organisation is. This is a useful benchmark for reporting and measuring progress against.

An example output question:

“People with backgrounds like mine are able to succeed here”


Using open-text questions to measure D&I

To provide space for employee comments and suggestions, we recommend including 1-2 open-text questions in your D&I survey. For example, you might ask: ‘What would make this organisation more inclusive of people of all backgrounds?’


People Insight’s D&I question-set has been standardised against the following best-practice principles:

  • Are the questions actionable? I.e. will the survey responses provide organisations with clear areas to act on and improve their score?
  • Does each question only measure one thing? I.e. will the questions provide clear and distinct responses for analysis
  • Face validity I.e. does each question measure what it’s supposed to measure?

How many questions should be in a diversity and inclusion survey?

We recommend including all 32 questions from our D&I question-set in your survey. A D&I survey based on these should take 5-10 minutes to complete.

These questions give a full, comprehensive view of how inclusive your organisation is. They provide robust data you can compare progress against and identify actions to take to improve your scores.

Importantly, these questions also allow you to analyse responses by your chosen demographic groups. This will help you understand how the employee experience differs between employees.


Would you like to know more about our D&I question-set? Download a sample or get in touch to ask about running your Diversity and Inclusion survey. 



Missed our latest D&I webinar? Find out more here.


Diversity and Inclusion survey: pitfalls to avoid  

  • Inaccurate demographic data. Analysing your survey results in the context of demographic data is vital. You must have a way of capturing accurate demographic data before planning your Diversity & Inclusion survey. Most organisations choose to use the 9 protected characteristics, but you can also include other demographic groups.
  • Unclear or insincere communication. Plan your survey comms with care. Anything that comes across as a ‘tickbox’ exercise will put people off. Demonstrate your commitment to listening and acting on employee feedback. Involve leadership in authentic comms to announce your survey and share why it is important to the organisation.
  • A resistance to your results. D&I survey results often highlight issue areas within your organisation or present an alternative view of your culture. As a leader it can be difficult to hear this feedback from employees. We can be prone to justifying or explaining away feedback. However, it’s important to approach your Diversity and Inclusion survey results with an open attitude and a willingness to accept the results for what they are. 

Read more:

Avoid bias when reviewing your survey results


  • Not bringing people with you. When introducing a D&I survey to your organisation, it can be a challenge to get everybody on board. Sometimes D&I initiatives can reinforce the feeling that people are being excluded. Overcome this by ensuring you have authentic comms, a visible leadership presence and line manager involvement.


Start planning your Diversity and Inclusion survey today 

People Insight help organisations of all sizes and sectors measure D&I and use the insights to create a more inclusive workplace.

Fast and flexible D&I surveys

  • Real time actionable survey results in our easy to use dashboard so your organisation can rapidly respond to feedback.

Pivot between all your survey insights in one platform

  • Assess your organisation’s health effortlessly including Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, Managing Change, Wellbeing or other ad hoc surveys – all in one place.

Would you like to know more about our Diversity & Inclusion surveys? Download a sample question-set or get in touch to ask about our D&I survey support. 





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