The current administration has stressed the need for greater diversity and equity. As a result, federal agencies announced more than 300 actions they will take to pursue those goals.
Many of these actions focus on improving equity among the nation’s most vulnerable and underserved members. These actions focus on the roles that federal agencies play within the national community. Still, many other actions aim to improve diversity and equity within the federal workforce.
Actions to improve equity within the federal government
The White House admits that its push for greater equity won’t be a quick fix. Instead, the administration calls it a “generational commitment.” It says the effort will require “sustained leadership and partnership” with historically underserved communities.
Within the federal government, one agency stands uniquely poised to lead these equity initiatives. That’s the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency that serves as the federal government’s human resources department.
As Government Executive notes, the OPM intends to focus on two measures to improve equity:
- Helping agencies more effectively identify and implement measures to reach diverse candidates
- Educating federal employees about their non-salary benefits
To achieve the first of these goals, the OPM intends to make better use of data. The OPM has long-collected voluntary data for federal applicants. However, it has not always made that data available for agencies to use. The OPM intends to provide agencies with better data on their applicants. The agencies can then use that information to identify opportunities for improvement.
The second of these goals aims to improve equity in a different way. The OPM acknowledges that there’s an equity gap even among those who get hired. Part of that gap manifests in employees’ personal finances, and this measure aims to ensure all federal employees understand how their benefits can improve their future finances.
Part of a widespread push for inclusion
Federal agencies affect millions of lives. The current administration recognizes this fact. It also recognizes that federal agencies have historically acted in ways that marginalized some communities. These communities face extra barriers when they want to access federal services, and they face extra barriers when they want to apply for federal jobs.
The White House hopes this push for equity can lower these barriers. The two key components are better data use and simplified services. Many agencies will focus on the barriers civilians face when they try to access services. The OPM intends to address the barriers facing federal employees and applicants.