Health & Human Services Diversity Plan 

2000-02 H&HS 
DIVERSITY PLAN  

Mission

The mission of Lane County Health and Human Services is to promote and protect the health and well-being of individuals, families, and our communities.

Policy Statement

In the introduction to the Diversity Policy (LM 2.390), the Lane Manual states:

Diversity is a key to the future success of Lane County. We are charged with providing effective government services in an increasingly competitive and diverse environment. If we are to succeed, each of us must embrace the value of diversity as being critical to the achievement of our mission. The more successfully we are able to conduct our business in a diverse community, the more diverse our presence must be in that community.

Diversity transcends race and gender, affirmative action and Equal Employment Opportunity. It means respecting and valuing gender, language, race, and socio-economic status, as well as respecting each individual’s right to privacy in areas such as religious faith, political beliefs, and sexual orientation. In order to collaborate successfully with the diverse communities we serve, the County must be cognizant and respectful of our differences both in the community and the worksite. Most importantly, all in the County must rethink our approach to diversity. No longer are such issues just matters of social policy or historical reciprocity. Diversity, and the respect and understanding of the integrity and worth of all cultures, peoples, and lifestyles is today and will continue to be simply good business.

The Health & Human Services Department is committed to operationalizing these principles through its daily work with the community. The department’s mission is "to promote and protect the health and well-being of individuals, families, and our communities." In order to most effectively do this work, the department adopted the following value statement: "We treat all people with dignity and respect. We demonstrate through our actions and understanding an appreciation for diversity and difference."

The department works to demonstrate this commitment each day through its function as a service provider, a policy developer, a service planner and funder, and an employer.

Background

In October 1995 the Lane County Board of Commissioners adopted the Diversity Implementation Plan, developed by a task force of both county management and union employees and other community members. This plan includes implementation for a wide variety of action initiatives developed by the County’s Diversity Task Force in 1994. They organized their implementation action proposals in the areas of 1) assessment, 2) awareness and training, 3) access, 4) affirmative action, and 5) accountability. The Implementation Plan includes direction for each county department, as well as central administrative functions. One requirement is for each department to appoint a workforce diversity officer, and to develop a diversity plan.

Health & Human Services had included diversity as a department priority prior to action by the Board of Commissioners. The development of a formal department plan is an opportunity to document the continuous improvement efforts of H&HS, and to evaluate on a specific and regular basis our progress toward department goals. To build on this foundation, in the summer of 2000, the department director and management team created the H&HS Diversity Committee, including membership from all of the department’s programs. This committee is charged with recommending a department diversity plan to the management team, and to regularly monitor the department’s progress toward diversity goals.

Key Issues for 2000-02

Health & Human Services includes a mix of direct service programs, planning efforts, and development of a subcontracted service delivery system. Each of these areas of responsibility has a significant direct or indirect impact on individuals and organizations throughout Lane County. Based on progress made to date toward improving the climate for diversity within H&HS, the diversity committee and department management team identified issues within all four of the county diversity goals for work within the department. However, given limited time and resources, out of this complete list, a prioritized work plan for 2000-02 was developed and is attached at the end of this document.

Goal 1: County as Service Provider

  • Language capabilities for telephone and written materials
  • Service delivery competence for bilingual/bicultural consumers
  • Functional TTY machines
  • Ready access to interpreters
  • Specific training in program areas that teaches culturally competent service delivery (includes issues related to disability)
  • Outreach/input assessment and communication process with communities we are not currently serving
  • Staff understanding the importance of using available interpreters
  • Ensure all programs notify the community of the ability to provide interpretation or other accommodations for services and public meetings
  • Identify at least one Spanish-speaking person in each program site
  • Provide incentives for staff to take Spanish and other language classes
  • Ask employees what they need to do a better job serving diverse communities
  • Suggestion box for clients and consumers to provide feedback on services, including accessibility, harassment, and other issues

Goal 2: County As Funder

  • Recommend that subcontractors have a way to involve consumers in policy development
  • Assess what portion of contracted services are provided for diverse communities; use of minority-owned businesses
  • Work with subcontractors to assess ways they could improve the involvement of and service delivery to diverse communities, including any barriers they experience in effectively providing services.

Goal 3: County As Employer

  • New employee orientation section on diversity and/or the diversity implementation plan
  • New employees participate in an H&HS diversity training
  • Current employees participate in required diversity training, with ongoing refreshers
  • Improve recruitment of bilingual and bicultural staff. This includes asking and scoring questions regarding diversity (supplemental and interview), advertisement/outreach, listing bilingual skills as preferred/required (assessed against the service demands), and gathering information about why people are not selected. This could also include an examination of salary incentives;
  • Determine positions where bilingual skills are required
  • Improve retention for bilingual/bicultural staff. This could include a mentoring program, a retention assessment (do people stay), affinity groups, an assessment of what we do now, confidential exit interviews/questionnaires with employees who leave, an assessment of current employees who haven’t left regarding their satisfaction, monitoring changes in the EEO numbers, and work with job ladders within classifications
  • Diversity at all levels of staffing
  • Regular reports to the diversity committee of abstracts of any harassment complaints filed

Goal 4: County Boards and Commissions

  • List all H&HS boards and committees with their membership relative to diversity as well as the committee selection process
  • Compare the results of this list with the Lane County community data and develop recommendations based on any identified gaps

Staff Responsibilities

In addition to the responsibilities for the specific strategies identified for 2000-01, every member of the Health & Human Services Department has responsibility for contributing toward meeting the department and Lane County’s diversity goals. The responsibilities listed below were identified in the Lane County Diversity Implementation Plan adopted in October 1995.

Department Director

  • Be responsible and accountable for the execution, effectiveness, and results of the work force diversity program within their respective departments.
  • Appoint a department member to serve as the department work force diversity officer.
  • Establish and monitor his/her department's work force diversity program goals and objectives in accordance with the County's work force diversity program.
  • Make good faith efforts to recruit minority group members, females, and people with disabilities in proportion to availability in the relevant, qualified work force.
  • Maintain an environment that is consistent with the County's anti-harassment policy.
  • Assist in providing career counseling and guidance for minority employees, female employees, and employees with disabilities where under-utilization exists and encourage them to prepare for jobs which afford greater opportunities for advancement.
  • Ensure that work force diversity, affirmative action, and equal opportunity principles are carried out in the selection, training, promotion, performance evaluation, work assignments, classification, assignment of overtime and additional duties, and all other terms and conditions of employment.
  • Assist in the identification of work force under-utilization within the Director's department.
  • Work with the department work force diversity officer and Human Resources Department to correct under-utilization and/or adverse impact situations reflected by employment patterns or practices within the director's department.
  • Assure that each program manager and supervisor within the department is knowledgeable, responsible and accountable for meeting the department's goals.
  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the department's program toward the achievement of good-faith results.
  • Conduct annual evaluations of training programs, use of contracts, hiring and promotional patterns, and review employee transfer, termination, and promotional patterns to assure minorities, women and people with disabilities are given good-faith consideration for all available opportunities.
  • Take action on discrimination complaints and correct alleged unlawful practices.
  • Ensure compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and County rules and regulations.
  • Establish a positive climate for the program to achieve success within their departments.

Mid-Managers and First Line Supervisors

  • Ensure that equal opportunity and fair employment practices are carried out in the selection, training, promotion, performance, evaluation, work assignments, classification, compensation, assignment of overtime and additional duties and all other terms and conditions of employment.
  • Know the purpose, goals, and objectives of this plan.
  • Correct situations and acts in the work environment that are contrary to the objectives of this plan.
  • Ensure that equal opportunity policies are properly displayed within the work place.
  • Understand that a key consideration of the manager's and supervisor's performance evaluation will be his/her effectiveness in achieving work force diversity objectives.
  • Maintain an environment free of harassment, intimidation, insults or ridicule based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age or disability.
  • Identify equal employment opportunity problem areas and consult with the work force diversity officer to implement programs to correct them.
  • Take action to prevent harassment of employees placed through affirmative efforts.
  • Ensure that a copy of the Work Force Diversity Plan is available for employees to review.

Department Workforce Diversity Officer

  • Assist the Department Director to inform employees within the department and its divisions about affirmative action policy and procedures through staff meetings, employee orientation programs, and other means.
  • Advise the department director with respect to work force diversity programs, procedures, regulations, and complaints.
  • Evaluate annually the sufficiency of the total department's program for equal opportunity and report thereon to the Department Head.

Employees

  • Become familiar with the work force diversity program.
  • Be cognizant of the goals and objectives established by this plan.
  • Act in accordance with the precepts of non-discrimination, and equal and fair employment practices.
  • Demonstrate sensitivity and respect to fellow employees and the public around cultural diversity issues.
  • Assist with identifying work force diversity and AA/EEO problems, concerns, and needs
  • As necessary or requested, assist in the investigation of, or resolution to, discrimination / harassment complaints.

Monitoring Progress

The H&HS plan is organized according to the four diversity goals for Lane County, and includes responsibilities in various parts of the department. This document is intended to help build and maintain momentum toward continually maximizing the contribution of every H&HS employee, and providing the best possible services to the Lane County community. An integral part of this plan is the continuation of the new H&HS Diversity Committee. This committee includes representatives from every H&HS program, as well as the department workforce diversity officer. The committee will meet at least quarterly to review the plan and progress toward priority objectives. The committee will report to the director and to the department management team. Progress on each of the priority strategies for 2000-02 will be reported to the committee. Additionally, the department will work to gather baseline data on key indicators, and will track changes in these indicators, including the EEO data for the department. The committee will also find opportunities to report progress to all H&HS employees, and to solicit and integrate their feedback into the continuing process to enhance diversity.

Harassment Complaints

The county has recently revised the section in the Administrative Procedures Manual for employees wishing to filing complaints of harassment. This policy and procedure is located in the APM Chapter 3, Section 53. Employees may initiate the complaint process by discussing the matter with their immediate supervisor, manager, Department Director, or the Human Resources Manager. Consumers and clients who have complaints about services provided by H&HS are encouraged to work with the specific program grievance procedure, or to contact the Director of H&HS directly. The diversity committee will review situation abstracts of complaints during their regular meetings.

 

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

SUMMARY OF 2000-01 STRATEGIES TO EHANCE DIVERSITY

Goal

Planned Action

Responsibility

Outcome/Purpose

Target Date

  1. To ensure that all county services, programs, and activities are provided to its diverse communities in ways that are sensitive to and responsive to cultural differences, including accessibility for persons with disabilities.
  1. Ability for every program to communicate with diverse communities (language capabilities for telephone and written materials; functional TTY machines; ready access to interpreters; incentives for employees to take language classes; identification of at least one Spanish-speaking person at each program site, and an examination of need at satellite sites)

Program managers to implement; H&HS Administration to monitor progress

To improve services to clients: to ensure at a minimum that all programs are able to communicate with potential clients in the community; to provide a base upon which to build cultural competence in programs.

 

 

 

Complete assessment of status in each program by January 31, 2001; complete compliance by September 30, 2001.

  • Assessment Process (survey employees about service needs; begin input conversations with diverse communities about service needs)

    Diversity Committee to design process, management team to implement

To improve services to clients: to understand the variety of opportunities to improve our services relative to diversity; to gather information for future planning

 

Process designed by March 30, 2001; completed by June 30, 2002.

  • Establish at each program site a suggestion box for clients and consumers to provide feedback on services, including accessibility, harassment, and other issues.

All program managers with support/materials through administration

To improve services to clients, to ensure a user-friendly mechanism for clients to provide feedback about services.

April 2001

         
  1. To ensure that all County-funded services are provided, and funding decisions are made, in a manner that recognizes, addresses, and is reflective of the cultural diversity of the communities served.

Work with subcontractors to assess ways they could improve the involvement of and service delivery to diverse communities, including any barriers they experience in effectively providing services.

 

 

 

 

Lead: Debbie Heeszel, PSCs

Improve services to clients in subcontracted agencies; provide information to improve planning for future work with contractors

June 30, 2001

         
  • Demonstrate a commitment to workplace diversity through implementation of affirmative action plans and development of cultural sensitivity and cultural competency among other employees.

A) Ensure that all H&HS permanent staff participate in a 4-hour county diversity training.

Lead: Program managers

Improve effectiveness and efficiency, improve working conditions for staff, and decrease instances of complaints of harassment and discrimination.

Initial training by December 2000, ongoing training through December 2002.

B) Include questions related to diversity on all supplemental questionnaires and interviews for new employees

Supervisors and managers

Improve effectiveness and efficiency of staff, improve recruitment and selection of diverse applicants for employment

Ongoing

C) Work with HR to assess current efforts at recruitment of diverse applicants (who applies, who gets interviewed, who gets selected, who is retained)

Diversity committee and management team

Improve effectiveness and efficiency of staff, improve recruitment and selection of diverse applicants for employment

April 2001

D) Analyze changes in H&HS EEO numbers every 6 months

Karen Gaffney and diversity committee

Monitor changes in recruitment and retention of staff

Semi-annually

E) Develop a process to assess employee experience regarding their experiences in H&HS before employees are ready to leave

Diversity committee

Improve effectiveness and efficiency, improve working conditions for staff, and decrease instances of complaints of harassment and discrimination, improve retention of diverse staff.

Process designed by July 2001; completed by January 2002.

F) Diversity Committee to review abstracts of any harassment complaints

Karen Gaffney to compile; Diversity Committee

Monitor indicator for harassment, identify opportunities for improvement

Ongoing

         
  • Ensure that all county boards, commissions, and committees are reflective of the diversity of the Lane County population.

List all H&HS boards and committees with their membership relative to diversity as well as the committee selection process



H&HS boards and commissions, Karen Gaffney

To improve the diversity of membership in H&HS boards and committees, to gather baseline data about current committee membership

September 2001

Compare the results of this list with the Lane County community data and develop recommendations based on any identified gaps

 

To improve the diversity of membership in H&HS boards and committees, to encourage a variety of opinions to be represented in the discussions.

January 2002