80 Questions to Ask a Leader About Diversity and Inclusion

Imagine stepping into a room where every person’s voice matters, where the richness of different backgrounds colors the conversation—this is what we strive for in a diverse and inclusive workplace. The leaders in our offices and boardrooms have the power to paint this picture, but it’s up to us to hand them the brush.

By asking the right questions, we can reveal intentions, actions, and passion for a work culture where everyone fits in and stands out. Let’s dive into the meaningful questions that can help us uncover the real commitment behind the titles and desks.

Leadership Commitment and Vision

  1. What personal values drive your commitment to diversity in our organization?
  2. How do you articulate the importance of diversity and inclusion to your team?
  3. Can you describe a time when you had to advocate for diversity and inclusion within the organization?
  4. In what ways do you incorporate diverse perspectives into decision-making processes?
  5. How do you personally ensure that inclusive practices are more than just policy but part of the organizational culture?
  6. As a leader, how do you address pushback or resistance to diversity initiatives within the company?
  7. What role do you think vulnerability plays in leading effectively on diversity?
  8. How do you support and promote the voices of underrepresented groups within the organization?
  9. Could you share some ways you continually learn about and engage with different cultures?
  10. What steps have you taken to make executive leadership more diverse?
  11. How do you prioritize diversity and inclusion in your hiring and promotion process?
  12. In what ways do you mentor or sponsor diverse talent within the organization?
  13. What does success look like to you in terms of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace?
  14. How do you ensure that your own biases do not affect your leadership?
  15. Can you provide an example of how you have changed a policy or process to enhance diversity?

Strategic Initiatives for Workplace Equity

  1. What are the current strategic initiatives aimed at improving workplace equity?
  2. How do you ensure that diversity and inclusion are more than buzzwords and are actually embedded in company strategy?
  3. How are employees from diverse backgrounds involved or consulted in developing equity strategies?
  4. What training programs has the organization implemented to educate employees about diversity and inclusion?
  5. Can you share how the organization assesses the need for new diversity initiatives?
  6. What initiatives are in place to support career advancement for all employees, regardless of their background?
  7. How does the company plan to address wage gaps and ensure pay equity across demographics?
  8. What are your biggest challenges in implementing diversity strategies, and how do you plan to overcome them?
  9. How do you balance the need for diversity and inclusion with business goals and outcomes?
  10. What resources are allocated to diversity and inclusion initiatives, and how is this budget determined?
  11. How do you ensure that all employees, regardless of level, are accountable for diversity and inclusion?
  12. How are diverse suppliers and partners included in the organization’s procurement strategies?
  13. What strategies are in place to retain employees from diverse backgrounds?
  14. How does the organization foster an environment where feedback and ideas on diversity can flourish?
  15. Are there specific diversity and inclusion goals set for the short and long term, and how are these communicated to all employees?

Evaluating the Present Climate

  1. How is the company currently measuring the effectiveness of its diversity policies?
  2. What tools or methods are used to assess employee sentiment towards diversity and inclusion?
  3. Can you share recent findings or statistics that shed light on the present climate for diversity in the organization?
  4. How is the feedback from these assessments used to improve the workplace environment?
  5. What have been some of the more surprising insights from internal assessments regarding diversity?
  6. How often does the organization re-evaluate its diversity and inclusion approach?
  7. What processes are in place to ensure that the company environment remains responsive to the needs of a diverse workforce?
  8. How are incidents related to discrimination or harassment dealt with, and what steps are taken to prevent future occurrences?
  9. Can you describe how the organization measures cultural competency among its leaders and staff?
  10. What changes have been made in response to employee feedback regarding diversity and inclusion?
  11. How do you integrate diversity and inclusion considerations into everyday workplace interactions?
  12. What is the company’s approach to facilitating difficult conversations around diversity and inclusion?
  13. How transparent is the company about the current state and challenges of diversity within the workforce?
  14. How do you ensure inclusivity in remote or hybrid work environments?
  15. What are the biggest areas of opportunity for improvement in the organization’s diversity climate?

Addressing Unconscious Bias and Inclusivity Practices

  1. How does the organization train its leaders and employees to recognize and address unconscious bias?
  2. What steps are taken to minimize bias in recruitment and promotion decisions?
  3. How do performance evaluations account for bias, and what measures are taken to ensure they are fair?
  4. How does the organization create a safe space for discussing and addressing issues related to bias?
  5. How does the company facilitate a culture where employees feel comfortable reporting biased behavior?
  6. What challenges have you encountered in reducing bias, and how have they been addressed?
  7. How are unconscious bias and inclusivity concepts integrated into leadership development programs?
  8. What role do employee resource groups play in combating bias in the workplace?
  9. How is the effectiveness of bias training programs measured?
  10. In what ways does the organization encourage diverse thinking and problem-solving?
  11. How are everyday business practices regularly reviewed for potential bias or exclusionary effects?
  12. What is being done to ensure equity in the organization’s access to projects, resources, and networking?

Celebrating Diversity within the Organization

  1. What initiatives have been implemented to celebrate diversity within your team or company?
  2. How are diverse cultures and backgrounds showcased and celebrated in the workplace?
  3. Can you speak to any company traditions or events that honor different ethnicities, genders, orientations, or other identity groups?
  4. How does the organization ensure that celebrations of diversity are respectful and authentic?
  5. How do you balance the representation of various groups in internal and external communications?
  6. What has been the most impactful diversity celebration your organization has implemented so far?
  7. How is employee input used to plan and execute diversity-related events and initiatives?
  8. How do you measure the impact and success of these celebrations on workplace culture and employee satisfaction?
  9. How does the organization integrate recognition of diversity into its brand and corporate identity?
  10. How are diverse holidays and observances accommodated and recognized by the organization?
  11. What policies are in place to ensure all employees can participate in and enjoy diversity celebrations?

Leaders’ Personal Journeys and Development

  1. Can you share how your personal understanding of diversity and inclusion has evolved over time?
  2. What learning experiences have you had that significantly impacted your approach to diversity and inclusion?
  3. How does your own background influence your leadership in driving a diverse and inclusive culture?
  4. Can you describe a key moment in your career that shaped your perspective on diversity and inclusion?
  5. In what ways have your personal challenges and experiences informed your diversity initiatives?
  6. Can you talk about a mentor or role model who inspired your commitment to diversity and inclusion?
  7. How do you ensure that you continually grow and challenge your perspectives on diversity and inclusion?
  8. What books, articles, or other resources have significantly impacted your understanding of diversity and inclusion?
  9. How do you stay informed about the evolving dialogue surrounding diversity and inclusion?
  10. As a leader, how do you pass on the lessons you’ve learned about diversity and inclusion to others?
  11. In what ways have you used your influence to advocate for diversity and inclusion outside of your organization?
  12. How do you balance humility with leadership when acknowledging gaps in your knowledge or understanding of diversity issues?

Frequently Asked Questions

How can leaders promote diversity and inclusion?

Leaders can promote diversity and inclusion by setting clear goals and policies demonstrating the organization’s commitment. They can lead by example, showing respect for different perspectives and championing the benefits of a diverse workforce. 

Leaders should also provide training and awareness programs to help employees recognize and challenge biases and encourage open, respectful dialogue.

To ensure a lasting impact, leaders must also foster a culture where people from all backgrounds feel empowered to contribute their best work. This involves:

  • Actively listening to employees’ experiences.
  • Promoting mentorship and sponsorship opportunities.
  • Tracking progress with transparent metrics.

Additionally, leaders should hold themselves and their teams accountable for creating an inclusive environment where diversity is respected and understood as a key driver of innovation and success.

How can companies ensure that diversity and inclusion policies are effective and not just for show?

Effectiveness can be ensured by: 

  • Setting clear goals
  • Having accountability measures
  • Actively seeking employee feedback
  • Making continuous adjustments based on that feedback

How might diversity and inclusion impact the performance of a company?

Diverse and inclusive companies often see improved financial performance, higher employee engagement, and better attraction and retention rates as they appeal to a wider range of customers and talents.

Final Thoughts

Remember that questions are the starting point for change. The responses from these leaders can serve as a compass, guiding us toward a future where every employee feels valued, heard, and integrated.

It’s in these answers that we find the seeds of transformation, giving us hope for a workplace where diversity isn’t just present; it’s part of the very heartbeat of the organization. Together, one question at a time, we move closer to making inclusion more than just an objective—it’s our shared reality.

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Robby is a multimedia editor at Enlightio with a journalism and communications background. When she's not working, Robby transforms into an introverted art lover who indulges in her love for sports, learning new things, and sipping her favorite soda. She also enjoys unwinding with feel-good movies, books, and video games. She's also a proud pet parent to her beloved dog, Dustin.