Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume XXVIII, Organization and Management of Foreign Policy
249. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Equal Employment Opportunity (Burroughs) to the Under Secretary of State for Management (Read)1
- “Second Generation” EEO Program Initiatives
I thought it would be a good idea to pass on to you and Vivian2 some of our thoughts on where we have been with the view of identifying major “Second Generation” EEO initiatives that will at least provide some “food for thought” for future EEO program direction. We have focused on thirteen major program areas. Obviously, there is some overlapping—but we feel that each of these areas must be viewed as distinct entities because of its relative importance to the overall EEO effort.
The areas covered are:
1. Executive Level Task Force (ELTF)/Habib Committee Recommendations
2. The Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (F.E.O.R.P.)
3. The Numerical Goals and Timetables Study (NGT)
4. Career Development/Upward Mobility
5. Summer Internship Program
6. The EEO Award
7. Human Awareness Training
8. EEO Training
11. Public Affairs
12. Statistical Analyses
13. EEO Complaints’ System[Page 987]
Paper Prepared in the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity3
SECOND GENERATION EEO
1. Executive Level Task Force on Affirmative Action (ELTF)/Habib Committee Reports
While substantial progress has been made towards implementation of the recommendations of the ELTF and the Habib Committee recommendations, only through close follow-up and monitoring will we be assured that all recommendations have been implemented. For example the Habib Committee recommended that the Department: 1) develop a comprehensive in-service training program for Mid-Level entrants; 2) employ an outside professional recruiting consultant to advise and train recruiters and the recruitment staff; and, 3) that the written examination be validated in terms of its freedom from cultural and sex bias. We feel that these and other recommendations are critical to the institutionalization of EEO in the Department and should be acted upon in a timely fashion.
The important point to be made is that EEO policy has been more than adequately expressed and documented. The major focus must now turn to implementation of the remaining recommendations. The implementation process will be especially critical since many of the recommendations if implemented will provide the necessary support systems for the sizeable number of minorities and women junior officers now in the service. Actions taken under these recommendations could, in a sense, be termed our “Affirmative Action Plan.” All plans must allow for periodic progress reports and continuous monitoring with a concomitant re-determination of goals, priorities, and methodologies when necessary. As we see it, failure to continue the work begun under these two efforts will merely necessitate the establishment of yet another “task force” or special committee effort in the next few years—which we feel would be a wasteful duplication of the significant efforts already made. Over the next few months, the bi-monthly EEO meetings should center around implementation of those Habib Committee recommendations which have not yet been addressed. Future task force efforts should deal with [Page 988] an analysis of the effectiveness of the changes made under the ELTF and Habib Committee recommendations.
2. The Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program—“F.E.O.R.P.”
Under “F.E.O.R.P.” Guidelines, we have analyzed the “mainstream” and most populous occupations of our Civil Service workforce, compared their proportionate compositions to those of the Civilian Labor Force, and established preliminary strategies for recruitment of underrepresented groups and occupations.
During the coming year, particular emphasis must be placed on the “institutionalization” of “F.E.O.R.P.” By this we mean that the Department’s considerable affirmative action recruitment efforts and machinery must be made to include an emphasis on the Civil as well as the Foreign Service. If for no other reason than to maximize the value received for each dollar spent, our affirmative action recruitment strategy must be sufficiently coordinated to assure that anyone sent out to recruit be charged with the responsibility for presenting information about all possible job opportunities within the Department, both Foreign and Civil Service. In the development of this strategy we should be mindful of the fact that the GS workforce is approximately 68% female and 40% black.
3. The Numerical Goals and Timetables Study
The Numerical Goals and Timetables Study, begun in April, 1978, and first presented to management officials in the fall of 1979,4 has, after much discussion and refinement, been circulated for final comment. The decision on acceptance has been held in abeyance pending word from the EEOC and the Justice Department as to the potential damage adoption of goals might cause in view of the pending class action suit.
M/EEO has held informal talks with both the Justice Department and the EEOC, and in neither case was there an expression that adoption of goals and timetables could prove damaging—in fact, the Justice Department’s lawyer implied and the EEOC specifically told us that failure to adopt goals would prove far more damaging in the long run should we be faced with what EEOC terms a “Commissioner’s Charge” for failure to comply with affirmative action regulations. We are currently awaiting an opinion from the General Counsel’s Office, EEOC, on our Numerical Goals and Timetables position paper.
M/EEO believes it is now time to adopt the Numerical Goals and Timetables Study as our 1980–81 affirmative action plan for the Foreign [Page 989] Service just as “F.E.O.R.P.” constitutes our plan for the Civil Service. Using the 1981 goals now approved by the Secretary, we should conduct the recalculations called for in the study, based on projected increases in total hiring; establish goals and timetables for the next five years, (again, subject to recalculation for 1982); and, finalize and submit our plan to the EEOC. We are already in violation of their guidelines for failure to submit a plan; the longer we delay, the less favorably any plan we submit is likely to be received and the less lenient they are likely to be—they have begun to make threatening noises. At the risk of sounding repetitious, M/EEO continues to believe that the NGT Study’s “Educationally Qualified Labor Market” is a better measure against which to gauge underrepresentation and target our recruitment goals than the higher number under the Civilian Labor Force.
Additionally, the NGT methodology, as a management device will greatly assist us in getting a better handle on attrition, promotions, tenure experiences for minorities and women, etc. All of these factors will and should become increasingly important now that there is a sizeable number of minority officers at the junior levels. Just a cursory review of the recent promotion list with only about twelve minorities (2.39%) promoted out of a total of 503 is evidence enough that we need to be constantly concerned about “Career Retention and Progression”.
4. Career Development/Upward Mobility
Current upward mobility efforts need to be integrated with other requirements (FEORP and SES/SFS development) under the umbrella of career development. An integrated career development program would enable the Department to provide systematic intake, development and advancement of personnel (both FS and GS) in an efficient, cost-effective manner, improve employee morale and fulfill affirmative action requirements.
The Civil Service Upward Mobility Program, too, is in need of a complete review. The government-wide concept of Upward Mobility should be explained in the light of our Upward Mobility efforts. The objective of the Upward Mobility Program is to provide high-potential employees in dead-end positions at the lower grades, GS–9 or below, new career opportunities not necessarily related to their experience or occupational background. Since upward mobility positions are based on the precept that employees with potential, who do not meet qualification standards, may become qualified for current or projected higher level vacancies, bridge positions must be created and target positions identified, with an individual development plan to link the two.
Upward mobility positions should not to be confused with career ladder positions—those classified in a professional series with promotions at 2-grade intervals usually beginning at the GS–5 level. In order [Page 990] to qualify for career ladder positions, the employees must simply meet the minimum qualification requirements for the occupational series. There are large numbers of employees who could benefit from upward mobility and career ladder development. Another facet of career development to be considered will be the integration of Foreign Service personnel who will be converted to the Civil Service under the new FS Act.
Bureau and individual supervisory support for Upward Mobility must improve and we should disseminate more information to supervisors on how the program operates and what they can and should be doing to re-design or restructure jobs, what flexibility they have within the system to do so, and how valuable Upward Mobility can be in terms of accomplishing their work and improving employee morale.
Additionally, the Foreign Service Mustang Program needs to be reviewed and evaluated, barriers to success in and for the program need to be determined and eliminated, and a revitalized and a renewed program must be begun. At a minimum, the existing program must be re-advertised, as few employees are aware of its existence.
5. Internships and the “Grow Your Own” Concept
This year’s Minority Summer Internship Program was an unqualified success, with thirty-two participants (the largest number ever) serving in bureaus throughout the Department. Bureau requests for M/EEO Interns were higher than ever, and at summer’s end, reports from bureaus and interns alike were positive.
Future success will depend upon an early recruitment effort, with more emphasis on hiring minorities with a demonstrated interest in and facility for foreign affairs work. Better matching of interns’ interests and qualifications to particular bureaus will also be emphasized. More coordination of this special internship program with overall Departmental internship activities is a must. Establishment of M/EEO internship slots in even more bureaus and offices, most notably in S, M, and M/DG, are goals for the future as well.
A key problem as perceived both by the interns and their supervisors was the question of assignments. Supervisors of M/EEO summer interns received little advance guidance as to the types of assignments they should be giving their interns. At the same time, interns were either told or assumed they would immediately be given substantive work and when they were not, did not believe they were making a positive contribution to the office. Interns’ expectations must be tempered in the future with a realization that some preliminary adjustment and learning processes are necessary before a totally new employee can begin work of a substantive nature. Supervisors, on the other hand, should be called together in advance of the interns’ arrival to discuss [Page 991] possible assignments and problems and to plan for full utilization of the interns with the least loss of productive time for all concerned.
The “Grow Your Own” Concept is not new, but has never been fully utilized in the Department. Orientations, briefings, tours and the like must be presented to the interns so they can become familiar with the FS Officer Corps. We should continue to encourage more of the interns to take the FS Examination. Far greater emphasis must be placed in the near future on cooperative education programs, stay-in-school programs, the use of full-year internships, the possible establishment of scholarships for Departmental interns, etc. For example, we have received a proposal—which we intend to explore—from Lincoln University calling for the recruitment and training of minority Foreign Service officers.
6. The EEO Award
Although Secretary Vance gave his approval to the creation of an annual EEO Award and the requirements for awarding it have been set forth, we have yet to adequately publicize the award’s existence or to confer it. Obviously, presenting the award will generate some publicity, but we feel even more emphasis on the award’s existence and value might generate some active competition for it.
7. Human Awareness Training
As we see it, the highest priority for 1981 is the design and implementation of a Human Awareness Training Program for the Department. Preliminary discussions with FSI’s School of Professional Studies have been fruitful, and we have had meetings with a team from M/MED about the possibility of combining general Human Awareness with their work in Alcoholism and Psychological counseling. Our first step should be to let a contract with some external firm which would, after detailed exposure to the unique nature of the Department, conduct a study of present attitudes and awareness and then design and tailor a variety of courses and modules to improve and enhance attitudes and relationships. Modules would be tailored to fit already-designed courses such as area studies and supervisory or management training, and would emphasize the similarity between the need for cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity here in the Department and among Americans as well as overseas between Americans and foreign nationals. We believe such a program, if properly designed, could be very effective in reducing bias and prejudice, and would be useful in heightening the sensitivity of supervisors found to have discriminated in complaint cases. I can think of no other EEO initiative that is more important at this juncture than a well-developed Human Awareness Program at FSI.
8. EEO Training
In cooperation with FSI, M/EEO assists in the incorporation of EEO training units in many of FSI’s ongoing programs, particularly [Page 992] those for new entrants. In addition to the EEO presentation to incoming Junior Officer classes, we address PER’s “Personnel Lab” and groups of new FSRs and GS employees, particularly those who are overseas-bound, on the Department’s EEO programs, goals, and objectives, as well as the discrimination complaints’ system. We also present the EEO portion of the “Supervisory Studies Seminar” at Harper’s Ferry, and have worked with different consultant teams under contract to FSI in the design of EEO modules for several management and personnel officer courses.
On a bi-monthly basis, the Department and USICA sponsor a one-day course entitled, “The Executive EEO Seminar,” which is popularly known as “OUCH” (an acronyn for the most important points a manager must remember in making personnel decisions—Objectivity, Uniformity, Consistency, and Having job relatedness). We assist FSI in announcing the course, scheduling participants, and as resource personnel during the session. Since the cancellation of our former course “EEO and the Departmental Employee” (cancelled due to need for an overhaul) we are keenly aware of the need for a course for non-supervisory personnel, and are working with FSI to arrange for and design such a program.
This past year’s media campaign appears to have been quite successful in generating applicants for the written examination and for the two affirmative action entry programs. BEX recently re-designed the Exam Announcement Booklet and we hope the improved format will bring results, (although preliminary word on the two-volume approach has been so negative that next year will probably see a return to a single booklet). We believe that much more could be done to bring the Department’s media campaign up to compete with the slick, Madison Avenue-style brochures and promotional material used by our competitors. A case in point is the USDA’s new-full-color brochure depicting women and minorities in USDA positions throughout the US. Better-designed and specially-tailored advertisements should annually be placed in special minority group magazines such as Nuestro, Ebony, Essence, etc.
Both for advertising purposes and as a possible source of information concerning the “Women’s Availability Factor” we have discussed so much this year, we have had meetings with the Advertising staff of Graduate Woman magazine, the publication of the American Association of University Women (A.A.U.W.). Discussions have centered around the possibility of including a fold-out questionnaire with a franked envelope attached. The A.A.U.W. has told us that their readership is very interested in foreign affairs articles, and they are so intrigued at the prospect of our questionnaire that they might consider either an editorial or a [Page 993] companion feature article about women in foreign affairs, or both, in the issue with our questionnaire, which would certainly spotlight our efforts. We originally explored this primarily to get at the attitudes of women towards overseas assignments, the dual career couple problem, etc. Whether or not such a questionnaire is successful as a method for determining the extent of the “Women’s Availability Factor” and its effect on our recruitment efforts, we believe that as an advertising vehicle, an issue devoted almost entirely to women in foreign affairs that is sent to a readership of 190,000 could have a terrific effect!
10. Recruitment Strategy
Recruitment has undoubtedly been the major priority and thrust of our efforts this past year, and the results have been positive. From the addition of staff to PER/REE’s Special and General Recruitment divisions, to the BEX “Blitz” visits to minority and women’s colleges and organizations, it is clear the drive is on. M/EEO has provided much of the impetus to REE and BEX, and we have done considerable building of relationships with minority and women’s groups through our Hispanic and Minority Affairs Coordinators and our Federal Women’s Program. In concert with or independent of REE’s efforts, we have attended national and local conferences of minority and women’s organizations, spoken before special interest groups, and assisted extensively in the Department’s recruitment efforts. For example, we have attended conferences of IMAGE, American GI Forum, LULAC, the Mexican American National Women’s Organization (MANA) and the National Council of La Raza. We now need to move toward getting other Department officials to participate in these forums, i.e., guest speakers, panelists, resource persons, etc. Recruitment is, and will continue to be, the backbone of our EEO efforts.
11. Public Affairs
This year the Department has again sponsored conferences of Black, Hispanic, and Women’s Leaders, respectively, at meetings conducted under the auspices of the Bureau of Public Affairs. While coordination between PA and M/EEO was much better this year than last, we still must find ways to enhance cooperation—especially when minorities and women are involved. More EEO involvement in the planning of the meetings, we believe, would defuse some issues at the outset since we are in a good position to brief speakers about what to expect from the audience and how to avoid controversial or potentially inflammatory, even sometimes discriminatory, statements. We could also provide more adequate material for inclusion in briefing books.
As you know, one of the Habib Committee’s recommendations was that speakers sent out by PA/PP to conduct policy discussions with public interest groups should be charged with the responsibility [Page 994] for recruitment as well. PA/PP’s speakers should be briefed on the importance of this duty, told that such duty goes with the speaking engagement, and given brochures on the Department’s career fields or affirmative action goals and hiring programs for inclusion in their packets. Our recruitment dollars could be stretched much further if we utilized speakers in this fashion, especially since they are speaking to people with a demonstrated interest in foreign affairs and a higher potential for interest in a foreign service career.
Our publicity and training-related goals for this year should be the design of up-dated EEO literature for use by FSI in its courses, for mailing to our EEO Counselors and Federal Women’s Program Coordinators overseas, and for handouts on recruitment drives, and the design and conduct of more self-help programs for women in cooperation with the Women’s Action Organization (a fairly successful activity last year). We hope particularly to focus on the GS side for these self-help programs.
12. Statistical Analyses
Statistical data-gathering is becoming more and more a key element of our operations. As we have all seen during our recent struggles with F.E.O.R.P. and NGT calculations, as well as in each of our meetings to discuss planning and goals strategies, the Department’s current data-gathering and retrieval capabilities are outmoded and inadequate. We waste literally hundreds of hours and even more dollars struggling to keep track of a relatively small number of people. Representatives of M/EEO, in cooperation with PER’s Office of Human Resources Management, have recently been previewing the wares of several firms now in keen competition to sell F.E.O.R.P. and affirmative action software packages, and we have been very impressed with what we have seen. One demonstration at the Department of Transportation showed an analysis performed on a computer terminal in the Personnel Office which took four minutes—at peakload time—that would have taken us a minimum of four days. HRM would prefer to work with our present system, which is currently being redesigned, because they feel that once redesigned, our system will enable us to perform future projections. This redesign has been ongoing since last spring and will probably not be in place before next summer. Most software companies predict their system can be on line in two months, which we interpret as four—still far ahead of our own operation.
We recommend the immediate purchase of one of these software packages which will be compatible with our own system and easily integrated into it when and if redesign is concluded, so that we will then have both the immediate and current status reporting and predicting functions readily available.[Page 995]
We hope to arrange a preview for you and representatives of the Director General’s office in the very near future. A sample of the kinds of data generated by DOT’s computer software package is attached.5
13. The EEO Complaints’ System
An ever-present problem is our inability, because of distance and personnel turnover, to adequately train our EEO Counselors and Federal Women’s Program Coordinators at post. We have recently improved upon our past system of mailings to these collateral duty personnel with the inception of our “EEO Counselor’s Newsletter,” which we hope will be of great use in alleviating this problem.
We expect in the near future to recommend improvements in the methods by which EEO Counselors are nominated. Many of our complainants are frustrated because they perceive their EEO Counselor as lacking in ability either to understand the essential elements of the complaint or lacking in the innate ability to effectively communicate the complaint to management. We believe this problem might be alleviated if M/EEO were to interview and approve the Bureau’s nominees.
Our single biggest problem for the immediate and probably long-term future is the investigations’ backlog, which is severe.
For the past four years, we have been functioning with only one full-time complaints’ investigator (Mary Stitt) and an average of fifteen part-time investigators who perform investigations as a collateral duty. Over eighteen months ago, scarce resources forced us to press Mary into duty with the Numerical Goals and Timetables Study, then, with Irene Ivone’s departure to REE, into F.E.O.R.P., affirmative action planning, and other high-priority projects which allowed her less and less time to personally investigate cases or to assign them to part-time investigators and monitor their progress. Recently she has been Acting Federal Women’s Program Manager as well—filling positions left vacant by Barbara Thomson’s retirement and Margaret Anderson’s transfer. Recently we hired an Upward Mobility EEO Assistant/Investigator trainee, which should ultimately relieve her of some pressure.
Experience has shown that the use of part-time investigators is unfortunately not the most effective or efficient method for conducting investigations. In spite of the fact that the part-time investigators and their supervisors agree at the outset that sufficient time will be allowed for work on investigations this is of course never the case. The press of busi[Page 996]ness in other bureaus almost always takes precedence over investigative duties. The people chosen to serve as investigators are selected because they are hard-working and dedicated people—and naturally give their all to their regular jobs as well as to the investigations, but this dedication, and sometimes the crisis nature of their jobs, simply prevents the investigators from allotting as much time for work on the cases as is required. This means that cases can drag on and on, and are sometimes not conducted as well as they might be if the investigator were free to devote full time to the investigation.
Add to this the increasing complexity of cases, the expansion of allowable bases for complaints to include age, handicap status, class actions, and now sexual harassment, and a change in the regulations which now allows the alleged discriminating official an opportunity to see and offer rebuttal to testimony or evidence encountered during the investigation, and it is easy to see that there are more and more cases and that investigations are taking longer and longer to complete.
In light of the foregoing, resources devoted to investigations should be closely examined with the view of providing additional resources as needed, to clear up the present backlog. Also, the possibility of contracting-out this function should also be explored. Other agencies have been doing this for some time.
When viewed in the aggregate, visible and identifiable progress has been made since 1977. While there is much left to be done, I believe that a solid framework has been established from which our successors will have more than a nucleus from which to work.