As HR Practitioners, we can all agree that any new legislation that adds work to our desks is generally unwelcomed. In 2013, when the OFCCP asked for increased due diligence on the part of employers where self-identification requirements, good faith efforts and applicant data collection on individuals with disabilities among other things; HR people working for federal contractors went crazy.
At the beginning of 2014, I had the opportunity to lead a roundtable discussion about diversity and inclusion programs and the latest decree from the OFCCP. When I posed a few questions about whether any of these attendees had begun to make the changes the OFCCP was asking for; I received a unanimous “no”. For those of you who don’t have to comply with these regulations, here is a non-exhaustive synopsis of what was asked:
What I just described may sound rather onerous for HR teams to handle. The point that many companies are missing with regard to the OFCCP’s ever-increasing requirements is: as an entity that receives government funds you have an elevated responsibility to develop and enact fair practices in business and hiring. Why should any company be able to receive government funds (which is essentially taxpayer dollars) to run a corrupt business or have a workplace that is chock full of discriminatory practices? The answer is: no one should be able to do that. As a sort of indirect, angel investor in federal contracting businesses, my expectation is that you run your business fairly and that you are not abusing your people.
The “Blind Eye” Syndrome
Besides turning a blind eye to what OFCCP has asked, the next infraction waiting to destroy your government contract is your hiring managers. Don’t get me wrong there are some great hiring managers that get it and will do the right thing whether or not they are coaxed to do so. Conversely, there is an onslaught of risk that gets fired up by the other percentage of hiring managers who are adamant about how and who they will recruit by refusing to adhere to a competitive selection process. The worst possible thing to do is to aid and abet this behavior. More often than not, the inclination on the part of HR is to allow the hiring manager who squawks the loudest about HR and Talent Acquisition’s interference in the hiring process to get their way. The problem with that approach is it often leads to adverse impact on one or more of the segments of your workforce.
As I mentioned earlier, some people are just wired with nothing but humility and thus do not have to be coaxed to do good things. For those of your hiring managers who require coaxing and perhaps even an iron fist hold, you will first have to explain why their handpicking method is not in alignment with the recruitment and selection strategy of the organization. In my experience, it also helps to connect the dots from the money and their actions. For instance, I have explained to hiring managers of mine (in the most loving way possible) that their methodology for hiring could cost us our government contracts over time and in return will affect their budgets and/or jobs. Additionally, I have assured them that if they let me help them, I will be happy to hire their VIP candidate. That is- so long as we complete a competitive search and that person is the “best qualified” individual for the position. To date, there hasn’t been a hiring manager that I couldn’t sway with these two arguments.
Awakening your hiring managers to what the OFCCP requires depends on your comfort as an organization and the empowerment of your recruiters. Recruiters need to feel empowered to speak up when their hiring managers are not adhering to the rules. They also need to feel free to educate their hiring managers on the best way to comply and also hire the right person in a timely manner.
If you let your hiring managers run the show - hiring whomever they want will most definitely be putting your company at risk. The keys to success are: timely guidance on regulations that affect them directly, ongoing recruitment coaching to ensure their needs are fulfilled in a timely manner, and lastly holding each of your hiring managers accountable for complying with the regulations via performance goals.
Bottom line, if you need government funds to operate, you need your hiring managers to cooperate.
Janine Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer, Talent Think Innovations, LLC
Janine's career spans over ten years in HR and Talent Acquisition that has taken her through the world of pharmaceuticals, healthcare, staffing and R&D