The Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs works to ensure federal contractors don’t participate in discriminatory hiring practices. Failure to comply with federal regulations can mean big money penalties or even being barred from government contracting, in extreme cases. For recruiters and hiring managers, creating an OFCCP-friendly hiring program isn’t just good policy, it’s good business. Here are five tips for making sure your hiring strategy reaches out to a diverse audience.
1. Have a Plan
The baseline requirement of OFCCP is to have an affirmative action hiring plan. The best way to make OFCCP work for you is to embed OFCCP-friendly goals into your current hiring strategy. Develop your hiring plan (whether it’s an annual, long term plan or just a 30-day calendar) with your affirmative action plan in front of you. Do current initiatives include partnering with local universities to host a hack-a-thon? Could you do a similar program at a Historically Black College or University in the future? Do you regularly attend career fairs? How about participating in a fair hosted by your local VFW or veteran’s organization? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create an OFCCP-friendly hiring plan, but you do need to think beyond your typical hiring practices.
2. Know the goals
OFCCP is careful to clarify that veteran and disabled worker hiring requirements are goals, not quotas, but you should have some idea of what success would look like in your organization. If your workforce is currently monolithic, keep in mind that internal programs such as employee referral programs are less likely to help you meet OFCCP goals. Consider how you can reach out to targeted demographics including minorities, women, veterans, and people with disabilities. Be aware of federally mandated targets and consider what it would take to reach them. Make sure you consider where your workforce is currently before you delve into a new strategy.
3. Involve all the players
It goes without saying that recruiters and hiring managers have a critical role to play in OFCCP adherence. But if you work in the cleared government contracting space, you also have to consider your Facility Security Officer (FSO) and program managers. Make sure they’re aware of OFCCP guidelines. Don’t accept position-descriptions as-given (even if they come directly from the government!) Edit for both OFCCP compliance and readability before posting. If you develop employee pre-screening tools with your FSO, make sure they’re non-discriminatory.
4. Consider Compensation
Compensation and salary are always hot-button topics for OFCCP compliance, but it’s important to consider, particularly as the Obama Administration ramps up its push to eliminate the ‘wage gap.’ Evaluate your salary ranges and make sure they’re in line with industry standards. Also, communicate with your hiring managers to establish how negotiable that rate is.
5. Check your candidate experience.
Make sure your candidate experience is an equal opportunity experience. Interviewing new hires, assessing first impressions and considering response times all make a difference. How you reject employees is as important as how you hire them. Make sure your procedures for notifying candidates they haven’t been accepted is the same. If a candidate has moved forward in the hiring process and didn’t make the cut, make the reasons they weren’t accepted clear and outline those in a rejection letter or email. The best way to create an OFCCP-friendly hiring program is to have a plan, and carry it out from start to finish. From where you find your talent to how you reject those that didn’t make the cut, small details can make a big difference during an audit or evaluation.