By and large, the government is well ahead of the private sector in its progress toward a workforce that “looks like America”. While this progress is a good thing, in our view it’s still only part of the picture. A workplace can be diverse by the numbers but not truly inclusive. An authentically inclusive team fully embraces the special skills of all its members, and keeps outmoded and superficial habits of mind out of the evaluation equation.
If you frame your diversity strategy comprehensively, i.e., to embrace all ethnic, socio-economic, and disability categories, and if you don’t allow gender bias, however unconscious, to impede your human capital decisions, you have a promising beginning. Frame your recruitment and retention processes with this diversity consciousness front and center, and you’re not just doing the right thing; you’re instantaneously expanding your available talent pool. Do it right and you supercharge your operations and energize your culture.
The next step: take the ideal of inclusive collaboration seriously, and that means making sure that your agency has integrated its vision for inclusion into its operational strategy in concrete and verifiable ways. When you overtly endorse this level of authentic collaboration in your real-world operations—when you build it into your performance scorecard—you set the stage for a quantum leap in workplace performance. This is what we mean by productive inclusion.