How Can You Tell If Your Workplace Is Actually Inclusive?


Employees want Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Nearly 80% of workers say that they want to work for a company that values DEI. In fact, they actively seek it. More than 3-in-4 job seekers and employees report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.  

Many are even quitting their jobs over it. Multiple research studies conducted in the past year found strong connections between attrition and DEI, particularly certain aspects of inclusion such as feeling welcome, respected, valued, a sense of belonging, and being included in key decisions.

Leaders know DEI is important, too. The number of leaders identifying DEI efforts as a top priority was nearly two times higher in 2020 than in 2019. And mentions of DEI on S&P 500 earnings calls have increased 658% just since 2018. 


Likely there is no controversy associated with saying that leaders and employees are often not on the same page. Some may go as far as to say they operate in parallel universes. Recent McKinsey research findings indicate that leaders believe “compensation, work-life balance and poor physical and emotional health” are key reasons employees quit. Their employees, in contrast, shared not feeling valued, a lack of a sense of belonging, and their managers as the top three reasons.

There is a disconnect on the issues. But which issues are connected to inclusion specifically? And just what matters most to employees when it comes to inclusion in the workplace?

If you have pondered these questions, you are not alone. A recent Korn Ferry survey asked what organizations’ top challenges are right now, and inclusion made the top three. Inclusion is a struggle, in part because while many can describe it, they are unsure what it actually looks like in terms of organizational practice. As an example, many may know that feelings of respect and valuing differing perspectives are important to inclusion. But few are sure what actions are needed to foster mutual respect and work across lines of difference.


The first step is to develop a studied, intentional definition of inclusion in the workplace. Then, next is to measure employee sentiment about the different aspects of inclusion in a survey. These initial steps ensure your action planning around DEI will yield the greatest positive impact, as they ensure you focus only on the most relevant issues associated with inclusion and you act on what matters most to your employees.

We took a rigorous approach to developing our Workplace Inclusion framework and survey by combining research with our collective DEI experience. The Kaleidoscope Group has decades of hands-on experience, as consultants fully dedicated to leading clients through DEI transformation, so we can say with confidence what works in terms of organizational practice. This perspective cannot be replicated through data alone and adds meaning by providing a human connection to DEI impact.

We also tested content validity, face validity, and reliability of our survey through qualitative and quantitative methods.

In these ways the right level of subject matter expertise and scientific validation were applied to ensure our Workplace Inclusion survey measures what matters most.


There are many compelling reasons to act and embed DEI into your business practices. Greater feelings of inclusion in the workplace support better business outcomes by empowering employees to bring their best selves and share new ideas and insights. And inclusion may just be what helps you win the war on talent, from retaining critical talent to attracting the best and brightest. Employees and leaders alike now believe in the power of DEI. They want it, and they are looking for it. They just need support and guidance to ensure focus on the right issues.

We recommend you conduct a dive deep once every three to five years to uncover which specific elements foster inclusion in your workplace and know where your greatest strengths and opportunities lie. This data can guide action planning that will have the greatest positive impact on your DEI strategies and goal achievement.

With a strong foundation in place, we recommend you then select a few key survey items directly connected to the actions your organization decides to take that support your DEI strategy and goals.  These items can be included in an annual employee survey, such as engagement, or you may choose to run a brief pulse survey. The objective of this phase is to track progress over time, which is why it is critical to select measures relevant to your unique DEI focus and priorities.

Finding the right partner to meet you where you are and guide you through organizational change can accelerate the process and minimize bumps along the way. One size does not fit all when it comes to measuring inclusion in the workplace

Want to learn more about our Workplace Inclusion survey? Here is a link: to our full paper on Measuring Inclusion in the Workplace, which includes more information on how we developed our Workplace Inclusion framework and what aspects of inclusion are included. Or continue the conversation by reaching out to 


CNBC survey, 2021

Glassdoor survey, 2020

MIT Sloan research, 2022

Pew Research Center survey, 2022

Gartner DEI Podcast, 2021

McKinsey research, 2022   new-era-of-humanity-ebook.pdf

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