Think of your Affirmative Action Program as a forest and your Good Faith Efforts (GFEs) as the trees. If your GFEs don’t yield measurable results, did they really happen?
According to the OFCCP, the answer is no.
Federal contractors have long been required to execute Good Faith Efforts. As stated in Executive Order 11246 under 41 CFR 60-2.35, “… Each contractor’s compliance with its affirmative action obligations will be determined by reviewing the nature and extent of the contractor’s good faith affirmative action activities … and the appropriateness of those activities to identified equal employment opportunity problems” (41 CFR 60-2.35).
Under Pat Shiu, who served as OFCCP Director from 2009 through 2016, OFCCP made a dramatic shift in evaluating federal contractor compliance with requirements for GFEs to recruit women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.
Specifically, the agency began expecting employers to show results. And in response, the industry began to move away from the term “Good Faith Efforts” and adopt alternate terminology—such as “positive outreach” and ”program activities.”
Good Faith Efforts are Dead. Long Live Good Faith Efforts!
Does this mean Good Faith Efforts are dead?
In practice, it means simply that OFCCP expects contractors to prove their GFEs are effective.
Historically, OFCCP audits gave credit for each GFE activity—such as participation in job fairs and other recruiting activities focused on attracting diverse candidates. OFCCP auditors also gave employers the benefit of the doubt relative to the impact of their recruiting and outreach activities.
Recent OFCCP audit activity reveals that the agency now demands detailed proof of each GFE AND evidence of the effectiveness of each effort. For federal contractors facing an OFCCP audit today, lack of proof of the effectiveness of your GFEs means noncompliance and failure to survive the audit.
How to Document and Prove the Effectiveness of Your Good Faith Efforts
For companies of any size, just planning and tracking Good Faith Efforts—who, what, and when—can be a daunting task.
Add to that the burden of proving that your efforts yielded measurable results, and the complexity of recordkeeping and analysis increases significantly. For organizations caught off guard by an OFCCP audit, this becomes an overwhelming and potentially expensive problem.
To avoid costly technical violations, workforce compliance teams should institute a well-defined and proactive process that closes the loop on GFEs across your Affirmative Action Program. This means effectively planning, tracking, measuring, and reporting all Good Faith Efforts activities.
Harness the Power of Automation to Mitigate Risk
These days, there’s no such thing as too much documentation.
Compliance officers are not only reviewing your recruiting sources and outreach activity. They’re calling to confirm your efforts and evaluating the impact on your applicant pool.
The most effective and simplest solution to ensuring your workforce compliance program is fully prepared for an OFCCP audit is automate the documentation of your GFE activities and their results.
Regardless of your solution, for contractors of all sizes, recordkeeping and evaluation of GFE effectiveness are key to winning the audit game.