Is it time to hire an HR manager?

Posted by on Oct 25, 2022 in Best Practices, Blog, HR Consulting, Human Resources consulting, Organizational Design, Performance Management, Talent Acquisition, Training and Development | Comments Off on Is it time to hire an HR manager?

Is it time to hire an HR manager?

There comes a time when every engagement ends. The compensation study has been completed and recommendations implemented, the candidate we recruited has accepted the offer and has a start date, the performance management system has been developed and managers are starting to use it. After all of the work has been completed, our clients sometimes ask how we can provide ongoing, daily support to them.

Our usual response is that while we don’t generally function as an outsourced HR solution, we can help them decide if it might be more effective to hire a dedicated Human Resources professional. What are some of the considerations for when it might be time to add an HR professional to your team?

  • How much recruiting, orientation, and onboarding activity do you have, or plan to have in the near term? Recruiting is one of the most labor-intensive activities in HR, mainly because in order to capture top talent quickly, someone needs to be managing the sourcing, screening, and engagement with candidates pretty much all the time, including evenings and weekends. Having someone besides hiring managers do this work can help you get the people you want more quickly and efficiently. Bonus if this person can help develop strategies for staffing growing departments and generating novel ways of engaging with the labor market.
  • How strong/capable are your mid-level managers? If your managers are pretty green or haven’t gotten good training on how to lead effectively and hold people accountable, an HR professional can help fill those gaps. HR professionals know how to build effective training and development programs and more importantly, can work with your supervisors on an ongoing basis to provide additional coaching and help them become more proficient.
  • Are you having to deal with too many employee matters? From interpersonal conflicts to critical incidents, HR professionals are trained how to help employees navigate tough situations. More importantly, HR professionals know how to develop strong working relationships with supervisors to help them avoid bad situations [and decisions] and provide solutions that help keep supervisors focused on your customers, service goals, etc.
  • Are you putting out too many fires? Does it seem like each day there is a new situation to deal with? And that each time you are coming up with a never-before-used approach to resolving it? An HR professional should be able to put systems in place to address the root causes or provide guidance so that decision-making is easier. The HR professional will be able to bring best practices to make things work more effectively and efficiently.

An HR professional on your team can do so much more than process paperwork and handle routine administrative tasks. This person can help your mid-level managers grow and be more effective which will relieve senior management of routine personnel matters, provide guidance and resources to minimize staff issues, and in the best case, provide strategies to ensure you always have the right people in place, ready to serve your customers, and to strengthen your organization.

If you think it’s time to explore whether you need an HR professional on your team, contact us and we can help you assess your need and recommend the best approach to addressing this need whether it be hiring an HR professional, leveraging current service providers more effectively, or locating new partners.

Making plans to upskill your managers in 2023

Posted by on Oct 18, 2022 in Best Practices, Blog, HR Consulting, Human Resources consulting, Leadership, Training and Development, Training and Development Consulting | Comments Off on Making plans to upskill your managers in 2023

Making plans to upskill your managers in 2023

Many of our clients are preparing their budgets for 2023 including the investments they plan to make in developing their supervisors and managers to be more effective leaders. OA has been working with clients for over fifteen years to give their managers the tools they need to be more effective as leaders, and help them become better at coaching and developing their own staff and helping the senior leadership team execute on strategy.

Whether you are a private-sector organization, a nonprofit, or are part of a public-sector agency, a bench of strong managers will:

  • Ensure your staff are well-led and receive the coaching and development they need to be productive
  • Ensure your staff have competent and reliable leaders to whom they can turn when they need help doing their jobs
  • Assist senior management with developing and executing strategy
  • Relieve senior management of routine employee matters, personnel administration, and performance management
  • Generate ideas and recommendations to enhance service delivery, improve processes, foster teamwork, and drive change

Unfortunately, many times our clients don’t see the full potential of leadership development training. Perhaps they recently had a bad incident and feel that training will solve it or prevent it in the future. But that’s only part of the value of training your managers. Providing them with fundamental leaderships skills will not only reduce the likelihood of bad situations but will strengthen the organization.

What are some of the benefits of investing in supervisor training?

  • It helps round out your supervisors. They may be very skilled at the technical aspects of their jobs but relying solely on what they’ve picked up…good, bad, or otherwise…about supervising over the years means they will have gaps. Coordinated training helps fill those gaps.
  • It fosters camaraderie. Bringing supervisors together who may not directly interact with each other enhances mutual trust and friendship. They see each other as colleagues on whom they can rely for help with management challenges.
  • It shows the organization that everyone participates in learning new skills. This sets the example that everyone from senior management to the newest employee is expected to become more effective at their jobs.
  • It ensures consistency. Employees will know what is expected of them regardless of where they work. Staff will be treated in a fair and consistent manner. Performance standards will be upheld equally. Claims of unfair treatment will be minimized.
  • It helps identify high potential staff and managers. Observe how participants in leadership training act in the workshops. Are they helping their peers? Are they addressing their opportunity areas? Are they processing the information so that they can share it with their teams? Training and development programs can help with your talent review and succession planning processes.

As we’ve said before, training and development programs can be expensive to implement. Determining your goals and defining the outcomes before you embark on working with a partner or sending people to training is critical to ensure you get the best return on investment.  Making sure that ways to measure behavior change is also needed to determine success or failure.

Remember too that training should not be seen as ‘punishment’. Remedying poor performance may involve additional training, but it should not be seen as a means to enforce discipline or only used if there is something wrong. Training and development is based on taking good people and making them even better.

Check out our archives for more on training and development, then contact us to set up time to learn how we can help you enhance your management team.

OA will be at the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference October 19 and 20 2022

Posted by on Oct 12, 2022 in Blog, Government and Public Sector, Presentations and Conferences, Public Libraries | Comments Off on OA will be at the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference October 19 and 20 2022

OA will be at the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference October 19 and 20 2022

The MLA 2022 Annual Conference is going to be held in Port Huron, Michigan October 19 to 21 2022.  OA will attend again as a participant and we are excited to be part of this event!

The Michigan Library Association [MLA] is Michigan’s oldest and largest library association. MLA has served the library profession in Michigan for more than 130 years. Their membership includes more than 2,000 libraries and individuals throughout Michigan from public, academic, school and special libraries, and organizations supportive of libraries. They are a collaborative network of libraries, library professionals, and library supporters who are dedicated to advocating for libraries, growing professionally as leaders in the library community, and advancing the profession through sharing of best practices, innovative ideas and new programs and services that benefit library personnel, library patrons, and the communities they serve.

OA became a member of MLA in 2019.  If you will be at the conference, introduce yourself!  We can share how we have helped public libraries with Human Resources consulting, recruitment, other public library HR consulting projects.

Can’t wait until the conference?  Contact us and check out our updates for more information.

Save the day! Data visualization to the rescue

Posted by on Oct 10, 2022 in Best Practices, Blog, Government and Public Sector, HR Consulting, Human Resources consulting, Public Libraries | Comments Off on Save the day! Data visualization to the rescue

Save the day! Data visualization to the rescue

By Asha Vyas

Is your library’s financial information inviting?

We don’t often think of financial information in terms of inviting the reader into the story of our community impact. Yet, understanding financial data is a crucial part of managing, planning, and promoting our public image. One great way to help our audiences understand financial data, and other quantitative data, is to visualize it in a graphic. Especially when combined with text, graphics can be highly effective at communicating essential information and conveying observations, discoveries, and recommendations to your board, donors, staff, and the public.

Any effective graphic serves a defined purpose. A static graphic, as opposed to an interactive or dynamic graphic, is one that is designed to tell a specific story explicitly, requiring minimal interpretation or exploration from the audience. Because static graphics help people receive and understand information quickly, especially quantitative information and comparisons, they can help us to raise an alarm, trumpet a success, or recommend an action.

At Your Part-Time Controller, LLC [YPTC] we have a standard for static graphics  that requires five essential elements. We refer to this set of requirements as the JD Standard in honor of a graphic designer whose work we admire. These elements take information that might be foreboding – information that takes specialized skill to understand like financial statements – and formats it visually to invite the reader into the story. These elements tune out the noise allowing the reader to quickly interpret the information.

The five essential elements are:

  1. Headline – succinct messaging that gets straight to the point
  2. Interpretation – expanded messaging that orients the reader and fills out the story
  3. Graphic – a visualization of quantitative information
  4. Credit – identifies who prepared the graphic
  5. Source – identifies the origin of the data being visualized

While elements one through three tell the story, elements four and five are important to build confidence, trust, and credibility with the reader. The structure of a graphic can remain the same and be adapted for different audiences or to highlight new information. Repetition of the format across graphics will familiarize the reader and helps them to understand new graphics quickly and focus on the story being told.

All the components of an effective static graphic are intentional. For example, as shown in the sample graphic below, color is used sparingly to emphasize a part of the graphic. This same color can be used in the interpretation to link a specific portion of text visually with the graphic.  Balancing color with readability and consistency is helpful to make information easy to compare.

Another tip for effective static graphics is to label items directly. While legends in charts are conventional, they are often unnecessary and can demand a lot from the reader to interpret the information. Direct labels keep our focus where it’s needed most.

To determine what information to present in a graphic, consider the hierarchy of the information. What is the most important story to be told? If a reader only has a few moments to see your graphic, present it in a way that highlights the message you wish to convey.  An effective headline will tell the reader the key message of the graphic. Additional time spent reading the interpretation and the graph itself will reinforce the headline.

Using static graphics to convert your story into visuals that are easy to understand and quickly inform can be a powerful tool. For help with graphics click here. For more information about this topic, click here to watch the webinar.

Asha Vyas is a Training Content Specialist with Your Part-Time Controller, LLC [YPTC]. YPTC provides customized accounting and financial management services for over 1200 nonprofits nationwide. Since 1993, YPTC has built transformative, personalized solutions based on clients’ financial needs, including cash flows, funding streams, financial concerns, and internal control challenges. YPTC is committed to educating organizations through webinars and resources that provide relevant takeaways and best practices. To learn more about YPTC and browse our content, visit www.yptc.com.



Client success story – Cuyahoga Falls Library

Posted by on Sep 20, 2022 in Best Practices, Blog, Government and Public Sector, Public Libraries, Success Stories, Talent Acquisition | Comments Off on Client success story – Cuyahoga Falls Library

Client success story – Cuyahoga Falls Library

Our latest success story highlights our talent acquisition and recruiting services and how we have successfully helped library trustees when they need to appoint a new library director.

Cuyahoga Falls Library is a public library located in northeast Ohio, located between Cleveland and Akron. Their mission is to connect people with the world of ideas, information, and imagination by providing access and professional guidance to resources that inform, entertain, and enrich. We were fortunate to have met the retiring library director, Valerie Kocin, through our work with the Ohio Library Council. We had visited the library in the past and saw the important role it plays in Cuyahoga Falls in helping revitalize this community. When the board learned of Val’s upcoming retirement, they contacted OA to help find her replacement.

Board of Trustees President Deborah Ziccardi was our partner on the project. She said:

Organizational Architecture was recommended to us because of their knowledge of Ohio’s public library landscape and their successes with other library director searches. Beyond that OA’s project team included a professional librarian who has experience in large and small library systems, including working as a library director herself.


They guided us throughout the process with defining/refining the role of the library director,  developing materials to help communicate the opportunity effectively to those who may be good candidates, and facilitated our decision-making process.


They provided weekly updates with their activities and the progress of their candidate screening process. They provided us with a slate of candidates that all had the ability to do the job and at the same time brought unique skills and experience to the table. We were impressed with the quality of the candidates and how OA guided us as we considered each one of them.


The Board is excited to start its work with our new Director who started in September. We appreciate their assistance.

Being the talent acquisition and recruitment service partner on this project was gratifying to us on many levels. We had the opportunity to help the library system in which OA team member Heather Brown lives. We got to work with friend, colleague, and librarian Heather Muller who was immensely helpful in deepening our knowledge of the role of the library director as well as library operations. And as always, Ryan Sheehan leveraged his twenty-plus years of experience in recruiting and strategic HR leadership to source, screen, and recommend a slate of high-quality candidates to the trustees while ensuring the candidate experience was open, honest, and fair.

Organizational Architecture is the trusted partner for more than twenty public libraries for human resources consulting, recruiting, performance management, and leadership development. If you need help in any of these areas, contact us and check out other public library updates to learn more.

OA will be at the Ohio Library Council Expo September 28 to 30 2022

Posted by on Sep 19, 2022 in Blog, Government and Public Sector, Presentations and Conferences, Public Libraries | Comments Off on OA will be at the Ohio Library Council Expo September 28 to 30 2022

OA will be at the Ohio Library Council Expo September 28 to 30 2022

The 2022 Ohio Library Council Convention and Expo is going to be held at Glass City Center in Toledo Ohio September 28 to 30 2022.  OA will attend again as an exhibitor and sponsor and we are excited to be part of this event!

The Ohio Library Council is the statewide professional association which represents the interests of Ohio’s public libraries, their trustees, Friends and staff.  The membership of the OLC is composed of public library systems, library trustees, Friends of the Library groups, library staff members, other library institutions, and library-related commercial vendors.

OA became an Associate Member of OLC in 2019.  After our work helping OLC select its Executive Director, we wanted to deepen our relationship with them because of the valuable resources they provide which helps us become more effective helping our public library clients.

If you will be at the conference, stop by our booth!  We can share how we have helped many of Ohio’s public libraries with Human Resources consulting, recruitment, other public library HR consulting projects.

Can’t wait until the conference?  Contact us and check out our updates for more information.

Is it time to review and update your collection development policy?

Posted by on Sep 16, 2022 in Best Practices, Blog, Government and Public Sector, Public Libraries | Comments Off on Is it time to review and update your collection development policy?

Is it time to review and update your collection development policy?

By Cari Dubiel

In recent years, materials challenges have ramped up in frequency and are even covered in mainstream media. All types of libraries are affected by this new wave, but it has hit school and public libraries the hardest. If your library hasn’t looked at its collection development policy in years, it’s time to do so.

A fresh collection development policy should include elements that may not have been present in past policies. As the materials landscape changes to include new formats…and old formats are aged out…policies need to include them. A recent news story covered a challenge against hoopla, a streaming platform for libraries [yes, it’s spelled with a lower-case ‘h’]. Hoopla includes books by many independent authors, which is great for access to high-quality indie works. However, without a review process, inaccurate and harmful items can slip through, and librarians may discover these materials in their collections without warning.

My recommendations for your update:

  • Study a strong collection development policy. How do you know if it’s strong?
    • Comes from a reliable source like ALA or one of its divisions.
    • Includes a mission statement and philosophy of collection development.
    • Includes clear definitions of what will be collected. Popular interest materials? Special collections? Items with professional reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, or Library Journal?
    • Includes criteria for de-selecting or ‘weeding’ the collection.


  • Think about relevant criteria for your type of library using the above questions.
  • As detailed above, include digital formats and platforms. Each of these should be subject to the same criteria as your print and audiovisual materials.
  • Include actions for gifts and donations to the library, particularly if those items do not meet the criteria you have laid out.
  • Include a provision for collecting materials by local authors.
  • Make sure you provide a process for evaluation of materials challenges. Most libraries will gather an ad hoc committee of professional librarians, who make a recommendation to the Director. If the Director agrees, the recommendation will be given to the Board, which can also veto it if they choose.

Your material challenge form should include the following questions:

  • Ask for patron name, address, phone number, e-mail address
  • Does the patron represent themself or an organization?
  • Ask for item name and description
  • What brought the material to the patron’s attention?
  • Has the patron reviewed the entirety of the material?
  • What is the concern about the material?
  • Has the patron investigated any resources regarding the material? Has the patron read any favorable reviews of the material?
  • What are the redeeming qualities of the material?

For more on this topic, seek a webinar presented by Stephanie Sendaula. She presents them live, and there is also a recording on YouTube here.

Cari Dubiel is a public library expert with 20-plus years of experience. Having worked from the ground up as a Shelver to her current management position with the Twinsburg Public Library, Cari understands the operational aspects of public libraries from both a staff and administrative perspective. Cari has managed projects such as technical services workflow development, software evaluation and implementation, collection development analysis, employee onboarding and training, and website usability. She holds a bachelors’ degree from Hiram College and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Kent State University. She is also an adjunct faculty member at KSU in the iSchool program. She presents frequently for PCI Webinars and has also presented for NEO-RLS, OLC, and public library staff development days. A former Library Liaison to the National board of Sisters in Crime, Cari is very active in the publishing industry. She is represented by Lynnette Novak of the Seymour Agency and is the lead editor for Writing Bloc Books.

Compensation planning for 2023

Posted by on Sep 11, 2022 in Best Practices, Blog, Compensation Consulting | Comments Off on Compensation planning for 2023

Compensation planning for 2023

We’ve been keeping a close eye on compensation trends throughout the year, with updates in January and June 2022.  We have a better picture of what pay increase budgets are looking like going into 2023.  Here are some updates…

WorldatWork.org, the Total Rewards Association

  • WorldatWork’s 2022-23 Salary Budget Survey revealed that salary increase budgets reached their highest level in 20 years in the United States, rising to an average of 4.1% in 2022 with a 3.8% median.
  • In the spring of 2021, U.S. respondents projected that 2022 total salary increase budgets would rise modestly from 2021’s 3.0% average to a 3.3% average while the median prediction [3.0%] showed no change from 2021’s actual median increase of 3.0%.
  • The higher predicted 3.3% average suggested that a portion of respondents were anticipating notably higher increase budgets going forward, perhaps as they expected to compensate for pay increases that were delayed or deferred in prior years and to address increasing labor market pressure.

Society for Human Resource Management

  • If the inflation rate continues to rise in 2023, employers could be pressured to raise their salary budgets projections next year, although if the economy continues to slow, they may not have sufficient revenues to do so.
  • According to pay data and software firm Payscale’s 2022-2023 Salary Budget Survey, U.S. employers report a planned base salary increase of 8.0% to upwards of 5.0% in 2023.
  • According to payroll and HR software and services firm ADP’s latest National Employment Report, released Aug. 31, the year-over-year change in annual pay by U.S. employers was up 7.6%. The report used ADP’s aggregated payroll data of over 25 million U.S. employees.
  • Growth in hourly wages has exceed salary raises this year. For full-time hourly employees, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta tracked 6.7% hourly wage growthfor the 12 months ending in August.

Economic Resource Institute

  • Start of 2022 the salary increase budgeting was typical with a 0.0-3.5% increase.
  • Mid-year the world events [e.g., the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, supply chain issues, low employment, and the Great Resignation] have challenged the original 2022 budgets. Now organizations will require a competitive compensation plan and may even warrant a mid-year salary increase.
  • With challenging labor markets, organization’s prior compensation decisions are being tested. It is now common to see pay increases of 4.0% or more.
  • It is difficult to assess how long this will all last. It is recommended to manage 2022 increases separately, then build out a pay increase management plan that accounts for inflation for the next several years.
  • Consider the following for employee retention: Competitive pay for nonexempt and lower-level employees. Provide lump sum payment or one time retention bonus to offset inflation in 2022; Analyze the market competitiveness and consider increase of pay to critical employees, at-risk roles, and high performers instead of increasing pay across-the-board

We haven’t seen this kind of pressure on wages in a generation. If you haven’t checked to see what the competition is paying, including competition from industries outside of your normal peer group such as retail, manufacturing, or logistics you may want to start with an objective market analysis of compensation.

Compensation studies are one of our specialties. We have deep experience with base compensation benchmarking, incentive program development, and total rewards. Check out our updates on workforce strategy and compensation or contact us for other helpful resources.