I recently noticed that the City had posted several job openings in the building and planning department. These jobs have a very low turnover rate. So at the 18 March Regular City Council Meeting, I asked the City Manager what steps the City was taking wrt diversity in hiring. I wanted to make sure I got a detailed response so I asked for an answer off-line.
Hi Michael, Following up on my question last night. https://desmoineswa.applicantpro.com/jobs/ I'd like to know what (if any) special efforts do we make to recruit people of colour for open positions? Making progress on this is an issue that comes up routinely from residents--especially giving the relatively low turnover rate for municipal employees. Eg. I know that almost every profession has an organisation like this: https://www.nsbe.org/Home.aspx and that many universities have recruiting nights for POC. Do we conduct outreach to these types of organisations (or others) to insure that we are attracting qualified applicants for Des Moines? If there is more that we could be doing I'd like to get this brought before the Council so that we can discuss authorising research and any necessary monies. TIA, ---JC
And on 23 March I received the following reply from our HR director via the City Manager:
Thank you for this question! Human Resources has been working diligently on ensuring our recruitment practices are inclusive and geared towards attracting diverse applicants that match the skillset for our positions. Though you mention specifically applicants “of colour”, we define employee diversity at the City as having a workforce representative of our community that is made up of people of all genders, races, sexual orientation, age, religion, language, education, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds and abilities. Part of our approach to increasing diversity and inclusion at the City has been in the implementation of inclusive recruitment strategies such as: • Recruitment training for hiring authorities and staff, which includes a section pertaining to “Combatting Bias” within the interview and screening process. o Developed a comprehensive evaluation form to ensure screening is based off knowledge, skills and abilities of the position. o Working with hiring authorities to develop structured interview questions to ensure a consistent and fair interview experience. • Intentionally developing inclusive language in our job postings and job descriptions to ensure there are no barriers to qualified applicants from applying. • Encouraging the use of diverse interview panels to avoid shared bias. • When possible, using various advertising platforms to attract a diverse applicant pool. This is not an all-encompassing list but it highlights some of the steps we are taking to ensure our recruitment processes are structured to give all applicants an equal opportunity. Additionally, we have other initiatives we are hoping to introduce in 2021 to include an all staff training on implicit bias, a refresh on our job descriptions to ensure qualifications are appropriately measured and continued outreach to identify sourcing for diverse candidates as you mentioned at educational institutions with diverse student bodies at universities, trade schools and community colleges. We are striving to shape our policies, programs and practices, so that they drive meaningful change and have lasting impacts on building a diverse culture at the City. We appreciate your interest and feedback regarding strategies that will better reflect the community we serve.