Upholding diversity and supporting your employees are two vital pillars of a healthy workplace. But supporting diversity requires a genuine deep dive into the employee experience to uncover problem areas. A great way to see how your people are feeling is by sending out diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging surveys.

Read on to learn how you can incorporate DEIB surveys into your day-to-day to create a positive and accessible corporate culture.

What are diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging employee surveys?

DEIB stands for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging: the four pillars of building strong teams that support an organization's success. The aim of a DEIB survey is to collect data and insights on your organization's employee experience by looking at the reality of different demographics.

Understand the 11 pillars of employee experience to build an EX strategy tailored to your diverse workforce.

A DEIB survey usually involves three separate sections, each asking for ratings and open-ended feedback on your organization's practices.

Let's quickly recap these key terms:

  • Diversity. Different groups suffer marginalization due to their gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or age. When you measure diversity in the workplace and create actionable efforts to improve it, employees will feel safer and more welcome.
  • Equity. Equity in the workplace refers to providing employees with the opportunities and resources they require to flourish according to their respective needs.
  • Inclusion. Inclusion encompasses if employees feel heard and valued among their peers and managers and examining how at ease your employees feel in the workplace. To foster a more inclusive environment, organizations can hold bonding activities and have honest and frank conversations.
  • Belonging. Belonging is considered the emotional culmination of any DEI initiative. Employees should feel comfortable and feel like they are accepted as they are in the workplace. Though intangible and hard to quantify, belonging is a crucial part in really cultivating a truly inclusive space for all employees.

Importance of asking the right DEI survey questions

Companies use diversity, equity, and inclusion questionnaires to measure current policies and weed out areas that need improvement. You can't gain a full view into your workplace environment to measure diversity, equity, and inclusion without asking pointed questions.

Asking the best survey questions helps you gain more helpful results, which leads to more responsive action. Vague survey questions warrant unhelpful responses, but targeted queries focusing on employee sentiment and experience will help you measure inclusion and boost diversity.

Officevibe data found that 37% of employees don't feel close to their managers; results like these highlight a clear disconnection between leaders and their teams. Without employee surveys, you might not even be aware of your organization's diversity and inclusion issues, as well as unconscious biases, and other major challenges.

Creating an inclusive work environment also has its industry-specific challenges. As a manager, you're deeply connected to your field and might not recognize the widespread diversity and inclusion issues within your industry.

For example, researchers Paul J. Hickey and Qingbin Cui found that female and LGBTQ employees in construction and engineering fields suffer striking workplace discrimination rates due in the traditionally male-dominated industry. Many male or heteronormative managers are less than aware since they do not experience the same discriminatory reality.

Diversity survey questions

The survey question examples below fall into three categories. The first group of questions can help you improve diversity and inclusion in your workplace environment; we recommend personalizing these questions to align with your company's needs and objectives.

You can present each survey question as you like, whether offering a rating scale from one to five or go the "agree, strongly agree, disagree, strongly disagree, and neutral" route.

We also recommend offering open-ended feedback questions so employees can go into further detail with their answers. You can reword and tailor the following diversity questions to better suit your organization's needs.

Diversity and Inclusion survey question in Officevibe
An example of a DEI survey question in Officevibe.

1. Do you think our company has a diverse workforce?

You might stare at numbers and percentages all day and think your workforce boasts decent diversity. However, this means little if your employees disagree. Until you hear real-time feedback directly from your team, you can't know for sure if your company creates an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion. Sometimes straightforward questions offer the most transparent and helpful results.

2. On a scale from 1 to 10, how well does our company promote an inclusive environment regardless of sexual orientation, race, age, nationality, or disability status?

Promoting diversity and inclusion requires comprehensive policies that protect all individuals while celebrating their differences. A company that successfully values diversity welcomes and respects all groups, not just particular races or genders.

Using a rating system or a check-all-that-apply response for this question can help you identify which groups your company should work harder on including.

For example, you could also rephrase the question as: "In which diversity areas do you feel our company actively promotes an inclusive environment?":

  • Gender diversity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Age
  • Nationality
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Disability status

3. Do you think our company considers job applications from diverse groups equally?

The people a company hires are a crucial indicator of its diversity and inclusion status. Your business can pat itself on the back for its diversity all it wants, but actions always speak louder than words. Ask your employees about their experiences with the hiring process and whether or not they felt it honors diversity.

4. Do you feel valued for the work you complete, regardless of your sexual identity, race, disability, or nationality?

Diversity is essential because it helps all people feel valued and important. Managers usually show employees they value them through recognition in the workplace, constructive feedback, and fair compensation to name a few.

You might have a diverse workforce, but that doesn't mean your company treats each person the same, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Learning who does or doesn't feel appreciated and valued for their skills at work can help you discover how to champion more successful teams with increased employee engagement rates.

5. Do you ever feel unconscious biases within our workplace culture?

Sometimes coworkers, bosses, or business community members might unintentionally circulate biased and prejudicial opinions. Unconscious biases might appear as offhand remarks, passive-aggressive tones, or power-plays. Discovering these subtle diversity microaggressions helps you understand what goes on behind the scenes.

6. Have you ever felt uncomfortable discussing your race, nationality, gender identity, or disability with anyone at work?

Everyone should feel comfortable and confident talking about who they are, and that extends to the workplace. Inclusive and open discussions might include an employee sharing a delicious recipe their mother passed down from their homeland or chatting about an event a colleague attended with their partner. Of course, conversations at the office should stay professional, but it's important to connect with your peers on a human level for interpersonal support.

7. Do you have ideas on how our management might improve the diversity of our workplace culture?

Officevibe believes open-ended, idea-based questions are remarkable opportunities for improvement. Your employees are the bedrock of your organization and will help you identify any diversity issues they may be facing, and will likely have ideas on how to resolve them.

Often, managers and business leaders have trouble integrating diversity and inclusion discussions into regular weekly meetings. Adding this open-response question to your DEI survey can help ensure that you don't miss out on any astute insights and opinions from your colleagues.

Equity survey questions

Unlike a diversity and inclusion survey, each equity survey question focuses on unearthing possibly unnoticed inequalities within the workplace. Asking direct questions often helps you discover which employees experience unfair treatment and how you can address those issues.

HR leaders and managers frequently forget to include equity questions in their diversity and inclusion surveys. Still, it's crucial to have these queries to understand the full scope of your company's policies and initiatives.

8. Do managers offer equal opportunities to people of all different backgrounds?

We previously discussed diversity and inclusion within the hiring process, so this question targets a slightly different and critical aspect of work. Managers offer opportunities to their employees in many ways, like selecting who will present a sales pitch, dedicating a new client to a certain employee, or picking some as their go-to associate.

Use this question to gauge whether or not your workforce perceives that your management allocates opportunities equally.

9. Does our company's career progression system offer equitable opportunities for career growth among all employees?

It's only natural for employees to eventually want to transition into higher positions as they move through their careers. While everyone's professional trajectories and ambitions take different shapes, companies should offer equitable opportunities for all employees and offer incentives to boost employee engagement like promotions, raises, and bonuses. Ask your team this question to ensure that you're promoting employees fairly.

10. Do you think everyone gets treated fairly within our organization?

Sometimes, asking straightforward questions can help you receive the best survey results. You could use an open-ended answer for employees to discuss how they feel about fairness or offer a rating scale to gather quantifiable data on equity.

💡 We recommend leaving this survey question anonymous so that employees feel at ease answering transparently.

11. Have you ever noticed favoritism in the workplace? If so, how did it happen?

Favoritism is a privilege and comes in many forms; most managers often don't realize they're doing it. Maybe you tend to pick the same people repeatedly for the most sought-after tasks or never consider certain people for projects with big pay offs.

Other team members are likely to be aware of these differences (whether subtle or blatant), so it's important to gather their opinions on the matter.

12. Does your management team support disabled employees' needs?

Equity requires supplying each person with the tools they need to succeed, regardless of who they are and what abilities or disadvantages they might have. During the hiring process, HR typically includes a disability status question on the application so a company can gauge what resources the person might need. Providing differently-abled persons on your team with the necessary support creates a more accessible and equitable work environment.

13. Does management practice transparent communication for everyone regarding pay, promotions, and opportunities?

Each manager practices transparency and communication differently. Regardless of your preferred methods, you want to ensure that everyone receives the same information. Use this question to determine the perceptions of how well your managers communicate with everyone on their teams.

14. How can we improve our equity efforts?

Just like at the end of the diversity survey, we recommend offering an open-ended box where employees can offer ideas on possible and suggested equity improvements.

Inclusion survey questions

Though they share similar characteristics, it's important to note that an inclusion survey question differs from a diversity survey question.

The inclusion survey aims to discover how people feel about the company's entire environment, including their peers, managers, workload, projects, meetings, discussions, and more. You should personalize your inclusion survey questions to assess current policies or initiatives.

15. Does the senior leadership team prioritize inclusion initiatives?

It's crucial that managers take action on employee feedback surveys to show their commitment to change. Even if you don't think your organization has diversity and inclusion challenges, employees will still expect you to make constant positive strides toward improvement. Use this question to learn whether or not your team thinks your management prioritizes diversity and inclusion.

16. Do you feel comfortable sharing your opinions and ideas with coworkers and managers, even if they differ?

Feeling included means feeling comfortable enough to join conversations. Often, when someone feels shunned because of their race, gender, sexuality, or other identifying factors, it signifies an inadequate level of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

💡 You might consider offering an open text box where employees can add names of anyone they specifically don't feel comfortable speaking with to help you discover problem areas.

17. How would you rate our company's inclusive culture on a scale from 1 to 10?

Often, a diversity and inclusion survey provides insight but no measurable results to compare against other metrics in the future. We recommend using a rating scale between 1 and 10 so you can quantify results and see how well any new policies improve diversity and inclusion survey scores.

18. Are you confident in sharing your opinions with management, even when they contradict the "norm?"

Some employees might feel intimidated by their managers, especially if they want to say something that might contradict their boss's opinions. Certain groups may unfortunately also feel less inclined to share their thoughts out of fear of retribution or discrimination.

Exercise this diversity and inclusion survey question to understand how safe your employees feel when communicating with you.

19. Has anyone at work discriminated against you because of your race, ethnicity, religion, political beliefs, or cultural background?

The main goal of this question is to uncover discrimination in any possible area of the workplace. Discriminatory actions could include comments from other coworkers, clients, customers, interns, or any other stakeholder.

20. Do you have ideas on how we could introduce more inclusion efforts into our workplace culture?

Again, we recommend closing your inclusion survey questions with an open-ended, qualitative idea response form. Let your employees offer their ideas and feel heard. You'll likely gather excellent information from their opinions.

21. Did this diversity and inclusion survey feel helpful? If not, what inclusion questions would you like to see next time?

In the end, we recommend asking a general question about the diversity and inclusion survey itself so you can improve your questions for the next round of questions. For example, you may have missed a key question on sexual orientation, or perhaps employees would prefer a different rating scale to answer their questions. Letting your team advise you on future questionnaires can boost survey completion and employee engagement rates.

Tips for boosting employee engagement on your survey

Nudging your employees to take the time out of their day to answer survey questions can be challenging. We recommend using the tips below to boost employee engagement and participation rates across your surveys:

  • Pick the best questions from our list above and personalize them to your business
  • Make the survey anonymous
  • Clearly define all survey objectives to employees
  • Carve out a time during the day when everyone can fill out the form
  • Make all questions optional, so no one feels pressured
  • Offer multiple response formats (like text-box and choice, both quantitative and qualitative)
  • Share survey results with your team afterward for transparency
  • Follow up with additional surveys after you introduce new policies

Need help putting together a DEI survey? Officevibe can help!

Creating effective and helpful diversity, equity, and inclusion survey questions isn't easy, so we're here to help you navigate the process.

At Officevibe, we build safe channels between employees and management teams with interactive and engaging survey questions, private responses, and powerful data insights with tools that make tracking data easy.

Get started today for free by filling out our online form.