President Biden has signed an Executive Order that aims to expand diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the Federal workforce. This Executive Order is broad and seeks to drive changes across many areas of the Federal Government, with the ultimate goal of removing barriers that have hindered the recruitment, advancement and retention of diverse employees. Specifically, the Executive Order does the following:
1. Establishes a government-wide initiative to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in all parts of the Federal workforce.
2. Charges all agencies with assessing the current state of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility within their workforces, and developing strategic plans to eliminate any barriers to success faced by underserved employees.
3. Directs agencies to seek opportunities to establish or elevate Chief Diversity Officers within their organizations.
4. Expands diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility training throughout the Federal workforce.
5. Addresses workplace harassment, including sexual harassment.
6. Reduces the Federal government’s reliance on unpaid internships, which can create barriers for low-income students and first-generation professionals.
7. Advances pay equity to ensure that all public servants are fairly compensated for their work and their talents.
8. Advances equity in the workplace for individuals with disabilities.
9. Advances equity in the workplace for LGBTQ+ public servants.
10. Builds a more diverse pipeline into public service through new recruitment partnerships.
11. Expands Federal employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals.
12. Advances equity in professional development.
13. Improves the collection of demographic data about the Federal workforce.
The Biden-Harris administration continues to demonstrate its commitment to equity and equality, and this Executive Order is another example of the many ways that the policies and practices are being amended to achieve the goal of a more diverse federal government, whose employees reflect the population that they serve. It will be interesting to see how federal agencies react to this new Executive Order and whether the intended changes flow from these efforts.