We’re Making Changes: Diversity, Inclusion, Pay Transparency and More

Over the past year, the staff and board of directors of AMM have considered ways in which we can help to advance field-wide efforts to improve diversity, equity, access and inclusion. We would like to share some of the questions we have asked ourselves, as well as the steps we have been taking to make improvements and support our members on their own journeys.

How can we support the movement toward salary equity and pay transparency?

Like many of our peers, our organization offers a searchable job board on our website. Last year, we began exploring changes to our job board policy including the potential for requiring compensation information in all listings. We launched a member study to learn more about the existing practices and policies at museums in the network, and to get a sense for whether a change in AMM’s policy would have an impact on their use of the job board or not.

99 individuals responded on behalf of their museums (19% of our total number of AMM institutional members at the time). 61% said that their institutions already have a policy requiring the inclusion of salary information in job listings or that their institutions do not have a policy but they include it anyway. Over half of the participants said that a change in our policy would not affect their use of our job board, and many also shared resources we could provide to support them if we were to proceed with a new policy.

We feel that pay transparency is one of many necessary steps toward advancing salary equity in our field and, especially considering the survey responses, one that we are willing to take.

During the 2019 AMM Annual Meeting on October 3 in Grand Rapids, we will present the new policy language for endorsement by our membership during a public vote. The proposed policy will be effective beginning November 1, 2019, and will include a requirement for numerical compensation information, such as a range (Ex: $32,000-$38,000) or a minimum offer (Ex: starting at $15.60/hour).

How do we find the individuals and institutions who are underrepresented or not yet part of our network, and make sure they have a seat at the table?

AMM needs to make changes too! We would like to improve our conference planning process, to ensure that we are including as many museums and cultural organizations from our host communities as possible. One such change has been to host a listening session early in the process, during which we can learn about a city, its museums, and what people care or are concerned about. We are also using this as an opportunity to welcome others to the table who may not be from our network or who represent organizations that do not always have an opportunity to weigh in. We hosted our first-ever conference listening session in Milwaukee in March with a range of museums represented – even a staff member from the Mayor’s office!

How do we best educate our members on these growing areas of need (cultural competency, diversity, inclusion, equity, etc.)?

After a member study in 2017 we discovered a growing need for education on diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion topics, including cultural competency. We have begun exploring ways we can work with the organizers of the Cultural Competence Learning Institute (CCLI) and our regional counterparts to present information on cultural competence, as well as introduce other programs out there focused on diversity and inclusion, to a broader museum mix.

In addition, AMM members now have access to a variety of resources at members.midwestmuseums.org, including publicly available salary data, cultural competency information, and helpful “how-to” articles. (We recommend exploring websites of national initiatives such as CCLI and iPAGE for additional programs and resources.)

Over the last two years, we have also worked to ensure that the Leadership & Organizational Development track of sessions at our annual conference includes sessions about equity, inclusion and accessibility issues. Below are a few highlights from the 2019 Joint Conference lineup:

  • Salary Equity and More: Attracting and Retaining a More Diverse Workforce
  • Museums Empowered: Feed the People!
  • Oh Baby! Looking at Museums as Leaders for Working Families: Creating Infant-At-Work Programs to Augment Federal Family Leave

We hope that our members and colleagues in the region consider all of these opportunities as they plan for and make changes at their institutions.

These are just a few steps we have taken, with more on the horizon. As always, we look forward to collecting ideas and feedback from our members along the way!