It’s no secret that modern, forward-thinking workplaces are shining ever-brighter spotlights on their diversity and inclusion strategies.
The rush to initiate effective D&I strategies is because we live in a world where over half the workforce believe their companies aren’t doing enough. In fact, the CIPD believes that implementing robust D&I strategies is going to be one of the key workplace trends of 2022 and beyond.
With those points in mind, it’s vital HR start gathering vital insights from their employees to help steer their initiatives, and pulse surveys can be a brilliant way to help do exactly that.
Pulse surveys: how they can help build effective diversity and inclusion strategies
As a quick, low-pressure means through which to gather employee feedback, pulse surveys can make for an efficient way to monitor diversity and inclusivity progress within an organisation.
For starters, the repetitive nature of pulse surveys means HR can track the impact of diversity initiatives, policies, or training schemes over time. Also, a short, sharp approach to gathering data means employees are more likely to engage with them and offer their own perspectives.
Perhaps even more importantly, though, is that pulse surveys offer the option for respondent anonymity. When it comes to diversity and inclusion monitoring – and particularly in the case of less visible characteristics, such as disability status or sexual identity – this means an increased likelihood of genuine, truthful feedback that can be used to create actionable plans for improvement.
However, even the most well-intended survey is nothing without carefully thought-out questions. So, to help gather a constructive response on your next diversity and inclusion survey, here are some of our top picks for questions to ask:
1. On a scale of 0-10 (with 1 being completely disagree to 10, completely agree) how far do you agree that [company] offers equal growth and development opportunities?
From a senior position, it can be easy to believe that all employees are on equal ground for growth and promotion opportunities. In truth, though, the balance may be more skewed than you’d expect – even if your management team appears at a glance to be diverse.
In asking for employees’ own views on development opportunities, you can explore just how even the playing ground really is within your organisation, and even begin to ensure a more equal opportunity environment for those looking to climb the ranks.
2. I feel that my immediate manager is equipped to handle diversity issues fairly, appropriately, and in an informed manner.
The bottom line is that your employees’ most regular opportunities to give feedback – whether working in-office or entirely remote – will be with their direct manager. If staff aren’t confident that they can discuss diversity concerns with such a figure (or that they’ll receive sufficient support once they do), it can quickly become a hurdle in more ways than one.
Asking this question demonstrates to your employees that you recognise the vital role leaders play in supporting diverse and inclusive environments. It can also help you to understand if your own leaders require further any further coaching or training to help support your D&I initiatives.
3. I am comfortable discussing my identity, background, and personal experiences at work.
For the most part, the workplace is where your employees will spend a considerable amount of their time, so it’s vital they can bring their entire authentic self into the office – be that in-person or virtually.
How does your organisation work to foster an inclusive culture, and how well does the staff community uphold it? Passing comments and microaggressions, while they might seem harmless, can prevent marginalised employees from sharing as freely as their peers. A low-end score here may indicate some work needed for everyone to be fully at ease.
4. I feel confident reporting discrimination concerns at [company].
This important question covers not only the practicality of reporting discrimination concerns – the who, what, and how when it comes to seeking help – but also employees’ confidence in reaching out to senior staff. Basically, if your employees don’t feel confident in reporting their concerns, it’s highly unlikely you’d be able to identify, target, and resolve potentially serious hidden issues.
Are leaders in your organisation doing enough to indicate that they’ll support concerned employees? And does your onboarding process appropriately detail the ins and outs of reporting discrimination? Checking in on the overall staff confidence level could be the first step in improving the support process if you’re falling short.
5. Leadership at [company] value diverse ideas and contributions.
Inclusivity in the workplace, as we’re beginning to see, is more than a show of allyship or discussion of what’s lacking. Rather, job hunters are placing a sustained emphasis on more genuine, non-performative effort by employers – and that includes taking new ideas on board.
Taking a critical eye to the contributions most valued by your leadership team – and the people and places that they come from – may well shine a light on unconscious biases within your workspace.
As with all pulse surveys, feedback is only valuable if leadership take care to analyse results and make moves towards tangible, reactive change. But as a quickfire means to gather views, with the capability to target the specific issues affecting staff, pulse surveys may well hold a key to improving inclusive practices within your organisation.