Obama Directs Agencies to Submit Diversity and Inclusion Plans

President Barack Obama issued an executive order last week mandating agencies to develop and implement a more coordinated and strategic diversity and inclusion plan.

“To realize more fully the goal of using the talents of all segments of society, the federal government must continue to challenge itself to enhance its ability to recruit, hire, promote and retain a more diverse workforce,” Obama wrote. “Further, the Federal Government must create a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness to enable individuals to participate to their full potential.”

Agencies’ plans should include an ongoing plan to identify and implement best practices that encourage inclusion and promote diversity, Obama said. After implementing their plans, agencies should also establish a reporting system for their progress on meeting their diversity objectives and designate the agency’s Chief Human Capital Officer as responsible for furthering the goals of the plan.

“A commitment to equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion is critical for the Federal Government as an employer,” Obama wrote in the order. “As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government has a special obligation to lead by example. Attaining a diverse, qualified workforce is one of the cornerstones of the merit-based civil service.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has already begun the implementation process for its diversity management plan, part of an overall diversity strategy that began in 2010. DOJ evaluates its Senior Executive Service members on their progress and efforts to further the agency’s diversity initiative.

“A key component of any aspect of a diversity initiative is accountability,” said Channing Phillips, senior counselor to Attorney General Eric Holder, in an interview with Federal News Radio.

In 2010, Holder set out four goals to further DOJ’s diversity initiative: leadership commitment and organizational structure, outreach and recruitment efforts, staff development and retention and transparency.

All agencies must complete their diversity and inclusion strategy plans before March 16, Obama wrote in his executive order.

Posted in General News

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