The Why, How, and What of Good Faith Efforts (Part 2)

This is the second in a series on Good Faith Efforts (GFE) required by the US government for federal contractors—best practices for how to develop and maintain an effective, compliant program across your entire talent management strategy.

Action Oriented Plans for Good Faith Efforts

The first step to developing a robust affirmative action strategy that improves diversity and eradicates any instances of discrimination is to create robust, action-oriented plans that ensure success, from the recruiting stage to selecting candidates for internal mobility. These plans should describe each action that needs to be taken to improve diversity hiring, as well as the individuals responsible and projected dates for when each task will be accomplished.

As audits continue to increase in number and intensity, your organization needs to do more than simply say they will put a larger focus on recruiting targeted groups. Instead, they need to keep track of all of their Good Faith Efforts and show how each step will lead to an increase in participation from individuals within a protected group.

For example, rather than reporting to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) that the company plans to actively recruit female workers, describe the actual jobs you are looking to fill, and provide the specific actions your hiring team will take to recruit more female employees. In addition, there should be internal efforts to increase the likelihood of females being promoted into those jobs.

Next, make sure that your company career site is accessible for people with disabilities. Your site is a key area that helps to improve diversity hiring and is under increased scrutiny by the OFCCP. Moreover, there should be clear instructions for how individuals can request accommodation to apply for a position in case they need further assistance.

Job Postings as a Good Faith Effort

As the OFCCP continues to increase its audits, the agency requests that organizations provide detailed information on the recruiting sources that they use to find talent. Organizations can provide the necessary information by keeping an accurate and up-to-date log of where they post job openings. Each entry should include the protected group on which the source is focused, the contact information for the source, and the date of distribution. Doing so provides an auditable record and proves that the company is carrying out its Good Faith Efforts.

Still, reaching out to various recruiting sources to connect with targeted groups, such as posting ads on a veteran recruiting website, isn’t enough. You must prove that these sources and methods provide measurable results. The OFCCP is less concerned with the number of sources, and is more focused on the outcomes of those efforts. If your company uses only one or two sources, but is able to recruit and hire a diverse pool of qualified applicants and hire from any of the four protected groups, your Good Faith Efforts can be considered successful.

Succession Planning as a Good Faith Effort

It is important to note that Good Faith Efforts aren’t just about recruiting new hires. Affirmative Action Plans (AAPs) should extend to ongoing talent management and into succession planning. The four targeted groups not only face challenges in finding meaningful employment, but they also struggle to advance in their companies once hired. Any mobility and succession planning strategy should include ways to increase the likelihood of such individuals to develop and get ahead.

For example, if the pool of eligible candidates for a promotion includes only white males, you should look at its internal processes and see what can be done differently to ensure more diverse employees have the skills needed to advance. This could involve providing appropriate training and development, giving employees the opportunity to learn from peers and mentors within the company, and offering tuition reimbursement so all employees have an equal opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge and become eligible for advancement.

Even the very simple act of posting jobs internally can be helpful, as it can make all candidates aware of open positions and the skills they need to achieve them. When the company is willing to provide employees with training and processes to help them advance, the benefits extend beyond mobility and succession planning. Offering employees of all backgrounds access to the resources that can enhance their value is also integral to keeping current staff engaged.

Compensation as a Good Faith Effort

A key aspect of OFCCP compliance is ensuring that individuals are compensated at the appropriate levels and that there is no disparity between individuals of different groups performing the same jobs with similar levels of skill, effort, and responsibility. You can protect your company against fines and litigation by creating defined guidelines that determine the pay level for which a person is hired. In addition, a formal performance appraisal system or merit-based pay system should be included as well to determine raises and bonuses.

To ensure a compliant process for employee compensation, performance evaluations should be tied to objective, measurable factors that can be backed up with data. For instance, your organization should determine pay increases based on factors such as items produced and dollar value of sales or customer complaints, rather than subjective standards like level of cooperation or perceived growth potential.

Turnover as a Good Faith Effort

Though often overlooked when it comes to Good Faith Efforts, employee turnover and the termination process provide crucial insight into the company’s AAPs and how employees view them. Rather than just being a routine process for when employees leave the company, exit interviews can shed light on any potential problems impacting the company in relation to its Good Faith Efforts.

The company might learn that high turnover among females or minorities could stem from harassment of these groups in the workplace or a lack of opportunities for growth.

Now that you have the knowledge to create a successful Affirmative Action Plan based on Good Faith Efforts, read our final installment about how to track and measure its success.