Diversity at the CIA
Last week, the Central Intelligence Agency presented a Diversity Showcase to inform employees about the initiatives Agencywide that are enhancing minority recruitment, diversity of thought and employee advancement. In comparison to past Diversity Showcases that focused on successes, this year’s event emphasized progress and also increased awareness of the programs responsible.
Diversity is one of the most important aspects of the workforce at the CIA. It reflects the unique ways we vary as intelligence officers—our nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, age, language, culture, sexual orientation, education, values, beliefs, abilities, and disabilities. These assorted attributes provide us with a valuable resource of a variety of insights and ways of thinking. Diversity is vital to the completion of the mission of the CIA: protecting our national security interests.
The CIA is dedicated to creating and encouraging as diverse a workforce as possible to meet the needs of our mission. The Office of Diversity Plans and Programs (DPP) serves as the corporate advocate for creating an atmosphere where diversity hiring, development, and engagement are acknowledged as mission-critical.
The combination of intelligent, hardworking individuals who come from a variety of occupational and cultural backgrounds provides us with a workforce of amazing potential. Diversity at the CIA encourages intelligence officers to think outside of the box and look at a situation from a different perspective. In recognizing the strengths that each officer has to offer, CIA has nurtured a workforce capable of producing the best work possible.
To ensure the Agency is on target with its diversity efforts, DPP continuously addresses and systematically reviews key priorities for diversity. DPP oversees many initiatives that encourage further development of diversity at the CIA:
At the CIA, we have a number of different formal mentoring programs, at the office and directorate level, within affinity groups, as well as a cross-directorate group mentoring program managed by DPP.
Mentoring involves an experienced employee acting as a valuable resource for new, less experienced employees. The relationship forged between the two employees serves to enhance the knowledge and skills of the Agency’s workforce.
The Agency Diversity Council (ADC) oversees the affinity groups at the CIA. The ADC supports DPP and serves as an advisory council to CIA leaders on diversity issues impacting hiring, development, and engagement.
The CIA supports a dozen affinity groups. Membership in these groups is open to all employees. The Agency’s affinity groups plan diversity awareness training and programs that promote and sustain diversity. For a complete list of the affinity groups available at the CIA, visit the Agency Diversity Council and Affinity Groups page.
Engagement affects and heightens our employees’ rational and emotional commitment to the organization, which strengthens their ties to mission. This maximizes both their individual contributions and collective productivity.
DPP’s ultimate goal is to ensure that CIA employees are:
- performing at their maximum potential,
- being given challenging assignments with prospects for career growth and advancement, and
- creating a climate where they will be content with their management and peers.
DPP sponsors workshops to encourage awareness and give managers the tools to address engagement and retention issues.