There are important questions and considerations that should be on your mind when you are shopping for an Affirmative Action vendor. This service requires a unique skillset that can only come from years of experience and knowledge in the industry. Should you be looking for the best deal out there? Of course, but the best deal may not be the least expensive. The best deal will be the vendor with the highest quality service. You would not choose a lawyer to represent you based on the lowest hourly rate. No, you would choose the one that has the most experience in the field and a proven track record. After all, the consequences of the outcome could be life-altering.
Do you remember the saying, “You get what you pay for?”
Many prospective clients call wanting a price quote for preparing their company’s affirmative action plans (AAPs). Berkshire is always happy to provide a quote, but we also want to provide prospective clients with some very important information about what is included in the price.
Getting your AAP completed and delivered to you is what you should expect at a minimum. You should also ask questions about how your vendor will work with you and your data during the process, and what else is included with the outsourcing service.
Here are some questions you should ask when selecting a standard AAP outsourcing service:
- Will your plan(s) be prepared by in-house professionals with relevant industry and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) experience?
- Will your plan(s) be OFCCP compliant and audit ready?
- Will your AAP consultant guide you through the plan development process?
- Will your AAP consultant review the data to ensure all required components are included?
- Will your vendor perform data quality checks to ensure the right employees and the correct data is included in the plan(s)?
- Can your plans be securely distributed through the web to essential parties?
- Will your AAP consultant review your processes and offer recommendations?
- Will your AAP consultant provide an AAP review and evaluation meeting once your plan is completed to explain reports, discuss potential problem areas, and recommend next steps?
- If a location comes under audit while your consultant is working on the plan, will your vendor expedite the process to meet OFCCP submission requirements?
- Will your AAP consultant provide audit consultation for that plan prior to submission?
Here are some additional considerations when shopping around for your next AAP vendor:
- How many years of experience does the vendor have in the industry? Government regulations are constantly changing. Having a historical perspective helps to make better decisions.
- Do they offer an entire suite of software applications and outsourcing services to help you fully comply? Compliance does not stop at plan development.
- Do they have their own in-house product development team with the ability to update applications when the regulations change?
- Do they offer services that augment your affirmative action efforts such as compensation and pay equity, workforce planning, and training?
- Do they offer flexible, stand-alone training solutions like web-based training, virtual or on-site facilitator-led training, and custom training?
The questions and considerations discussed above should be on your list when shopping for a partner in affirmative action and compliance. You wouldn’t budget for what OFCCP may impose on your organization for noncompliance however, you can and should be proactive and partner with a vendor who has the expertise to guide you through the AAP and audit process and help you limit your corporate liability by lessening any negative impact of OFCCP findings.