In response to Executive Order 14035 on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce, on March 23, 2022, the Department of State submitted its five-year DEIA Strategic Plan to the Office of Personnel Management. Secretary Blinken identified finalizing the plan as a key initial task when he appointed Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley as the Department’s first stand-alone Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) last April. With urgency, Ambassador Abercrombie-Winstanley will work with leaders across the Department to achieve the specific priorities, goals, and objectives outlined in the plan, ensuring transparency and accountability while doing do. This work includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Using data and an evidence-based approach to identify barriers to equitable career outcomes for the Department workforce. This includes conducting barrier analyses to assess what policies, practices, and procedures might need to be changed to ensure equal opportunity for all employees. Analyses are conducted by a DEIA Data Working Group which is led by the Deputy CDIO and comprised of data specialists from the Department’s Bureau of Global Talent Management (GTM), Office of Management Strategy and Solutions, and Office of Civil Rights. The data group has established a highly detailed Demographic Baseline Report for the Department that will be updated annually so that future progress can be tracked. The Department has also taken steps to expand the ways employees can voluntarily self-identify in our talent management system, to include options on gender, sexual orientation, and regional background.
- Establishing the advancement of DEIA as an element for all employees as part of their job performance criteria, career advancement opportunities, and senior performance pay.
- Enhancing efforts to recruit and retain a workforce that reflects the diversity of the United States by promoting recruitment activity across the diversity spectrum and implementing a comprehensive recruitment plan that targets underrepresented groups. This recruitment and retention effort includes examining the hiring process to address barriers to entry for diverse candidates and developing mechanisms to ensure greater transparency and objectivity in assignments, evaluations, awards, and promotions.
- Establishing a Retention Unit in GTM to examine the root causes of Department attrition, including a CDIO-led study to explore how DEIA issues may factor into employee decisions to stay or leave. As a fundamental part of the retention effort, the Retention Unit is developing a Workforce Flexibilities Plan under the Future of Work process, which will focus on updates to technology and improved transparent, objective, and fair telework policies.
- Conducting a first-of-its-kind Department-wide DEIA Climate Survey and chronicling the historic impact of discrimination in the Department through a digital storytelling campaign. The survey response data gives the Department an unprecedented level of detail on workforce views about the agency’s DEIA challenges and successes. The survey results also provide further evidence for the Department’s data-informed strategy to achieve a culture of inclusivity, equity, and transparency.
- Enhancing and adapting reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, promoting a disability-inclusive culture, and identifying the procedural challenges to providing effective accommodations, particularly during emergency or crisis management responses. The Department will also promote religious inclusion by more transparently and actively disseminating information about legal obligations for all reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
- Reviewing the vetting process for employee advancement to ensure adherence with accountability policies. The Office of Civil Rights will publish yearly statistics on complaints and types of remedies related to the EEO complaint process. The Department will also examine policies and resources for victims of these behaviors and modify the policies and resources as needed to ensure they do not suffer career setbacks.