We continue to release results from the ELGL diversity and inclusion survey. Today we reveal your solutions for improving inclusion in local government.
- State of Diversity in the Local Government Workforce Is
- Diverse People Influence Decisions in Government
- What Else You Should Know About Diversity and Inclusion
- Survey Diversity And Inclusion In The Local Government
- Video: Moving Past 1984, Moving Toward Solutions
- Impediments to Increasing Diversity and Inclusion Are
If I had complete authority, I would take these steps to promote inclusion in my organization…
In order to promote inclusion you have to encourage diversity from the ground up. If I had complete authority, I would begin by encouraging all levels of government to begin focusing on what it means to have diversity.
Measure socio-demographic info on employees, and see if we are attracting and retaining enough diversity, and then employ robust programs to increase diversity. Set standards or optimum proportions for gender and minorities minimums on decision making teams.
The inclusion of diverse populations within decision-making is a complex issue, but one way to bring more diversity to our organizations is by encouraging young people to explore government as a career path. As people age, it is harder to pinpoint them as agents of change. Students of all ages should be taught about the professional and volunteer opportunities available in government. Otherwise we are losing the opportunity to engage these people at the most impressionable time of their lives.
Training on the value of individual diversity and how that matters in the everyday work life – “Being your Authentic Self” training – as well as more emphasis on valuing the diversity we have and making a business case as to why that matters.
- Get to know each team member individually including learning their names and how to pronounce them correctly, especially names of a different cultural background as myself.
- Promote and acknowledge each team member’s thoughts.
- Accept all views as worthy of consideration, regardless of my personal stance. This lets colleagues know from the very beginning that their thoughts, while they may be different, have a place in the organization, and that the differences are welcomed.
I would expand the circle of who has a voice and listen to what they have to say. It’s hard because much of the problem is ingrained in the community’s culture itself — there’s a lot of apathy and assumption that the old white males will just handle things as they always have. It will take generational change – I’d visit the schools, invite the young kids (not just high school age) to tour and participate.
Make diversity, equity and inclusion integral to the performance evaluation process for both people and projects. Change the culture by leading from the top in an intentional way with concrete actions. Change policies that exclude people. For example, all our job descriptions require a driver’s license and the ability to drive to be hired – why? Require diversity on advisory boards and committees. Those are just a few; there are many other options.
Talk to my employees. Get out of my office and work side by side with everyone.
Promote higher education requirements. See The Police Chief, vol. 73, no. 8, August 2006.
That’s a hard question but I always think evaluation is the first step and not just from a token let’s count all the brown people and make sure our numbers reflect the percentages in the community. I think the most effective way to build a diverse organization is to genuinely make sure all staff feel they have a voice and that they are able to exercise that voice. In terms of promotions or upward mobility I think there need to be clear criteria for how someone moves up/around in an organization to allow all potential candidates to prepare themselves based in the same criteria.
Hire more women and minorities into senior management positions, this would reflect the diversity of the community.
I would insure that diversity statistics are gathered and shared with the entire organization on an annual basis. In addition, I would make sure there is always an organizational goal that relates to the importance of diversity. The organization should make every effort to mirror the citizenry proportionally.
Mentoring: you need to make sure the employees you have are happy & KNOW what opportunities are available AND what path to take to create those opportunities.
More diverse hiring: we tend to expect well qualified minorities to come to us. If you want quality diversity, go find the applicants!
Hire the best people possible whoever they happen to be. Period. Hiring decisions would be based solely on merit and ability, not on actively seeking to increase diversity.
Adopt a resolution at the commissioner/county administrator level to diversify the workforce and assess the needs of the under-represented community residents. Also assess the future demographics of the county and determine how to attract new county residents of color from a community development and tourism perspective (make a concerted effort to change our image and be more welcoming),
Develop benchmarks for directors for capitalizing on the tremendous opportunity we have now with the high percentage of people retiring to diversify the workforce. Allocate funds for recruiting out of state leaders to fill vacant leadership positions (lots of people are interested in leaving New England winters right now, for instance).
Require that HR evaluate who is accessing the website for jobs, and who is failing to complete applications. Make concerted and public efforts to be good partners and to include community leaders of color in transforming the workforce. Place explicit value on life experience. Ex: rather than hiring just for bi-lingual skill, hire as well for bicultural life experience. HR needs to test for language capacity and train about implicit bias – conduct outreach for jobs into under-represented communities. City government to look at urban planning with an eye to welcoming small businesses owned by people of color, and developing supportive neighborhoods and neighborhood associations. Allow food carts and public transportation into the county. Provide more linguistically inclusive signage.
Develop internships to work as pipeline for young professionals entering the workforce. Develop a mentoring program to help support new employees coming into our workforce.
Send all Sheriff’s Office and municipal law enforcement agency leadership to training on diversity (good, expensive, white men training) and developing some system of implementing a culture change within the rank and file that will not tolerate homophobic or racist remarks (not sure how to do this, frankly ) – attrition of the old “Christian Warrior” guard may be helping this.
State explicitly that it is a priority, and bring that message to every part of the organization, repeatedly. Implement hiring and retention practices that support diversity in meaningful ways. Begin working on a long game to work with students in the community, increasing understanding of and access to government, while diversifying the future applicant pool.
Fund programs that address the diverse community, e.g. programming in other languages such as Vietnamese and Arabic as a citywide practice.
A few thoughts:
- Begin with mentoring to ensure the younger generation knows what potential lies within them and the possible future opportunities.
- Start group discussions/meetings to hear view points from all staff regarding inclusion.
- Give all employees professional development/training, not just a select few.
- Allow for promotional opportunities based upon work ethic, diverse thinking, and community engagement, not just hand select.
- Lead by example, so inclusive thinking is built from top down.
I would require: public posting of all available positions; formal mentoring program for those identified with strong potential for promotion.
Grouped input into a decision making process. Getting a team to realize which “real” team they are playing for. Most municipal organizations operate in silos rather than looking from the top.
Diversity is not an issue in this area for the size of the community, workforce or population. The workforce is diverse in correlation with the population and job market.
I have a significant amount of authority in the steps towards inclusion. I take time to ensure that my positions are advertised on multiple websites and employment databases. I include EEOC forms in our applications. Additional steps that I could take would be to post jobs in more open spaces to include those that may not have computer access on a consistent basis. I would like to work together more on cultural awareness in the workplace. Our current city demographics are changing quite a bit compared to historical data. Inclusion and diversity are becoming more and more prevalent. I would continue to research ways to improve inclusion and participate in trainings to help me bring information to others in my workplace as well.
Have the Council make diversity in the organization a strategic initiative so that the City Administrator and other managers would take it seriously.
Make diversity training a requirement for stakeholders, elected officials and hiring managers. Include diversity training (along with other required or mandatory training) exercises for employees at all levels of the organization. Highlight and adopt best practices used in other local government environments where the stakeholders make modeling diversity a priority.
I would begin discussions of the topic(s) at all levels and communicate with management that change is good and it’s coming – let’s be out in front of it, not swept away by it.
More aggressive steps in hiring. Good steps have occurred in promotions and specialized assignments.
I would try to introduce staff to all aspects of the community, even the harder parts of the community. I would try to get them to see how things look different in different places and how each of their individual decisions affects the people in those places. Next, I would have people assess their management teams and see what is missing, in terms of skills, experience, connections with the community, etc. What I don’t know how I would address because it is hard, is how to really get at the root of bias among my leaders in the organization. For example, if you have a bias that negatively impacts minorities, you may not know it exists. You may not see that your whole leadership team looks very different from all of the staff that you serve and that such circumstances contributes to the issues you have. I also don’t know how to address the fact that during conversations about race in mixed circles, a lot of racial minority participants check out and feel that the conversation is frivolous because others cannot possibly understand their situation. I think being able to figure out a way to address these last two points is critical before doing any group dialogue sessions, etc. about race, socioeconomic status, gender, LGBTQ, etc.
Allow for cross training/exposure for employees to expose them to different management styles, operational needs and decision making.
Survey the community, organization, and from those results hire a consultant to help create a strategy that will have short term and long term impacts on the community.
I would start from the bottom and work my way up – making sure diversity has a noticeable presence on all levels. I believe that if people work in an organization where they don’t feel isolated or like “the only one” then they will be more comfortable and productive. I would make sure that diversity is present on as many levels as possible, respecting that sometimes the best person for the position may or may not contribute to the diversity of the workforce. I would also take the time to get a feel for what the organization feels about the level of diversity and get their input.
Vastly improve the local government employment brand. We do an inadequate job of extolling the multitude of benefits of local government employment to…anyone, specifically the diverse groups we’d hope to see better represented. If we do a better job of attracting and retaining highly talented people (full stop), I’d like to think that would go a long way to developing and maintaining diverse teams and organizations.
Develop staff from all backgrounds and have them compete with their leaders. Hear the Majority Minority groups of their needs, build off of their strength and strengthen their weaknesses to have a steel representation of the community. Develop youth groups for “at risk” kids and those of the honor society. Together, both groups, integrated to build off each other’s strength for the future of government!
Work with universities to promote opportunities among graduates to bring in diverse and youthful ideas. Create a culture within city hall to attract a diverse workforce.
Expand the probation period to give managers more freedom to take risks on hiring employees (1year vs 6 months)
Hosting panels or focus groups regarding inclusion with debrief about the importance and statistics about the success involved with inclusion.
I believe that diversity is mostly about valuing people and embracing curiosity. Achieving diversity requires both intentional design of structures and processes and support for meaningful cultural change in an organization.
Advertise jobs within several colleges that might have a more diverse make-up; attempt to fill lower-skill level jobs with high school students and keep in touch during college to encourage young professionals in the field down the line.
Hiring would be based skills, education and performance not number of years of service. I would also make leadership a team rather than competitors.
Reach into the community more to bring people of varying backgrounds to the table. Stop looking to just my peers for input on key issues and start asking the people we are planning for.
Create a mentorship program beginning at the lowest level for 20% of the workforce
Enforce affirmative action hiring goals more vigorously e.g. set goals by department and levy real consequences for not meeting them. Remove union preference in promotions in order to recruit from the largest pool of candidates possible. Work with BOLI to establish apprenticeship programs in areas not traditionally served by apprenticeship programs e.g. office support, accounting, social services, etc.
Include diversity and inclusion goals and metrics in managers/directors annual performance reviews.
I would work to broaden the internal development options and paths for promotion for all of our employees. In trying to meet AA goal we require an external recruitment at times limiting the opportunities for internal candidates to make a step up. Sometimes those internal candidates would create a more diverse work group.
I would remove some of the default PC language and modes of thought that seems to have a negative impact in people communicating. There is an attitude of fear and conformity that arises from the idea that there is one right way of thinking, and all must adhere to it or face consequences.
Have all initial applications submitted without the applicant’s name. A substantial body of recent research demonstrates that when all neutral criteria are equal the applicant with the “black sounding” name is significantly less likely to see follow-up interest on the part of the potential employer than is the applicant with the “white sounding” name. I imagine this holds true for Hispanics, SE Asians and Eastern Europeans although I have not seem such research.
I would continue with the diversity training but also begin to celebrate the successes of diversity. I would create opportunities for folks to discuss how we can benefit from and cultivate diversity as a part of the current shift in the workforce with the baby boomer generation leaving the workforce. This is the greatest opportunity for cultural shift that we have experienced in recent years.
Mandate employee performance goals to address professional growth and participation in training activities for specific diversity and inclusion topics. Also, applying policies and procedures to make sure clients are being served with respect to their diverse needs and barriers.
- Allocate more money for practical application of diversity principles and best practices.
- Begin the process of applying and equity lens to all aspects of the organization.
- Tie diversity goals and outcomes to performance at every level of the organization.
- Create a diversity and equity scorecard for real time monitoring of progress.
- Recruit and hire more diverse staff, including but not limited to race and gender.
Diversity efforts need tangible, ambitious performance measurements that become part of a managing for results model. Affirmative Action targets are not enough to create a robust diversity program and do not capture other populations to whom we should be conducting outreach (i.e. GLBTQ, people with disabilities).
I’d try and rotate departmental leadership responsibilities more regularly and have higher level managers & directors have to engage in frontline work. I’d also insist on some level of community based recruiting from the local school districts and workforce organizations.
With complete authority and funding, I would create a position that is solely focused on diversity and inclusion — such as a diversity manager/or officer. This model is used in many corporate entities where a dedicated person is responsible for cultivating a culture of diversity and embedding opportunities for people of various backgrounds, viewpoints and experiences to come together for open dialogue and brainstorming and project implementation.
Analyze the organization to see who it is comprised of. Create a task force from all levels of the organization. Allow this task force to analyze a specific issue and come up with solutions. Let them implement it. Celebrate accomplishments/opportunities for improvement.
With sufficient funding, I would do more to recruit for greater diversity at all levels.
Ask people constantly how they like to get information (and other studies that reveal how best to reach various sectors of the public). Take outreach to the streets. Use blank spaces in the public realm for posters, announcements, etc.. to reach people where they are.
Develop a pay system that allows workers from all backgrounds take entry level jobs at a living wage. I think we too often pay little for minorities to consider working in local government that they may take another job because it is better paying and therefore we have a watered down pool of people to draw from for advancement.
Make concerted efforts to seek out and promote inclusion in the organization. Recruitment is a key, and marketing the organization in the correct ways can go a long way. We have to better communicate the meaning and opportunity that local government service offers and also be willing to sacrifice the “best and the brightest” for the sake of “what might make the organization better and better rounded”.
I think it is important that each committee has not just a department representative, but a cultural representative so that decisions on insurance, health and wellness, employee training. I would create a diversity coordinator position so that someone would be responsible for attracting more diverse employees, residents and business partners to the City of Goodyear.
Targeted educational trainings through the vo-tech system for government work/public service; information pieces on local & government TV about working in government and the security (as well as the ability to really make true and long-lasting change).
Hire broadly. Stop using middle aged white males as diversity representatives. Be open to change– If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten. It always astounds me when my coworkers struggle to assist not native English speakers because for me, they are no different. I grew up in a multilingual household of which I only retained English, but what I learned is that communication is a very basic, easy thing to do when you are open to accommodating someone. Treat all people the same when delivering services. Some colleagues avoid performing outreach to non-English speakers. They get a few words out, take the persons knee jerk insistence that they understand, and high tail out of the situation. Instead, what works for me is very simple. 1. I greet the person. 2. I address the elephant in the room before stating my purpose. I ask, “What language?” 3. I ask “do you read X language?” 4. I commit to coming back with language materials OR 5. If it is an immediate need or something the public has come to me for, I say excuse me and call a telephone relay language interpreter. 6. If that is inappropriate or doesn’t work I set up an appointment to have a professional translator there. And when I use these steps, I am not involved in traditionally complex or necessary work that I’m providing this level of service. I am not in healthcare, schools, or crime. I am assisting folks when they are wondering what their water bill is, who their utility service provider is, where they can apply for a permit, or connecting them to other resources they need. I am not a phone operator or the first point of contact, but I may be the only person in government who has attempted to make contact even after realizing English isn’t their primary language. I provide outreach for a very specific program but when I receive questions, my goal is to leave the constituent feeling better about the government then they did before. As a person of color, to me that means treating nonnative speakers and people of color with the same amount of enthusiasm as I would treat an English speaking customer I just learned liked the same sports team. Real relationships are built on mutual respect and curiosity. I aim to be curious and inclusive of others.
I do not support quotas, but would attempt to establish a promotions plan to bring a wider berth of people (gender, racial, age) into leadership positions. I would also look for creative ways to keep older employees from retiring outright–perhaps a work flex-plan since their gained knowledge is so valuable.
I would reach out to community groups to ensure they are included in decisions, even when they don’t work for the local gov or hold elected office (what better way to show them what local gov is about and encourage interest).
Offer more internships and co-ops. Internships are huge when it comes to attracting ANYONE to local government. Encourage high schools to include local government in their curriculums. Offer work co-ops with meaningful work to high schools and community colleges. Community colleges are a huge resource when it comes to attracting workers.
Maybe more direct contact with diverse networks and easier/greater use of interns would help. Perhaps, working with diverse high schools, junior colleges, and colleges and universities about careers in local government would help.
I would look at diversity along race, gender AND class–how all of these things intersect. I would look to local schools and universities and talk to students about the opportunities in government. I would make a better case for local government as a career while targeting those who have typically been left out of the conversation.
You would need to reach out to a leader in a group which lacks influence in your organization. We pushed to get more Arabic representation on our Board of Directors as the population was growing in Jefferson Parish. It was difficult to find resources guiding us into the community let alone to identify leaders to recruit. Sometimes, you have to build a bridge from scratch, which takes a lot of work and a lot of trust.
Acknowledge and discuss how our backgrounds can be an asset to the organization. Train staff on inclusion and diversity practices
I would start by initiating a two- way conversation by asking ALL employees (1) is diversity and inclusion in local government important? (2) Why do you think Diversity and Inclusion is Important in Local Government? Too many of the diversity in local government narratives fail to include WHY diversity is important.
I would hire and promote individuals based on skills, expertise and character rather than longevity. I would avoid establishing some kind of pre-determined diversity “mix” however – I experienced this in a large metropolitan city where I as the white male was actually discriminated against. I would make sure that department heads shared my value system in terms of inclusivity and then do everything possible to infuse that sense of inclusion throughout the organization. Evidence of contrary behavior would result in a poor performance review. I would not be afraid to terminate individuals that “didn’t do their job”
I would modify our application procedures to require mandatory # of minority applicants (qualified) to be forwarded to the department managers as part of the selection process by HR. Opening the apprenticeship opportunities to minority applicants only so that there is a qualified pool for the full time positions. Educate and breakdown stereotypes through exposure.
Be open about the need to diversity. Openly recruit and encourage people of color and bilingual people to apply for jobs. Provide seminars to segments of the community to help them understand how they can get engaged with local government and prepare them to better compete for boards and commissions and jobs in local government. Go to schools and recruit for diversity. It will only make us stronger and better.
I would remove veteran’s preference, I would do additional recruitment in publications that are read by more diverse populations. I would encourage more cross-departmental teams.
I would require a percentage of all contracts and bids to be awarded to M&WOBs. Appointed boards and commissions would need to consider people from all districts/wards equally. Economic development has to include neighborhood voices beyond JUST the open forum nightly meetings.
Increase internship opportunities, review job requirements and whether they are really necessary for the job or for moving up in an organization, forge partnerships that would allow for better promoting job openings to diverse groups, provide training and learning opportunities on unconscious bias, institutional racism, and how to better serve diverse groups.
Discussions as to what diversity looks like. I think we often think of generations in a vacuum and label generations such as the milennials rather than recognizing positive traits and doing more to help this generation be successful.
- Hire more racial/ethnic minorities 2. Promote racial/ethnic minorities and women at the same rate as white men 3. Change the culture to reject racism/sexism (if someone makes a racist/sexist joke, the reaction is not awkward laughter, but chastisement) 4. Change the culture to allow voices other than “white male” to be heard. No longer allow white men to simply interrupt, talk over, or take credit for the ideas of others. 5. Outright reject the idea that discrimination based on race and gender are no longer “problems”
Go to where the people are to get their feedback. Bring a focus group on the road at various times when people are available. If you limit it to the same days/times, you are going to get the same participation from the same groups.
Diversity training for all staff and representatives with a focus on administration. I would set diversity goals for every departments and develop annual plans of implementations and measurements. Create a citizen oversight committee that manages City complaints and oversees diversity progress. Implement diverse hiring practices that value diverse applicants with a strong effort to diversify all departments. A low hanging fruit is getting rid of the good ol’ boy police culture by firing everyone, and hiring diverse, community oriented officers with excellent people skills. If you work in a racist organization, you are going to hire racist people, which will ultimately make racist decisions.
I believe that the most qualified candidate is the best hire. Diversity for diversity sake produces mixed results at best. However, if an organization lacks diversity, I’d have to ask if it were truly hiring the best candidates initially, as hiring the best candidates will result in diversity within an organization naturally.
I would have a diversity training class and ensure all employees are trained as well as possibly making it an annual requirement.
Develop organizational collaborative process which provides for inclusion from the entry level worker up to senior management.
I would ask diverse communities in our area what we could do that would get them more involved. I believe continue outreach and networking to all groups is key, even though it takes man power and time. I also do not believe in making decisions about particular neighborhoods or communities without getting direct input from those neighborhoods or communities being effected.
I would require more recruitments to be internal only, thereby providing professional growth/development opportunities to lower level staff, where a lot of out racial/ethnic diversity resides. I would tie diversity and inclusion efforts to performance evaluations. I would work to use diversity, equity, and inclusion as a lens that all, not just some, decisions were made through. If it weren’t already banned, I would ban the box in terms of asking about criminal convictions at the time of application.
Inclusion is about how we act toward others. I would hire only nice people, those who are kind and generous.
I would hire people with disabilities – (devil’s advocate) but then would I be the one supervising them and would it take more time? I would hire people of different ethnicities – (devil’s advocate) but would they understand our organizational culture and fit in?
I would do is mandate community meetings in each and every single neighborhood of color with city leadership. Hold meetings every other Monday and really interact with people, give them information about what’s going on, and help them get involved. Affirmative action, for all the whining that goes on about it, could also increase the presence of mindful person of color who are desirous of impacting change in their community which can help change the entire mindset of the municipality.
I would look at the qualities in potential leaders. Those are the ones that should be promoted. I would seek to provide opportunities for these potential leaders to step up to not only be leaders but to allow them to create the inclusion within their current positions despite their racial, gender, or ethnic backgrounds.
I would set up a mandatory supervisory training about the power of diverse groups to accomplish goals, and also the struggles that thinking differently and bringing different identities to the table will bring (but this will ultimately be a good thing.) I would also make sure there is a training on diversity and bias that could help some people who have never been asked to do so, turn a mirror on them self and be aware of the small unconscious ways that we may contribute to a not inclusive environment. Finally, I would embed this into the cities values, clearly stated and restated over and over again. I would make sure the top leadership are bought into leading by example with the way they select project teams and who they choose to be out front in the workplace and community. I would have more open workspace for people to go and collaborate in and to just go and work in when the office or cube wasn’t cutting it. I think it is important for there to be a section about inclusion on performance reviews, and for all supervisors to get 360 feedback so they can get a sense whether they are truly creating an environment where all people feel heard, and if not why is that.
I want the best people, with the best ethics and passion in my organization. I would want to compensate for those abilities for recruitment’s sake and then develop them accordingly. I would NOT want to provide inappropriate favoritism in hiring because of surface traits. However, I would also want to be cognizant and include a variety of perspectives across my leadership – be they gender, racial/ethnic or previous positions/training.
I would challenge individuals in my organization to talk to someone, in the organization, who is completely different than them. Learn what that person does, how they got to where they are and what they look to do in the future. It would be one first step in creating conversations about differences. I would also challenge colleagues to meet more residents in the community (something I personally would like to do more of).
Talk about it and acknowledge it in a way that doesn’t make the current and desired staff feel unwanted. 2. Do outreach with organizations that have access to different communities. 3. Fill open positions with diverse personnel. 4. Support holidays, events, organizations that are important to/represent multiple communities. 5. Encourage people to bring their whole selves to work, culture and all. 6. Create a place to discuss current events and converse about difficult topics
I would s-l-o-w down. I would slow down the hiring process to give everyone time to think critically about who is missing in our organization. We’re not saving babies here, we’re (in my organization) providing park and recreation services and can (and should) take our time when making hiring decisions. Is a two-week recruitment period sufficient for a full-time employee with decision-making authority? NO! And we do that all the time. I would promote training on working cross-culturally with co-workers and with customers so staff has the tools to be successful when working with folks from diverse backgrounds. I would make my office and all of our facilities hyper accessible. Above and beyond ADA requirements. I’m not talking ramps at every door either. I’m talking improving our website so people with vision impairment can read our content, fully accessible restrooms at all locations, office equipment to assist employees who are hard of hearing, and a billion other things to accommodate anyone in need. I would improve rest rooms so there are multiple gender-neutral options. I would add changing stations in every rest room (gender-neutral, male, female.) I would ensure that new mothers have adequate rooms to pump. Not like the supply closet we provide today. I’d jack it up with couches and a water cooler and multiple outlets to charge pumps and all of the other things a new mom needs. I would ensure that the executive leadership is completely on board and doesn’t sound like they’re speaking from a script when discussing diversity in public. I would restructure paid time off to include 10 extra “floating holidays” so employees who don’t celebrate the typical white, Christian, holidays can take time off for days they DO celebrate. I would put myself out of a job because all of the things I want to do would make us so freaking inclusive everyone would want to work here.
Flexible work schedules. A strategic communication plan on how to increase outreach to underrepresented residents. Research best practices, and don’t take a tunnel-vision approach. Make sure you are using all organizations, agencies, businesses, etc. in your community to communicate. Communication is key.