The best defense is a good offense

by Terri Swain

In football and human resources (still hurting from that Cowboys loss last night!), having an offensive strategy is imperative, particularly in the compliance area.  Many companies receive their affirmative action plans, give them a quick glance then stick them on a shelf just praying that this is a year they won’t be audited.

We’re advocating that you dust your AAP off, take a look at what it says and prepare a good offensive strategy. This is not only good business practice (after all, you just paid for some reports that can tell you a few things) but with today’s Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) climate, it will put you in a winning position.

Today, we’d like to talk about one offensive strategy: meaningful Good Faith Efforts (or GFEs). Once you’ve reviewed your plan and have identified your goals, it’s time to think about how you will meet them and how you will document them.


  • Communicate goals to those with the power to impact: hiring managers, internal recruiting team, external recruiters and temporary services.  This is a simple but often over looked step.  We have clients with heavy external recruitment sources that have added diversity as a method to evaluate their outside resources.
  • Develop meaningful outreach in your community.  It’s not enough to post on the diversity boards, but that is a good first step.  This is one of those areas where you need to get out from behind the computer and know what resources you have in your communities to provide minority, female, veteran and disabled candidates to your organization.  You know you want an excuse to get out of the office and this is it!
  • Avoid check the box solutions – in the old days annual letters to the NAACP, Hispanic Chamber, LULAC, WBC, etc. was the rote method of meeting GFE requirements – this produced busy work for an intern but didn’t produce results.  Placing ads in minority, female, vets and disabled publications that existed solely for the placement of GFEs was another high cost/low return method.
  • Be creative – one of our clients had a need for skilled tradespeople and a goal for craftworkers in their organization. They developed a partnership with an inner-city school system to get more kids interested in the trades.  They spoke to administrators, teachers and children; they helped set up a curriculum; provided internships at their facilities and ultimately they developed a pipeline of qualified electricians and machinists in their organization.
  • Call us for ideas – we’re here to help.


This can be as simple as printing out your email correspondence to organizations that you have developed relationships with; or flyers from diversity recruiting fairs attended; or minutes of meetings and placing them in your AAP.

Other of our client companies keep track in an HR drive or folder or in the notes on their Applicant Tracking System.

In the event of an audit, instead of defending your company, your offensive strategy will put you in a position to show off your team and your star Quarterback – YOU.