7 Critical Items Mid-Market Federal Contractors Must Address to Comply with AAP Regulations

As a seasoned HR pro at a mid-market company, you’re an expert at managing limited resources, but you have your limits. With other priorities hammering you, limited time available, and pressure mounting, you must produce a compliant Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) without adding staff or buying expensive enterprise AAP solutions.

Unlike large enterprises with dedicated compliance staff, smaller federal contractors operate with limited resources and tools to produce plans and required analytics. Still, mid-market organizations and their Affirmative Action program teams face the same system and process challenges to support the heart of the organization—the workforce.

Whether coordinating plan production, monitoring selection decisions, or reviewing pay equity, compliance activities require time and know-how. Each aspect of an AAP—from plan development to impact ratio calculation and compensation analysis—can be difficult to produce and deliver when resources are scarce.

OFCCP Deep Dive Audits: Are You Ready?

The Office of Federal Contract and Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is cracking down on federal contractor noncompliance by conducting intensive or “deep dive” audits. Despite their comparative lack of resources, mid-market firms do not receive any lenience from OFCCP.

So what if you’re selected?

Are you confident your organization is prepared to submit your AAP in a timely manner and face OFCCP scrutiny?

This checklist of seven items a mid-market federal contractor must address for AAP compliance aims to help!

1. Do you have the right people in the right plan as of the plan date?

The most straight-forward element of a correct submission can also be the hardest. Ensure your employee data accurately reflect your establishment’s AAP for the selected time period.

2. Are your “include/exclude” employees noted and distributed appropriately?

Annotating the employees who are excluded from the plan because they report to another location is imperative and cascades throughout your AAP initiatives. It can have a substantial impact on your goals and availabilities. Confusion about employee involvement can create a potential technical violation.

3. Is a supervisor/manager represented in every department? If not, can you indicate where they sit in relation to their employees?

Your workforce analysis must indicate a management position for all departments. This can be sticky in situations with “shared” leadership and other atypical supervisory relationships.

4. Are the correct positions listed in the right job group? Do all your job groups contain positions with similar content, opportunities, and wages?

Start by ensuring all positions are related to the same EEO-1 category. Further refine the groups by content, opportunity, and wages. This allows you to align relevant occupational skills when analyzing incumbency vs. availability. Using these criteria will produce employee groups that are similarly situated, and that could be used to measure pay differences as part of your compensation analysis efforts.

5. Have you conducted a compensation analysis? Can you appropriately explain any pay disparities?

You should proactively identify any areas that represent statistically significant differences and be ready to provide business justifications. A pre-emptive effort will prepare you to address any OFCCP concerns.

6. Are you able to measure and track progress against goals and integrate the information into your narrative?

A crucial aspect of the AAP process is documenting progress towards goals—specifically, reasons goals were not met and good-faith efforts made during that period to address the gap. Unmet goals are acceptable in your documentation, but it’s essential to include explanatory details and define efforts to reach the goal in the future.

7. Did you attain the previous year’s goals? If not, can you show your efforts to close the gap?

Your narrative must include a goals assessment for the prior year. Without it, your narrative is incomplete. The OFCCP also requires that you document efforts made to close any gaps.

Mid-market federal contractors face unique challenges when complying with complex OFCCP regulations. Utilizing cost-effective tools with best-practice guidance on a secure platform can help you address those compliance challenges.

Photograph of Bruce Kile, Co-Managing Director of AffirmityAbout the Author

Bruce Kile oversees technology at Affirmity in his role as Co-Managing Director. He has direct responsibility for technology operations, support, and software product development. He leads a team of developers and quality assurance engineers who deliver affirmative action, EEO, and diversity planning products to clients. He also manages support and operations for Affirmity software products and data centers. With more than 35 years in technology leadership and 20 years focused on affirmative action and diversity, Mr. Kile helps clients achieve their goals using Affirmity technology.