In August, BCGi conducted a two-part webinar series that provided information on the important elements in the preparation of an Affirmative Action Plan ([AAP] Part I) and in ensuring that the AAP is ready for an OFCCP compliance review submission (Part II). In case you missed it, we have put together the key takeaways from the webinar.
AAP Preparation (Part I):
There is a wealth of resources that provide guidelines and guidance on AAP development — the regulations, OFCCP’s website, and various materials on the internet. However, despite all these resources and due to the varying nature of each contractor, these resources could still fall short in addressing some real-life applications. Hence, some contractors are left frustrated and unable to complete and implement their AAPs and worse, are unprepared for an OFCCP audit. The AAP Preparation webinar provided answers to common questions that AAP practitioners typically ask as well as provided ideas for best practices in the development of the AAP.
Below are the key takeaways from Part I:
- Include each employee in the contractor’s workforce. The term “employee” is broad enough to include part-time, full-time, and temporary employees.
- Contractors are not your employees
- Temporary workers from staffing agencies are not your employees
- Identify any corporate initiative employees. These are employees who work in one location but report to another.
- To evaluate the organization’s diversity, capture the organization’s workforce at a single point in time and the personnel transactions (applicants, hires, promotions, and terminations) that have occurred over the past twelve months.
- Reconcile the data. Be careful of the common data pitfalls (e.g., hires not in the applicants file, employees with no race/gender information, records that fall outside the transaction period, etc.).
- Do not get hung up on information that is not needed.
- The central premise of an AAP is that, over time, your workforce should reflect the gender, racial and ethnic profile of the areas from which you recruit and select talent.
- Job groups are the basic unit of analysis of the AAP.
- Jobs with the same content, wage rate, and opportunities should be grouped together.
- Avoid combining jobs from different EEO categories into a job group regardless if the job group has very few employees.
- Determine the appropriate labor areas for each job group. Labor areas are essential to creating accurate availability information.
- Comparison of the organization’s workforce representation to the availability is the central analysis in an AAP.
- Availability can be a mix of external (typically census data) and/or internal (those who are promotable and/or transferable candidates within the organization) factors.
- Remember, the final product will only be as good as the data and effort that you put into the project.
Audit Preparation (Part II):
Although great care is, and should be, exercised in the AAP preparation, there are instances when a completed AAP might still not be ready for an OFCCP audit submission. Why? An AAP is considered compliant when it contains all the elements required by the regulations. On the other hand, an audit-ready AAP is BOTH compliant AND one that has gone through an in-depth data and analyses review. Meaning, the contractor can confidently stand behind the data and the analysis results it plans to submit to the agency. The Audit Preparation portion of the webinar discussed the basic obligations of a federal contractor as well as common data issues found in an audit and how to avoid them.
- Develop and implement Good Faith Efforts. Following are some examples:
- Evaluate the effectiveness of outreach and recruitment
- Collect demographics of employees and applicants though voluntary self-ID forms
- Ensure the job-relatedness of basic qualifications, practices, procedures, and tests in the selection process
- Ensure compliance with poster requirements
- Ensure compliance with job listing requirements
- Compile support documents
- Proof of outreach and recruitment efforts
- Copies of letters sent out to vendors
- Inclusion of EO Clause in contracts, PO’s, invoices, etc.
- Be aware of the common data pitfalls found in audits
- More hires than applicants
- High volume of “unknown” applicants
- One-to-one ratio of applicants to hires
- Applicant data was not refined based on the Internet Definition of an Applicant
- Applicant data was not appropriate for the records in the hires data
- Lack of disposition information on applicants. Dispositioning applicants helps to determine the particular step in the selection process where job seekers failed/passed
- Applicants who failed a step in the selection process but are still found in the hires data
- The OFCCP will do the “math.” So, do your homework as well. Ensure that all employee placements, movements, and/or attritions are able to explain the gaps found in the AAP data.
- Remember, when the data and AAP are finally submitted to the OFCCP, it is harder to take them back. There is no unringing a rung bell.
Keep in mind that AAP development includes processes that are both art and science. Don’t get into the weeds of unnecessary and sometimes trivial information. First, consider what is absolutely required by the regulations and second, recognize if and when help is needed.
A recorded version of this webinar series is available through BCGi’s Platinum membership. Please visit BCGi’s website to learn more about the benefits of becoming a member of its learning community and to view other upcoming events and webinars. We would also be more than happy to answer your questions. You may contact us via e-mail: email@example.com or call us at: 800.999.0438
Contributing author: Marife Ramos, PHR, SHRM-CP, Director of EEO/AA Operations at Biddle Consulting Group, Inc.