Diversity and Inclusion Council Sets Priorities for the Present and Future

By Ian Pannell, Deputy Director, Office of Human Capital Management
Posted November 2012

President Barack Obama values the strength the United States derives from the diversity of its population and from its commitment to equal opportunity for all. By Executive Order 13583, Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce, the President calls upon the entire federal executive branch to lead the nation by demonstrating its commitment to equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion. In response, PSA and CSOSA established a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council in October 2012. The Council will assist and guide PSA and CSOSA in our efforts to achieve the objectives of the Executive Order by promoting diversity, inclusion, and innovation throughout our operations. This will include all aspects of our work, from hiring and promotion practices, to training opportunities, as well as to the way we conduct ourselves each and every day.

During the inaugural D&I Council meeting, participating leaders established a three-part Diversity Action Plan that will operationalize diversity and inclusion in real-time. Using routine workforce lifecycle phases, the Agency seeks to capture appropriate data during employee entry, with the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) annually, and at separation/retirement to evaluate the effectiveness of the Diversity Action Plan. This Council ultimately will serve as an active communications network between our workforce and leadership to address common issues, and as a forum to share information and monitor progress in key areas.

The D&I Council has three subcommittees that will study the following trends in workforce diversity, workplace inclusion and sustainability. The D&I objectives that align with the studies above include: 1) collecting and analyzing applicant flow data to evaluate the effectiveness of diversity outreach efforts; 2) developing various tools to measure employee perceptions of fairness, individual development and accomplishment; and 3) evaluating voluntary exit data to learn reasons for leaving from departing employees. These findings will be used to prepare various annual reports to OPM, EEOC and the Office of the President on how diversity contributes to mission accomplishment. In addition, PSA must report on diversity as it relates to the hiring of veterans, persons with disabilities, race and ethnic origins, and gender, as well as the grade levels these individuals are in.

As one step toward institutionalizing goal, PSA has expanded its vision statement to emphasize these two important dimensions for how we do what we do:

To thrive as a leader within the justice system through a diverse, inclusive and empowered workforce that embodies integrity, excellence, accountability, and innovation in the delivery of the highest quality services.

According to the OPM Message on Diversity and Inclusion, diversity is important because, when we are able to draw on the wisdom and expertise of a workforce that reflects the population we serve, we are better able to understand and meet the needs of the American people. The PSA and CSOSA D&I Council has established a thorough roadmap to acquire and evaluate workforce diversity, workplace inclusion, and sustainability trends. These efforts will offer promising results for improving organizational performance, resulting in better value to customers, defendants, taxpayers, and other stakeholders.