Top 5 Reasons to Update Your Job Group Structure

Has your workforce grown or changed as a result of COVID? Are you still using the same job group str...

Posted by Suzanne Keys and Lauren Buerger on August 16 2023
Suzanne Keys and Lauren Buerger

Has your workforce grown or changed as a result of COVID? Are you still using the same job group structure that was developed before COVID? It’s probably time to review that structure to ensure it still fits your organization. Just like your favorite pair of jeans, your job group structure is comfy and familiar. You might be thinking, “Why fix it if it isn’t broken?” Or “How can we compare from year to year if we make changes?” If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that we can manage change and change is not always bad.

Job groups are the critical backbone of the affirmative action plan. Your job groups say, “These jobs are similar in wages, duties & responsibilities, and opportunities for advancement.” Most analyses in the AAP are calculated based on these groupings so it is important to review them and make sure this statement is accurate.

There are at least 5 different reasons to review and update your groups:

  1. Organizational Changes may move jobs from one group to another. Anytime you implement a new compensation structure, update job descriptions, create new training opportunities, or redistribute job responsibilities, you may be changing a pillar in the foundation of your job group structure. Changes in duties & responsibilities may change a job’s EEO category or level, thus moving the job into a different job group. After you make these kinds of changes, it’s important to review and determine if the grouping by wages, duties & responsibilities, and/or opportunities for advance still holds true for the job group.
  2. Acquisitions, mergers, lay-offs or divestitures will have a significant impact on an organization’s job group structure. Acquisitions and mergers tend to increase the size of a contractor’s workforce, and possibly the types of jobs, requiring additional job groups. Conversely, lay-offs or divestitures, which were common during COVID, could lead to combining or condensing your job group structure. Therefore, when you are preparing your annual affirmative action plan, it is important to also review if the sizes of your job groups are too big or too small. Ideally, job groups should have between 30 and 100 employees. Note: If your workforce was under 150 employees and your job groups were only the EEO levels, and your workforce has since grown, you will want to consider splitting large job groups.
  3. Remote workforces can also impact job group structures. If your organization has shifted towards a more remote workforce, your plan structure may have changed. Perhaps you had five locations with more than 50 employees previously, but now you are hiring across the United States and allowing employees to work remotely and only have three work locations with more than 50 employees. Due to the work location changes, you may only have three AAPs instead of five and thus some of your job groups are larger than they were under the five-plan structure. Or, because of the OFCCP’s revised directive, you might be considering a change to Functional AAPs which would almost certainly warrant a revision to your previous job group structure.
  4. Regulatory changes can directly or indirectly impact your job group structure. For example, when OFCCP changed the establishment-based compliance review scheduling letter’s itemized listing from a summary of compensation data to individual pay data, there was an increased emphasis on the compensation pillar of the job group structure. Many contractors revised their job group structure to reduce the wage range within a given group. Since then, there haven’t been major regulatory changes that might require reviewing your job group structure, although be sure to stay up to date if any of their proposed changes to the scheduling letter are approved.
  5. Audits present another opportunity to ensure your job groups are right. Prior to submitting an AAP to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the job group structure should be reviewed, and its appropriateness confirmed. You always want to put your best foot forward in a compliance review. Double or even triple checking your job groups is highly recommended.

Remember, job groups are the backbone of an AAP. If they are misaligned you may experience poor reporting results, inaccurate placement goals, or decreased effectiveness of your outreach efforts. Therefore, it is important to review that jobs are in the correct EEO category and job group when you are preparing your annual affirmative action plan, and it’s best practice to scrutinize your job group structure each year to determine if it still makes sense for your organization.

For more information regarding job groups, check out our on-demand webinar on Mastering Job Groups! Reach out to your Berkshire Consultant or contact Berkshire for assistance in reviewing your job group structure.

Suzanne Keys and Lauren Buerger
Suzanne Keys and Lauren Buerger
Suzanne Keys, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is a compliance expert with 16 years of experience who provides AA Training, AAP services, government regulation insight, and OFCCP audit support. Lauren Buerger is an HR Consultant with over five years of experience at Berkshire. She specializes in helping federal contractors comply with affirmative action regulations and developing AAPs and educating clients.

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