Client success story – National Association of College Stores

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in Blog, HR Project Management, Human Resources Consulting, Organizational Design, Success Stories | 0 comments

Client success story – National Association of College Stores

This month’s success story is an example of how Organizational Architecture assisted its client with the launch of a new business unit by providing HR best practices in a retail environment.

The National Association of College Stores [NACS] is a not-for-profit trade association representing the $10 billion campus retailing industry.  NACS represents more than 4,000 stores serving colleges, universities, and K-12 schools in the United States, Canada, and around the world; along with more than 1,000 companies supplying goods and services to campus stores.  NACS members also include higher education professionals, organizations, associations, and others interested in the industry’s vitality.

NACS is headquartered in Oberlin, Ohio, with branch offices in Westlake, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; and Irvine, California.

NACS recently launched a new initiative through its indiCo subsidiary to provide operational and management solutions to independent campus stores at colleges and universities across North America.  While they had provided consulting to college bookstores in the past, this new endeavor included services involving direct management of college stores.  They were already connected with Organizational Architecture through their employee benefits advisor who was aware of the deep experience we had with retail HR systems.

Frank Sulen, Chief Financial Officer, said:

We were connected with Organizational Architecture through a trusted advisor who knew of their experience with retail and multi-unit organizations.  Not only has OA provided consulting services to retailers, they have actually worked in management positions with several large retail organizations.


We needed help modifying our current HR processes, which were developed to support an organization with a few locations and many people in each location, allowing our HR department to support them in a direct, face-to-face fashion.  We needed help leveraging our current processes to a widely distributed model.


OA started by conducting a review of all of our current HR practices, and made recommendations on how to modify them to serve retail organizations.  Then, they developed an extensive collaboration checklist to assist us before, during, and after the process to convert stores from school management to ours.  They worked with us each step of the way to ensure that when our first college store management collaboration commenced, we could foresee any last-minute issues and develop good processes to use on subsequent collaborations.  They worked closely with both our HR department and store operations team to make our new endeavor a success.

Besides retailers, there are many industries that share the same aspects of being multi-unit organizations with distributed workforces that rely on the strength of systems that work remotely and with limited staffing.  One of our core competencies at OA is providing this assistance to our clients based on working with First Federal Lakewood, Pearle Vision, Things Remembered, Citi Trends, OfficeMax, and others.

Do you need assistance with identifying areas of opportunity within your HR function or a particular project that you need help managing?  Contact us and check out our blog for more helpful resources

OA featured in Galliard Family Business Advisor Institute newsletter

Posted by on Aug 16, 2017 in Blog, In the News, Organizational Design, Recognition, Success Stories, Succession Planning | 0 comments

OA featured in Galliard Family Business Advisor Institute newsletter

Organizational Architecture is pleased to share our recent article published in the Galliard Family Business Advisor Institute newsletter.  Our piece Succession planning is more than ownership and control…it’s how you build a strong organization can be found here on their website.  In this article, we share the benefits of succession planning and how to develop a succession plan for your business.

The Galliard Family Business Advisor Institute is an educational membership organization of advisors and business leaders working to support the success of family-owned and closely-held businesses, raise the standards of family business advising, and provide continuity in service across our network.

We are proud to be members of the Galliard Family Business Advisor Institute network of advisors and are thankful for the opportunity to help family-owned with their workforce strategy challenges.

Learn more about our work here and check out our blog for other helpful resources.  If you need support aligning your workforce strategy with your business strategy, contact us and connect with us LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

OA participates in the Ohio Municipalities Business Conference & Expo

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 in Blog, Government and Public Sector, In the News, Presentations and Conferences, Recognition | 0 comments

OA participates in the Ohio Municipalities Business Conference & Expo

Organizational Architecture participated in the first Ohio Municipalities Business Conference & Expo sponsored by The City of Columbus August 2 and 3 2017.

Hosted by Mayor Andrew Ginther and the City of Columbus, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the conference provided an interactive platform for municipal leaders, procurement officers, supplier diversity professionals, business owners, and industry influencers to discuss best practices in supplier diversity to build and grow their businesses and collaborate.

We have successfully worked with municipal and county organizations with compensation consulting, recruitment, performance management, and other projects, so this was a great opportunity to develop relationships with public sector professionals and business owners.

Organizational Architecture is a certified Veteran Owned Small Business and is certified at the state and local level to perform work with public agencies.  These certifications demonstrate our expertise and experience in public sector HR consulting, recruiting, and temporary HR contractor placements.

business conference

Do you have questions about our work with municipalities and other public sector organizationsContact us and check out our blog for more helpful resources.

OA agency certification update – August 2017

Posted by on Aug 10, 2017 in Blog, Government and Public Sector, Recognition, Veteran Owned Small Business | 0 comments

OA agency certification update – August 2017

Organizational Architecture is proud to have earned certifications with federal, state, and local public sector organizations.  These certifications mean we are qualified to perform work for government and other agencies and have provided detailed information about our company, projects, and capabilities.

We are currently certified with the following agencies:

While these certifications are used primarily by our public sector clients for performing work for them, we hope that these certifications are meaningful to our private sector clients as well since it demonstrates our capability to perform complex work for all types of clients.

For more information, please see our capability statement.

Do you have questions about our work with municipalities and other public sector organizationsContact us and check out our blog for more helpful resources.

Creating effective management and successful supervisors

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 in Blog, Leadership, Supervision | 0 comments

Creating effective management and successful supervisors

As mentioned in our previous post, most companies promote workers into supervisor positions because they seemingly deserve it, rather than have the talent for it.  For example, a great contributor with long tenure may be given a promotion and put on a management track to keep them on the team.  However, it should be noted that the habits that made them successful as individual contributors are not the same ones that will make them effective leaders.  We’ve found that great leaders have many of the following talents:

  • They motivate every single employee to take action and engage employees with a compelling mission and vision.  For more on employee motivation see here
  • They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
  • They create a culture of clear accountability by checking in regularly with staff and making sure everyone has the tools needed to do their job.
  • They delegate meaningful projects to their team members. This builds up their team and helps them reach their potential.
  • They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
  • They communicate clearly and make the time and space for people to talk and ask questions.
  • They make decisions based on productivity, not politics.
  • They are flexible and can adapt to individual employees and allow them to work according to their own individual style.

Knowledge, experience, and skills develop our talents and the fundamental skills of management can be learned by anyone.  Since management is not something we are born knowing how to do, it is especially important to ensure that your supervisors are given the training and support needed to succeed.  Finally, remember that excellent managers come in all shapes and sizes and their management style can be as unique as personalities.  There is no single way to be a successful supervisor, instead recognizing what works for your company and developing those traits in your employees can help create effective leadership.

If you need assistance strengthening your management team or other human resource needs, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful resources.

Barriers to successful supervision and management

Posted by on Aug 7, 2017 in Blog, Leadership, Supervision | 0 comments

Barriers to successful supervision and management

Time and time again many of our clients have expressed that finding great managers and supervisors is challenging, yet having a great leader can exponentially increase employee engagement and company growth.  Regardless of business size or industry, we have found that poor management contributes to poor performance.  Missing the managerial mark could drive good employees to leave the company and cost valuable time and money.

Learning what makes a poor manager can help yours flourish in their role.  Sometimes, the barriers supervisors must overcome to be effective at their job are unintentionally set up by the employer.  Here are some common challenges supervisors face:

  • Failing to officially designate someone as a supervisor even though you expect a person to fulfill the role.  For instance, sometimes the duties of a manager are added to an employee’s current position without giving that person a title.  This robs the person of any authority to enforce company standards.
  • Failing to give supervisors the skill sets and tools to do the job.  Simply promoting the highest performer to a management role does not mean they will be a high performing supervisor.  The skills needed to be a manager are often different than the skills needed to be a successful programmer, machinist, salesperson, or engineer, for example.
  • Providing inconsistent training and education.  Supervisors also need to be comfortable exchanging this information across the organization.  If their health and safety training and education vary, they may not understand and interpret the job requirements in the same way nor be able to discuss this information with each other.
  • Communicating only one way.  Supervisors must be both the employer’s face to the workers and the workers’ face to the employer.  Employers need to make sure they are responding to concerns coming up through their supervisors, which also ensures concerns going down are addressed.
  • Ignoring diversity in the workplace (e.g., culture, ethnicity, gender, age, and physical abilities).  Employers who fail to hire diverse supervisors or only hire supervisors who don’t know how to manage a diverse workforce may reinforce stereotypes and fuel conflict.  Working positively with diversity engages everybody.

Eliminating these barriers will help supervisors transition into their management and contribute to their success in the new role.  Make sure to read Part 2 to learn more about what makes an effective supervisor.  If you need assistance strengthening your management team or other human resource needs, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful resources.

Revisiting benefits to promote employee retention and lower turnover rates

Posted by on Aug 2, 2017 in Blog, Employee Benefits, Performance Management | 0 comments

Revisiting benefits to promote employee retention and lower turnover rates

In Part 1, we shared numerous reasons employees might decide to leave your company. As we know, it can be very costly to handle high turnover rates and repeatedly onboard new employees. Establishing and maintaining an employee retention strategy can help you keep your best talent. Employee job satisfaction and engagement factors should be considered the key ingredients of employee retention efforts. Here a few contributors to job satisfaction:

  • Job security. Employees want to know they are going to continue to have their job. If they feel their position is threatened they may start to look elsewhere. Keeping an open dialogue and addressing job security fears as they arise will help your workers feel secure.
  • Job opportunities. The opportunity for advancement is extremely appealing to employees of all levels. People like to feel they are working to better themselves and that there are options for them to grow at a company. If employees do not find areas to grow at your company, they may move to other businesses to find those choices.
  • Taking the time to evaluate and recognize hard work and accomplishments tells employees that they are valued at your company. Even just a simple “thank you for your work” at the end of a meeting, week, or particularly challenging task helps employees feel recognized and increases their job satisfaction.
  • Compensation and benefits. Offering competitive and fair pay drives employees to stay with your company. Additionally, traditional benefits packages [healthcare, retirement savings, leave, and financial planning] are also important to most employees.

We understand that it is not always cost effective to increase employees’ compensation or benefits packages, sometimes it is simply not in the budget. However, there are other strategic benefits you can offer that promote work-life balance which is becoming increasingly important to employees. Here are some:

  • Wellness initiatives can help increase work productivity and decrease health care costs and unplanned absences.
  • Helping with student debt repayment or education assistance can help retain employees of younger generations as they come to dominate the workforce
  • Flexible work practices such as telecommuting, remote working, and flexible hours can often be implement with little to no added costs and are a huge benefit for workers.

Lastly, spending time explaining the benefits that are available can help retain key employees; often people are unaware or forgetful of what benefits are available to them. Human resources personnel should periodically check to see if employees are using their benefits and remind ones who are not about their options.

Do you have questions about reducing employee turnover? If you need assistance with establishing a retention strategy or other human resource needs, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful resources.

The problem of employee retention and high turnover rates

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Blog, Employee Benefits | 0 comments

The problem of employee retention and high turnover rates

In the past, we’ve shared several ways to attract top talent [see here], however it is just as important to retain talent as it is to find it in the first place. It is more efficient to keep a quality employee than to recruit, train, and onboard a new worker of the same quality. Therefore, companies must anticipate impending shortages of overall talent and employees with needed competencies to stay ahead of the competition. A focus on reducing avoidable turnover makes sense for these reasons:

  1. It affects your customers
  2. It is costly
  3. It affects the performance of the company as a whole
  4. It can be challenging to find skilled employees, especially when the open positions need to be filed immediately

Proactively managing employee retention helps organizations thrive through good times and bad. Managers and company leaders should understand why employees leave to develop effective retention strategies. We have found that some of the contributing factors to employee turnover are:

  • Employee dissatisfaction. Managers should remember to check in with their employees and monitor workplace attitudes regularly so they can help employees feel satisfied with their work and role.
  • Better alternatives. Sometimes employees find better options elsewhere, even if they are not actively looking. Making sure the organization is competitive in terms of rewards, developmental opportunities, and quality of the work environment can help prevent workers from finding better options.
  • Following a plan. Many people have a personal plan and their future goals may cause them to leave their jobs. For example, if a company sees that workers leave because of family related plans, they should consider reevaluating their maternity leave and family friendly policies.
  • Leaving without a plan. Other times, employees might leave on impulse. Frequently this can be attributed to a recent action, for instance being pass over for a promotion or workplace conflict. Therefore, managers should keep track of work related issues that cause employees to leave and provide training to minimize those negative interactions.

Some additional predictors of turnover that should receive attention are:

  • Organizational commitment and job satisfaction
  • Quality of the employee-supervisor relationship
  • Role clarity
  • Job design
  • Workgroup cohesion

Now that we know some of the driving factors behind employee turnover, we can discuss ways to prevent losing employees. Make sure to check back for Part 2 to learn some best practices for increasing retention.

Do you have questions about reducing employee turnover? If you need assistance with establishing a retention strategy or other human resource needs, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful resources.