Federal contractors have to navigate numerous hiring regulations — not only the state and federal laws that all businesses must follow but also contractor-specific regulations set by the federal government.
Previously, much of the attention regarding compliance dealt with affirmative action policies for race and gender. However, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) also enforces initiatives for contractors to hire veterans and individuals with disabilities, including auditing organizations to ensure that they meet them.
Compliance is of the utmost priority, but these new directives also mean that federal contractors have to ensure their standards are up-to-date. Here’s how you can make sure you’re meeting the OFCCP’s newest guidelines.
Provide Clear and Accessible Job Listings
One of the easiest steps you can take to ensure compliance is by making sure your job listings put veterans and individuals with disabilities front and center. It’s simple: Be upfront that you’re looking to hire members of both of these groups.
While that may sound a bit obvious, the truth is that many organizations simply add this language to the fine print at the bottom of a job listing. Think about how often you read the fine print or a user agreement before you update your smartphone. By making it clear that you prioritize hiring individuals with disabilities and veterans, you’ll not only attract more candidates but also send a message about the values your organization stands for.
Additionally, you have to ensure that your application process is accessible. For example, a candidate may be vision-impaired. While many vision-impaired people use specialized software to help them use the internet, some do not, and there can be technical issues with your application. Provide information on how candidates can contact you to get assistance in filling out their application so that you provide equal opportunity for every candidate.
Make an Outreach Effort
Posting on general job boards is only one aspect of your outreach efforts. There are numerous resources and organizations that help veterans and individuals with disabilities find jobs, as well as specialized job boards dedicated to these groups. Reaching out to these organizations will help you widen your hiring pool.
There are also paid services you can use to broaden your reach. These organizations can help you ensure that your outreach programs have the impact you need them to have — not just for compliance, but for the good of your organization.
Finally, look at your company’s careers page. Organizations often take their own careers pages for granted, rarely bothering to update them with regularity. However, careers pages are often an initial touch point for candidates. Be sure that your page is sending the right message about your organizational values and priorities. For example, does it have photos or videos of veterans or individuals with disabilities working at your company? If it doesn’t, rectify this immediately. For more advice on creating an effective careers page, you can read this article.
Back Up Your Efforts with Documentation
The statistics of your employee population are only one aspect of compliance, but outreach efforts aren’t enough. Documentation is essential, and auditors will be looking at your documented activities to ensure that you meet compliance requirements.
Auditors will speak with everyone on your team — recruiters, hiring managers, and other HR team members. Make it an organization-wide policy to assiduously document all of your recruiting and hiring activities so you can easily answer the questions auditors are asking. For example, if you reach out to 20 veterans-affiliated organizations every month, have proof of this. Whenever you post a listing on a job board, be sure it’s documented. When in doubt, document!
While documentation may seem like a chore, a modern ATS will have capabilities to help you streamline and even automate parts of the process. This can save the headache of manual documentation. But even if you do have to perform a few tedious tasks along the way, it’s worth it to ensure that your business stays in compliance.