By: Lauren Liddle on August 19th, 2021

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Employee Engagement Survey Questions to Help Check Your DEI Progress

Business Management & Strategy | Best Practices | Employee Relations

On an average working day in America, only one in three employees are fully engaged with their job. That's according to the latest data from Gallup, which shows that average engagement spiked during the pandemic, but is now back at normal levels. And, in most offices, normal is bad.

Gallup's survey found that around half of workers don't have a strong psychological attachment to their job or employer. Even worse, 13% are "actively disengaged", meaning that they are actively seeking to leave their current position. When so many leaders are worried about mass resignations, these actively disengaged people are a serious cause for concern.

Surveys are a great way to gauge overall levels of engagement within your team. But your employee engagement survey questions have to look at the big picture. That means asking about difficult cultural subjects, including questions about your approach to Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI).

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Why do you need DEI-related questions in your employee engagement survey?

Capturing your employees' feedback on the diversity and inclusion of the organization is pivotal in today's working world. Not only do employees enjoy working in a diverse environment, research has shown that DEI initiatives lead to:

  • higher revenue growth
  • greater readiness to innovate
  • better access to a diverse talent pool
  • higher employee retention

To promote a company of inclusion and understand where your company needs improvement, make sure you cover DEI in your employee engagement survey questions.

Examples of DEI-related employee engagement survey questions

Engagement survey questions should generally be open enough to accommodate a range of opinions without pushing people in one direction or another. The goal is to find out the truth about what's happening within your organization. If you can locate issues, then you can resolve them.

Here are some examples of questions to include in a survey:

  • Jokes based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and other protected classes are not tolerated at this company
  • Our company values people with differing talents, skills, and backgrounds
  • Harassment and discrimination are never tolerated in our organization
  • People of all backgrounds and cultures are respected and valued at our company
  • My Manager promotes a culture of diversity
  • Our company leaders believe that diversity creates a stronger team
  • My workplace is safe
  • The actions of our leadership support conscious inclusion and belonging

You can measure these questions on a Likert Scale ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. The Likert approach makes it easy to collate and compare survey data from across the team.

You can also deploy short answer questions to allow for open-ended responses from your team. Examples of these questions include:

  • If you were a leader at our organization, how would you support diversity and inclusion initiatives?
  • What can our company do to be a more supportive workplace?
  • What is our company doing well in terms of building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace?

A blend of different types of employee engagement survey questions can help you get a more detailed picture of what's happening with your organization.

Best practices for employee engagement surveys

Whether you're planning a standalone DEI study, or you're adding to your existing list of employee engagement survey questions, there are a few best practices that you should always bear in mind.

1. Make the survey anonymous

Anonymity is essential if you want people to tell the truth. An anonymous online survey means that people are free to speak their minds without any blowback from management. This will improve the accuracy of your data and possibly highlight some previously undiscovered problems.

A digital survey platform will help you guarantee that all survey data is anonymous. Using a third-party service is a good idea, as respondents will know that the IT team

2. Study demographic groupings

You can ask for some demographic data such as race, gender, and approximate age without compromising anonymity. This demographic information is essential for assessing DEI progress, as it will help you identify problems that only affect minority groups.

Using demographic categories, rather than asking for names or complete anonymity, can help ensure no person is singled out and can help leaders better understand the opinions of their workforce. When selecting the demographic categories to use, we recommend that a demographic capture a group of at least four participants.

3. Use a professional survey tool for better coverage

A digital employee engagement survey platform like the Helios HR Engagement Survey tool can provide you with reliable engagement data. Users of this tool can customize their demographics, design their own questions, track company progress, all while ensuring participant anonymity and impactful data.

If you'd like to learn more about the Helios HR Engagement Survey tool, you can see it in action in this video.

4. Share your findings

Hopefully, your engagement survey results will show that your company is in a healthy place, with a culture that's open and supportive to all. Even if that's the case, there will still be room to improve. The question now is how do you build on your successes?

Your team can help you answer that question. Be honest with them about the survey data, whether it's positive and negative. This can be a chance to start a conversation about how to be better that will ultimately make the whole team feel more engaged. Once you've crossed that bridge, you're on a path towards vastly improved employee retention and loyalty.

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