Fourteenth Anniversary!

Posted by on May 1, 2021 in Anniversary, Blog | Comments Off on Fourteenth Anniversary!

Fourteenth Anniversary!

It’s our FOURTEENTH Anniversary. We couldn’t have made it this far without a great team of Amanda, Alex, Heather, Cody, Melissa, Ryan,  and all the others who have been a part of our success over the years.  And of course, thank you to all of our great CLIENTS…you’re the best!

FYI…our office is actually located off Broadway [State Route 14] in the Steelyard / Slavic Village neighborhood.


Why non-profits still struggle with hiring and retaining talent

Posted by on Apr 27, 2021 in Best Practices, Blog, Non Profit, Talent Acquisition | Comments Off on Why non-profits still struggle with hiring and retaining talent

Why non-profits still struggle with hiring and retaining talent

By Ryan Sheehan

We have been privileged to work with a number of non-profits, and one of the most pervasive HR challenges these organizations face is attracting and hiring enough quality candidates. Many of our clients tend to attribute the inability to pay as much as other employers as the principal cause of this issue. We have found that while cash compensation is certainly a significant factor, it is not generally the primary one that determines if a person chooses and stays with an employer in this sector.

So what do they want?

  1. A strong sense of mission and purpose: Individuals who choose careers in non-profit fields will tell you their number one reason for working in this area is that they want to help people. Organizations that best articulate, integrate, and practice their values / mission, and strive towards a focused vision are the most appealing employers. These efforts must start at the leadership level and cascade down through to the front-line workers. Also, on a job level, each position should be designed in a way so employees can practice their vocation in the way where they feel empowered and effective in serving others.
  2. A positive work environment and experience: Not-for-profit organizations that can provide the most supportive and flexible work environments have a clear advantage in hiring and retaining employees. Policies and procedures that engender positive leadership to manager to staff and peer to peer relationships are key. In many not-for profit career fields, there are unique stresses and emotional hardships. Here, work life balance is paramount. Consider ways to provide more flexible schedules, better distributed work / case- loads, and other tactics that support a more positive work / life balance. Remember, care workers need to be cared for too!
  3. Advancement and professional growth opportunities: Year after year, high performing employees rank opportunity for advancement and professional growth among their top three reasons for selecting and staying with an employer. Of course, promotions are meaningful. However, individuals in these particular fields desire to expand their professional knowledge and skills, not just to increase their influence and scope of responsibility.

Organizations should be proactive in identifying high-potential individuals and developing a training program to prepare them for success in advanced and/or management roles. The selection criteria should not solely be length of service – past performance, core competencies, and aptitude are much more significant predictors of success. Once a workforce development and training program is in place, it is essential to share the details of the program with applicants during the hiring process.

It can be a daunting challenge to develop effective, sustainable practices to enhance non-cash compensation and other hiring and retention incentives. Let us know how we can help. Contact us today.

Ryan Sheehan is a colleague and friend of OA and has led a number of successful talent acquisition projects for non-profit and public-sector organizations with us. He is an accomplished Human Resources and talent management professional with a solid track record of aligning people and business strategies. Across his 18 years of career experience, he has developed, implemented, and improved Human Resources programs, processes, and tools/technologies. Also, Ryan is adept at directly matching top talent with esteemed employers and creating strong talent acquisition strategies, trainings, and teams.

Recruiting and talent acquisition services

Posted by on Apr 22, 2021 in Best Practices, Blog, Talent Acquisition | Comments Off on Recruiting and talent acquisition services

Recruiting and talent acquisition services

Although many of our clients are familiar with our human resources consulting projects, 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 work with clients to develop or refine their talent acquisition strategies.  This means we assess the landscape of your industry’s talent and labor market, review your approaches to engage with potential candidates, and recommend ways to make your sourcing, screening, and selection process more efficient and effective. We give you tools help you select the right person all the time, and eliminate the guesswork.

Want to learn more? Contact us to learn how we can help with your recruiting and talent acquisition needs.


Client success story – Motogo

Posted by on Apr 20, 2021 in Best Practices, Blog, Community Support, Non Profit, Organizational Design, Success Stories, Talent Acquisition | Comments Off on Client success story – Motogo

Client success story – Motogo

Organizational Architecture has a very diverse portfolio of clients and we have a long track record of working with all types of organizations, whether they are private-sector companies, public-sector agencies, and even non-profits.

We have had a long-standing relationship with  Motogo. Motogo’s mission is to teach kids to solve problems through motorcycles. They do that by bringing back shop class through partnerships with schools and community organizations. They offer quarter long and full semester in-school and out-of-school STEM curriculums, and week-long summer camps for middle school and high school students.

Motogo only started a few years ago but has already worked with many schools and organizations throughout Northeast Ohio.

When Motogo was forming, they reached out to us because we had already been affiliated with Skidmark Garage, a community motorcycle garage where you can work on your motorcycle. They provide the tools, space, and community to assist you with your project. As motorcyclists this was a natural fit for OA.

Molly Vaughan is the Executive Director of Motogo. She said:

Mark Fiala and Organizational Architecture has been instrumental in helping Motogo get off the ground.  Their experience with non-profits is significant and we have benefitted from this.


One area that was of immense help to us was in assisting us with forming our Board of Directors. OA worked to help us build the women-led, diverse Board we wanted.  We felt this was important…our mission is to teach kids problem-solving through motorcycle maintenance…and that includes girls as well as boys.  We wanted to demonstrate meaningfully that our leadership reflected everyone we serve.


OA has been helpful in other ways…helping us develop our Board Charter, developing policies and processes for payroll, accounting, and other systems.  They were active participants in our strategic planning process and have always been available to provide ad hoc assistance to us when we need it.  We are so glad they have been there with us from the beginning to help us get where we are.

Motogo is one of the coolest non-profits anywhere.  Really!…check out some of their posts on social media.  There are lots of pictures and videos of their programming in action and making a difference to kids across Northeast Ohio.  If you are inclined to support them, you can donate here.

OA serves our clients in many ways:

Want to know more?  Contact us and check out other success stories to learn more.

Non-profit consulting

Posted by on Apr 13, 2021 in Best Practices, Blog, Compensation Consulting, HR Consulting, Non Profit, Organizational Design, Performance Management, Performance Management Consulting, Position Descriptions, Talent Acquisition, Training and Development, Training and Development Consulting | Comments Off on Non-profit consulting

Non-profit consulting

Over the years we have had an opportunity to work with a number of non-profit organizations, ranging from large agencies and foundations to smaller organizations.  We have also worked with professional and trade associations, health care organizations, and community organizations.

Non-profits have the same Human Resources challenges that any other organizations have. But it is important to recognize some of the unique aspects of them. This typically includes:

  • Employees who are mission-oriented
  • Governance by a board of director or trustees
  • Restrictions on how funding can be used
  • Broad groups of stakeholders that have a say in how the non-profit fulfills its purpose

There are of course many others.  Yet we have found that the services we provide to our private-sector clients are applicable to the non-profit sector. Just like our private-sector clients, our consulting work for non-profits includes:

  • Human Resources consulting – We have helped non-profits with their compensation programs, performance management systems, job description development, training, and many others.
  • Recruiting and talent acquisition – We have successfully recruited Executive Directors for several organizations, and we can help you find top Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, Operations, and other professionals just as we have for our private-sector clients.
  • Temporary HR contractors // Fractional HR – Maybe you have a need for temporary assistance with recruiting, onboarding, and other HR projects. A fractional HR professional can help.

You can find out about our non-profit projects here and other client work here. Want to know more?  Contact us!

Human Resources consulting services

Posted by on Apr 7, 2021 in Best Practices, Blog, Compensation Consulting, Employee Benefits, HR Consulting, HR Operations Audit, Organizational Design, Performance Management, Performance Management Consulting, Position Descriptions, Talent Acquisition, Training and Development, Training and Development Consulting | Comments Off on Human Resources consulting services

Human Resources consulting services

OA has been providing Human Resources consulting services to our clients for 14 years. We are proud of the work we have done and the many organizations we have been privileged to have worked with, from private companies, to non-profits, and even public-sector organizations like cities, libraries, and agencies.

What are some of the things that can be part of an HR consulting project?  They can really encompass all HR disciplines:

  • Compensation consulting [base, incentive, executive cash and non-cash programs]
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion, and opportunity programs [anti-harassment training, sensitivity training]
  • Employee benefits plan design and compliance
  • Employee communications [handbooks, policies, procedures]
  • HR information systems
  • Organizational design [organizational structure and job descriptions]
  • Performance management systems [corrective action, annual reviews]
  • Talent acquisition strategies [effective sourcing, screening, and selection techniques]
  • Talent management and succession planning
  • Training and development [supervisor training, skill training]
  • Workplace investigations [harassment, policy violations]

Our experience is as deep as it is varied.  Our professionals bring not only consulting experience to the table but also the experience of having led these programs as part of internal HR leadership.  Our analysis and recommendations is borne out of practical experience.

Our success stories and case studies tell our story from the clients’ perspective…they provide the best endorsement of our capability and work product.

Contact us to learn how we can help with your HR consulting and project needs…we’ll be pleased to share with you how our work has exceeded our clients’ expectations.

Client success story – Positive Education Program Cleveland

Posted by on Apr 6, 2021 in Best Practices, Blog, Compensation Consulting, HR Consulting, Non Profit, Success Stories | Comments Off on Client success story – Positive Education Program Cleveland

Client success story – Positive Education Program Cleveland

We recently completed a project helping a local non-profit with its unique compensation needs.

As one of Ohio’s largest non-profit agencies committed to children, PEP provides services – both direct and consultative in nature – for children with severe mental health and behavioral challenges, their families and the professionals who support them. PEP is committed to understanding and overcoming the significant trauma and chronic stress experienced by many of the children they serve. Programs include six PEP Day Treatment Centers, PEP Connections, PEP Early Childhood Plus and PEP Assist.

As an education-based organization, PEP’s base compensation programs had much in common with other educational institutions. Over the years, their particular system was not able to address the needs of today’s workforce, and so they contact OA to help them develop new strategies for managing their staff compensation.

We worked with the Chief Human Resources Officer, Jessica Sawyer, Human Resources Manager Linda Gruss, and project leader Kathleen McConnell, Recruitment and Retention Specialist, on this project. They said:

We were seeking a consultant that would help us modernize our compensation programs to be more competitive. We also needed assistance with knowing what best practices are available to help us administer our programs more effectively.


OA has deep experience designing compensation plans for numerous types of organizations. Their experience with non-profits was important…but we also wanted to know what other sectors do when it comes to compensation.  While many of our positions are specific to the work we do, we also compete with everyone else for professionals outside our core services, such as Finance, IT, Facilities, and others.


What is unique about OA’s approach is that they bring the sensibility of having not only designed programs, but also the responsibility of their ongoing administration. Meaning, they propose solutions that are practical and workable. They also provide tools to make ongoing program management easier, and a willingness to collaborate to find novel solutions.


There work has been tremendously helpful in our compensation planning and we plan to use them again in the future as we implement our new programs.

Our diverse experience in Human Resources includes non-profit organizations, as well as public-sector entities and private companies.  We serve our clients in many ways:

Want to know more?  Contact us and check out other success stories to learn more.

Updating your employee handbook

Posted by on Mar 30, 2021 in Best Practices, Blog, Compliance, HR Consulting | Comments Off on Updating your employee handbook

Updating your employee handbook

If you follow our updates you’ve probably seen our employee handbook posts, such as this one, and this one.  We like to keep reminding people that keeping your handbook updated is important…but it doesn’t have to be a laborious process to do so. We know that sometimes just getting started is the hard part. What are some ways to get this off the checklist for 2021?  Here are some tips:

  • 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 updates for more helpful resources.