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Affirmative Employment

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Affirmative Employment

Targeted Outreach and Recruitment

The NIH is committed to maintaining its stature as a premier research institution by building an inclusive workforce, fostering an environment that respects the individual and offering an opportunity for each person to develop to his or her full potential in the pursuit and support of science.

Through the Workplace Diversity Initiative and Affirmative Action programs, the OEODM assists the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices in enhancing the diversity of the NIH scientific and administrative workforce. Our commitment to equal opportunity and diversity in recruiting, hiring, and career development at the NIH will help ensure the continued output of excellent science.

Managing Diversity, Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Special Emphasis Programs

"Managing diversity is the process of creating and maintaining an environment that enables all participants to contribute to their full potential in pursuit of organizational objectives."
- R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr., D.B.A.

Many Federal workforce agencies are implementing diversity initiatives. The NIH is among them. Despite the enormous popularity of these initiatives, it has become increasingly clear that some workers may be confused by the concept of managing diversity. Employees sometimes confuse managing diversity with EEO and affirmative action programs. Some people use the three terms interchangeably.

Affirmative action programs are an outgrowth of EEO laws, rules and regulations. Affirmative action is government-initiated and mandated in certain circumstances. It is compliance-based and relies on statistical comparisons of various demographic groups. Affirmative action programs contain goals and timetables designed to bring the level of representation for minority groups and women into parity with relevant and available labor force indices. Affirmative action programs seek limited bottom line results by changing the mix of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in a particular agency.

Affirmative action programs generally cover those groups protected by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Where appropriate, and subject to legal interpretation, agencies may set affirmative employment goals to increase the numbers of women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, white males, and people with disabilities. While affirmative action programs are mandated, managing diversity initiatives are voluntary in nature.

While affirmative action programs are a reaction to underrepresentation, managing diversity initiatives are proactive. Managing diversity seeks to address issues related to human resources, internal communications, interpersonal relationships, conflict resolution, quality, productivity, and efficiency. Some of the human resource issues addressed by properly managing diversity may be indirectly related to EEO and affirmative action concerns. The main focus of managing diversity is to find productivity gains through respecting, valuing, and using the differences people bring to the workplace. The idea is to find a way to let everyone do what he or she does best in order to gain a competitive edge. While affirmative action seeks an end result, managing diversity is a long-term change process that seeks to identify and actually change the organizational culture of an agency.

In the short-term, the NIH needs both an affirmative action plan and a managing diversity strategy. However, as legal restrictions on affirmative action programs continue to tighten and agencies proceed with downsizing and reengineering activities, long-term change strategies will become essential. Regardless of the changes affirmative action may undergo, the NIH will be far ahead of the curve by implementing a Workplace Diversity Initiative early on. The sooner we all learn the differences between managing diversity, EEO and affirmative action, the more prepared we will be to meet the challenges of the new millennium.

EEO/Affirmative Action

  • Mandatory
  • Legal, social, moral justifications
  • Focuses on race, gender, ethnicity
  • Changes the mix of people
  • Perception of preference
  • Short-term and limited
  • Grounded in assimilation

Managing Diversity

  • Voluntary
  • Productivity, efficiency, and quality
  • Focuses on all elements of diversity
  • Changes the systems/operations
  • Perception of equality
  • Long-term and ongoing
  • Grounded in individuality

OEODM Serves as advisor and consultant to NIH executives, managers, supervisors, employees, applicants and other interested parties on the NIH EEO and Diversity Program as pertaining to outreach and recruitment, and Special Emphasis Programs (SEP).

Targeted Outreach and Recruitment

  • Responsible for the development and implementation of strategies aimed at improving the representation of minorities, women, and persons with disabilities at the NIH

  • Assist the agency in strengthening its workforce through increased diversity, succession planning, and talent acquisition.

  • Day-to-day recruitment activities consists of the following: monitor data on NIH's projected vacancies and anticipated vacancies based on past attrition rates; establish and maintain automated listings of resources for targeted recruitment; conduct targeted recruitment for institute/center vacancies; identify and maintain networks for referrals of vacancies by special emphasis program area; serve on NIH workgroups/committees to identify and recommend resources for targeted vacancies; maintain a log of applicants for each targeted vacancy; coordinate with human resources staff on the use of alternate appointing mechanisms; and monitor the progress of referred applicants.

Special Emphasis Programs

  • Regarding programmatic operations, the agency's major special emphasis areas are listed as follow: American Indian/Alaskan natives; Asian/Pacific Islanders; Black; Persons with Disabilities; Hispanic and Women. There is also an initiative for minority-serving institutions.

  • SEP managers develop solutions to complex issues, and identify systemic barriers to equal employment as it impacts their respective employment groups, as well as applicants.

  • SEP managers perform workforce and trend analyses to identify inequities in the representation, advancement, and treatment of diverse individuals within the agency's workforce.

  • SEP managers work with their respective advisory committees and/or affinity groups towards achieving NIH's EEO and diversity program objectives through executive stewardship.

  • SEP managers plan and coordinate NIH's special observance programs that are designed to heighten awareness, educate and exemplify diversity across the various cultures.

  • SEP managers work to establish and maintain contacts with other counterparts across the federal sector, and work towards identifying best practices for programmatic operations.

  • Partnerships are fostered between the OEODM, Institutes and Centers (IC's), and NIH's Office of Human Resources Management, in an effort to strengthen the agency's workforce through increased diversity, succession planning, and talent acquisition.

Special Emphasis Programs