Free DEI Survey Template (Complete Guide)

Navigating the complexities of workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) can be challenging. Yet, it’s essential to create an environment where all employees feel valued and supported. 

Achieving workplace inclusion requires more than hanging diversity posters in the breakroom. Transforming culture demands critically yet compassionately assessing where bias and inequity linger – even subtly – in talent systems and practices.

Key Takeaways: DEI surveys are crucial for assessing workplace culture and guiding DEI progress, offering insights into strengths and areas for improvement. The challenge is creating effective surveys that drive actionable insights while maintaining cultural sensitivity
Diversio specializes in offering customizable DEI surveys, capturing employee sentiments throughout their lifecycle to provide real-time feedback, enabling organizations to adjust and refine their DEI strategies effectively based on employee insights.

The importance of DEI surveys in today’s workplace

For many companies, DEI surveys represent initial concerted forays into understanding existing culture from the employee perspective. An intelligently structured DEI survey serves as both a mirror and compass – reflecting current realities while pointing toward future growth opportunities.

Regular survey cadence (e.g., annually or biennially) tracks progress through trend reports, helping leadership analyze the effectiveness of interventions designed to strengthen inclusion. Frequent pulses even allow for mid-year course correction if new issues surface.

Identifying strengths and areas for improvement

DEI surveys provide employees with a confidential channel to safely share experiences without fear of retaliation – prompting more candor and detailed feedback. Distributing demographic questions allows disaggregation by race, gender, age, and other diversity attributes, illuminating where unconscious biases manifest distinctly.

These invaluable insights into strengths, growth areas, and realization of DEI vision across the employee lifecycle inform high-impact strategy and planning. By acknowledging and understanding these areas, organizations can tailor their initiatives to address specific needs, ensuring that efforts to enhance workplace diversity and inclusion are targeted and effective.

Benefits of conducting DEI surveys

Below are some of the key benefits of making DEI surveys a regular practice:

Increased awareness

DEI surveys shine a spotlight on areas where unconscious biases may be lurking undetected and problematic practices may be going unquestioned. The survey findings raise awareness among leadership and employees about gaps between the aspiration and reality regarding diversity, equitable opportunities, and inclusion for marginalized groups. This awareness prompts serious soul-searching and pushes the organization to scrutinize policies through an equity lens.

Enhanced employee engagement

Employees want to know their perspectives are valued, and their workplace is committed to equality and inclusion. DEI surveys communicate you care about soliciting input to shape a supportive environment for all employees. When people feel empowered to share their experiences candidly, they are likelier to trust leadership intentions and feel higher loyalty and engagement.

Strategic planning for inclusivity initiatives

Survey data equips organizations with customer and employee insights to inform strategic planning around DEI initiatives. Leadership can use pre- and post-intervention survey data to track the tangible cultural impact of their investments. This data-driven approach effectively allocates resources to drive the greatest positive change.

In summary, DEI surveys provide the impetus and roadmap for organizations to foster a culture where diversity is the norm, equity is realized, and employees feel included and empowered to contribute to their full potential. Periodic surveys help assess progress and recalibrate efforts to align with the organization’s values.

 Key components of a DEI survey

Deploying a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) survey can provide tremendous insights into the inner workings of your organizational culture. However, the quality of your findings hinges on asking the right questions. Below are some key areas you’ll want to address in your DEI survey questionnaire:

Workplace culture: Start by investigating perceptions around your workplace culture. Are diverse voices, perspectives, and ideas actively sought and integrated? Do all employees have a sense of belonging regardless of their backgrounds? Get a pulse on whether staff feel psychologically safe to express their authentic selves at work.

Inclusivity: Assess the level of inclusiveness in your work environment. Do projects reflect diverse collaboration? Are there signs of cliques that leave some feeling excluded? Examine social events, task forces, and decision-making processes. Are opportunities to participate, lead, and be heard distributed equitably?

Representation: Take stock of how representative your leadership and workforce are of the communities you serve. Break down the data by gender, race, ethnicity, disability status, veteran status, etc. Scan for disparities. Does representation taper off at higher ranks?

Equity practices: Scrutinize your talent practices for unintended biases. Do you offer accommodations for disability/religious needs? How diverse are candidate slates and interview panels? Do promotions, compensation and access to high-visibility projects correlate strongly to any demographic?

Anonymity and confidentiality: Frame questions to encourage candid input. Guarantee anonymity and confidentiality so participants feel psychologically safe. De-identifying survey data reassures people their insights won’t jeopardize their standing or relationships at work.

The right DEI survey shines a light on where your culture falls short —and lights a path to progress. Keep these components in mind as you craft your questionnaire.

Accessing and customizing your free DEI survey template

If you want to gain insights into the state of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in your workplace, a survey template can help you get started. Many excellent free templates are available online from HR platforms and non-profit organizations. As you evaluate your options, keep the following guidance in mind to customize an effective tool tailored to your organization.

Adjust language: While free DEI survey templates cover helpful baseline questions, the terminology may not fully resonate with your staff. Adjust the wording to align with language commonly used within your organizational culture. Stay consistent with the diversity terms your employees relate to most. Tweak the tone where needed to match the workplace vibe. These language nuances can make the survey more accessible and user-friendly.

Add industry-specific questions: Every industry faces unique DEI challenges. For example, STEM fields struggle with gender gaps while media/entertainment navigates issues of racial typecasting. Consider supplementing the standard template with additional questions about your sector’s diversity and inclusion hurdles. Input from your ERG leaders could prove invaluable for framing such questions.

Ensure cultural sensitivity: Carefully review survey questions through the lens of cultural awareness before deployment. Scrutinize terminology around identities, backgrounds, and practices to rule out any phrasing that could be insensitive or alienating. An inclusive survey celebrates and validates all experiences. Extend the same ethos of respect and dignity to every question you pose.

Customizing your DEI survey template is critical in creating an effective tool for assessing and enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within your workplace. 

You can gather meaningful insights that will guide your DEI initiatives by tailoring the survey to your organization’s unique needs and ensuring it upholds the highest confidentiality and cultural sensitivity standards.

Implementing the DEI survey

Once your customized template is set, focus on effectively administering the survey. Thoughtful planning and sensitive execution can encourage authentic participation.

Communication strategy: Kick things off by announcing the survey and underscoring diverse perspectives’ vital role in cultivating an equitable, inclusive workplace. Messaging should make it clear leadership intends to listen and act on feedback.

Setting timelines: In your communications, provide expected timelines around the participant window, when results will be compiled, and subsequent action planning. Following through on promised deadlines shows respect for people’s time and reinforces that the organization views DEI as an ongoing priority.

Ensure data privacy: Employ strict protocols and systems access policies to protect anonymity and respect privacy around individual responses. Reassure participants their insights will be aggregated and handled with the utmost confidentiality. Make anonymization opt-outable for those open to follow-ups.

Creating a safe environment: Foster a non-judgmental, retribution-free environment for open and honest input about sensitive DEI topics. Ensure leadership alignment on constructive rather than punitive use of feedback. Provide anonymous reporting channels to flag any trust, dignity, or respect violations regarding survey participation.

With thoughtful customization and conscientious implementation, your DEI survey can yield powerful revelations and actionable steps for accelerating inclusion. Adjust the framing to resonate with your culture while upholding respect across all questions. Follow through on promises around confidentiality and anonymity to enable candid revelations that spark true transformation.

Analyzing and acting on survey results

Conducting a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) survey generates important insights, but workplace culture transformation hinges on what happens next. Meticulous analysis of the findings, transparent communication, and accountability for change are imperative.

Analyzing results: Apply stringent analytical approaches as you examine survey responses. Look for overarching themes and trends tied to the survey’s workplace culture, inclusivity, representation, and equity focus areas. 

Disaggregate the data by demographics, tenure, department, management level and other variables to reveal subgroup differences. Statistically significant variations can pinpoint where marginalized groups face exclusions or biases others do not.

Identifying areas for action: Surface the most critical areas requiring intervention based on the analytics. Pay special attention to gaps where company aspirations misalign with employee reality around diversity, fairness, and belonging. If inclusion scores for certain departments lag or promotion rates differ sharply across demographic groups, that signals a need for remedial action.

Developing actionable plans: Translate analysis into action by developing focused plans targeting identified problem zones. Assign executive sponsors and resources for each initiative. Set measurable goals and timebars for eradicating inequitable barriers and nurturing inclusion. Establish customized interventions, like mentoring programs to increase representation in leadership ranks.

Engagement and follow-up: Keep the organization consistently looped in on survey findings and resulting actions. Solicit input from ERG leaders and other employee volunteers around developing solutions. Maintain open channels for people to track progress and provide continual feedback. Schedule follow-up surveys to gauge impact and evolving perspectives over the long term.

Implementing a DEI survey is not just about collecting data; it’s about committing to action based on what is learned. Companies can make significant strides toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace by carefully planning the survey process, analyzing the results, and engaging the organization in meaningful change.

Conclusion: the path forward with DEI initiatives

Free DEI survey templates offer a springboard for assessing company culture and strategizing improvements. But real change stems from what happens post-survey. Move beyond data collection to rigorous analysis, transparency, stakeholder engagement and accountability. Set measurable targets for creating equitable systems and nurturing inclusion. Commit resources to intersectional, evidence-based initiatives that move metrics and expand opportunity for all.

Integrate technology like Diversio’s AI platform to lend analytical muscle and track leading indicators over time. With sustained C-suite commitment plus thoughtful follow-through on survey signals, your organization can progress purposefully toward inclusive excellence. Continue collecting employee perspectives while rapidly testing and scaling solutions to propel your DEI transformation journey.

Kate Stone
Kate Stone
Kate Stone leads marketing at Diversio with 10+ years of experience in marketing and visual communications – over 6 of which are in the technology industry. Kate is passionate about communicating inclusion’s impact on businesses, workplace culture, and individuals. Kate is a US citizen and enjoys advocating for the environment and endangered species, improving her strength and endurance, and practicing watercolor painting and mixed media arts.
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"We needed to slice and dice the data in multiple ways and visualize the data in clear and accessible ways and you know Diversio’s survey and platform ticked all the boxes."
Ekua Quansah
Head of EDI, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

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