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Creating an Inclusive Culture: The City of Lancaster’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Efforts

March 19, 2021 | Administrative Services Bureau of Human Resources Mayor's Office
By: Sharon Allen-Spann

The City of Lancaster is one of the most diverse cities of its size nationwide. It is a stated goal of the Sorace Administration to build a city workforce that reflects our city and prioritizes hiring city residents. The foundation for this work is an inclusive culture where team members feel that their contributions are valued and that they belong. Inclusive cultures have meaningful and tangible benefits including essentials like employee retention and performance: When employees feel like they belong, they report greater creative potential (74%), lower turnover intentions (72%), and higher engagement in their work (90%). Paikeday et al. (2019) Russell Reynolds & Associates & MCCA.

Inclusion is a state in which all employees feel a sense of belonging, valued for their differences, and empowered to participate and contribute freely.  

We recognize that building an inclusive culture is an on-going effort. While it might be “easy” to simply create trainings that check the box for anti-racism and anti-bias, our goal is to provide experiences that help employees develop new habits or “micro behaviors” (daily habits that can be practiced and measured). In this way, our efforts will be more effective than individual training sessions that at best, don’t change behaviors and even worse cause an increase in unwanted behaviors. 

This spring, I will present to City Council a more detailed update on our diversity, equity, and inclusion journey including baseline data around the employee experience at the City of Lancaster. We will reflect on our actions and experiences since the commitments were first shared with the public and look ahead with a plan and ongoing progress for the future of inclusion for our employees and our residents.  

I look forward to continuing the conversations around diversity, equity, and INCLUSION. 

Inclusion and fairness in the workplace . . . is not simply the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. ~Alexis Herman 

Sharon Allen-Spann is the City of Lancaster’s Leadership Development & Diversity Manager. To learn more about the City’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work, watch a recent conversation with Sharon and Mayor Sorace here. To learn more about the City of Lancaster’s commitment to equity, go to cityoflancasterpa.com/equity.