Staffing for Diversity, Part I: Vision and Values
Wherever you may be in your process of hiring and supporting staff at this moment, exploring your vision and values is an important starting place for thinking about diversity.
This piece originally appeared in the August 2017 edition of Compensation and Staffing News.
Interim Hiring Procedures (PDF) have been put in place for the UUA, as an employer, in order to move us toward greater racial and cultural diversity in our staffing. The recently-appointed Commission on Institutional Change will be examining these procedures and evaluating our experience with them.
As we become more deliberate about making room for people of color in our own place of employment, some of you have asked for guidance about how you might similarly work on increasing the diversity of your staff. This is a multi-faceted topic, and we'll address various pieces of it in this publication over the next few months.
While you may be tempted to jump right into the nuts and bolts of job postings, personnel policies, and the like, we suggest starting on a more philosophical level. To begin your exploration, UUA Director of Multicultural Growth and Witness Taquiena Boston recommends the book, Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, edited by Mitra Rahnema (Skinner House 2017). This book, one of two UUA 2017-2018 Common Reads, features the stories and perspectives of Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color. Learning about and honoring their experiences may give you new insights into supporting staff and congregants of color.
Additionally, Taquiena offers these reflection questions, which have been partially adapted from Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre's keynote at the 2013 Mosaic Makers Conference: Leading Vital Multicultural Congregations*:
- What are the vision and values that motivate our congregation to hire a diverse staff?
- What kind of diversity is already present in our staffing? (Examples: sex, gender expression/gender identity, ability, age, sexual identity, race, ethnicity, education)
- How might our congregational/community culture support attracting and retaining diversity in our staff leadership? How might our congregation/community need to change? What are we willing to sacrifice to achieve this goal?