In August 2011, the White House issued Executive Order 13583, Establishing a Coordinated Government-Wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce, directing Executive Branch agencies and departments to develop and implement an integrated, comprehensive, and strategic focus on diversity and inclusion as a key component of human resources strategies.
Executive Order 13583 helped drive the creation of the Department’s first comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan in fiscal year 2011. At that time, the Plan provided a framework for the many initiatives that have been realized, the efforts that are currently underway, and the overarching strategy, offering a cohesive and comprehensive path forward. Together, federal agencies will fully use policies, programs, and systems that support inclusive diversity through increasingly focused, innovative, and accelerated communication and learning strategies. Executive Order 13583 helped drive the creation of the department’s first comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion Strategic plan, which has three goals focusing on: Workforce Diversity/Strategic Recruitment, Workplace Inclusion, and Leadership Commitment and Management Accountability.
In accordance with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) 2016 Government-wide Inclusive Diversity Strategic Plan, the Department released an Inclusive Diversity Strategic Plan.
Why Inclusive Diversity?
Inclusive diversity is includes more than just, traditionally, recruiting a workforce that includes a range of ages, ethnicities, religions and worldviews; diversity is only half of the of the inclusive diversity paradigm. Inclusion before diversity emphasizes the forward-looking importance of building inclusive workplaces and is defined as a set of behaviors that promote collaboration, creativity and innovation, high performance, fairness and respect, and an environment where employees feel like they belong. It is about recognizing and managing our blinds spots, empowering employees at every level, and building a culture of trust within teams. Inclusive diversity is comprised of perceptions of:
- Fairness and Respect: Employees look to whether their experiences are similar to others in terms of opportunities, pay, and evaluation.
- Value and Belonging: Focuses more on the uniqueness of each person, whether they are part of formal and informal networks, and whether they have a voice in decision-making.
The Department aims to leverage its commitment to inclusive diversity. It is becoming increasingly evident that focusing on diversity without also focusing on inclusion is no longer a prevailing strategy. This evolved area of focus does not diminish the importance of diversity and the need to continue to drive progress, and the Department will continue to engage in conversations improving diversity, and this in itself is an inclusive practice. The DHS Diversity Strategic Plan provides a path forward to creating and fostering a workforce that includes and engages our employees, and reflects all segments of society.
- Goal 1: Leaders Lead - Department leaders shall champion inclusive diversity efforts to accomplish the agency’s missions.
- Goal 2: Connected Culture - The Department shall create a workplace culture that encourages employees to feel uniquely valued and engaged, allowing them to contribute to their full potential.
- Goal 3: Data-Driven Diversity -The Department shall foster a diverse, high performing workforce, drawn from all segments of American society, utilizing data-driven approaches to inform recruitment strategies.
Mission Case for Inclusive Diversity
The men and women of DHS interact with millions of people from across the country and around the world. An inclusive and diverse workforce enables DHS to be more responsive to the public it serves and enhances our ability to fulfill the broad range of the Department’s missions.
A workforce that is inclusive will enable DHS to:
- Maximize Team Performance
- Attract and Retain High Caliber Employees
- Elevate Employee Engagement
- Achieve Organizational Efficiency
- Optimize Operational Effectiveness
- Enhance Professionalism
- Diversity at DHS: The ensemble of attributes, abilities and experiences that each individual contributes to accomplishing the full scope of the Department’s complex missions.
- Identity Diversity: Characteristics that may include their gender identity, race or ethnicity, military or veteran status, LGBTQ+ status, disability status, and more.
- Cognitive Diversity: Differing perspectives, interpretations, heuristics and predictive models through diverse viewpoints, life experiences, training and backgrounds.
- Engagement: The emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals, and the sense of pride, purpose and commitment an employee feel towards their employer and its mission. l Com
- Implicit bias: Also known as unconscious bias, implicit bias refers to the attitudes and/or stereotypes that affect understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. “Implicit bias” is also known as the automatic ability for the brain to sort information gathered by placing them into categories as fast as possible.
- Inclusion at DHS: Represents a culture that recognizes, values, and respects each individual and promotes collaboration and fairness to enable all members of the workforce to reach their full potential. The degree to which an individual perceives that he or she is an esteemed member of the work group through his or her needs for belonging and uniqueness.
- Inclusion Index: A new index comprised of 20 items from the yearly Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, grouped into five habits of inclusion: Fair, Open, Cooperative, Supportive and Empowered.
- New Inclusion Quotient (New IQ): To foster more inclusive workplaces in the federal government, OPM developed the New IQ, a set of change management tools to supplement the Inclusion Index. The New IQ is built on the concept that individual behaviors, repeated over time, form the habits that create the essential building blocks of an inclusive environment. DHS has developed a New IQ module that is personalized for the Department and focuses on cognitive diversity, the correlation between inclusion and employee engagement, and identifying inclusive behaviors.
*Full list of definitions can be found in the Inclusive Diversity Strategic Plan.