Agencies should link diversity and retention goals, says EEOC

LAS VEGAS -- Federal agencies should rethink how they approach diversity and link recruitment and retention efforts to their current workforce structure, the acting chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said on Tuesday.

"There's always been a tension between the equal employment opportunity side of the house and the human resources side of the house, and the equal employment opportunity offices are seen as complaint processors," Stuart Ishimaru said at a leadership conference in Las Vegas sponsored by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Federal Executive Boards. "But it's more than that. The equal employment opportunity officers are part of the solution to how do you, in creating the federal workforce, get the best possible workforce using new sources of people for the future ahead."

Ishimaru said rigorous diversity programs could ensure that agencies have a reputation for fairness and enable talented employees to feel comfortable in their workplace. It is not enough, Ishimaru said, to hire an employee of a particular background simply to fulfill diversity requirements. Instead, creating diverse communities within offices will make minority employees feel at ease and increase the chance that they stay at that agency.

Management Directive 715, which requires agencies to assess their diversity programs, can be a great deal of work, Ishimaru acknowledged, but they can be a useful starting point for discussions about diversity.

He said EEOC's recent efforts to hire 250 front-line employees changed some of his own ideas about diversity and hiring. Between 2001 and 2008, the agency's staff was reduced by 25 percent, from 2,850 employees to 2,150 workers. Ishimaru said he had been unaware of how complicated it was to simply classify positions, much less reach out and recruit the right employees, because it had been so long since EEOC experienced a major hiring wave.

But Ishimaru said he was optimistic about the Obama administration's approach to diversity, particularly the appointment of his former acting deputy, EEOC Commissioner Christine Griffin, as deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management. OPM Director John Berry has said that when she is confirmed, Griffin will lead the agency's diversity reform efforts.

"Chris will go there…to make sure that the diversity efforts by the federal government actually work, and work for the government on the employer side, not as a compliance issue, but making this part of the way the government does its business," Ishimaru said.

The Los Angeles Federal Executive Board paid Rosenberg's travel expenses to the conference in Las Vegas, where she is delivering a speech.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.