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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

You Ask: “Why Did the City Start Talking About Inclusion?”

By John Nelsen, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

One of my favorite aspects of working for a full-service city like Denton is the diversity of jobs that are needed in order to provide all the different services to our community. From biochemists to electrical engineers, accountants to heavy equipment operators, network specialists to graphic designers, and everything in between. The City is made up of a variety of jobs with an even greater variety of people filling those jobs, all working together for the good of our community.

There are more than 1,700 of us working for the City now, representing many different ages, races, beliefs, genders, sexual identities, gender expressions, origins, backgrounds, and abilities. We recognize the importance of not just having a diverse workforce, but also having a workplace where every one of us feels welcomed, accepted, and that we belong to something greater than ourselves.

Why?

This matters because:

  • By more completely representing the diverse community that we serve, we can more effectively engage our residents, effectively listen to and understand their unique needs, and help ensure equal access to services and solutions for all.

  • Diverse teams are better at anticipating changes in customer needs, which can lead to more rapid service innovation.

  • Diversity and inclusion can enhance the problem-solving necessary to rethink processes and reimagine services in the face of unprecedented disruption, as we have seen this past year during the COVID-19 pandemic and February’s winter storm and outages.

Recognizing these benefits, the City has increasingly focused our efforts over the past year on Diversity & Inclusion initiatives as a more integral part of our employee and organizational success, including incorporating these topics into our leadership training and designating a full-time staff member to lead these efforts.

New City Core Value:

We’re very excited to announce the latest step in this ongoing effort: the addition of “Inclusion” to our City’s core values. For us, inclusion is: Creating a culture where all people feel a sense of belonging and support by respecting and valuing each other and our differences.

As we implement this new value, we will continue to build on our Diversity & Inclusion efforts through:

  • Increased education of employees;

  • Purposeful engagement with our community; and

  • Equal opportunities in recruitment for City jobs.

We are building appreciation, empathy, and acceptance for what makes each of us unique.

There’s so much that people bring with them to work that is outside the minimum qualifications on their job description. We have faith that everyone has something good to bring to the table when they come to work at the City of Denton, and our purpose and objective with these efforts is to create a workplace where every single one of us knows that our unique and individual contributions are welcomed and encouraged. It’s when people feel this level of support and commitment that they are motivated, dedicated, and do their best at work. We owe our community nothing less.

Source: City of Denton

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