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Building a DEI strategy from the ground up? Start here.

October 04, 2021

Building a DEI strategy from the ground up? Start here.

4 Minute Read

A DEI survey allows leaders to hear directly from the people such a strategy is designed to support — and create a strategy that best fits employees’ needs.

For many organizations, the thought of addressing inequity, racism and discrimination can feel overwhelming —and with good reason. In most cases, a robust Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy was required yesterday and the pressure to develop one quickly – while getting it ‘right’ – is immense.

That said, knowing where to begin is a feat in and of itself. Should you launch diversity and inclusion training? Organize a focus group? Hold a town hall? With so many paths forward, it’s all too easy to choose the wrong one. And as organizations grapple with which path to take, they often find themselves in a state of inertia.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem: The DEI survey. As the old saying goes, “We don’t know what we don’t know” — yet, all too often, leaders fall into the trap of guessing which DEI issues are most prevalent in their organizations. A DEI survey allows leaders to hear directly from the people such a strategy is designed to support — and create a strategy that best fits employees’ needs.

A well-constructed DEI survey can offer a host of benefits. Specifically, it can help you:

Demonstrate that DEI is important to your organization

By issuing a DEI survey, you’re telling everyone in your organization that their opinion matters — and that you genuinely want to hear from them. You want to know about their unique workplace experiences and opportunities to make it safer and more inclusive. When the surveys are well-crafted — that is, free from bias while focusing on the right metrics — everyone should be able to safely share their experiences, and provide leaders with the information they need to implement a DEI strategy that makes the organization stronger.

Obtain a clearer view of the organizational issues at hand

Members of dominant groups — typically those who are white and male — have very different workplace experiences than those who are in under-represented groups. This lack of awareness has led many Canadians to assume racism is not overly prevalent in their organizations. DEI surveys allow leaders to see the organization through others’ eyes — and identify opportunities for improvement.

Measure progress

While your initial DEI survey will help you take that integral first step forward, it also acts as a baseline for future DEI efforts. It can guide future training needs, offer insight into how people feel about your organizational culture over time and determine employee engagement.

Acquire a host of important data

When a DEI survey is constructed well, it can offer a vast array of insights that reach beyond age, race and gender. For instance, you can find out how employees feel about the company’s approach to diversity, if they know how to report incidents of discrimination or harassment, their familiarity with DEI issues, whether they believe opportunities for advancement are available to them, or whether they’re comfortable being their authentic selves at work. Some companies also ask employees to submit questions or comments — or reveal their future plans with the company.

At MNP, we know the best DEI surveys are customized to provide leaders with answers to their most pressing questions. Asking open-ended questions and allowing employees an opportunity to speak their truth, is the best first step you can take on your DEI journey. Once the survey is completed, leadership needs to respond and in a timely matter.


To learn more about how MNP can support your DEI efforts, contact Sandra Porteous at [email protected] or your local advisor today.


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