All federal employees should be mindful of the importance of workforce diversity, especially federal managers. Executive Order 13583 was signed by President Obama in August 2011: Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce.
According to E.O. 13583:
- "Our Nation derives strength from the diversity of its population and from its commitment to equal opportunity for all. We are at our best when we draw on the talents of all parts of our society, and our greatest accomplishments are achieved when diverse perspectives are brought to bear to overcome our greatest challenges."
- "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."
- "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."
- "Further, the Federal Government must create a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness to enable individuals to participate to their full potential."
A Foregone Conclusion
There is no shortage of studies and surveys to show the critical importance of diversity in the workplace, whether in the public sector or the private sector.
This is particularly true as the nation, along with the U.S. Labor Force, becomes increasingly more diverse. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics/Latinos and Asian Americans represent the fastest growing demographic groups.
To most people the benefits of workplace diversity are a forgone conclusion in the 21st century. However, apparently not everyone agrees with the Uncle Sam's ongoing diversity efforts.
Detractors of proactive workforce diversity efforts should recall that in addition to the public sector, most of corporate America has embraced diversity best practices because they simply make good business sense. The business case for diversity is well documented.
Bringing People Together
The bottom line is that all people need to remember that diversity and inclusion bring people together rather than pulling them apart.
It should be self-evident by now that diverse people bring diverse ideas and viewpoints to the table which promote positive change and innovation. A diverse workforce challenges traditional and antiquated thinking. This subsequently improves productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of business operations and expands the consumer base.
Unfortunately, employment discrimination still remains an unwelcome scourge in the modern workplace – whether blatant or implicit, conscious or unconscious. This is another reason why equal employment opportunity (EEO) and diversity/inclusion programs are of utmost importance for all workplaces.
The federal government knows this and has taken the lead in proactively promoting diversity programs at every agency and serving as a model for the private sector.
Workforce diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity efforts all need to flourish in tandem if the USA wants to remain competitive in the global marketplace.
The federal government understands this vital principle and has taken persistent steps to ensure a diverse workforce for all individuals, regardless of race, color, gender, disability, religion, national origin, age and even genetic information.
In short, fostering workplace diversity is smart thinking -- and there's no fallacy about that.
Also check out: Top New Year's Resolutions for Uncle Sam: #1 Fostering Diversity Gov-wide
* All views and opinions are those of the author only.