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Diversity and Inclusion at NASA: A Strategic Integrated Approach

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1 Diversity and Inclusion at NASA: A Strategic Integrated Approach
Barbara Spotts Agency Diversity Program Manager

2 Overview 1. Introduction 2. Defining Diversity and Inclusion
3. Individual and Organizational Characteristics 4. How NASA Views Diversity 5. The Value of Diversity for NASA 6. Principles of a Successful Diversity/Inclusion Approach 7. Advancing Diversity Principles to Assist Mission Success 8. Shared Diversity Roles and Responsibilities

3 Introduction The Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity (ODEO) proposes a comprehensive Agency framework for Diversity to: Enhance organizational effectiveness to meet mission goals during and beyond transition Maximize individual potential and productivity Agencywide by expanding workforce talents, skills, and opportunities

4 Defining Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity is the similarities, differences and opportunities inherent in the individual and organizational characteristics that shape our workplace. Inclusion means respecting and valuing our diversity. An inclusive organization is one that: utilizes diverse perspectives to broaden the scope of problem-solving encourages collaboration, learning from differences, flexibility, and fairness embeds these values in organizational structures, policies, practices

5 Characteristics that Shape our Viewpoints, Ideas and Experiences
Individual characteristics such as: race/ethnicity, gender, native language, marital status, parental status, age (generation), religion, sexual orientation, cultural background, gender identity, educational background, work styles, thinking/learning styles, communication styles, attitudes, personal values Organizational characteristics such as: roles and responsibilities; mission/projects; management structures; work processes; organizational cultures; group norms; geographical location

6 How NASA Views Diversity
“The principles of diversity reflect a broad range of values and practices, the overall goal of which is to make sure we take full advantage of the differing viewpoints, ideas, and backgrounds that each of us brings to the table. What is important is the suite of capabilities that each individual brings, not the package it comes in.” “To design the most effective systems, NASA must have a diversity of views, ideas and perspectives. This requires taking into account all the possible sets of training and experience that come from people of different backgrounds and life experiences.” - NASA Policy Statement on Diversity, March 20, 2006 (emphasis added)

7 The Value of Diversity for NASA
NASA needs the best technical solutions to unique and unprecedented science, technology, and space exploration issues – the Vision for Space Exploration. - We know the best solutions come from diverse viewpoints and backgrounds – we need the best and the brightest in whatever packages they come in. - Today, the U.S. workforce is more diverse and encompasses more generations in the workplace than ever before – the Nation’s best and the brightest represent hugely diverse cultural backgrounds, perspectives and life experiences.

8 The Value of Diversity for NASA
NASA, like all organizations, provides products and services. NASA’s main “service” is the U.S. space exploration program; our “customers” are the U.S. Congress, the American public, and ultimately the world community, in a rapidly changing world. - NASA needs to educate a more diverse American public on the need for a robust space exploration program and its value in advancing U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests. - We need to work as effectively as possible with a host of international partners.

9 Principles of a Successful Diversity and Inclusion Approach
Demonstrated Leadership Commitment Effective Communication Continuous Education and Awareness Shared Accountability and Responsibility for Diversity Demonstrated Commitment to Community Partnerships Effective Measurement of Diversity Efforts

10 Advancing Diversity Principles to Assist Mission Success
Demonstrated Leadership Commitment Goals Recognition that diverse people and ideas are the greatest asset an organization has, regardless of mission Demonstrated action based on this recognition in the form of inclusive policies, programs, planning, and practices Strategies (Example) Diversity Champions, i.e., highly visible, top Agency and Center leadership who: Understand why diversity issues are relevant to NASA and its mission Act as allies, advocates and full partners to make diversity a priority and a matter of policy and practice

11 Advancing Diversity Principles to Assist Mission Success
Effective Communication Goals A common language around diversity Agencywide A work environment in which employees at all levels share knowledge solicit and receive constructive feedback, and employ active listening techniques Employees are encouraged to provide input into decisions and once made decisions are communicated clearly Strategies (Example) Agencywide dissemination and sharing of information

12 Advancing Diversity Principles to Assist Mission Success
Continuous Education and Awareness Goal An organizational commitment to learning about diversity and inclusion, and other education that fosters a healthy workplace environment, through continuous programs that provides all employees with the basic skills sets and advanced training and technical assistance opportunities Strategies (Examples) Coordinate diversity and related training efforts at all Centers, including evaluation Embed diversity and inclusion in leadership and professional development, and new employee training

13 Advancing Diversity Principles to Assist Mission Success
Demonstrated Commitment to Community Partnerships Goal Active partnerships with community based organizations, schools, and local governments, expanding outreach to diverse communities, widening opportunities and enhancing access to audiences not ordinarily reached Strategies (Examples) Expanded recruitment and pipeline development opportunities Networking with diverse professional organizations and community groups to maintain strong partnerships, build capacity, and have access to a wide talent pool – beyond the traditional sources Utilizing the expertise of employee resource/affinity groups to assist in outreach efforts

14 Advancing Diversity Principles to Assist Mission Success
Shared Accountability and Responsibility for Diversity Goal Individual accountability and participation from all members of the organization, including playing an active and participatory role in diversity and inclusion efforts Strategies (Example) Include diversity and inclusion in defining organizational objectives

15 Advancing Diversity Principles to Assist Mission Success
Effective Measurement of Diversity Efforts Goal Established steps to monitor and evaluate where the organization stands in its efforts to create an inclusive work environment and measure impact of diversity efforts Strategies (Examples) Diversity Cultural Survey - analysis and appropriate action Focus Groups Internal and External Benchmarking Performance indicators to measure the program’s success

16 Shared Diversity Roles and Responsibilities
Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity Agencywide Diversity policy, strategies, top level requirements and program objectives Strategic Communications Internal/External Communication Strategy Office of Human Capital Management Fair and equitable workforce (HR) policies, planning, top level requirements Office of Education Educational pipeline diversity Office of Small Business Programs Supplier diversity Shared Outreach – All five Recruitment – OHCM, ODEO, Education Workplace culture – ODEO, OHCM Training and development – OHCM, ODEO Retention – OHCM, ODEO Pipeline – Education, ODEO, OHCM Communication- Strategic Communications

17 Expected Outcomes An institutionalized framework for diversity and inclusion that provides for consistent and coordinated Agency and Center diversity efforts Baseline data and metrics to assess the current environment and the success of future diversity efforts Strengthened partnerships among EEO, other diversity related organizations (OHCM, Education, Small Business Programs, Strategic Communications), and Mission Directorates and Centers An organizational culture and environment that embraces diversity and inclusion, making optimal use of the varied backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences of employees to create higher-performing organizations Agencywide

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