How General Contractors Are Improving Diversity Numbers

Diversity
December 16, 2021

When faced with a lost booking, Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked that anybody can take a reservation, but some don’t know how to hold a reservation. The humorous banter highlighted the difference between intent versus reality—a challenge that many companies face when striving to meet ever more demanding diversity goals. 

Nearly all public construction projects have supplier diversity requirements that stipulate small business and/or Minority, Women or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise objectives. Winning projects with M/W/DBE partners is typically well understood – actually facilitating the process to meet the requirements is a bit more challenging. 

From defining diversity specifications to measuring and verifying payment goals, diversity tracking on construction projects can be fraught with missteps. Traditionally, project managers are tasked with assessing diversity spend at the end of a project to ensure that goals were met. It’s a look back method that requires project managers to search through payments and often leads to inaccuracies. 

Here are three ways to improve your diversity numbers:

  1. Hire a Leader: The chief diversity officer (CDO) or Director of Diversity Procurement can help define and deploy an enterprise wide diversity strategy. This individual can ensure that your diversity policies and practices are customized to suit your business, your people and your processes. 
  2. Develop Mentorship Programs: While policies and practices are essential, diversity and inclusion requires action and participation. Find and deploy tools and resources that foster diverse opinions and build relationships are essential.Champions or mentors provide support and feedback for ongoing improvement and new opportunities. 
  3. Utilize Technology: Automated diversity management systems are purpose-built to collect contract specifications and certifications. These platforms link contract specifications and certifications with accounting to track payments across the project lifecycle. At any time during a project, a contractor can see the actual spend compared to anticipated quotas. The systematic measuring of diversity spend across a project not only allows your company to meet diversity objectives with confidence, but it also minimizes liability exposures. 

Is your organization simply ‘taking’ contracts with M/W/DBE partners, or are you ‘holding’ those contracts in a way that meets and possibly exceeds contractual obligations?

As many of you are aware, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs requires auditable diversity records. Conventional diversity record-keeping methods comprised the use of spreadsheets, surveys and cloud-based folders–all tedious and prone to errors.

Constrafor’s Diversity Tracking tool is purpose-built to track all diversity related documentation in one software platform in real-time. It stores and tracks subcontractor certifications per customer requirements and tabulates spending on each individual subcontractor (and their subcontractors) even when those organizations fall under multiple categories. Constrafor automatically tracks outstanding requests, sends reminders when needed, and keeps received certificates stored in an intuitive cloud-based interface. 

See how technology can help your organization improve your diversity numbers. Schedule a meeting to learn how Constrafor can help.