Equal Employment and Diversity Part 2

In my previous post I explained the history of Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).  Affirmative Action and EEO are based on Presidential executive orders, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws.  The EEO protected categories are race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information.

In many companies Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) is a replacement, updated version, or outgrowth of EEO.  I look at DEI as an outgrowth or mature version of EEO.  Affirmative Action and EEO came about in the 1960s, a time in the history of the United States (U.S.), when blacks were legally being allowed to enter spaces that were previously occupied by whites.  DEI assumes the U.S. has matured and there is no longer a need to legally enforce the hiring and fair treatment of marginalized people.  

The reality is a large portion of the U.S. has not matured and implementing DEI is an uphill battle.  Just like Affirmative Action, DEI doesn’t equate to a quota system.  Using a quota system, in 2023, to determine how you’re going to do business is antiquated.  Affirmative Action, EEO, and now DEI aren’t about checking off boxes to see how many minorities a company employs.  DEI is about creating a diverse workforce, at every level, so a company can leverage the diversity to benefit itself and its clients.  Companies implement DEI because they see an increase in their return on investment.  

I can be reached at corjoejen@yahoo.com

Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Part 1

Nowadays you hear the word diversity everywhere.  Because there is so much discussion surrounding diversity, I felt the need to do a series on diversity.  Mainly because many people don’t know the history of Diversity, Equality, Inclusion (DEI), what DEI looks like in practice, and the benefits of it.

I want to start at the beginning, kinda.  In many instances DEI is a replacement for or updated version of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), which some people call Affirmative Action.  Affirmative Action became law because of Presidents John K. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. 

On March 6, 1961, President Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925, which included a provision that government contractors “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.”  The intent of this executive order was to affirm the government’s commitment to equal opportunity for all qualified persons, and to take positive action to strengthen efforts to realize true equal opportunity for all.

On September 24, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246, prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin by those organizations receiving federal contracts and subcontracts.  In 1967, President Johnson amended the order to include sex on the list of attributes. Executive Order11246 also requires federal contractors to take affirmative action to promote the full realization of equal opportunity for women and minorities.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.  It also prohibits discrimination in public accommodations and federally funded programs.

Many people in the United States equate Affirmative Action with a quota system.  The executive orders of 1961 and 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 do not mention quotas.  The executive orders and Civil Rights Act of 1964 speak, “to affirm the government’s commitment to equal opportunity for all qualified persons, and to take positive action to strengthen efforts to realize true equal opportunity for all”. 

Companies, colleges, and other organizations have totally misinterpreted Executive Orders 10925 and 11246 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  There is a difference between taking an affirmative or positive action in employment and a quota system.

I can also be reached at corjoejen@yahoo.com

From Workplace Flexibility to Workplace Inflexibility

In the age of work-life balance and flexible work schedules, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agriculture) is taking a step backwards.  I saw a news report last week where they are moving from employees being able to work remotely four days a week to one day a week.  Amazing!  The idea of teleworking in the federal government started at least twenty years ago Telework Guidance and Legislation.

The reason given was to build a sense of community among Agriculture employees.  The high-ranking official that was interviewed said this change in policy is in response to a complaint by employees that work in the office.  These employees said they have experienced and are experiencing a lack of connection with their colleagues that telework.  My first reaction was, how many employees are in the office on a daily basis to complain and why aren’t they teleworking?

This new policy is supposed to go into effect July 1, 2018.  The report said this will put approximately 5,000 people on the roads in the Washington, D.C. area.  When I heard that I flipped out!  I live and work in the D.C. area.  I also telework two days a week.  I can’t imagine the effect that is going to have on the commute in this area.  The D.C. area already has some of the worst traffic in the U.S. How Bad is Traffic in DC.

In the next few months it will be interesting to see how this is plays out.  Hopefully it will work out in favor of Agriculture employees and the rest of us that live in this area.  If officials at Agriculture truly wanted to resolve the issue of comradery among their employees they could have found a better way Three Pitfalls Facing The Federal Distributed Workforce.

First Time Managers

Newly minted first-time managers and new leaders are usually part of the biggest population of leaders in any organization: frontline, first-line, and entry-level managers, supervisors, and directors. They directly manage more people than any other managerial level. The stats show first-time managers and new leaders rarely get the training they need to be effective in their new position.

For at least the past five years employee engagement has been has been a major topic for HR professionals and thought leaders around the world. You can find conferences, panel discussions, articles, blogs, tweets, etc. about employee engagement. With the dismal numbers of first-time managers and new leaders receiving inadequate training employee engagement will continue to be a major topic for HR professionals and thought leaders around the world.

In my blog post Managers Need Training Too I talked about the importance of managers receiving the proper training to be successful. If first-time managers and new leaders aren’t receiving the training necessary to be successful employee engagement will decrease. If employee engagement decreases the quality of the service being provided or the product being produced will also decrease.

Upper management needs to invest in training so first-time managers and new leaders can be successful. The success of the organization is directly or indirectly tied to the success of first-time managers and new leaders.

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