Repurposing AAP Data for Other Diversity Metrics

You just spent time compiling, analyzing, and reviewing data for your Affirmative Action Plan (AAP)....

Posted by Hillary Stone and Kristen Johnson on July 27 2023
Hillary Stone and Kristen Johnson

You just spent time compiling, analyzing, and reviewing data for your Affirmative Action Plan (AAP). Your company also wants to evaluate broader diversity metrics – can you use your work in the AAP to fulfill the request?

Diversity in the workplace means having employees who come from varied backgrounds – this might include any number of areas, such as race, gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and religion. It also extends to other areas such as education, abilities, and socioeconomic status.

Companies may have different reasons for focusing on diversity in the workplace. These often include meeting business objectives, culture shifts, desire to bring in different perspectives, and economic benefits. Investing in diversity for your company can bring additional benefits, including increased productivity and collaboration among your workforce, increased capacity to attract and retain talent, and increased visibility by a diverse customer base. When companies commit to emphasizing diversity among their workforce, metrics are important tools to help track and meet initiatives.

The data collected and analyzed for an AAP is based on regulations specific to gender, race/ethnicity, disability status, and protected veteran status. There are specific requirements for analyzing the data, as well as sharing and implementing the results. The AAP data can be a good foundation for broader diversity metrics allowing you to save time and resources by utilizing the data already collected. While traditional AAP analysis divides your workforce by locations and job functions, the same data can be divided in any way that makes sense for your diversity metrics evaluation – maybe you want to see employees by division and level, or by reporting structure. Maybe you want to see your representation among a certain portion of your workforce. Your AAP provides insight into representation of minorities and women, but maybe you want to better understand your workforce using the intersection of two or more groups, such as Black females or women over age 40. You can use your AAP data in any way that is meaningful to your mission and impactful to your organization. Additionally, a consistent message reported by a company is possible when the data comes from a single source, rather than AAP data versus general diversity numbers. Outreach efforts based on AAP results can also help a company in other diversity initiatives, so there can be synergy when the two efforts work together.

However, there are some drawbacks to using AAP data for diversity metrics. As mentioned, the data for AAPs are very specific and may not easily translate to the desired diversity metrics. Companies don’t typically collect data that they are not legally required to collect, so being able to measure items outside of the AAP data points may be difficult. It is recommended that companies consult with legal counsel before deciding to request data from employees that they are not legally required to collect.  

Another limitation to using AAP data is the specific scope required of the AAP. For global companies, employees outside of the United States are not represented in the AAP. AAP data also segments employees by locations and job functions. For the purposes of diversity metrics, companies may want to look at different groupings of employees.

Overall, when deciding to use AAP data for broader diversity metrics consider the following:

Data Collection – How often will the data be collected? What metrics will be included? What employees will be included?

Data Analysis – How will the data be analyzed? How will employees be grouped?

Ownership – Who owns the process and programs? How will these groups work together? What will be done with the information? Who will receive the results? What actions will be taken as a result of of the analysis?

Regardless of whether a company uses AAP data for other company initiatives such as broader diversity metrics, it is important to remember that any obligations a company has as a federal contractor must remain a focus and not altered or abandoned because of these additional initiatives. 

Hillary Stone and Kristen Johnson
Hillary Stone and Kristen Johnson
With over 8 years of experience in the HR industry, Hillary specializes in affirmative action plan development and compliance. She specializes in data and systems management. 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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