Here at the County, we are constantly striving for a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects those we serve in our communities and makes all employees feel respected and welcome. Over the past year, our efforts have gained momentum. We’ve won national awards, put on workshops that bring together employees and educate them, and even heard from other businesses and organizations in the region to see how they’re promoting a work culture rich in diversity. And all of that has been captured in the latest Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report.
The County’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) program won National Association of Counties Achievement Awards the last two years, as well as the Diversity and Inclusion Award from the San Diego Business Journal.
We’ve also created a more inclusive and accessible environment for County employees and customers by determining where we need to improve upon our existing process and procedures.
“In alignment with our D&I Strategic Plan goals, we’ll continue to provide world-class public service by enhancing our cultural and linguistic competency,” said Human Resources Director Susan Brazeau. “This happens through our educational events and sharing of best practices across the County.”
The County implemented Americans with Disabilities Act training and did even more training for HR employees to make sure employee needs are met. Even the most popular wellness event of the year – the Amazing Race – expanded its DiverseAbility course!
Numerous workshops were held this past year to increase awareness of cultural diversity, including a multicultural customer service workshop and an inclusion potluck. One of the most talked about events was the “Everyone Has an Accent” workshop, where the D&I and Customer Experience initiative teams explored how people can form assumptions about others based on their accents.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and various County departments have also worked together this past year to plan and present events that focused on our cultural uniqueness but that also bring employees together – things like a Juneteenth Celebration, Philippine Independence Day Celebration and Light the Night for Pride at the CAC.
“I love that we have 10 Employee Resource Groups at the County and over 175 D&I Champions. I love that we offer eight D&I classes at the County on a variety of topics for a variety of classifications and that we teach one of these classes to all new employees at New Employee Orientation,” said Karen Harris, a member on the County’s Resource Team for Diversity and Inclusion. “I love that when we say the word ‘inclusion’ we truly mean everyone.”
At a recent leadership summit for our ERGs, diversity and inclusion was the topic of a special panel discussion. ERG members and leaders got to hear from representatives from Union Bank, Sempra Energy, Cal State San Marcos and Qualcomm to learn how their programs work, the challenges they face and what they hope to see for their organizations future.
“The main reason for the panel was to provide some inspiration and new ideas to our ERG leaders,” said Harris. “We thought it would be interesting to hear what kinds of ERGs exist at other organizations, how they align themselves with the strategic vision of their organization and some of their best practices.”
They came to share, but the County had lessons for them as well. Panelist Dawn Andrews, Director of D&I for Sempra Energy, noted how impressed she was with our own D&I Annual Report, something she hoped to create for her own team in the future.
You can read the full report online or visit our Diversity & Inclusion page for more information. If you’re looking for a way to become more involved with this initiative and promote a culture of inclusion, you can contact your department’s D&I Champion. Don’t know who that is? Contact your DHR Officer and they can help you out.