Increasing Diversity in Government Initiative

With support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Increasing Diversity in Government initiative generated new research to improve state government recruitment and hiring practices to attract early career professionals, underrepresented applicants, and community college graduates. A joint initiative of the Volcker Alliance, the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT), and state government partners, the effort leveraged behavioral science insights to increase diversity in state government. 

Mosaic of diverse faces

BIT, a leading behavioral insights consulting firm, brought to the initiative deep expertise in the application of behavioral science to policy and public service. Since its founding, BIT has trained over 10,000 public sector employees in the use of behavioral science in improving government policies and procedures. 

The initiative produced a paper, “Strategies to Improve Workforce Diversity in the Public Sector,” with practical implementation strategies for state agency recruiters and hiring managers to improve government hiring practices and policies. Research results will also be shared with government stakeholders through webinars and conference presentations.

The Increasing Diversity in Government initiative contributed new knowledge to the growing pool of research on diversity in government recruiting and behavioral science. We hope that the findings will serve to inform and inspire future research into inclusion in public sector hiring. 

Diverse job applicants in front of chalkboard

How Behavioral Science Can Help Advance Diversity and Minimize Bias in Hiring

Diverse workplaces outperform homogeneous workplaces. Many state and local government employers have dedicated diversity and inclusion programs, but progress is slow-going. By using evidence about why people act the way they do, public sector employers can design and implement policies that embed racial equity throughout the hiring process.


Read more in an article published by the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, written by Yesenia Martinez of the Volcker Alliance, and Michelle DiMartino, Michael Hallsworth, and Lila Tublin of the Behavioral Insights Team.