At a seminar sponsored by the Public Manager Journal and Federal Special Interest Group of the D.C. Chapter of ASTD, diversity expert Mauricio Velasquez explained that diversity training has gained increased importance for federal managers since President Obama’s promulgation of Executive Order 13583, establishing a coordinated government-wide effort to promote diversity and inclusion in the federal workplace. OPM has issued its “Guidance on Implementation of the Government-Wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan” to hasten the implementation of these programs. Federal agencies will be required to present to OPM their initial strategic plans at a round-table discussion on March 16th.
“The intent of looking at diversity is to create and promote a more inclusive work environment.” says Velasquez. The primary dimensions of diversity are: age, gender, ethnic heritage, race, mental and physical abilities, and sexual orientation. “These primary dimensions of what we see are further influenced by what we cannot see.” These unseen elements include: language, military experience, religion, income, work experience, geographic location, operational role and level, communication style, family status, work style, and education.
Mr. Velasquez suggested that inclusiveness means that a person is meant to feel comfortable and valued. “Values have to do with how we treat each other. It is based on attitudes, and is measured by concrete measurable behaviors.” A diversity strategy plan is developed and aligned by an agency’s senior leadership with the agency’s mission, vision, and direction.
Kevin Neal concluded the presentation with a review of Executive Order 13583. “All federal agencies will be required to present a strategic plan to OPM for a roundtable discussion on March 16th. The plan is not expected to be complete or final, but should serve as a beginning to implement the President’s goals.”
“The goal is to create a workplace that works for everyone,” said Mr. Neal. “The OPM wants concrete actions that will assist employees to reach their full potential. This is to be accomplished through three primary factors: (1) diversity by hiring a diverse workforce, (2) inclusion through the use of affinity groups, telework, diversity and inclusion panels, and resource focus groups, and (3) sustainability which is accomplished by the agency being responsible for implementing the strategic plan.”