How Milwaukee County is getting DEI data right
After declaring racism a public health crisis, Milwaukee County turned to Qualtrics® to support racial equity training evaluations, community partner capacity assessments, and engagement with vulnerable communities.
In 2019, Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County became one of the first governments in the United States to declare racism a public health crisis.
Before the resolution could be adopted, however, representatives from the county’s Office of African-American Affairs wanted to implement a racial equity training program to ensure all county workers understood the importance of the initiative and the motivation behind it.
With such high stakes riding on buy-in from leadership and the effectiveness of training, the team turned to us for secure and accurate feedback.
Why is racism a public health crisis?
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, racism negatively affects the mental and physical health of millions of people, preventing them from attaining their highest level of health, and consequently, affecting the health of our nation.
Laying the foundation
Step one was a basic evaluation to gauge sentiment and needs among county departments and leadership. Although the first survey was built outside of Qualtrics, integration into the platform was seamless and facilitated the foundation of the program.
“I absolutely loved Qualtrics’ ease of use.”
- Jennifer Harris, Milwaukee County
“It was really instrumental in helping us decide what leadership was looking for and what leadership needed, as well as the things that they were missing, so we could devise our training plans from there,” says Jennifer Harris, Research and Program Manager for the Milwaukee County Office of African-American Affairs.
Ease of use
For Jennifer, the process was surprisingly simple. “Myself and our data analysts at the time, we just simply uploaded the surveys, had discussions, and decided what data was relevant to paint the picture for Milwaukee County leadership to consume.”
Capturing a holistic view
Jennifer’s team used guidance from the initial survey to roll out a leadership-first training program. Afterward, the XM Platform™ helped them collect valuable feedback and analyze it within the context of the broader mission.
“We just couldn't have one side tell the story,” says Jennifer. “We had to have a qualitative aspect of what's truly going on in the county and what our leadership felt, and we could correlate it with turnover; we could correlate it with onboarding experiences.
“This was key in us moving forward and devoting our training resources in the right places.”
Since the declaration, the county has been hard at work on several social capital initiatives, including the creation of a Racial Equity Budget Toolkit to ensure all fiscal decisions incorporate an equity framework. This was used to make the first update to the county’s strategic plan in 20 years.
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