How to Measure Inclusion and Diversity – and Create Meaningful Change

Leaders are finally turning a critical eye to issues of inclusion and diversity within their organizations.

Long a buzz term lumped together, these two separate yet linked words are getting a fresh look, with a focus on actual impact. Diversity refers to the differences and similarities of the employees that make up an organization, such as gender, race, sexual orientation, education, language, and more. Inclusion means having an environment where all employees have equal access to resources and opportunities.

Diversity is absolute; you can measure the percent of diverse employees in your organization and set target goals for improvement. Inclusion, on the other hand, is relative to how everyone else is treated. For example, if there is an inner circle at your organization made up people who are most similar to the CEO, it suggests that the organization is less inclusive of diverse individuals. As a result, inclusion can be trickier to understand and measure than diversity, but just as critical.

We can cite the research that shows why a diverse and inclusive organization is good for business, but at this point, it’s clear that this is both needed and the right thing to do. That’s why we’ve added a free Inclusion and Diversity survey to our suite of pulse surveys, and are making it available to any organization, client or not, who wants to measure their organization.


If you’ve already registered for the free survey suite, you will find the new survey in your library.

What the survey covers

Our goal was to create a survey representative of all demographics, including race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and age. Items include issues such as belonging, safety, equal opportunities, and trust in leadership. We added an open-ended item so that employees can add anything they feel is important for leadership to hear.

Why survey?

Hearing specifically from the people most impacted helps give you a clear picture of your landscape, understand specific pain points, and identify areas for improvement.

Understanding the results

Depending on your organization, some of the demographic categories may be small when you review the results. While survey practitioners tend to restrict responses from groups with a small n size, that may not be advisable if you actually want to hear the voices of minority groups within your organization. While you would only report on groups that are above minimum n, it’s important not to suppress groups that may be statistically small but still meet minimum n. These surveys require thoughtful communications so that employees understand the intent of the survey, the planned action, and full disclosure about how confidentiality will be handled. Comparing the survey results to other measurement efforts – such as retention or hiring data – can help you get a more complete picture.

Acting on the results

For the survey to be effective, you need to take action. We recommend being transparent with your employees; make them aware of what the survey demonstrated, and how you plan to use the feedback to drive change. Empower employees to help with these efforts by organizing focus groups or task forces, and make them open to everyone. OrgVitality offers a second survey on Action for Inclusion, to help organizations that use our diversity survey assess their action impact throughout their journey. Our free survey is designed to help get the process started.

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Interested in learning more about issues of inclusion and diversity? Check out two of the sessions from our recent virtual conference, Creating Impactful Diversity and Inclusion Programs and How to Build an Antiracist Organization, available for streaming on demand.

OrgVitality is committed to amplifying the voices of minority and marginalized employees, to helping create better working environments for all employees, and to doing our part to help make the world a more just place.


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