New city hiring goals aim to increase diversity

The City Council has signed off on new hiring goals for the city aimed at diversifying the city’s workforce to ensure employees reflect the demographics of the city.

The goals include having people of color make up 41 percent of new hires and women 45 percent of new employees by 2022.

City staff have also been tasked with creating a website to track progress on the hiring goals.

Currently the city’s workforce is 26 percent people of color and 29 percent women, according to a recent presentation to the City Council’s Committee of the Whole.

Overall, the city’s workforce includes 3,936 people.

Deb Krueger, a recruiting manager at the city, said increases in hiring of people of color and women in recent years have been offset by turnover.

“In analyzing workforce data and trends for the last six years, it clearly indicates that strategies need to focus on both hiring and retention, as hiring alone is not the single solution for increasing the representation of people of color and females in our workforce,” she said.

Patience Ferguson, the city’s human resources director, said it will be important for the city track data to ensure it’s making progress.

“Data is very important to be able to drive decision making regarding our enterprise workforce,” she said. “… We believe that in order to reach these very ambitious, yet aspirational goals, it’s going to take a multifaceted approach.”

The Human Resources Department has also reviewed job descriptions to eliminate artificial barriers for applicants and developed strategic plans for targeted recruitment.

The department has also rolled out additional training for hiring managers, including one on unconscious bias in the hiring process.

Ferguson said the city is also working on improving the “onboarding” process for new employees and plans to develop a mentoring program to improve retention.

The City Council also recently voted to amend the City Charter to eliminate the Rule of 3, which required the city to hire applicants that scored the highest on a hiring test. It’s been obstacle to hiring more diverse employees.

Other city programs designed to increase diversity include the Urban Scholars program for college students from diverse backgrounds, the STEP-UP summer internship program, the Public Works Service Worker Trainee program, the EMS Pathways Academy, the Community Service Officer program and IT Ready program.