How to Conduct a Diversity and Inclusion Survey

diverse paper heads

Being a diverse and inclusive organization means employing people with various demographics and characteristics.

It is extremely important for every business to achieve a broader perspective on its culture and hiring processes.

In fact, 57% of employees want to see their company increase diversity. 

However, measuring employee diversity and equality, while important, is a challenge for most organizations. It is a sensitive topic that must be handled appropriately.

As a result, many companies are turning to third-party market research companies to conduct diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) surveys.

In this blog post, our national employee engagement company defines diversity and inclusion surveys, their benefits, and sample questions we recommend based on our experience conducting these studies with organizations across various industries.

What is a Diversity and Inclusion Survey?

A diversity and inclusion survey is a type of Voice of Employee (VoE) market research study that measures how different groups of employees experience your company culture.

This includes people of different genders, ethnicities, ages, and more.

A diversity and inclusion study offers insight into hard-to-measure constructs such as:

  • Belonging
  • Opportunity
  • Equality
  • Voice
  • Fairness
  • Decision-making

It’s important to note although your organization may consist of diverse groups of people, it does not mean employees believe it to be inclusive.

Therefore in order to improve workplace culture for better long-term employment, surveys help provide an anonymous outlet for staff members to share their real feelings, experiences, and overall sentiment. 

Most commonly the diversity and inclusion survey is conducted online via an email invitation link. However, there are other types of market research available such as phone surveys and mail surveys.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Whereas employee surveys touch on all aspects of company culture, DEI surveys specifically focus on how your team members measure topics of inclusion, fairness, respect, and diversity.

Benefits of Conducting a Diversity and Inclusion Survey

Conducting an employee survey to measure beliefs around diversity and inclusion helps bring clarifying data to a complex, yet critical topic.

With the employee experience being far from equal, it is time companies take action to create more inclusive work environments.

The first step in achieving this goal is by working with an employee survey company that has experience focusing on diversity and inclusion sentiments.

Here are a few benefits and statistics that support the importance of conducting a diversity and inclusion survey:

  • Companies with females in the top management sector saw greater returns. More specifically, diverse management boosts revenue by 19%.
  • Diversity and inclusion surveys are a safe space and avenue for employees to share feedback about company culture.
  • Companies with racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to perform at a higher level.
  • More inclusive organizations create a better space for innovation and forward-thinking.
  • Companies employing an equal number of men and women manage to produce up to 41% higher revenue.
  • More inclusive organizations are more engaged, creative, and successful.
  • Highly inclusive companies are more likely to hit their financial target goals by up to 120%.

Outside of measuring diversity, equality, and inclusion, employee surveys also act as a great channel for measuring other factors of the workplace.

Oftentimes, our employee survey firm helps organizations identify areas of improvement when it comes to leadership, work-life balance, salary, opportunities for growth, and more. 

Here is a brief video that discusses the top benefits of employee surveys.

💡 The Key Takeaway: DEI questionnaires allow a safe outlet for workers to express their lived experiences when it comes to inclusion. The results of this type of VoE market research provide actionable data for how to improve culture and forward-thinking.

The Process of Conducting a Diversity and Inclusion Survey

The process of conducting a diversity and inclusion survey is very similar to an employee engagement study.

For a detailed explanation of what this project entails, I recommend reading our ultimate guide on Using a Third-Party for Employee Surveys.

For a high-level explanation of what this project entails, keep reading below. This is the employee survey process followed by our team of senior market research executives.

Receive a Market Research Proposal

For any market research project, our clients will receive a proposal or quote. Depending on your needs, this can be an extensive PDF or an email summary of the timeline, costs, and logistics.

Conduct a Kick-off Meeting

Once the proposal is signed, Drive Research schedules a kick-off meeting to greater discuss the employee survey objectives and specifications.

Understanding the client’s clear objectives helps our team draft unique diversity and inclusion survey questions.

Draft the DEI Survey Questions

With the client’s objectives in mind, our employee survey company begins drafting the survey. To begin, we use a Google Doc. Our team makes comments and edits until it is perfect.

After finalizing the survey draft, the document is sent to our client for review. This is their opportunity to make any necessary changes.

Both parties should be 100% satisfied with the employee survey questions.

Program the Survey Questions

Next up, programming. Drive Research recreates the survey document into an online survey programming software.

It is the backend of what the employees will eventually see when completing the survey. In this step, we work on general programming areas such as routing logic and answer sequences.

After the survey is programmed and passes our quality checks, a testing link is sent to the client.

Doing so provides HR or leadership teams with the foresight of how the survey will appear in the eyes of their employees.

Send the Diversity and Inclusion Survey to Employees

Before sending the questionnaire, our employee survey company recommends a team member from HR or leadership send a company-wide email first.

This should simply state that employees can expect an email from Drive Research that will include a link to a survey.

Taking this first step not only helps with response rates but reinforces the notion of full confidentiality.

In other words, because the survey is conducted with a third-party, responses will not be tied to specific employees. They should feel comfortable providing 100% truthful answers.

Analyze and Report the Results

After surveying employees, it is time to start analyzing and reporting on their feedback.

While our market research reports consist of an executive summary, snapshot of key results, infographics, and breakdown of question-by-question results, we like to think our reports stand out due to the consultative element we like to incorporate.

Our employee survey market research reports include expert recommendations for how to take action with the findings.

An employee survey is only as beneficial as how you rely on team feedback to make positive changes. Drive Research helps make that possible.

Conduct a Project Debrief Meeting

Lastly, our team holds a project debrief meeting with key stakeholders of your organization.

During this meeting, we review the report page by page to assure no question is left unanswered.

💡 The Key Takeaway: It is important to partner with an employee survey company like Drive Research. Doing so lets your team know their feedback is 100% confidential. Plus, you can lean on the experts to manage all aspects of the project to assure its executed professionally.

Example Diversity and Inclusion Survey Questions

When measuring employee attitudes and beliefs, it is helpful to use agreement scale questions.

The survey would include a series of statements and employees would have to rate how much they agree with each statement on a scale of strongly disagree to strongly agree.

Here are a few example statement questions regarding diversity and inclusion.

  • I see strong leadership support for [INSERT COMPANY NAME]’s value of diversity and inclusion.
  • Employees who are different from most others are treated fairly within [INSERT COMPANY NAME].
  • Racial, ethnic, and gender-based jokes are not tolerated at [INSERT COMPANY NAME].
  • [INSERT COMPANY NAME] provides an environment for the free and open expression of ideas, opinions, and beliefs.
  • I feel included and respected within [INSERT COMPANY NAME].
  • My manager handles diversity matters appropriately and demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • [INSERT COMPANY NAME] vouches to take strict action against discrimination.

Case Study: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Survey

An advertising company hired Drive Research to survey the Central New York (CNY) community.

The study's objectives focused on understanding content, news, and advertising that is most relevant to underserved communities. 

The survey explored how the communities viewed the brand and what made the brand more relevant. 

Details of the DEI Survey

To address the objectives at hand, our employee survey firm recommended using an online survey to collect feedback.

The market research was administered using a combination of the Drive Research panel and partner panels in CNY. 

Why choose online surveys? They are cost-effective, offer a quick turn-around, are measurable, and gather quality data. The combination of these advantages often provides an increased ROI for our market research clients.

Question Types Included in the DEI Survey

  • In which of the following Central New York counties do you reside?
  • In which of the following industries are you currently employed?
  • How often do you read, watch, or listen to local news in Central New York?
  • What time(s) of the day do you read, watch, or listen to local news in Central New York most often? 
  • What device(s) do you use most often to read, watch, or listen to local news in Central New York? 
  • How important is local news to you in Central New York?
  • How do you typically access local news in Central New York? 
  • What type(s) of local news is most appealing to you?
  • Which of the following causes/topics are you most interested in?
  • Which Central New York news source do you prefer the most? 
  • How often do you visit [insert news source]?
  • What would make your visit [insert news source] more often?
  • How often do you see the local news that appeals to you on [insert news source]?
  • How would you rate [insert news source] involvement in the Central New York community?

Highlights of the DEI Survey

  • The DEI survey took an average of 7 minutes to complete and included 31 questions.
  • The survey received 484 responses from residents in Onondaga County.
  • Fieldwork for the survey began on May 12, 2021, and lasted until June 2, 2021. 

Results of the Diversity and Inclusion Survey

With a probabilistic sample, a total of 484 responses at the 95% confidence level offer a +/- 4.5% margin of error.

If the survey were conducted with another random pool of 100 respondents, 95 out of the 100 results would yield within +4.5% or -4.5% of the stated totals in the reports. 

The advertising agency received a market research report that included components such as:

  • Key findings for the overall results
  • Breakdowns by critical demographics
  • A series of recommendations

Also, the raw data file was shared as a separate file, and question-by-question data portals were shared.

Conduct a DEI Survey with Drive Research

Drive Research is a national employee survey company located in Upstate New York. Our team partners with organizations across the country to deliver critical team insights to help increase employee retention and satisfaction.

Interested in conducting a diversity and inclusion survey with Drive Research?

Contact our team through your preferred channel below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Carroll

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Coordinator. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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