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Managing Diversity and Compliance

All in - to diversityDiversity management is a combination of programs, policies, and activities that support an environment wherein employee differences are valued and integrated into each part of the company’s or organization's operations. It assists in developing and promoting culturally diverse employees to ensure that managers retain and capitalize on the ideas and skills those employees bring to the company or organization. Successful diversity management initiatives enhance both the performance and the cohesiveness of a company or organization.

Let’s examine what this means to us as human capital specialists. Though commonly used interchangeably, Diversity and Compliance should really be seen separately as two very different concepts and company issues.

So what does this really mean to those of us in the human capital industry? Diversity is a way for your company to instigate and implement a series of policies and encouraged activities showing the corporate commitment to both the individual cultural differences within the company or organization and the fresh new ideas for growing the business that can mean success in your community.

When you approach diversity with the attitude that it is your organization's or company’s most valuable tool for success and continued profitability, then making your decisions regarding the recruitment and retention budget will be easier and less expensive. It can never be stressed enough that WORKFORCE = SUCCESS = COMMUNITY = GROWTH = PROFITABILITY.

Compliance is a concept which does commit an employer to provide high quality Human Resource (HR) services. Any company that does business with, or contracts to do business with any government entity, or employs more than a certain number of government workers, or is doing a minimum amount of dollar volume doing business with any specific government agency or even a dedicated group of government employees doing business with a third party who may be engaged in government contracts, needs to take compliance into consideration.

Compliance is a set of regulations that ensures that state agencies, universities, and institutions (as well as those mentioned above) are able to attract, motivate, develop, and retain a competent and diverse workforce that meets the business needs of government.

Now, where does the separation between diversity and compliance lay? Anyone in the human capital profession is bound to find that these two concepts do and often overlap in the course of their career. A diversity and or community action plan helps in recruiting and keeping the local talent needed to keep the company in good standing within the community it resides in. Any so-called diversity recruitment plan must also include specific and documented minority hiring efforts to maintain its compliant status.

Compliance is what you must do as mandated from the government and the community. You have to have a successful AAP /GFE's -- there are no exceptions allowed. The latest OFCCP protocols and regulations have shown us that they will be paying closer attention to all contractors' community outreach efforts this year.

Meanwhile, diversity is what you high quality HR services should be doing, in order to stay successful and attract quality diverse talent. There is no mandate to be diversified beyond compliance, but going above and beyond brings its own rewards. Similarly, while branding is crucial to any marketing campaign, thought leadership is what defines the best from the average. Diverse recruitment goes a long way in accomplishing your company goals with an eye to compliance, recruitment and retention, and community outreach.

Earlier, I mentioned that there are ways to get may of the tasks above ticked off your list without having to duplicate your efforts or expenditures. Firstly I would suggest finding and using a well established resource for your recruitment strategy. Second I would suggest a resource that may be able to provide more than one of the recruitment tasks you may need to complete.

When push comes to shove it is important that we bear in mind that as the company’s Human Capital Manager ultimately some of the budget allotment responsibility will return to your desk so it makes sense to take advantage of the new and more encompassing solutions to our productivity and at times out budget too.

Remember, compliance isn't optional. So in order to satisfy base compliance demands, use smart solutions that meet as many of your needs at once. Utilize trusted and respected resources that overlap your diversity and compliance wherever possible. Some examples of this include so-called "full service" resources or multi-pronged communities, especially those that target veteransHispanic-AmericansAfrican-Americans, and women. The best resources allow you to post your diversity & compliance job listings, publish and communicate directly into those specified communities, and overall direct your company's reach into those demographics. Adhering to these "above and beyond" efforts will earn you applause from the OFCCP as they are looking over your company's shoulders -- and make no mistake they will be looking.

One of the most visible (and therefore according to the OFCCP most important) components of your AAP plan for compliance are your company’s “Good Faith Efforts”. Stick to diversity recruitment resources that have been recognized by the OFCCP as one of the best ways a company can express its commitments to GFEs. The OFCCP favors resources that are long-lived and well-respected in their industry; remember trust and credibility come from longevity. Using OFCCP-recognized diversity recruitment vehicles saves you time and money in your minority recruitment efforts by having fewer vendors and making fewer calls.

It almost goes without saying, if saving time and money is good for HR then it must be good for the C-Suite as well.

About the Author

Mark Cohen has been working since 1995 to promote diversity and equality in the workplace through targeted minority recruitment and community outreach. Mark has become a recognized authority on minority recruitment and good faith compliance efforts. In his position as C.F.O.  and EVP Director of New Business Development at EqualityMagazines.com Mark is responsible for new product development, company partnerships and marketing, Agency and Government relations.

JMR Publishing Enterprises, Inc. through its wholly owned subsidiary Equality Magazines.com and its family of Diversity Recruitment Vehicles have been at the forefront of diversity recruitment, Good Faith Compliance efforts and minority community outreach. Since 1995 they have been advocates of promoting diversity in America's workforce; bringing the vast and talented pools of African-American, Hispanic, Veteran, and Female workers to the companies that need them.

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