It is our uncomfortable truth that racial identity impacts the experiences and can impact the retention of employees. Workforce equity demands that we identify and address any barriers to equal employment opportunity faced by our employees and communities because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation and other protected classes.
The process of developing a Workforce Equity Strategic Plan, was initiated by Employees of Color (EOC)—an Employee Resource Group, in a partnership with labor and community based organizations organizing to bring attention to institutional racism, and inequities within the organization. The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), working with these groups, then developed a process that focused on lifting up and centering the voices and experiences of those most impacted by unequal employment opportunity. Utilizing this existing structure, ERGs hosted a series of facilitated discussions to uncover common themes and ideas for action around retention and support, professional development and promotion, and organizational culture. These same groups then coded and analyzed data, and drove a process of strategy development that reflected the needs and experiences of employees.
Reflecting a guiding framework of safety, trust and belonging, and designing strategies that reflected principles of equity and tactics of community organizing, Multnomah County, impacted and influenced by the organizing and power of front line staff, developed a Workforce Equity Strategic Plan that will guide the organization in addressing institutional inequities.