Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at DOLA

Diverse group of people in front of Colorado Flag

Vision 

The Department of Local Affairs embodies the ideals of equity, diversity and inclusion, recognizing that mutual respect results in a more productive workforce and just society.

Mission

The Department of Local Affairs establishes, maintains, and demonstrates equity, diversity, and inclusion as core agency values and proactively implements policies that foster these values and reflects our communities, which translates to a more positive customer experience for our diverse clientele.

Guiding Principles

The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) welcomes and values the unique contributions of all employees in our diverse workforce and in the community we serve. We expect the core principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion to be practiced by everyone without exception in our organization. DOLA will not tolerate discrimination, offensive behavior, or bullying. We stand on the foundation of ethics and the moral principle of valuing each individual.

What is Equity?

Equity is when everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from, has the opportunity to thrive. This requires eliminating barriers including overt systemic barriers, as well as covert implicit biases. Equity is the absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those differences are defined socially, economically, demographically, or geographically.

•    What is Racial Equity?
Racial equity refers to what a genuinely non-racist society would look like. In a racially equitable society, the distribution of society’s benefits and burdens would not be skewed by race. In other words, racial equity would be a reality in which a person is no more or less likely to experience society’s benefits or burdens just because of the color of their skin. This is in contrast to the current state of affairs in which a person of color is more likely to live in poverty, be imprisoned, drop-out of high school, be unemployed and experience poor health outcomes like diabetes, heart disease, depression and other potentially fatal diseases. Racial equity holds society to a higher standard. It demands that we pay attention not just to individual-level discrimination, but to overall social outcomes.
 
•    What is Gender Equity?
Gender equity refers to what genuinely non-sexist society would look like. In a gender equitable society, the distribution of society’s benefits and burdens would not be skewed by gender. In other words, gender equity would be a reality in which a person is no more or less likely to experience society's benefits or burdens just because of their gender. This in contrast with past and current paternal societal structures in politics, education, the workforce (pay and leadership roles), and society at
large. Gender equality holds society to a higher standard. It demands that we pay attention to individual-level discrimination, but to overall social outcomes.

What is Diversity?

Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to age, physical ability, ethnicity/race, gender, religion or belief, or sexual identity/orientation.

What is Inclusion? 

Inclusion is a collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment that increases the participation and contribution of all employees and stakeholders.

Values

It is our organization's core value and practice to leverage a diverse workplace by implementing and disseminating the values of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) to strengthen every Colorado community.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices: 

•    Fair treatment
•    Equal access to opportunity
•    Teamwork and collaboration
•    Focus on innovation and creativity
•    Organizational flexibility, responsiveness, and agility
•    Conflict resolution processes that are collaborative evidence of leadership’s commitment to diversity (e.g., appointing a Chief Diversity/Equality Officer)
•    Representation of diversity at all levels of the organization
•    Representation of diversity among internal and external stakeholders
•    Diversity education and training

We focus on six main areas:

1.    Age
2.    Disability
3.    Ethnicity/race
4.    Gender
5.    Religion or belief
6.    Sexual identity/orientation

Culture of Inclusion

DOLA will adopt and nurture an organizational culture where people working and engaging with us feel respected and comfortable being themselves, free from discrimination, offensive behavior, bullying, and retaliation.
 
DOLA will integrate an awareness of EDI issues into its daily operations to reduce disparate impacts on protected classes as required by state and federal law.

To achieve a culture of inclusion, DOLA will make concerted efforts to reduce key barriers, informed by data led interventions, to ensure the representation of underrepresented people and sustain the improvements in the representation of women at senior levels.

DOLA will work to eliminate any unfair, unjustified and unnecessary hierarchical divisions within the department.

DOLA is committed to the continuation of an organizational culture that is inclusive, fair, allows for speaking up, manages disagreement and conflict constructively, and is empowered, optimistic and aligned to our values.

DOLA Developing Leadership: 
Leaders exist in different roles and particularly, but not exclusively, in senior positions. They are crucial in driving progress, achieving fairness and enhancing our organizational culture, reputation and impact. Therefore, DOLA will continue to nurture and develop engagement, role models and leadership capability in equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as diversity amongst senior leaders.

The result of this effort will be more confident, capable and committed leaders, particularly at senior levels. This will include EDI Champions who are able to promote diversity as an integral part of cultural relations and demonstrate the benefits of doing so.

Benefits include reducing unconscious bias, enhancing our people management and working culture, and using the experience of our own journey and competence to position DOLA as making a notable contribution to the advancement of equity, diversity, and inclusion in Colorado, nationally, and globally.
 

Tools

•    Developing EDI activities for leaders and EDI Champions; Accredited Diversity Facilitators within divisions
•    Appointing EDI Leads for divisions
•    Identifying EDI performance or other variables that allow evaluation of our starting points and help measure progress and attainment.
•    Measuring EDI progress on a regular basis and developing accountability mechanisms
•    Providing EDI resources including core skills for leaders and managers and specific guides.

Implementation

The Executive Director has established a standing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee that will be responsible for:
•    Defining and communicating DOLA’s core values in relation to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion;
•    Developing a strategic plan to serve as a framework for action with regards to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion that includes:
•    Targets and strategies to increase workforce diversity;
•    The development of internal policies and procedures;
•    Professional development requirements and personal development opportunities, and;
•    Programmatic improvements to incorporate EDI principles into the execution of our programs and community outreach efforts
•    A mechanism to establish benchmarks, track performance indicators and measure performance outputs and outcomes towards our goals.
•    Make specific recommendations to the executive director and the human resources director with regards to professional and personal development and EDI policies and procedures.
•    Define the role and requirements for a DOLA Diversity Officer/EDI Champions.
 

Learn more about Colorado's efforts in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion overall.