DSHS’ Economic Services Administration wins RAIN award
At an October ceremony, DSHS Economic Services Administration earned the Rainbow Alliance and Inclusion Network’s 2022 Outstanding Agency Award for creating and improving a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ state employees.
Out of seven nominees, the Economic Services Administration was one of three recipients this year. Each year, RAIN asks state employees to nominate state agencies that are leading the way in developing and implementing practices that create safe and inclusive workplaces for LGBTQ+ staff.
A few highlights from ESA’s nomination include:
In 2019, we first procured pride flags to hoist above our community services offices. Every year since then, ESA has raised pride flags over all public buildings throughout the state.”
“ESA also led the way in fighting for inclusive restroom signage before DSHS took over the project and made it a requirement.”
“In 2020, ESA began a project called ‘gender-affirming actions in HRMS and IT systems’ working to avoid dead-naming and misgendering employees in information technology and human resource systems. In 2022, that project was also elevated to the DSHS level for implementation across the enterprise.”
“[ESA] offers training on LGBTQ+ identities and specific training regarding gender x designations on forms.”
“The ESA Declaration on Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is a mandatory document for all ESA employees and our leadership team at the Administration… Sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are called out in the declaration as an identity group recognized by and protected under that declaration.”
“A key indicator of whether or not staff feels safe in their agency is if they report all of their demographic characteristics. As of June 2022, just under 3% of ESA employees report identifying as gender x or non-binary. That is the highest percentage of any administration within DSHS.”
“Several of our employees are active RAIN members and participate in subcommittees…”
“I have been in state service for over 20 years, and my past 5.5 years in ESA is where I feel the most valued and truly cared about in the entirety of my career with Washington state.”
In 2016, Governor Inslee established Directive 16–11 to create a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees and customers, establishing the Rainbow Alliance and Inclusion Network (RAIN).
RAIN created its Outstanding Agency Award to recognize state agencies (or specific programs within the agency) that have created or improved a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees.
This award specifically recognizes the positive impact of the agency’s work on its employees and is not a reflection of the services it provides to the public. The award is about effort, not perfection, and other state agencies can look to recipients of the RAIN Outstanding Agency Award as role models and resources to begin transforming their own workplaces to make them safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ employees
RAIN believes that when state agencies have a positive impact on employees, those impacts will also ultimately improve customer service.
The Rainbow Alliance Inclusion Network (RAIN) is the state employee business resource group created to lead the way in Washington state’s efforts to create a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees and customers. RAIN has over 100 active members and a 14-person Advisory Committee.