Inclusion Quotient

What is your inclusion quotient? The term is fefined by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as intentional, deliberate and proactive acts that increase work group intelligence by ensuring people feel they “belong” and are “uniquely” valued.

If we followed the lead of the Chief Human Capital Officer of the federal government, we would not feel very inclusive. With their own white representation rate of 66% leading a federal sector with a white representation rate of 65% you are probably wondering whose belonging and value is OPM ensuring.

This is the problem with the inclusion quotient. It views inclusion through the lens of white privilege by focusing on individual characteristics of people, mainly white people since they dominate the federal space. Instead of confronting structural bias of racism, sexism and homophobia in the federal bureaucracy, the inclusion quotient concentrates on experiential and thought diversity. I heard one thought leader define diversity as one’s preference to work as an introvert or extrovert. Another talked about diversity as whether you are a dog or a cat person.

This is why year after year it is so easy to predict who the champions will we be in the annual race for the prize of “the best places to work in the federal government.” You took the words right out of my mouth-predominately white federal agencies. Look at the winners in 2015. The Federal Trade Commission, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Management Budget, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who proudly carry on the legacy of white inclusion with an average white composition rate of 71%.

To add insult the injury, the part of the federal government whose responsibility it is to lead us to high inclusion quotients, the Senior Executive Service consists of mostly white people who have higher job satisfaction rates of 25% more than the front line employees they lead.

The problem with the inclusion quotient is it puts the cart before the horse. You cannot have real inclusion until you have real diversity. Until our federal workforce represents the taxpayers we serve who don’t just look like, talk like and act like white people, we will continue to chase inclusion quotients only to find out that people of color were never in the equation.

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