Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Action Plan
DEI Action Plan
Earthjustice's comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion plan of 2016 laid out our internal and external organizational goals for the year. Included in the plan are tangible objectives and metrics for accountability.
The goals reflect the work we believe is essential to do on DEI, both inside and outside the doors of Earthjustice. Inside, we will continue our work to recruit and retain multi-culturally sophisticated employees and to build a stronger culture of inclusion. Outside our doors, we will work to diversify our clients, partners, donors and supporters to ensure that we are serving all communities impacted by environmental issues.
A ‘Report Card’ on the objectives of the 2016 Plan was completed in early 2017. The assessment reviewed the original objective, summarized what was accomplished and assigned a rating to each outcome: “Accomplished” (objective was met); “Ongoing” (substantial work was completed on the objective and additional work is required to operationalize the recommendations as institutional practice); or “Not Met” (insufficient work accomplished to meet the stated objective).
In January 2016, Earthjustice created a comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) plan that laid out our internal and external organizational goals for the calendar year. Included within the plan were tangible objectives and metrics for accountability. This document is a “report card” regarding the stated objectives of Earthjustice’s 2016 DEI Plan. More specifically, what appears in the subsequent pages is a review of the original objective, a summary of what was accomplished and a rating.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to the 61 staff members from across the organization who volunteered their time, talent and expertise. It was the hard work and amazing dedication of these 61 staff members that led to us accomplishing our objectives and goals. I would also like to express my gratitude to the overall organization who participated in multiple surveys and various activities that also directly contributed to the success of the plan.
In 2017, we will build on the accomplishments of the 2016 Plan, and establish new objectives. Earthjustice’s 2017 DEI Plan will enumerate these new objectives and accountability metrics.
- Create mandatory training on “Best practices for screening and evaluating candidates,” required of anyone serving on a hiring committee. Training will cover: a) Implicit bias and the ways to counteract it; b) Basics of employment law compliance; and c) Holistic assessment of candidates including assessment of EQ and multicultural sensitivity. Assessment: Accomplished. The group reviewed best practices on how to hire for hiring diverse and multi-culturally sensitive staff and designed a training that will include how to conduct a holistic review of the candidate, how to achieve consistency in all aspects of the hiring process, maintaining awareness of the implicit bias that can occur during the hiring process, and techniques for overcoming implicit bias. The training also highlights available tools and resources. Over the last year, prior to completion of the video being completed, Human Resources and the Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion provided “just in time” training to search committees regarding hiring best practices. The training video will be available in the first quarter of 2017.
- Acquire an understanding of current hiring practices and establish a baseline for hiring practices across the organization: a) Create guidelines for hiring committee composition; b) Create sample interview questions to ensure effective assessment of EQ and multicultural sensitivity; c) Provide recommendations for initial baseline screening practices across the organization; and d) Create neutral screening guidelines, starting with guidelines for associate attorney and clerk hiring, which involve multiple new hires each year. A longer-term objective will focus on establishing neutral screening guidelines for all positions across the organization. Assessment: Accomplished. Best practices for search committees were collected and reviewed for the purpose of offering additional resources to search committees: these new resources will include best practice guidelines for hiring committee composition; updated sample interview questions for effective evaluation of a candidate’s emotional intelligence and cultural competence; initial screening best practices; interview best practices for fulltime staff, and neutral screening criteria for Associate Attorneys. We decided to defer Clerk hiring best practices until 2017.
- Scope potential improvements in organization-wide recruitment practices. Assessment: Ongoing. The group agreed to focus on Earthjustice’s core value of excellence and actively scope and prime further potential improvements in the hiring process for a subsequent year’s objective.
- Survey what employees would like in terms of high level training; for example, a high priority skills training roadshow, including specific training by position type. Assessment: Accomplished. In order to fully understand the training needs of the organization, the group conducted a complete organization-wide survey of training needs. Based on this survey, the Senior Leadership Team recommended that each departmental manager and Human Resources allocate funds to meet training needs and requests from their departments. The Human Resources Director of Talent Management (a new position) will oversee the training and development needs of the organization as a whole. This group will remain available to help assist and support the Human Resources Director of Talent Management in assessing these training and development needs.
- Develop guidelines for mentors and mentees; implement program if desired organization-wide or provide guidance for office-based implementation. Assessment: Ongoing. The group created guidelines for a new mentorship program at Earthjustice, informed by the results of the organizationwide survey. The guidelines focus primarily on non-attorney positions based on the recent implementation of the Associate Attorney Mentorship Program. The Human Resources Director will be responsible for implementing the new mentorship program.
- Assess opportunities for growth for positions without currently defined job title progression. Assessment: Ongoing. The group developed a deeper understanding of how employees can continue to grow and develop under their existing job titles and identified specific recommendations on how that can be accomplished.
- Determine a baseline of current partners and develop a mechanism for tracking future partnerships. Assessment: Accomplished. The group created a baseline database of our current partners and clients in order to track progress towards specific goals of diversifying our partners and clients on a number of dimensions: issue area, geographic location, Earthjustice contact, etc. We also identified a platform by which we can track this progress digitally in the future.
- Work with each regional office to conduct a needs assessment. Assessment: Ongoing. We are conducting a needs assessment with every regional office to better understand the specific needs of and identify barriers to establishing diverse partnerships and clients.
- Create a training series regarding working with disproportionately impacted communities. Assessment: Ongoing. We recommended the creation of a training series focused on how to effectively establish diverse partnerships that could lead to the representation of new clients. The first training workshop occurred at Earthjustice’s All-Staff Meeting in September 2016. Future training will be provided quarterly or semi-annually.
- Work with Litigation, Policy & Legislation, Operations, Development, and Communications to identify a select number of partners to strategically commit sustained organization-wide support to. Assessment: Ongoing. The group will recommend choosing several partners to provide sustained organization-wide support. This support will be provided by our Communications, Development, and Policy & Legislation departments.
- For the upcoming 2017 Action Plan: Incorporate working with partners as a goal into departmental/office strategic/work plans.
- Determine the demographic data of the donors we want to monitor and establish a baseline of our current donor base. Assessment: Accomplished. The group established a baseline database of available demographic data on our current donors to track progress in the diversification (race, ethnicity, and age) of our donors.
- Review messaging of web, media, ads, e-mail, and funder proposals for appeal to diverse donor/funder constituency. Assessment: Ongoing. The group reviewed web, media and funder proposals for possible appeal to new constituencies of diverse donors/funders. We have forwarded a series of recommendations for possible implementation to the Vice President of Communications.
- Research marketing and other sources for ideas on how to better communicate our case for support to new audiences and who should be communicating. Assessment: Ongoing. The group decided in September 2016 that they would focus on creating a toolkit on successful fundraising that could be shared with our partners, in lieu of researching marketing techniques on how to better communicate our case for support.
- Establish skills and best practices to reach diverse donors. Assessment: Ongoing. The group recommended establishing a training series focused on effectively identifying and establishing diverse partnerships for departments responsible for donor development and outreach. We have forwarded recommendations to the Vice President of Development.
- Host one heritage celebration per month. Assessment: Accomplished. The group recommended a guest speaker program as a way to internally celebrate various heritage months and increase knowledge and recognition of different cultures among Earthjustice staff. We invited seven guest speakers in total to highlight these heritage months, including: African American History Month, National Women’s History Month, Pride, and National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
- Create a template or guide for establishing an affinity group and assess interest in additional affinity groups. Assessment: Accomplished. The group created guidelines on how additional affinity groups could be started at the organization as a means of increasing support and solidarity for individual employees from marginalized and oppressed groups. The guidelines were shared with all staff in November 2016.
- Implement a project referred to as “Building Understanding through Discussion and Sharing” (BUDS). BUDS is a project designed to help Earthjustice employees get to know each other, and the organization, better. Through a series of informal conversations guided by suggested topics with a partner from a different department, office, and/or level of seniority, staff members who wouldn’t normally have the chance to interact will have opportunities to expand their understanding of the work others do for the organization and create or deepen personal connections with others. Assessment: Accomplished. The group created a program to improve Earthjustice culture and help people learn about each other’s roles within the organization. This program, the Building Understanding through Discussion and Sharing (BUDS) Program was introduced to the organization in August 2016, with 70 people paired for conversations through the program.
- Establish list of training topics/guest speakers and prioritize list. Assess feasibility of providing trainings in a mode other than in-person. Assessment: Accomplished. The group commissioned a foundational training for the entire organization on breaking the cycle of implicit bias, racial anxiety, and stereotype threat. Managers also received specific training on how to provide effective feedback to their respective staff. We also gathered feedback—via post-training surveys—to inform and guide future training and created a library of potential training topics for future consideration.
- Determine if CLE credit is available for trainings. Assessment: Ongoing. The group explored the possibility of offering continuing legal education (CLE) credits with these training sessions whenever possible, and will continue to look for opportunities to obtain CLE credits with future training sessions.
- Sponsor a quarterly outing for each regional office location. Assessment: Ongoing. Based on a series of conversations with office managers at various regional offices, the workgroup developed a program to encourage engagement and connection at the regional office level, by providing a listing of events happening within the specific region that the office could enjoy together and fund basic expenses. We will provide recommendations on outings for respective offices in the first quarter of 2017.
- Implement a peer-to-peer recognition program in various categories with awards presented at the All-Staff Meeting. Assessment: Accomplished. The group created and implemented an annual peer recognition program to give staff the opportunity to recognize their peers from across the organization for their outstanding efforts in seven different categories. The first round of peer recognition awards were presented during the Earthjustice All-Staff Meeting in September 2016. All individual nominations were printed and delivered in December 2016.
- Host a virtual meet-and-greet between regional offices and a departmental team (e.g., Communications, Development, or Finance) or a member of the SLT. Assessment: Ongoing. The group created an “open-mic” series of conversations between Senior Leadership Team representatives and Earthjustice staff, based on an expressed interest from staff to increase engagement with the members of the SLT. These conversations will be scheduled and organized on a quarterly or semi-annual basis with the inaugural conversation to happen in 2017.
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