6 Actionable tips to create a highly inclusive survey

The world has become a global village. Despite the existence of nation-states and borders, individuals have the freedom to move across the globe, often driven by the pursuit of better career opportunities.


This migration has led to workplaces becoming a hub of diverse cultural, social, and religious backgrounds.

But diversity is only one side of the coin. Inclusion is the other.

Inclusion in the workplace transcends beyond the physical and interpersonal treatment of employees and customers.

It extends into day-to-day company operations, including its documentation and surveys.

But how can you ensure that your surveys, a key component for collecting valuable data, are as inclusive as they are comprehensive?

This is exactly what today’s blog will dive into. I have listed 6 tips that will help you create more inclusive surveys.

Let’s start, shall we?

Why bother creating inclusive surveys?

Inclusivity means embracing everyone and leaving no room for discrimination based on color, gender orientation, or background.

Now, when it comes to surveys, they’re not just questions on a screen.

They’re a conversation, a way to listen, understand, and respond back based on gathered data.

And who wants to be part of a conversation where they feel sidelined or ignored? Nobody, right?

That’s why creating inclusive surveys in which all voices are heard and valued is important.

To ensure a high rate of survey submission and accuracy, your surveys need to respect all individuals and their boundaries.

A survey that truly reflects the diversity of its respondents is not only more engaging but also richer in insights.

It’s a win-win. You get the data you need, and your respondents feel seen and respected.

6 Actionable ways to create inclusive surveys

Creating an inclusion survey so everyone feels comfortable and confident in participating is essential for gathering diverse and meaningful insights.

Here are six actionable ways to ensure your surveys are as inclusive as they come:

Do justice with the word “inclusive”

It might seem like a no-brainer, but the power of words in surveys often gets overlooked.

While you’re aiming for inclusivity, it’s shockingly easy to slip up and unintentionally offend some groups.

What feels normal to you could be a source of discomfort for someone from a different cultural or social background.

A word that’s commonplace in your vernacular might carry a derogatory connotation in another culture.

Here is a simple example of a seemingly innocent word “family.”

To many, it means parents and children, but in other cultures, it could mean a wider circle of relatives.

Imagine the confusion and exclusion a narrow definition could cause in your survey questions.

Here’s where being mindful and doing a bit of homework pays off.

Creating diversity and inclusion survey questions isn’t just about being politically correct. It’s also about being humanly correct.

And ensuring your survey language is inclusive isn’t a difficult task, especially with resources like the guidelines for inclusive language from the Linguistic Society of America at your fingertips.

These guidelines can help you if you’re looking to create an inclusive survey where every respondent feels respected and valued.

Make sure you have inclusive demographic questions

Demographic questions are essential in surveys, but willy-nilly throwing them in an inclusive survey might be a bad idea.

The demographic questions of your survey are crucial because they touch upon sensitive and personal information like age, race, sexual orientation, and more.

But does it mean you shouldn’t ask these questions? Of course not.

It’s about asking these questions in an inclusive way. Let’s understand this with an example.

Imagine you’re including a question about marital status in your survey. The traditional options might be “single,” “married,” “divorced,” and “widowed.”

However, these choices might not account for individuals:

  • In domestic partnerships
  • Those who are separated but not legally divorced
  • People in non-monogamous relationships

By only offering limited options, you risk alienating respondents whose life situations don’t conform to these categories.

A more inclusive approach would be to expand the options to include “in a domestic partnership,” “separated,” and “in a non-monogamous relationship.”

Additionally, providing a “prefer not to say” option allows individuals to maintain their privacy if they do not wish to disclose this information.

By thoughtfully considering the diversity of human experiences in your survey design, you will create a more inclusive survey.

Give alternative choices and allow them to speak their mind

This heading relates to the previous point of inclusive demographic questions we discussed.

When it comes to sensitive topics like gender identity, limiting options to just “male” and “female” can inadvertently exclude a segment of your audience.

This is exactly why understanding how to ask about gender in a survey is crucial.

Offering a range of inclusive gender options for surveys, such as “Other” and “Prefer not to say,” alongside a text field for self-description, acknowledges and respects the diversity of gender identities.

Providing an open text field invites respondents to express their identity in their own words. It allows them to define themselves outside the constraints of pre-set categories.

This practice makes your survey more inclusive and signals to respondents that their identities are valued.

Don’t make survey questions mandatory and allow skipping

While certain questions may be necessary for your company to gain crucial insights, insisting on mandatory answers can lead to discomfort or even prompt some participants to abandon the survey altogether.

Surely, that’s not the outcome you’re aiming for. Do you?

Therefore, acknowledging this and adopting a more inclusive approach becomes essential.

Allowing participants the option to skip questions they’re not comfortable answering respects their personal boundaries and promotes a safer, more welcoming survey environment.

Incorporating diversity and inclusion survey questions within your survey while providing the freedom to skip them can significantly impact the willingness of participants to continue.

This approach ensures that you’re collecting data in a manner that is respectful and considerate of all participants’ feelings and privacy.

By prioritizing the comfort and respect of your respondents through these inclusive practices, you’re more likely to see higher completion rates and more accurate, authentic responses.

After all, a survey is a tool for listening, and part of listening is respecting when someone chooses not to share.

Leverage skip logic to eliminate irrelevancy

Skip logic is a tremendous feature you can use in your survey design, especially when it comes to creating an inclusive survey.

This feature navigates respondents past the questions that don’t apply to them straight to those that do.

In other words, it ensures that every question posed is relevant to the individual answering it, thereby eliminating the awkwardness of facing irrelevant or potentially uncomfortable questions.

Let’s make it clear with some examples.

Consider you are asking about religious beliefs in your survey.

If a respondent identifies as “Muslim,” it wouldn’t make much sense, then, to ask them about Christmas traditions or church attendance, right?

It might leave them feeling a bit out of place.

Or, if someone states they’re an “Atheist,” following up with a question on the importance of religion in their life could be seen as overlooking their initial response.

This is where skip logic can help. It makes sure that inclusive questions and diversity survey questions remain pertinent and respectful of the respondent’s background and beliefs.

It’s a straightforward yet profound way to show that you’re listening and that you value the time and input of everyone taking your survey.

Plus, it keeps your data clean and focused, a win-win for all involved.

Consult DEI experts

Even with the best intentions and careful planning, it’s possible that something might slip through the cracks when designing a survey.

It could be a phrase that seems harmless to you but carries a different or even offensive meaning in another culture. Or perhaps there is something you want to include in your survey but aren’t quite sure how to phrase it.

This is where the value of consulting a DEI expert lies.

They specialize in the subject matter and understand the complex terrain of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Aside from providing insights into how questions might be perceived by individuals from different backgrounds, DEI experts can also identify and eliminate survey biases that could otherwise taint your data and lead to misleading conclusions.

All in all, DEI experts will make sure that your efforts to create a more inclusive survey are both effective and respectful.

Ready to create more inclusive surveys?

Creating inclusive surveys should be more than just a formality. It should reflect your commitment to include everyone’s voice in the questions you ask.

You can get a good idea from the sample diversity and inclusion survey questions we have touched upon in this blog.

So, if you’re ready to take the next step and create your own inclusive survey, Formaloo is the perfect platform.

As a no-code tool, it simplifies survey creation, allowing you to select from premade templates or customize your own with inclusive graphics and questions through an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

Sign up for free today with Formaloo and start creating surveys that do more than just collect data—they foster understanding, respect, and inclusivity.

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6 Actionable tips to create a highly inclusive survey