The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program has long been a valuable tool for businesses to incentivize the hiring of individuals from specific target populations. By providing tax credits to employers who hire and retain eligible individuals, the WOTC program promotes workforce diversity, inclusion, and economic growth. However, like any program, it may require periodic evaluation and adjustment to ensure optimal effectiveness. If you’re currently utilizing the WOTC program, it might be time to consider whether your program is due for a tune-up.

Assessing the Need for a Tune-Up

To determine if your WOTC program could benefit from improvements, consider the following indicators:

Outdated Processes: If your program is still reliant on manual paperwork and inefficient data management systems, it may be time to upgrade to digital solutions. Streamlining your processes through automation can reduce errors, save time, and improve overall efficiency.

Limited Awareness: Are your HR staff and hiring managers fully aware of the WOTC program and its benefits? Lack of awareness can result in missed opportunities for capturing eligible candidates. Regular training and communication can help ensure everyone involved understands the program’s ins and outs.

Incomplete Screening: If your screening compliance percentage is less than 80%, then something is broken with your screening process. Ensure you review your process to ensure that any integrations with ATS or HRIS are functioning properly. If you have any incomplete surveys, it could be that you may not have your WOTC survey set up in all the ATS packages that you are using. If you have a manual process then ensure that the WOTC survey is being handed out with the application to ensure its not missed.

Ineffective Outreach: Are you actively engaging with local organizations, non-profits, and workforce development agencies that work closely with target populations? Collaborating with these entities can help expand your reach and increase the number of qualified candidates in your talent pool.

Regulation Concerns: WOTC regulations undergo periodic updates. Failing to stay updated with these changes may result in non-compliance and potential loss of credits. Regularly review the program guidelines and ensure your processes align with the latest requirements.

Tuning Up Your WOTC Program

Now that you’ve identified potential areas for improvement, here are some strategies to give your WOTC program the tune-up it needs:

Embrace Technology: Explore modern solutions that automate the WOTC screening and application processes. Digital platforms can simplify data collection, streamline workflows, and enhance accuracy, making it easier to identify and submit eligible candidates.

Raise Awareness: Conduct training sessions or refresher courses to educate HR personnel and hiring managers about the WOTC program’s benefits and how to identify eligible candidates. Internal communication channels should consistently reinforce the program’s importance and provide resources for ongoing support.

Expand Screening Criteria: Broaden your screening criteria to encompass all target populations outlined by the WOTC program. Ensure your screening questions capture the necessary information to verify eligibility accurately.

Forge Partnerships: Collaborate with local non-profit organizations, veteran service groups, and workforce development agencies to expand your network and access qualified candidates. These partnerships can provide valuable referrals and support in connecting with eligible individuals.

Regular Regulation Reviews: Establish a process for regularly reviewing WOTC program guidelines and ensuring your program remains compliant. Consult with legal or tax professionals knowledgeable about WOTC to stay up to date with any regulatory changes.

Measure and Evaluate: Implement a system to track and measure the effectiveness of your WOTC program. Monitor the number of eligible candidates identified, credits generated, and the program’s impact on your overall hiring strategy. Use these insights to identify areas for further improvement.

Final Thought

In the dynamic landscape of tax incentives and workforce development, it’s crucial to ensure your WOTC program remains finely tuned. By assessing the need for improvements, embracing technology, raising awareness, expanding screening criteria, forging partnerships, conducting regulation reviews, and measuring program effectiveness, you can enhance your WOTC program’s impact. Stay proactive, adapt to changing regulations, and continuously evaluate your processes to maximize the benefits of the WOTC program. A well-tuned WOTC program not only helps you capture valuable tax credits but also contributes to a diverse and inclusive workforce, driving your organization’s success.