WESP renewal committee reviews multi-month process of developing recommendations, prepares to present a renewed equity plan

January 8, 2024

Since July, the Workplace Equity Strategic Plan Renewal project Steering Committee has convened monthly to identify and draft recommendations to renew the equity plan for the next four years. Over the course of a kickoff meeting and five two-day work sessions, the committee participated in issue-specific briefs, heard from staff from across the County and worked with each other to draft recommendations. 

The final work sessions took place Dec. 12, 13 and 14, during which committee members focused on reviewing and editing the recommendations, and preparing to brief the Board of County Commissioners in early 2024.

By the end of the November work sessions, the committee had collected and developed over 150 recommendations. The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) team partnered with the Department of County Human Services’ Multnomah Idea Lab to identify similar or duplicate recommendations that were then combined and edited for clarity. The recommendations were organized into themes and assigned to a staff member for further revision, with the aim of maintaining the original intention of each recommendation by reviewing notes and transcriptions of the past work session. 

Multnomah Idea Lab Director Mary Li leads steering committee members through one of the exercises designed to help the group review, prioritize and refine over 150 recommendations that had been developed since July.
This intensive process distilled the number of recommendations from over 150 to just under 80. The final set of themes — substantially informed by the original set of priority focus areas — that the recommendations were sorted into, included: Accountability, Training, Standard Practice, Policy, Retention, Data, Compensation and Infrastructure. 

The Steering Committee received the edited recommendations for review before the December work sessions. Over the course of the three days, committee members took a deep dive into the updated set, comparing recommendation to the original suggestions and providing feedback. This meticulous process aimed not only to highlight the decision-making process, but also to be fully transparent about what was included, adjusted or edited out.

The entire committee engaged in a prioritization exercise, allowing the team to categorize recommendations as high, medium or low priority and feasibility. This exercise not only built context for future implementation plans, but also offered valuable feedback for the executive committee's upcoming review.

Once the prioritization exercise was complete, the steering committee shifted its focus to plans for engaging stakeholders ahead of the plan’s implementation. That began with identifying key internal County partners and suggested outreach and engagement communication strategies for each group. 

Over the next six weeks, the ODE team will meet with the identified partners to brief them on the work the steering committee has done and what they can expect in the upcoming year as we work to implement the equity plan. The engagement and communication strategy also includes two staff forums in early February 2024 that will coincide with the release of the renewal plan. 

The Office of Diversity and Equity would like to take a moment to express gratitude to all the staff who participated in this months-long process, either as part of the steering committee or workgroup, or as a subject matter expert. Your commitment to fostering a more inclusive and just workplace is truly commendable. Your valuable contributions have played, and will continue to play, an integral role in shaping policies and initiatives that promote fairness, equality and diversity within our organization. It is through your dedication and collaborative spirit that we can strive toward a more equitable future where everyone feels valued and supported. Thank you for being catalysts for positive change and champions of a more equitable workforce.