Leveraging icomplaints Data to Manage Your EEO Program
MicroPact 462 Conference – Live Blogging
Good morning! Today we’re coming to you live from MicroPact’s 10th Annual 462 Conference: The Changing Landscape of EEO in the Federal Workplace. We’ll be live blogging today’s sessions so be sure to check back often for updates and info on how things are going at 462.
Our first session, Leveraging icomplaints Data to Manage Your EEO Program was led by Arlene Austin, Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Austin, who’s been with CMS for 7 years demonstrated how to use icomplaints data to attain “buy-in” from senior leadership to develop a model EEO program.
First and foremost, Austin stressed that it’s important to not only have a vision of where you want the EEO program to go but to understand that the program doesn’t belong to the EEO office, but instead to the agency and more specifically, the agency administrator. At CMS, where the administrator is a political appointee with the average tenure of a year and a half, this means that every 18 months or so Austin’s priority shifts to making that administrator understand that this program belongs to him or her.
As such, one of the key tenets Austin discussed right off the bat is how to get senior leadership to ACT: Acknowledge their ownership of the EEO program, Commit to providing the necessary resources for the EEO program, and Take only proven steps to develop a proactive EEO program.
When planning a meeting with an administrator, Austin focuses on how to leverage icomplaints data to get the buy-in and commitment necessary to run a viable and proactive EEO program. In Austin’s presentation, LEVERAGE stands for: Leadership, Education, Visibility, Efficiency, Responsiveness, Accountability, Goals and Evidence.
For the sake of time and space, we’ll briefly highlight what Austin means when she says LEVERAGE.
Leadership: As we’ve already discussed, getting the leadership to understand that the EEO program belongs to them and taking ownership is always the first step.
Education: Getting buy-in from employees is just as important, and maybe even more difficult, than getting buy-in from leadership. Training should not only address existing challenges but should empower individuals to take ownership.
Visibility: This is where Austin starts to delve into how to use icomplaints data to really make your point. Preparing a matrix that showcases success in resolving areas of concern can be incredibly effective.
Efficiency: Data pulled from icomplaints and used in the matrix can be analyzed to ensure that the agency has a timely and effective EEO complaint process.
Responsiveness: Ensuring management is prompt and effective in addressing EEO concerns. Senior Leadership and managers need to be very familiar with Management Directive 715.
Accountability: Again, it’s important to stress that running a viable and proactive EEO program doesn’t just fall on the shoulders of the EEO office. Austin stresses making managers part of the process of creating a model EEO Program.
Goals: Not only is it necessary to have a vision for the EEO program but it’s necessary to establish attainable goals and timelines that will ensure continued improvement. Goals should be measurable, realistic and accomplish the mission of the program.
Evidence: Lastly, Austin stresses using icomplaints data to provide senior leadership with visible and tangible improvement of the EEO program.
Austin points to a large chart that she displays in her office that shows the inventory of EEO claims from 2011 as a way to demonstrate the outcome and cost of EEO claims within the agency. Using icomplaints, Austin is able to see when the agency has the best chance to resolve a case, what the majority of claims are for and the total cost of EEO claims for the fiscal year. Furthermore, by analyzing the data provided by icomplaints, agencies can assess the best way to move forward and handle EEO claims in a way that is most beneficial to both the employee and the agency.
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