Equitable Hiring and Retention

Equitable hiring and retention, as well as related efforts to diversify staff, are essential to an anti-racist work environment. In the past few years, individual departments within the Tenement Museum have taken crucial steps towards equitable hiring. However, these practices had not yet been adopted across the institution. Prior to the pandemic, the IDEA Council was working on a plan to begin this work Museum-wide, and the anti-racism statement put forward by the Museum renewed these efforts. Of the Museum staff who identified as BIPOC, about half were laid off this spring and summer when the Museum was forced to close due to the pandemic. This was a devastating loss, not only in the expertise and experience that staff brought to the institution, but also to many of the voices fighting for and building on these initiatives. Going forward, this working group will focus on the work of equitable hiring and retention in order to rebuild and strengthen our staff diversity and overall working environment for all employees – union and non-union, full-time and part-time.

Demographics of current staff, based on single selection categories in EEO-1 form completed upon hiring:

    • Asian: 7.14%
    • Black: 3.57%
    • Hispanic or Latino: 30.36%
    • Two or More Races: 1.79%
    • White: 57.14%


Our long-term goals are to increase staff diversity consistently over time, and strengthen practices that support employee retention focusing on transparency, performance reviews/training, benefits, community building, and recognition.

  • Continued development of an institutional equitable hiring framework, which would include anti-bias training for hiring managers as well as developing a toolkit that would provide manager resources for employee retention.
  • Convened meetings with hiring managers to discuss current hiring practices and get input for developing institutional equitable hiring practices 
  • Revising existing performance review protocol  

After spending much of the first three months addressing the Museum’s anti-racism commitments goal setting and working to establish sustainable paths forward, we’ve focused the last three months prioritizing those goals and taking action in those identified areas. Led by our established working groups, we looked at where some of this work was already in progress (equitable hiring practices) and what felt most urgent (alternatives to using the police). In December, the Museum underwent additional staff reductions as we continue to respond to this unprecedented time, decreasing the numbers of staff members who were actively engaged in these projects. With that said, we recognize that doing the work to live up to our anti-racism statement and commitments is a long game and the Museum is committed to continuing to push forward.

  • Complete a broader evaluation of staff diversity to better inform practices going forward
  • Determine hiring goals to increase staff diversity
  • Create and implement institution wide hiring procedures that promote equitable and inclusive hiring
  • Define retention with an anti-racist lens and the processes necessary to improve and support retention at the Museum