Although they’ve avoided a general press release, we’ve gotten our hands on the Consent Decree for Monsanto’s Soda Springs location and found it very educational.   It reaffirms our suspicion that certain companies (or at least, certain managers at certain locations of those companies) continue to ignore their responsibility as federal contractors.   They also dismiss business practices that improve productivity.

Look at the list of findings against Monsanto regarding women in the “Operatives” job group:

Failure to:

  • Track applicant activities
  • Self-audit the selection process to avoid practices which potentially discriminate
  • Report information on all qualified applicants
  • Determine the availability of qualified workers within recruitment area
  • Use actual job duties to conduct such as analysis
  • Make good faith efforts to recruit female applicants
  • Establish placement goals

Monsanto, during the review period the OFCCP investigated, had hired 26 males into a position for which the OFCCP discovered there was a significant number of women available for those roles.  There was anecdotal evidence to back up the statistical findings, and apparent inconsistencies in the hiring process.

The list of violations is exactly the list of the standard actions for compliance as well as the list of actions a company would take to improve their hiring process and ensure getting the best candidates.  It’s baffling that companies are unable to comply with regulations when compliance activities are synonymous with business best practices.

If management combines the applicant tracking and hiring data with productivity data for current employees, they can make adjustments to future recruiting efforts to ensure the highest level of success at each position.  Also, by tracking the success rate and selection process of individual hiring managers, management could train those hiring managers on the activities which support the best outcomes and ensure a consistent selection process.

Likewise, determining the availability of qualified workers would allow management to see where the distribution of the best candidates is likely to be, and, of course, determine what outreach efforts to make.  They can ensure that “no stone is left unturned” (or no demographic group is ignored) in the search for those best candidates.  Documenting the efforts and tracking the results not only fulfills compliance, but also allows tracking the ROI on such recruitment efforts, leading to adjustments in spending and tactics to further improve the overall system.

While the OFCCP regards outreach as “good faith efforts”, these efforts should not just be in “good faith”.  Outreach recruitment is a serious business with a track-able ROI, and management’s attitude should reflect that.  This outreach is really the starting place for all the recordkeeping that continues afterward:  A qualified candidate responds (shows “interest”) and applies, they are considered, interviewed, compared to other contenders, eventually hired, and establish a level of productivity.  Every step must be looked at, recorded, and analyzed to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone.

Interestingly, Monsanto, while disputing the claims, has agreed to train up to 6 of the affected women, with pay, and to follow with offers of employment at the entry level starting wages upon completion of training.

It is likely that setting up training, selecting and contacting the potential trainees from the affected applicants, establishing payroll, etc., is more burdensome than simply writing a check.  Could this be a creative way for Monsanto to ensure they have enough skilled female operatives—documented!—to provide insurance against future audits.  What do you think?