Diversity & Inclusion FAQs
Q. How does diversity and inclusion fit with Argonne’s values?
A. Argonne values excellence in science and engineering, and it values the contributions that individuals make. The lab strongly encourages collaboration for the simple reason that scientific innovation is more likely to occur when individuals with diverse viewpoints, approaches, methodologies and backgrounds work together to solve a problem. In this, our collective diversity and an inclusive culture add value to scientific enterprise.
Q. Why is Argonne committed to diversity and inclusion?
A. Science is changing, and with it, the available workforce. As Argonne strives for continued scientific excellence, the lab must evolve, as well, in order to maintain its competitive advantage by attracting, hiring, developing and retaining the best available talent.
Today’s available talent pool is made up of a diverse population — albeit the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career talent pool is not as diverse as the general population, a national issue that is receiving growing attention. Argonne continues to search broadly, to attract talent representative of the wide and diverse spectrum available in the STEM talent pool, to ensure that we’re hiring the best people for jobs.
Q. What is Argonne doing to support the talent it currently has at the laboratory?
A. In order to retain talent, Argonne fosters an inclusive culture that values the myriad perspectives that a diverse set of individuals bring to the table. The lab also maintains policies and practices that encourage a satisfying work-life balance for its employees, including policies that support working parents, benefits for both same-sex and opposite-sex civil union partners, and dual-career job search assistance, among others.
Argonne is committed to further developing the talent currently at the lab through mentoring and leadership development programs. Mentoring is available to Argonne employees at all career levels and leadership development courses are available to all employees, including current and future leaders, who seek professional development opportunities.
Q. What is Argonne doing to further support a diverse and inclusive workplace?
A. Just as the lab strives for innovation in its scientific endeavors, Argonne aims to be forward thinking in its search and hiring practices. To support this level of excellence, Argonne is reviewing and strengthening its hiring processes. The lab has provided hiring managers with toolkits to aid in broad talent searches and hiring, and all managers and search committee members who are hiring for open exempt Regular status jobs are also required to undergo search briefings. Talent acquisition specialists are available to assist in talent searches and hiring, and to answer hiring managers’ questions.
To strengthen our inclusive culture, Argonne encourages mentoring at all career levels. Advanced stage career mentors, as well as peer mentors, can have a very real and positive impact on mentees, helping people to flourish professionally.
Argonne clubs also support an inclusive workplace by providing people with opportunities to connect with one another in fun, informal settings. Social and cultural activities enable people to learn from one another and connect with people outside of their daily work groups. This, in itself, may lead to opportunities and collaborations that benefit both individuals and the laboratory.
Q. Why is there a focus on women and under-represented minorities in Argonne’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative?
A. In order for the lab to reflect the full diversity of the available STEM career talent pool, there is an opportunity to widen our search and hiring practices, examine our promotion selection processes, focus on mentoring and developing all of the lab’s current talent, and to educate hiring managers about unconscious biases so these perceptions can be identified and countered.
The lab is also building partnerships with universities and professional organizations that we haven’t reached out to before, helping to illuminate previously untapped candidate pools. Argonne is taking a proactive approach, moving away from outdated search models that only tap the shoulders of people we already know.
Q. Why is mentoring important to individuals and the lab?
A. Argonne is committed to helping all individuals reach their potential. Developing our existing talent is part of the lab’s plan for a successful future. By building a greater sense of community, we enable people to share knowledge and develop in ways that are tailored to their evolving individualized needs, and in turn, our institutional knowledge continues to grow.
Mentoring resources are available online. Employees at all career levels are encouraged to contribute towards our mentoring culture, as mentors and/or as mentees.
Q. What does Argonne offer for professional/leadership development?
A. Argonne invests in its employees by offering professional development courses. These courses are available to all Argonne employees and are recommended for individuals who are new to leadership roles or for those who wish to grow into leadership roles.
Argonne also offers the Strategic Laboratory Leadership Program, sponsored by UChicago Argonne, LLC, in which future leaders are developed. Each year, the Laboratory Director selects 15 employees to participate in the program along with staff from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Jefferson Laboratory and The University of Chicago. The highly rated UChicago Booth School of Business Executive Education Office developed this non-degree executive education leadership program with input from both Argonne and Fermilab.
Argonne’s Women in Science and Technology (WIST) organization also hosts a series of professional development seminars including topics such as negotiation skills, communication skills and grant writing. WIST’s professional enhancement seminars also include work-life balance, stress management and innovative solutions to career and gender issues.