Client success story – Cleveland Public Library

Posted by on Jan 22, 2019 in Best Practices, Blog, Government and Public Sector, Talent Acquisition | 0 comments

Client success story – Cleveland Public Library

It has been our privilege to work with several public libraries, and this month’s success story is about our latest collaboration.

Cleveland Public Library is the driving force behind a powerful culture of learning that will inspire Clevelanders from all walks of life to continually learn, share and seek out new knowledge in ways that are beneficial to themselves, their community and the world. They are the People’s University, the center of learning for a diverse and inclusive community.

OA was recommended to CPL based on the work we had done for another large system.  CPL needed to recruit a Chief Talent Officer, and wanted to work with a firm that understood the landscape of both top HR talent and also the public sector. The team of Mark Fiala and Ryan Sheehan worked together on behalf of the selection committee at CPL.

Our project partner was Tena Wilson, Deputy Director and Chief of Staff for Cleveland Public Library.  She said:

OA was recommended to us by trusted colleagues in the public library space. We were aware of their success sourcing and screening public sector HR talent, and their strategic approach to recruitment.


Like most recruiting consultants, they spent time with us to understand our expectations for the role, the characteristics we sought in the ideal candidate, as well as drafting for the job description, job posting, and screening questionnaire. Of great significance, they provided valid and reliable benchmark compensation data.


Just as important to us is how they treated candidates.  CPL has a sterling reputation in the community and we wanted our values demonstrated in the recruitment process.  The OA team worked hard to make the candidate experience meaningful and respectful.  No finalist candidate wants to find out that they will not be offered the position, but Mark and Ryan made sure that communication was open and direct.


On top of all of that, they were fast!…they jumped on this project and soon we had a number of quality candidates to choose from. It made our final selection easy, and we are excited to welcome our new leadership team member.

Do you need assistance with a strategy for effective recruitment? Contact us to learn how we can help and check out our blog for more resources.

Client success story – Mandel JCC

Posted by on Jan 22, 2019 in Best Practices, Blog, Compensation Consulting, Non Profit, Success Stories | 0 comments

Client success story – Mandel JCC

This month’s success story features our work with the Mandel JCC.  The J builds, connects and strengthens the Jewish community and the greater Cleveland community through exceptional life-long programs and services that reflect the richness of Jewish life and enhance physical, intellectual, and spiritual well-being.

OA was approached based on our experience working with not-for-profit organizations to benchmark compensation and recommending approaches to enhance compensation program administration.

Vice President of Human Resources Sara Hodgson said:

OA was recommended to us by one of our trusted advisors to assist us with understanding how competitive our compensation was, and how we could be more effective at managing our programs.  They worked with us to understand what our goals were and then developed a plan to address our needs.


Throughout the project they spent time with us reviewing data, asking questions, and making sure they were providing the analysis we needed to make decisions about our program.  They provided data from both general and also industry-specific sources and qualified them to make sure the data was valid and reliable.


We needed a comprehensive review and OA provided analysis on our staff compensation and made recommendations regarding compensation philosophy, program administration, and pay structures. Additionally, they helped me present the findings to my leadership team in a way that was clear and meaningful to them.

Not-for-profit organizations are one of our specialties.  Whether you are large or small, we can help with your compensation planning needs.  Contact us and check out our blog for more resources.

New Year’s Resolution #3: Audit your HR processes

Posted by on Jan 17, 2019 in Best Practices, Blog, Compliance, HR Operations Audit | 0 comments

New Year’s Resolution #3: Audit your HR processes

This month we have been sending out reminders on HR best practices: reviewing and updating your employment posters and making sure your employee handbook is current.  Our last New Year’s HR resolution is to recommend you conduct an HR audit.  An HR audit is simply a review of processes and activities to ensure you are working efficiently, effectively, and in a compliant manner.

There are probably many priorities you are dealing with right now.  You have probably just wrapped up your annual enrollment and are already working on performance reviews and merit increases. While you may not be able to dive into an audit until the second quarter, getting your plan together now can help you get started quickly once the end-of-the-year / beginning-of-the-year activities subside.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing things the same way each year. But there are so many new tools to help get the HR paperwork handled more efficiently, it’s worth taking a step back and assessing what you are doing and ask yourself:

  • Why is it done this way?
  • Are there ways I solve similar problems in other aspects of my life that I can apply here?
  • Where do I spend most of my time? Does it add value?  Do other perceive this work as meaningful?
  • For any given process, if I review the number of steps involved, can I combine or reduce some?
  • What else could I do if some of these other tasks took less time?

How should you go about reviewing your HR processes?

  • Break it down…start with employee relations, then work on training, recruitment, compensation, etc.  If you cannot conduct a complete audit at once, select a function and work on it over the month. The following month move on to the next one.
  • Document the steps involved in each task and then see what can be reduced or combined. Pro tip: turn your documentation into a policy and procedure, so that if you need to train someone else to back you up, you have it all documented.
  • Get some third-party input.  You can have an HR consultant spend some time performing the review for you. The value of this approach is that you can get it done faster, and sometimes a fresh set of eyes can be valuable in providing insights into ways to improve.  You’ll also get a full report that you can use as your roadmap for process improvement and getting compliant.

When should you conduct an audit?

  • If you have a transition in your HR function, an HR audit can help the new HR leader set priorities.
  • If you expect new processes and systems to be implemented, reviewing processes and tasks can help make the implementation run more smoothly and give you a clearer idea of requirements and outcomes.
  • If there will be a change in key stakeholders…if there is an acquisition or divestiture, new leadership, or large groups of new employees, it might be a good time to conduct a review.

Human Resources audits are one of our specialties. We have the tools to conduct a thorough analysis and provide recommendations to be more compliant and more effective and efficient. If you need help starting your HR audit or have or other Human Resources consulting needs, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful resources.

New Year’s Resolution #2: Review [and update] your employee handbook

Posted by on Jan 15, 2019 in Best Practices, Blog, Communication, Compliance | 0 comments

New Year’s Resolution #2: Review [and update] your employee handbook

When was the last time you updated your employee handbook?  Y2K? Obama’s first term? When Breaking Bad was on TV?  It wouldn’t surprise us…you finally get one distributed and before you know it, years have passed.  The beginning of the new year is a good time to take a look at it and make any needed updates.

What’s the best way of going about this?

  • Go back and review any memos or emails you have sent employees over the past few years that communicate policy or procedure changes. If they are still in effect, you may want to incorporate them in your new handbook.
  • Check in with line supervisors and ask them what works well and what needs to change. You may find that needs in their departments require changes to help them run their function more effectively.
  • Determine if there are any legal or compliance updates at the local and state level.  Some municipalities have different requirements that the state as a whole.  And of course we know many states have particular compliance requirements that need to be met.
  • Check to see if there have been any changes at the federal level as well.  A good place to start is the US Department of Labor website.

What else should you think about?

  • Keep in mind that the handbook can be used to convey important cultural messages.  Make sure that it reinforces these messages and is consistent with your other messages.
  • While it is important to communicate employee rights and responsibilities, try to make it clear and easy for the lay person to understand.  Avoid technical or legal jargon as much as possible.
  • Don’t put anything in that you don’t intend to enforce. This can lead to inconsistent treatment of employees.
  • Don’t make it an exhaustive policies and procedures manual. Convey what an employee ‘needs to know’ and leave the detailed internal administrative procedures for your P&P manual.
  • Before you distribute the manual to all of your employees, distribute it to the managers and supervisors and schedule time to review key changes and the sections most relevant to them [time and attendance, discipline, etc.].  The handbook should be a tool to help them lead more effectively…make sure they know how to use it.
  • Collect signed handbook acknowledgements from EVERYONE. No one should be exempted.  Also, whether you update your handbook annually or not, get a new acknowledgement at least each year.

Finally, set a date to conduct your next review and update so that you stay on top of this and not let the years go by without making sure you are staying current.

Do you need assistance with your workforce strategy or other Human Resources consulting needs? Contact us and check out our blog for more helpful resources.


New Year’s Resolution #1: Get your required employment postings updated

Posted by on Jan 8, 2019 in Best Practices, Blog, Compliance | 0 comments

New Year’s Resolution #1: Get your required employment postings updated

Have you checked to see if you need to update your workplace postings? Certain federal and state laws [and even some counties and municipalities] require employers to post laws and regulations regarding employee rights in the workplace. Requirements may vary from employer to employer depending on the state in which the employees work, the size of the organization, and the type of industry.

These postings should be displayed in a conspicuous place in the workplace for all employees to see, such as a break room, copy room, or other common areas for employees. If your organization has multiple facilities, postings must be displayed in each facility. For employees that work remotely from an office location, these policies and regulations should be sent to the employees, provided in hard copy form, or provided electronically for these employees to access as well.

Where can you find these postings?

  • Your city and state department of labor or industrial commission websites should have a section for required postings that tells you who is required to comply.  You will also be able to download the postings to print out as many as you need.
  • The US Department of Labor website has all the information you need.  Make sure you check with other agencies such as OSHA, Wage and Hour Division, EEOC, etc. for other required posters.
  • Your payroll company may provide posters as part of their service at little or no cost. Check with them to see if they can provide these to you.
  • There are paid services you can use that provide these posters. An internet search should be able to turn up a number of options…just be aware that while it may be more convenient to pay a service to provide these posters, especially if you operate in multiple jurisdictions, you can always find them for free at the local, state, and federal agencies.

Do you need assistance with your workforce strategy or other Human Resources consulting needs? Contact us and check out our blog for more helpful resources.

Motogo fundraiser Feb 9 2019

Posted by on Dec 18, 2018 in Blog, Community Support, Non Profit | 0 comments

Motogo fundraiser Feb 9 2019

As we shared back in July, we are excited to be working with Skidmark Garage and Motogo to bring shop class back to school.

Imagine you’re a kid again. You walk into your grandfather’s garage to help him repair the broken lawnmower. Remember the way the air was filled with the smell of motor oil and possibilities? You felt, as he handed you the wrench, the two of you could fix anything.

 Back then, working with your hands taught patience, persistence, and problem solving. Through trial and error, these DIY projects built confidence. Motogo Mobile Shop Class is recreating these meaningful opportunities for students.

On February 9 2019 we invite you to join us for the first annual benefit Bringin’ Back Shop Class to kick start and support Motogo Mobile Shop Class.

Motogo is a mobile shop class providing hands-on introduction to real world problem solving and critical thinking through the tangible avenue of motorcycle maintenance.

Not only will you get to meet the Motogo team and learn more about the program and our early successes, there will be food, open bar, interactive demonstrations, silent auction and raffles, and live entertainment.

Ticket and event information can be found here.

Do you want to show your support with your organization or company?  Information on group and corporate support can be found here.

Organizational Architecture is proud to help Skidmark CLE bring these skills to students in Northeast Ohio and beyond and will be involved with helping Brian and Molly bring this program to students in 2019.

Want to learn more?  Contact Brian or Molly by email or call 216.701.7073…or better yet, stop by the garage at 5401 Hamilton Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114.

You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too!

Holiday party tips

Posted by on Dec 14, 2018 in Best Practices, Blog, Workplace Events | 0 comments

Holiday party tips

Notwithstanding some reports that companies are doing away with holiday parties altogether, if you do choose to hold one, the Society of Human Resource Management has some great suggestions of what to include in a party memo to send out to your employees BEFORE the party to help ensure everyone has a good time [and that you or your HR team are not dealing with the aftermath..].

  • Alcohol – It should go without saying that employees should drink responsibly if alcoholic beverages will be served at the party, but that is not always the case. A system should be implemented to prevent employees from consuming too many alcoholic beverages, such as having someone in charge pass out an allotted amount of drink tickets with employees’ names printed on them. This will help employees limit the amount of drinks they consume and employees cannot give them away to others if they choose not to use them. There should also be a cut-off period where alcohol will no longer be served about an hour before the party ends but make sure that there will be non-alcoholic beverages still available. Make sure to have professional bartenders serve beverages at the party instead of burdening an employee with the risk.
  • Apparel – Make sure to have a set dress code for the party so employees know ahead of time what they can wear and set what will be considered inappropriate attire at the event.
  • Behavior – Communicate with employees that although they are not at work, their behaviors should still conform to what is acceptable in the workplace. This includes using language that would be appropriate for the workplace as well.
  • Gift giving – If gifts will be exchanged at the party, make sure to have a price limit on gifts and that gifts should not be obscene, offensive or of a sexually explicit nature.
  • Impaired driving – To avoid employees driving after consuming alcohol, have your company make arrangements with Uber, Lyft, or a taxi firm to be available to transport employees who do not have a designated driver to get home safety.
  • Smoking – Have a rule in place on smoking at the event, whether it prohibits it completely from the event or make sure there is a designated area for employees to go.

These are just a few items to communicate to your employees in a Holiday Party memo to help prevent any confusion or mishaps.

Need more help?  Contact us for other helpful resources.

Organizational Architecture supports Motogo at Skidmark CLE

Posted by on Dec 4, 2018 in Blog, Community Support, In the News, Non Profit | 0 comments

Organizational Architecture supports Motogo at Skidmark CLE

Organizational Architecture is excited to be part of something cool that we wanted to share. We’ve made a lot of progress since our first note in July…here is an update.

Motogo is a not-for-profit mobile shop class providing hands-on introduction to real world problem solving and critical thinking through the tangible avenue of motorcycle maintenance. Motogo is part of Skidmark Garage which is providing the framework for running Motogo.  The concept is to bring these classes directly to schools in Northeast Ohio weekly over the course of the school year.

Motogo is already working with students from the Cleveland Municipal School District and Magnificat High School.  Furthermore, we have already secured assistance from the Cleveland Leadership Center / Bridgebuilders and Business Volunteers Unlimited to help with strategy, funding, and marketing.

 Additionally, we are receiving grant money or in-kind assistance from:

  • Lincoln Electric
  • Harley Davidson
  • Brighton-Best
  • SuperTrapp
  • MetalRescue
  • The Blaster Corp
  • Eastwood
  • And many others…stay tuned

We could use help! We are seeking board members to help lead the organization.  If this is something you want to learn more about, contact Mark Fiala at markfiala@oahumanresources.com.  Thanks!