Diversity & Inclusion
The City and its leadership believe that every employee deserves the opportunity to come into a workplace that values them, affirms them, and celebrates their unique strengths and experiences. We also believe that to build upon our strengths as a premier workforce, we must be a workforce that represents the gender, racial, and cultural population of the residents we serve. To grow this type of culture and workforce, On September 17, 2018, The City of Frederick contracted with MaxLife, LLC to develop a D&I strategic plan and to support implementing the recommended action steps associated with the plan over a three-year period.
Why We Are Doing This
For city governments, diversity and inclusion efforts are about representing the taxpayers they serve in the best social and fiscal manner possible. Benefits to the community and The City of Frederick include:
- Reduce legal liability risks
- Reduce costs associated with lower productivity and turnover
- Improve internal and external customer satisfaction
- Gain an edge over competitors; Attract global corporations
- Expand the capability of services
- Innovate services
- Produce an environment and culture that supports employees to produce at maximum potential
- Develop a workforce better equipped to engage with and to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse community
- Move the public’s experiences and perceptions of The City and its workforce in a positive direction
- Being represented by a government that values equality, equity, and fairness
- Working for an employer that values equality, equity, and fairness
- Better representation of the population The City serves
What We Have Learned
Through the efforts in year one and year two, the City has drafted the following values as core values for The City of Frederick as an employer of choice for employee and community input:
- Differences in our employees and our community
- Respect, civility, equity, equality, and fairness
- Integrity, ethical conduct, and transparency
- An environment of opportunity built upon a range of perspectives
- Open communication and active participation with those we employ and serve
- Innovation, creativity and continuous improvement
MaxLife conducted a series of project phases to gather information and learn more about The City. These phases included conversations with elected leadership and employees, a climate survey, employee focus groups, a review of the policies and procedures handbook. After detailed analysis, a plan was developed to guide the work of the City. The plan, strategies, and recommended actions are the result of findings in each phase and are intended to be implemented during the remaining two years of the project and in some cases beyond the two years.
While diversity characteristics are very wide, our initial focus is gender, cultural, and racial diversity characteristics. It is important to remember this plan is a beginning and provides a valuable starting point for building a foundation from which leaders and employees can further develop. As we continue the D&I journey, many other characteristics of diversity will certainly be addressed.
Current City Employment Demographics:
- Women are 35.17% of our workforce and 51.8% of the City’s population
- People of color are 14.90% of our workforce and 45.85% of the population we serve.
Implementing the recommendations in the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan began in September 2019. The City desires to be an employer with a premier workforce representative of the gender, racial, and cultural population of Frederick’s residents with an environment where all individuals are treated with fairness and respect, have equal access to opportunities and resources and can contribute fully to The City of Frederick’s success. Progress will be detailed under the following four pillars: Change Management, Workforce Diversity, Inclusion, Sustainability
The Mayor and the senior leadership team brainstormed, challenged, and collaborated to build D&I centered vision, mission and value statements.
1. D&I centered vision statement
2. D&I centered mission statement
3. D&I centered value statements
Five 3-hour workshops, “Mitigating Bias in the Hiring Process” were conducted for hiring managers and others involved in the hiring process. The goal is to further ensure a more fair and unbiased hiring process.
1. Evaluations showed that 80% of the participants rated themselves 100%-85% in support of The City having a D&I strategic plan.
2. Prior to each position being advertised, job descriptions undergo thorough review for bias, job accuracy, and required skillsets for success in the position.
3. The following D&I statement introduces each job announcement:
At the City of Frederick, we value diversity and the respect, engagement, and productivity an inclusive environment produces. We seek to consistently improve internal and external customer satisfaction, innovate and expand the capability of services, and be a government that practices equality, equity, and fairness. We seek to intentionally build a more highly-skilled, diverse workforce and sustain an inclusive and respectful culture. We invite you to bring your skills, abilities, and knowledge to The City of Frederick and be a valued addition to a workforce that we know is our greatest asset.
Frederick is a progressive, richly diverse, and authentically charming city. Recognized as one of the best places to live in Maryland, Frederick is surrounded by mountain views and centrally located about 45 miles north of Washington D.C. and 45 miles west of Baltimore, MD.
4. Interview questions now undergo a review for bias and rewrite, where necessary.
5. Applications for open positions are accepted for a minimum of 30 days.
35 sexual harassment prevention conversations were held October – January. Managers and supervisors participated in 3-hour conversations and employee base participated in 2-hour conversations. The conversations largely focused on ensuring an environment of safety, mutual respect, and positive behavior where all participants are valued. To continue the conversations, all managers and supervisors were asked to hold follow-up departmental sexual harassment prevention conversations.
1. 85% of employees responded that “adhering to this training will make our workplace even more respectful.” 92% of managers and supervisors agreed.
2. Conversations continued and feedback was provided:
“…I feel that having these refresher trainings and discussions periodically, is an effective and impactful way to keep this and other topics fresh on our minds as we try to prevent and/or promote a positive culture. Ultimately it will improve teamwork, raise the morale, increase productivity and efficiency, and will enhance retention of the workforce. I have decided that I will try my best to go above and beyond to promote a positive culture/environment in 2020. That will be my life motto/theme…”
“Our Department held a tool-box safety talk for December. We determined as a group, that what one person finds amusing to them may not be amusing to someone else. We determined as a group that we may need to do self-assessment’s individually and rethink our thought process before making fun of someone in the department and realize the impact of our words effect individuals differently.”
“The consensus of our group was that any type of mocking behavior related to sexual orientation is inappropriate even if that employee “goes along with the fun”. The employee may feel pressure to “go along” in order to get along with those co-workers and may not say anything even though the mocking really bothers them. While the employee should speak up on their own to stop the joking, management needs to be proactive and speak to those involved to stop any mocking once they find out about the situation, even if the affected person has not filed a complaint.”
What’s Upcoming in Year 2?
Given the impact of COVID-19 on our community and workforce, we are evaluating our practices and efforts at this time. However, the commitment of the City to continue its work in D&I is strong. Below are a few initiatives we plan to move forward this year:
1. All employees will be participating in the “Foundational Understanding of Diversity & Inclusion.” The conversation has the following goals: Increase our understanding of diversity & inclusion, Increase awareness of our thoughts and actions, Examine the impact of biases in the workplace.
2. Plans are underway for employees to hear from the Mayor, Director of Human Resources, managers, and others as they host an employee-wide meeting to share the D&I benefits, strategies, and actions with City workforce.
3. Plans are underway for the Mayor, Aldermen, and other leaders to host a community event to share D&I benefits, strategies, and actions with residents and community members.
4. We continue to examine our hiring practices to ensure the greatest level of equality, equity, and fairness.