Managing diversity is defined as planning and integrating organizational systems and practices to fully engage people so that the potential advantages of diversity are maximized. Diversity is more than representation, it is a full utilization of skill and talent in decision-making capacities at all levels of the organization. Diversity as a concept consists of multiple layers of difference and similarities that each person brings to the forum which allows for varied perspectives and the application of dissimilar talent, skill, orientation, and ability. Affirmative Employment focuses on the composition of the workforce with regard to race, national origin, gender, and disability status, and seeks to attract quality talent from all sectors of our society. One of the measures utilized is the analysis of statistical models that capture a snapshot of past and current representation within WHS and the Serviced Components. Based on the results, the Affirmative Employment mission is to gather additional information surrounding the data and to develop strategies for recruitment, hiring, training, and retention which result in a more representative workforce within are occupational areas and within all grades.
Barrier Analysis and Affirmative Employment Initiatives are essential to managing and leveraging diversity in a changing world. Agencies have an ongoing obligation to eliminate barriers that impede free and open competition in the workplace and prevent individuals from realizing their full potential. This means embracing different perspectives and frames of reference to maximize teamwork, quality, and efficiency.
How does WHS leverage diversity and maximize its potential advantages? One way is by developing multicultural awareness through continuous knowledge and skills development programs. This development should simultaneously take place at an individual and organizational level. On a personal level, you may wish to consider the following questions:
- How does your own cultural background influence your thinking and behavior?
- What cultures do you least understand and why?
- In what ways have you trained yourself to work with culturally different individuals?
- How can you become increasingly nonjudgmental toward those whose beliefs are profoundly different from your own?
- How can you effectively lead and manage individuals without knowing about their cultural attitudes, values, backgrounds, and motivations?
- Can you explain why employees from a different minority groups might be reluctant to offer recommendations for improvement or seek feedback from you?
An integral approach toward creating an organization that recognizes and values diversity begins with leadership commitment. To that end, it is essential to develop, inform and inspire the total workforce through a meaningful and robust training program.
Learn to what extent diversity is incorporated and valued within your organization. Understand the impact of differences on your mission, both positive and negative. Are there particular viewpoints that either promote or prevent selection, development, and retention, of diverse individuals? Periodically review demographic profiles of the organization, including recruitment, performance awards and promotion data at entry, mid, and senior levels. What barriers exist that prevent the diverse pipeline of mid-career minorities and women from achieving the ranks of senior leadership? The changing population landscape offers opportunities for strong leaders to exercise their strength in transforming your organization by being knowledgeable, well-informed, and engaging all of your staff members in a manner that allows them to demonstrate their skills and abilities.
Please see the latest training curriculum provided by the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity (EEOD)