The recent APS Report on diversity provided a wake-up call that Fermilab needs to improve with regard to creating an inclusive, respectful, and supportive workplace.
The report calls for Fermilab to use its leadership role in the high-energy physics community as an opportunity to become a model environment for women and minority physicists and engineers. Fermilab has accepted this challenge and has committed to taking it a step further to ensure that this inclusive and supportive culture exists for all employees and users of Fermilab.
To achieve this goal, senior management has called for the creation of a transparent and participatory process to generate understanding, input, and ideas from across the laboratory.
While identifying some important issues, the APS report was far from a comprehensive study. Therefore, the first step of this process will be to engage the full range of employee and user perspectives in a series of focus groups to understand the current state of the laboratory and the type of future that employees and users would like to see with regard to an inclusive workplace.
The focus group process will identify representative groups of employees and users from every sector of the laboratory in order to fairly represent the workforce and the user community, and to ensure balanced and unbiased input.
These focus groups will be professionally organized and facilitated by a neutral facilitator. Comprehensive records will be kept, but comments will not be attributed to individuals, in order to ensure a safe and open environment for discussion. The results of the focus groups will be shared with the laboratory community.
Focus group results will be used as the primary input to identify a range of ideas and actions to develop the desired Fermilab workplace. Senior management will then seek further input on these ideas from work groups throughout the laboratory in the development of a final plan. The final results of the process are expected to be complete by spring 2009.