Hello. I am Anna Witter-Merithew, the Interim Executive Director of RID.
The purpose of this video is to inform the membership of some exciting changes within RID HQ, related to staffing, their duties, roles, and titles.
When I was first hired at the end of March, one of the primary tasks the Board of Directors gave to me was to reorganize HQ and make sure that the staffing needs were met, in terms of supporting the staff and their needs, especially in the areas of leadership and supervision.
There was also a need to meet the needs of the membership, making sure that phone calls, emails, and requests for information were being appropriately covered. The staff also has to meet the needs of the Board and our volunteer leaders. We need to make sure our system is designed appropriately to meet these multiple challenges.
Over the past five and a half months, I have had the privilege of working with an outstanding team of professionals at HQ, learning everything I could about how HQ worked–operations, HR policies and procedures, finances, and programs and services. In addition, I have been working with an HR consultant, analyzing the needs of an organization of RID’s size, the functions that we are expected to perform, and the activities that we perform. We’ve been looking at what would be possible in terms of a restructuring. I met with our legal counsel to explore multiple approaches to an appropriate staffing structure, and we also discussed how to address several problems that I’ll bring up later in this video.
During my first few months at RID, my goal was to learn as much as possible. I did this by talking with staff members and reading many files. I learned about our call volume, the nature of the calls, as well as the volume and nature of emails and correspondence we receive and process. I learned about the programs and services that RID offers and what is their scope of work. I learned about the technical support that we provide to members, to the state associations, and our stakeholders.
I also studied the peaks in work flow – the busy times and when they occurred during the year – and found that we have various peak periods, such as those correlating with publications, conference planning, and other important activities. As an example, during the fall we are focused on the audit process.
So, I’ve been trying to get a holistic picture of RID’s critical junctions that influence the flow of work. Also, I looked at where work was delayed and why, trying to understand what it would take to make the work flow smoothly again by studying what the staff need in order to get their work done according to priorities.
Through this process, I gained insight into the strengths of RID staff and what areas could be improved. I also learned about several important challenges facing RID. For example, the structure was top heavy, meaning that there were a high number of administrative or leadership positions without the necessary front-line staff to support the work that needed to be done, such as interfacing with members and stakeholders to provide information and services. These positions were very limited, with only four.
Another challenge I found was that administrative staff has not been sufficiently empowered to make decisions. They often are dealing with limited resources and limited options on how to apply those resources. They need to be empowered to collaborate with their peers, determine solutions, and come to agreement on how to address competing priorities and needs.
There was inconsistency in titles held and the essential functions associated with those titles. Not all individuals with the same title were engaged in the same essential functions. There was no clear delineation of a salary range for positions with the same title or established guidelines for how salaries were determined. As a result, there were significant salary disparities within positions of the same title and the same basic job functions.
Returning to the idea of support staff, there is a clear need for additional front-line workers who directly interface with and serve the needs of members, to answer the phones, and provide support to the Board, the Executive Director, and for other volunteer leaders.
So, after months of careful consideration, discussion, and planning, as well as input from a number of people, a new staffing structure was implemented effective September 1. The new structure corrects the inconsistencies that existed and addresses many of the challenges before us. For example, we now have consistency in job titles and essential functions.
Each job title and each category has an associated salary range. This means that all staff positions are re-assigned within these positions and salary ranges. The salary inequities that existed in the past have been addressed, and there is parity.
We’ve also been able to add several new positions.
This new structure also offers RID room for growth and allows us to improve the quality of service to our members, stakeholders, the Board, and the volunteer leaders in RID.
Credit goes to the RID Board for recognizing the importance of the feedback that they’ve received from members about the quality of service they have been receiving from HQ. The Board’s significant investment in the staff is an investment in improved and better quality programs, services, and technical assistance to members and stakeholders in a quality manner.
The restructure also denotes some difficult decisions that had to be made. Cuts must be made somewhere to achieve a fiscal balance. Some cuts were made through the process of reclassifying positions based on consistent criteria and placing all staff within an appropriate salary range for the position they hold.
It also resulted in the elimination of one administrative position, which happened to be the most recently hired position, the Director of Certification, which ended effective September 15th. This was not a performance based cut, but rather a cut based on operational efficiency and total employee costs. The Director of Certification departure is an amicable and cooperative separation.
Associated with this video is a link to the new organizational chart, which shows the new positions and structure of the organization. I also encourage you to look at the staff page. The position titles have been updated so you can see who fits into each role in the organizational chart. I encourage you to return to that page periodically in the near future as we fill vacant positions, such as the new specialist positions. We will be updating that page with their name and photos.
Some of the highlights of the new staffing structure include:
- Tina Maggio and Elijah Sow have been promoted to Senior Directors.
- Tina Maggio has been promoted to Sr. Director of Programs and Services.
- Elijah Sow has been promoted to Sr. Director of Operations and Finance.
- Julie Schafer has had her title changed as she has expanded her Director role. Her new title is Director of Standards and Practice, and this includes leadership of the EPS system. As well, a full-time coordinator for the EPS is being hired. We will also be hiring a specialist in that department to provide additional support.
- Carol Turner, upon her return from maternity leave in November, will be promoted from Coordinator to Manager. She has been responsible for our CEU processes and our Professional Development efforts. She will also hire a full-time specialist.
In the past, we’ve had four specialists, but the new structure will give us a total of ten, which means we have several positions to fill. New positions will be filled over the next several months, and we anticipate being close to fully staffed by December 30th.
So, it’s important that you check the website periodically, and you’ll see the new hires, their titles, and their names.
Thank you for the opportunity to share this news with you. And, thank you for the opportunity to work with RID during this time of transition. It has been a wonderful honor to work with the dedicated, hard-working, and skilled professionals at HQ.
They really are a wonderful team of people.
It’s been wonderful being able to serve during this time.