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Diversity and Inclusion Plan, Fiscal Year (FY) 2010—2015

USGS Mission and Vision

Mission: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

Vision: The USGS has become a world leader in the natural sciences because of our scientific excellence and responsiveness to society's needs.

Why Diversity Matters

In January of 2005, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report (GAO-05-90) titled, “Diversity Management: Expert-Identified Leading Practices and Agency Examples.”  According to the report, high-performance organizations typically (1) foster a work environment in which people are enabled and motivated to contribute to mission accomplishments; and (2) provide both accountability and fairness for all employees.  To accomplish these objectives, high-performance organizations are inclusive, drawing on the strengths of employees at all levels and of all backgrounds—an approach consistent with diversity management.

Leveraging diversity makes the USGS a more effective organization by helping us attract and retain a highly skilled workforce.  The USGS Diversity Statement also recognizes the importance of the “people” aspect of diversity—“All employees bring their own unique capabilities, experiences, and characteristics to their work.  And as an employee, it is your responsibility to treat coworkers, stakeholders, and customers with respect and dignity.  We must strive to create and foster a supportive and understanding environment in which each employee can realize maximum potential, regardless of differences.”  Simply put, leveraging diversity and inclusion is the right thing to do.  As the demographics of our Nation change, so will our workforce and so must our approach to diversity.

Diversity and Inclusion Plan (DaIP) Development

On August 16, 2010, the Secretary issued the “Inclusive Workplace Strategy” that states “…We [DOI] have the potential to be the most attractive Federal agency to work for—an agency in which people strive to improve their ideas, work products, and decisions by seeking out different points of view, perspectives and ideas.  We have as much to learn from one another as we do from the natural world we manage.”  In addition to the Secretary’s statement, the USGS Diversity Statement, re-issued July 2, 2010, affirms our commitment to “employing the best people to do the best job possible and recognize the importance of reflecting the diversity of our customers and our Nation.”

Understanding and recognizing diversity enables an organization to more effectively capitalize on the differing views and contributions that each employee brings to the workplace.  Such an organization provides for a richer work environment and ensures that employees work more closely with one another to achieve the mission and goals of the USGS.

The DaIP comprises three strategic goals: Retain and Recruit; Be Accountable and Responsible; and Understand, Engage, Include and Share.  Initiatives are presented along with measures to monitor and track progress.

Strategic Goal/Objective 1: Retain and Recruit

The USGS must be viewed as an employer of choice to remain a premier agency that retains and attracts the best and the brightest employees.  Steps must be taken to educate present and future employees about how achieving a diverse workforce will help reach this goal.

The USGS must develop retention programs and recruitment/outreach strategies that support our goal of being an employer of choice and one of the “Best Places to Work.”  Our goal is to increase workforce diversity at the USGS while retaining the talent we need today and in the future.  We must increase our use of both hiring flexibilities and workplace flexibilities to address issues of diversity and inclusion.

Strategic Initiatives:


Strategic Goal/Objective 2:  Be Accountable and Responsible

Leaders are responsible for acting as change agents and modeling behaviors which support the creation of a future state which maximizes the contributions and abilities of employees as they fulfill organizational goals.  Leaders are responsible for ensuring that:

Every employee is responsible for focusing on inclusion and appropriate and supportive workplace behavior.  Each employee need not embrace all the differences of our external customers and within the USGS workforce, but we must learn to acknowledge, accept, and understand that similarities and differences do exist and to treat everyone with dignity and respect.  Each employee can help create a positive work environment by identifying and working to change practices that exclude segments of our workforce and by identifying behaviors that offend, isolate, stereotype, and/or create a hostile working environment.  Every employee affects organizational outcomes, thus when each employee works on managing diversity, the USGS will move closer to an environment where all ideas and perspectives are considered to meet our mission more effectively.

Strategic Initiatives:

“Promotes workforce diversity, provides fair and equitable recognition and equal opportunity, and promptly and appropriately address allegations of harassment and discrimination.”

The USGS Director/Deputy Director will engage the Executive Leadership Team in an exercise that shares and analyzes the effectiveness of accomplishments achieved by all SES managers under this mandate.


Strategic Goal/Objective 3:Understand, Engage, Include, and Share

A critical component in the process of building and maintaining a diverse workforce and inclusive work environment is teaching supervisors, managers, and employees the value and business necessity of diversity and inclusion.  A variety of approaches, including training and delivery options, geared toward the various sectors of the workforce will be necessary to obtain the desired impact.  Assessments will be used to determine the value and success of the different training and delivery options in meeting the goals and objectives of the USGS.

Strategic Initiatives:



Most key leadership decisions are difficult to measure or cannot be measured or quantified statistically. Benefits such as discovery, innovation, and creativity do not always provide such results but are reflective of a positive work environment.  In addition, because it is anticipated that culture change may take a decade or more, the time period of measurement must be long enough to allow for true organizational learning and change; premature measures may yield erroneous results.


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