Client success story – Stow – Munroe Falls Public Library

Posted by on Sep 27, 2020 in Blog, Government and Public Sector, Public Libraries, Success Stories, Talent Acquisition | Comments Off on Client success story – Stow – Munroe Falls Public Library

Client success story – Stow – Munroe Falls Public Library

Organizational Architecture has been fortunate to work with many of Ohio’s public libraries. Our latest success story is helping the Stow – Munroe Falls Public Library’s Board of Trustees select its new Library Director.

The Stow – Munroe Falls Public Library was founded in May 1924 as a school district library with a Board of Trustees appointed by the Board of Education. Located in the Township Hall close to the town center, it served both Stow and Munroe Falls, as it does today. Jessie Williamson, daughter of Adella [Adell] Durbin, was the first librarian of Stow Public Library. Mrs. Williamson was sent for library training at Western Reserve University for one month in the summer of 1924, at the expense of the Trustees. The library officially opened to the public in January 1925.

The Mission of the Stow – Munroe Falls Public Library is to provide excellence in library service to all who seek access to information and recreational, educational, and cultural materials of any format. It also aims to promote the well-being of the community through programs and cooperative efforts with other community agencies, public and private. The Stow – Munroe Falls Public Library will help create a community where ideas, culture, and knowledge thrive by providing materials, equipment, and services to all people.

Upon the retirement of its Library Director earlier this year, Board of Trustees President Thomas Shubert contacted us to help them find their next Director.  He said:

We selected OA and the project team of Mark Fiala and Ryan Sheehan to work with us based upon their experience and understanding of the needs of Ohio’s libraries as well as similar executive searches they have successfully conducted for other libraries.


They led an extremely diligent process to locate top library talent in both Northeast Ohio and nationally.  They worked closely with the Board during the candidate screening process and facilitated each meeting we had with the candidates. They guided us on our decision-making and provided helpful tools for us to use.  During this process they were adept at helping us work around the challenges COVID-19 presented to library operations, and even with the delays caused by the library shut-down, they kept both us and our candidates engaged.


We are pleased that our new Director, Gale Koritansky, started at the beginning of September. Ryan and Mark made this process smooth and we are looking forward to working with them again.

Public sector employers are one of our specialties.  Whether you are a municipality, agency, or public library system, we can help with your HR programs, including recruiting, compensation benchmarking, and staff training.

If you need assistance with recruiting, compensation strategies, or other HR consulting needs, contact us and check out other success stories to learn more.

Talent acquisition and recruitment

Posted by on Sep 25, 2020 in Blog, Government and Public Sector, Hiring, HR Contractors and HR Consultants, Public Libraries, Talent Acquisition | Comments Off on Talent acquisition and recruitment

Talent acquisition and recruitment

Although many of our clients are familiar with our Human Resources consulting expertise, we are still surprised that not many realize we also help our clients find top talent.

But we do!  We have helped many organizations…whether they are for-profit, not-for-profit, or public sector fill critical roles.  Here is a sample of just some of the roles we have helped organizations fill:


  • Head of Operations for a manufacturing and assembly company
  • Head of Operations for an OTC pharmaceutical company
  • Client Relations Associates for a financial services firm
  • Head of Human Resources for a utility vegetation management company
  • Controller for an insurance brokerage
  • Head of Human Resources for a law firm
  • Electrical and structural engineers for an engineering and architecture firm


  • Executive Director for a state-wide professional association
  • Executive Director for a civil rights organization
  • Executive Director for a cultural organization

Public sector / public libraries

  • Library Directors
  • Fiscal Officers
  • Heads of Human Resources

Additionally, we have augmented our clients’ internal talent acquisition teams with contract recruiters who sourced, screened, and recommended candidates for tough-to-fill positions.

Our talent acquisition success stories have even more information on our recruitment work for our clients, including consulting projects to help them improve their talent acquisition activities and processes.  The team of Ryan and Mark bring tried-and-true recruitment and assessment processes combined with many years of talent acquisition experience. Additionally, they enhance their recruitment capabilities by drawing on other Human Resources disciplines such as compensation and rewards, performance management, and leadership development.

Helping you find and keep top talent is what we are all about.  Find out more about how we help our clients by checking out our updates on our website and on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

A word about COVID

Posted by on Aug 25, 2020 in Blog, COVID-19 | Comments Off on A word about COVID

A word about COVID

As many of you know I was pretty sick with COVID [seven days in the hospital, bilateral pneumonia, fever for fourteen days, etc.] . As far as I know I am unlikely to get it again. My plasma is tested for antibodies when I donate convalescent plasma and five-plus months out from being sick I still have the antibodies present. I am unsure if I can carry and transmit it even if it does not make me ill.

So I decided to volunteer as a poll worker. I want to suggest that if you are not high risk or already had it, have work flexibility, and want to be an active participant in making the Nov 3 election run as smoothly as possible, you do so as well.

I was pleased to find out that not only have several of you decided to do so as well, but in my home county they have had record numbers of people volunteering to work the polls. 

Also, in my county [Cuyahoga County Ohio] you get paid to be a poll worker, which I did not realize when I signed up.  If you are concerned about losing a day’s wages, your county may also pay poll workers.  Where I live it is $250 and entails time the night before to set up and then a long day on election day.

You may end up getting sick regardless, but at least it was for helping democracy.

Take care, and thank you for volunteering.


Compensation planning for 2021

Posted by on Aug 20, 2020 in Blog, Compensation Consulting, HR Consulting, Performance Management, Reward and Recognition | Comments Off on Compensation planning for 2021

Compensation planning for 2021

August is generally when we start seeing data on pay budget increases for the following year. A number of consulting organizations conduct surveys and report what organizations plan to do the following year as far and what their pay increase budgets will be, and also what changes they may make to their pay grade midpoints based on changes in market rates.  To say the least, planning for 2021 changes is going to look a bit different than previous years because of the COVID pandemic.

For the past several years, most organizations have been budgeting above 3.00% for their pay increases. Actual pay increases at the employee level will generally vary by performance and other factors.

According to the WorldatWork.org total rewards association, pay increases for 2021 are expected to be lower than 2020…the first time this has happened in twelve years.  The projected increase rate for 2020 was 3.30% but it is expected that it will be closer to 2.90% in 2021.  Most organizations still plan to give some sort of increase, and many are still planning for it to be in the 3.30% range, but others are holding off on increases until later in 2021 or skipping them altogether.

It’s understandable that you may be tempted to hold off on increases.  There is a lot of uncertainty going into 2021 and the economic situation may not improve.  You may be banking on the fact that your employees are also feeling this uncertainty and are less apt to move given the environment, even in the face of no pay changes in 2021. Keep in mind that there are some risks to this strategy. Your high performers are always going to be in demand. No pay increase in 2021 may make them willing to take that recruiter’s phone call.  Employees have been under a great deal of stress in the past six months, trying to balance work with family responsibilities.  No increases in pay will only add to this and possibly diminish further their levels of engagement.

Regardless of whether you decide to make merit increases happen, make sure you stay on track with your performance appraisal process. It is still important to document performance and provide feedback even if pay increases are delayed or smaller than in the past.

WorldatWork will have updated data in October. We will make sure to let you know what has changed and also provide some recommendations on what you should do.

Many of our projects involve providing recommendations on effective compensation practices and providing data on compensation benchmarks and best practices.  You can find more information on ways we’ve helped our clients in our updates on our website.  If you want to talk to us directly, contact us…we’d love to hear from you!

Make sure your supervisors know how to get the most out of your employee handbook

Posted by on Aug 5, 2020 in Best Practices, Blog, HR Consulting, Training and Development, Training and Development Consulting | Comments Off on Make sure your supervisors know how to get the most out of your employee handbook

Make sure your supervisors know how to get the most out of your employee handbook

As we have mentioned in other updates, one of the most valuable tools a supervisor can have is a good employee handbook.  The employee handbook not only helps you communicate expectations to employees, it can be a great resource to help your supervisors work through employee issues quickly and effectively.

We find, though, that many of our clients have supervisors whose familiarity with the employee handbook is as deep as that of the employees…they remember reading it when they were hired and that was the last time they looked at it.  This is a shame because many of the day-to-day employee matters they deal with could be resolved by checking the handbook.

What is the best way to get your supervisors to use the employee handbook more effectively?  Here is your checklist to get started.

  1. Make sure you have a current employee handbook to start with.  Laws change and so do your policies. To ensure your handbook is a useful tool, you should update it every two or three years. When you update it, make sure that you distribute it to all of your employees and have them sign the acknowledgement that they received it.
  2. Focus only on the things relevant to supervisors. Don’t hold a meeting in which you go through the new handbook page-by-page…focus on the things that they need to know TODAY. Things like time and attendance standards, first steps of corrective action, call-off procedures, etc. Also, make sure they are clear on their responsibilities if an employee makes a claim of harassment to them, and what they need to do if an employee is requesting an ADA accommodation. Other sections can be addressed later as circumstances dictate.
  3. When holding your training session, leave time for questions.  Talking about handbook sections is important…and so is practical application. Leave a good half-hour [at least] to discuss real-world situations.  Ask them to provide situations in advance…things that they are normally confronted with so that they can be discussed. Other supervisors may have found good solutions to similar problems they can share.
  4. Make them use it! If you get a call from a supervisor seeking help with an employee issue soon after the training session, ask them, ‘what does the handbook say?’  If they haven’t gone there first, ask them to do so then call if they still need help. Or ask them to pull their handbook, and using yours, go through it together to see what the answer may be.  To get them to use it, you may need to do this to reinforce it as their starting point.

Training supervisors to use the employee handbook to resolve employee issues ensures they can do it with confidence and consistency.  The small investment in training time will pay off with supervisors who can address most issues at their level and only involving senior when necessary.

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


What is the best way to launch your supervisor training program?

Posted by on Jul 27, 2020 in Blog, HR Consulting, Leadership, Training and Development | Comments Off on What is the best way to launch your supervisor training program?

What is the best way to launch your supervisor training program?

Many of our clients ask us to help train their front-line supervisors on how to be more effective leaders.  This is truly one of our favorite kinds of projects because helping supervisors and other mid-level management be more effective is very gratifying.  Not only does it help managers become more confident and better at doing their jobs, the payoff for the organization [and its customers / clients] is huge.

What is the best way to get started?  It depends.  If there is a very specific need that the organization has identified, addressing that first is a great place to start.  But many times there is an undefined sense that training is needed but you cannot quite put your finger on what is missing.  We often hear things like, ‘our supervisors aren’t good at giving feedback’, or ‘our managers don’t solve problems but pass them up to senior management to solve’. When you are having a hard time getting started, here are some ideas that might help you:

  1. What kinds of traits or behaviors are important for your employees or managers to possess? Is effective communication important? Problem solving? Customer service?  If these are important skills and you are not sure all managers are up to speed on them, they can be a great place to start your work.
  2. How well do your managers and supervisors use the employee handbook as a resource?  We often think in very employee-centric terms when it comes to the handbook but it can be a really useful tool for supervisors when working through employee issues.  Many of our leadership development programs start off with a review of the employee handbook and how it can help the supervisor be more effective. Not only does this help the manager do their job better, a workshop gives them a way to discuss common challenges they experience and share solutions.
  3. What are the top 3 to 5 employee challenges your supervisors have?  Looking back on the kinds of issues you have addressed over the past year or so, or simply polling them to see what is on their minds, you can come up with some common challenges and develop workshops to address them.

Supervisor training can be one of the best investments an organization makes in its people. Mid-level managers become more confident when addressing employee issues.  They solve employees’ problems effectively. They learn how to coach people and help them in their careers.  All of this helps you, your organization, and your customers.

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

How do you decide if an employee should be paid overtime?

Posted by on Jul 21, 2020 in Blog, Compensation Consulting, Compliance, HR Consulting | Comments Off on How do you decide if an employee should be paid overtime?

How do you decide if an employee should be paid overtime?

The question comes up often when we work with clients…do we pay this job an hourly rate or a salary?  This one is tough to answer…and many times we have to take the client on a journey to understand an important compensation consideration.

Often the question isn’t about paying hourly versus a salary per se…it’s more about whether the employee should be paid overtime or not. In reality you can pay employees an hourly rate or annual salary, but even if you pay an annual salary, in some cases you must still pay overtime.  Why is this?

It comes down to the fact that in order for an employer to be relieved of paying overtime…in other words, for the role to be EXEMPT from overtime, it must meet the conditions of tests that have been developed by the US Department of Labor.  Failure to meet the conditions of these tests means the job is not exempt from overtime, and the employees in that job must be paid overtime.

Basically, there are three tests that must be met completely:

  1. Salary Level: The minimum salary level required for exemption is currently $684 paid weekly [$35,568 annually and $17.10 per hour]. Anyone paid below this level must be paid overtime.
  2. Salary Basis: To meet the requirements of the salary basis test, the employee must be paid a predetermined amount for each pay period and compensation may not be reduced due to the number of hours worked in a work week or the quality of work completed. It also states that the employee must be paid their full salary if they perform ANY work for that week, but they do not need to be paid if NO work is performed during that work week.
  3. Job Duties: The third test is the job duties test. This test focuses on the primary duties performed by certain types of employees including executive, administrative, professional, computer, and outside sales employees. These different types of employees each have specific duties tests that must be met for them to meet the requirement. Note that this means that the CONTENT of the job, and not its TITLE, will determine whether it is exempt or not.

For complete details on these exemptions and to learn more about other exemptions, visit the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division website.

Watch for new postings on workforce strategy here on our blog, as well as FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Thank you to our public libraries

Posted by on Jun 10, 2020 in Blog, Government and Public Sector, Public Libraries | Comments Off on Thank you to our public libraries

Thank you to our public libraries

Over the past few years it has been our privilege to work with a number of public libraries, and participate in library organizations at the regional, state, and national levels.

Since the pandemic started and libraries have had to find new ways of serving the community, we have been inspired by the resourcefulness and adaptability they have shown.  The ways they have stayed actively engaged with the community through email messages and social media, making services available through technology, and adapting their services so that the communities they serve are able to access their library have truly been remarkable.

We just want to send a thank you to Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Clermont County Public Library, Delaware County Public Library, Stark County District Library, Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Westerville Public Library, Wickliffe Public Library, the Ohio Library Council, and the Michigan Library Association for being there for us and the community. We are grateful for the work you are doing to keep us informed, entertained, and engaged.