My Workforce is Mostly Remote Now – How Do I Handle Recruitment Areas in my AAP?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many things about business over the past 18 months. One area wher...

Posted by Kristen N. Johnson, MS, MBA, SHRM-SCP on January 7 2022
Kristen N. Johnson, MS, MBA, SHRM-SCP

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many things about business over the past 18 months. One area where the script has been flipped is with recruitment and talent acquisition. Traditionally, most companies recruited for jobs in and around the areas where an organization is physically located. Perhaps nationwide searches would occur for high-level executive positions or hard to fill positions, but recruitment areas were primarily narrowed to the geographic area.

When companies had employees begin to work from home at the start of the pandemic, many realized that there are jobs where the work can be done effectively from places other than the office building. Employees working in these situations have overwhelmingly found them to be desirable and effective. A study by Pew Research has found that more than half of employed adults whose job responsibilities can mostly be done from home (54%) say that, if they had a choice, they’d want to work from home all or most of the time even when the coronavirus outbreak is over. Many companies, such as Apple, Microsoft and Twitter have announced that they will allow employees to work remotely permanently if their specific job allows.

The impact of this shift by employees and employers has had the effect of broadened recruitment areas. Jobs that would have been recruited for local to the physical work location can potentially now be recruited for anywhere in the United States.

How does all of this effect an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP)? The reasonable recruitment area (RRA) is a component of the External Availability Factor. External availability is weighted as one of the components of overall availability. Overall availability is compared to the current incumbency to determine if a placement goal must be set. So, where recruitment is geographical conducted is a very important part of an AAP.

According to the OFCCP’s Supply and Service Contractors Technical Assistance Guide, the RRA is defined as the geographical area from which the employer usually seeks or could reasonably seek qualified applicants to fill positions. This may be the county, metropolitan statistical area, state, region, or the entire United States. RRA should be set for each job group in each AAP.

While you should review your RRAs every year as you prepare your plan, you may not have needed to make many adjustments in previous years. However, in your next plan year you should give your RRAs more scrutiny if you will have jobs that will now be fully remote. If there are jobs within the job group that now can be recruited from and filled anywhere in the United States, your RRA should account for that. You may need to make the United States the whole of the RRA or a significant percentage of it.

One consideration, however, is if your employees will be working in a hybrid situation. Hybrid arrangements are where an employee works part of their week in the on-site and part remotely. If this is the case, recruitment areas would likely need to stay focused in the geographic area of the physical building location and not necessarily the whole United States as employees would need to be close to the building for the days they come into the office.

Applicant pools should look like the areas where the recruitment is happening. If changes are made to the recruitment areas to include the United States, be sure to scrutinize the pools in the mid-year and end of year monitoring for that proper reflection of the areas. Additional recruitment partners may be necessary to engage with to help achieve the effective outreach in these new recruitment areas.

Recruitment and hiring strategies should always be considered in the development of an affirmative action plan. If your company is undergoing a shift that allows a broader definition of where work can get done and therefore where recruitment will happen, it is important to review your reasonable recruitment areas this year to match those changes.

Kristen N. Johnson, MS, MBA, SHRM-SCP
Kristen N. Johnson, MS, MBA, SHRM-SCP
Kristen is a Senior HR Consultant with Berkshire, assisting clients of all sizes with compliant development of Affirmative Action Plans and other required government reporting. She also specializes in assisting clients with State reporting and other municipality certifications.

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