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Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

What is EDI?

Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is about creating an even playing field for everyone. Some may think of it as a zero-sum game, meaning that there are not enough resources to go around. In reality, EDI is about examining the challenges faced by specific groups and designing environments, products and services that work better for everyone. Take the example of The Curb-Cut Effect in which people in the disability-rights movement, specifically those who use wheelchairs, advocated for cities to build curb cuts into sidewalk infrastructure. Today, curb cuts are common and benefit many groups - people using strollers, delivering goods, riding bicycles, pulling luggage, and more. This is an example of a solution that initially worked better for one group, but in reality, serves everyone better.

EDI at OIT

All OIT employees play an important role in making sure EDI practices are part of how we work together, whether they are an analyst, developer, project manager or work in any other area. This ultimately impacts how we serve all Coloradans. When it comes to technology, EDI isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s strategic. It helps us understand how to best serve all Coloradans equitably and how to provide the most engaging experiences for our workforce.

EDI work is not a one-time decision or act. Like planting a garden, you don’t just plant seeds in hopes that they will bear fruit. It requires preparation and care for the soil. You have to water, weed, check on things over time, and this is the approach OIT takes with our EDI initiatives.

EDI Tenets: The North Star for OIT’s EDI Work

  • Dignity 
  • Empathy
  • Humanity
  • Connection
  • Systemic Change
  • Courage
  • Lifelong Learning

Tip of the Month

Hey Google, Say My Name

Correctly pronouncing and spelling our colleagues' names is one of the ways we can create an inclusive work environment. Our name helps to shape our identity. Being called by the correct name is powerful and is perhaps one of the most straightforward ways to show respect toward our colleagues. It may require you to pronounce a colleague's name out loud a few times or even write down the pronunciation phonetically. For additional context, please refer to the article Say my name: The importance of name pronunciation by the University of Washington Department of Medicine.

Did you know you can now record your name and share its pronunciation with other users in your Google account settings? Here are the steps:

  1. With your Gmail account open, click on Google Account.
  2. Choose Manage your Google Account.
  3. Select Personal info.
  4. Select Name & pronunciation (in the Basic Info section) 
  5. Click on the pencil located to the far right of your name.
  6. Click Start Recording.
  7. Say your name and stop the recording when you are done.
  8. Select Save.
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What we’re doing

We’re on a learning journey at OIT and know that we have a long way to go. Here are some of the exciting things we’re working on now:

  • An annual EDI plan that centers on reducing burnout and increasing accountability, psychological safety and belonging for all employees.
  • A Wildly Important Goal (WIG) focused on employee engagement that features EDI as a core component.
  • We’re scaling up the training and coaching offered to all OIT employees and managers. We’re also setting up employee resource groups to create a sense of belonging for our employees living with marginalized social identities.
  • Group coaching is offered to managers every quarter so they can meaningfully contribute to achieving our employee engagement WIG and follow through on performance goals related to inclusive leadership.
  • We use data to objectively monitor progress, such as through EDI organizational assessments and demographic analysis of employee engagement data. 
     

EDI Action Alliance

EDI Action Alliance logo with five overlapping, colorful shapes

We have a robust group of employees who are passionate about taking steps to institutionalize EDI work at OIT. The group includes subcommittees focused on internal workplace culture and training. Among many projects, they are responsible for analyzing employee engagement data by demographics to understand how employee experiences differ, and hosting quarterly webinars on a variety of EDI topics. Check out the team charter.

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Employee Resource Groups

BIPOC Employee Resource Group logo

Promote an environment where BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) employees feel empowered, included and valued by providing resources, support and opportunities for growth and development.

Pride@OIT Employee Resource Group logo

We foster and promote an inclusive place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual OIT employees by honoring each individual’s values, beliefs, principles and lived experiences.

Veterans Employee Resource Group logo

We empower OIT's veterans to expand their personal and professional development by communicating, networking, volunteering and providing training opportunities.

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Accessibility & EDI: Two sides of the same coin

Accessibility and EDI work go hand in hand. Accessibility is a commitment to providing equitable access to services and is the responsibility of each state employee and not a single person, team or agency. In 2021, legislation (HB21-1110) was passed that strengthens protections against discrimination on the basis of disability. Among other things, it requires state agencies and local governmental entities to meet web accessibility standards and establishes OIT as the authoritative body to help agencies put those in place. Check out OIT's Guide to Accessible Web Services and Accessibility Law for Colorado State and Local Government to learn more.

What’s next?

  • While still in the early stages, we’re crafting EDI guidelines that affect the technology solutions we build at OIT and make decisions about how our technology impacts those we are serving.

Contact the EDI Team

OIT_EDI@state.co.us

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Join us in this important work!

Interested in working with us to make Colorado a better place for all?

Explore a career at OIT!