HR Compliance Resources Available for Federal Contractors
This blog is Part Three of a three-part series on HR-related Federal Contracting compliance:
- Part One addresses the process to follow to determine the applicability different federal regulations to your company;
- Part Two provides a walkthrough and checklist to determine the applicability of specific laws and executive orders; and
- Part Three discusses compliance resources that are available to companies.
What HR Compliance Resources Are Available to Federal Contractors?
When I am brought on to consult with clients, it’s rarely at the beginning of a company’s lifecycle. Instead, what normally happens is a company is founded, it experiences growth, and at some point, the company grows to a point where it becomes apparent that managing the HR function requires additional resources than what is currently available in-house. This is especially the case with government contractors who have to deal with a number of regulations that phase-in based on company size and contract demographics.
The reasons why company leaders may need access to additional HR resources when it comes to HR-related government contracting compliance can vary, although these reasons typically fall into the following situations:
Situation 1: There is an employee with the time and general ability to conduct the HR work as long as that employee has access to additional informational/training resources.
How to Address Situation 1: When an employee has the ability to perform and manage HR compliance and just needs additional training/knowledge in order to be effective, an organization has two primary options:
- Option A: Send the employee to training. After the company determines what portions of compliance, if any, will be outsourced versus what will be handled internally, you can then determine the training needs of the internal resource.The most common (and complicated) areas of HR government contracting-related compliance that organizations outsource are Affirmative Action Plans and the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) pay administration.
- Option B: Send the employee to training and have an external HR compliance expert assist with the initial audit. This option would be sensible when there is a high level of urgency to perform a comprehensive audit and quickly implement changes (as needed). Organizations that have a low tolerance for risk would typically find this sort of option attractive.
Situation 2: A lack of confidence exists that internal employees have the ability to conduct the work or internal resources do not have enough time/bandwidth to perform the work.
How to Address Situation 2: If there isn’t an available internal resource with the ability to effectively manage the HR compliance-related work, an organization can either:
- Option A: Hire a new internal resource. When a company’s contract size and employee demographic growth push a company past regulatory thresholds, there is typically a lot of structural change occurring in the organization. Put another way, this is the perfect time to think about your company’s strategic growth and evaluate what sort of HR professional you want to bring onto your team based on how you want to structure your HR department and how the HR department is situated within the company.
- Option B: Retain an external HR resource. This option makes the most sense when a company is looking to build an HR function (as opposed to managing something that is already ‘built’) and wants to insource HR responsibilities once an acceptable amount of the department has been built. Typically the sort of candidates that a company would look for may have different backgrounds and pay requirements if their focus is more on building versus maintaining.
A lot of what’s been discussed so far involves personnel changes (insourcing or outsourcing), and it’s important to note there are a lot of other compliance resources available to organizations:
Training for HR Professionals
There are too many training options to list, but the types of trainings range from general compliance to targeted compliance for a specific issue (such as the SCA). I recommend checking to see whether the training offers HR Certification Institute (HRCI) credits, which is a general baseline (although not the only measure) of quality of HR training.
Training for Managers
Organizations looking to reinforce their culture of HR compliance oftentimes conduct training for their managers since managers are the first line of communication with employees and are typically heavily involved in the recruiting process (where a lot of HR government contracting-related compliance issues arise). Training can either be conducted by in-house or via external HR professionals based on expertise and bandwidth.
Federal Web Sites
These two websites below are helpful in providing information regarding HR compliance.
There are a number of blogs written by my colleagues, for example, about HR government contracting compliance:
- EEOC Review: The Top 8 Areas of Focus for 2016
- GovCon Risk Review: The Top 5 Regulations You Need to Know
- How to Avoid Costly Service Contract Act Violations
- Section 508 Requirements Review for Government Contractors
- Review Your Compensation Practices for EEO-1 Pay Equity Reporting
- What You Need to Know About HR Compliance as a Small Business
In summary, there is no single silver bullet for building and maintaining an (HR) compliant organization. At the end of the day, someone needs to do the work, and that someone needs to know what they’re doing. What resources an organization needs will vary based on circumstance, and the intent is that the information listed within this blog is enough to get you started on the right path to government contracting HR-related compliance.