Non-Profits and Trade Associations

A 130 headcount events-based global trade association, economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, identified the critical need for an experienced HR resource to guide the organization through restructuring and a significant reduction in force.  The association needed a team of dedicated professionals to manage the company’s entire Human Resources function, which included compensation and benefits, payroll, employee relations, recruitment and employee development. 

What We Did

We began this engagement by managing an organizational restructuring, culminating in a reduction in force, which impacted more than half of the organization’s workforce. We leveraged our network of employment lawyers to identify an expert to partner with the organization’s general counsel to oversee the legal aspects of the process.  We worked with the finance team to evaluate the financial business case, including alternative approach analysis of all potential outcomes and their impact on the organization. We led the overall project under the guidance of the CFO, providing honest counsel to him and the CEO to guide their decision making.  Working within an expedited timeline, our team developed a comprehensive communication plan to support senior leadership in message delivery.  We served as the HR point person in every single notification meeting and provided follow up to any separated employees with questions.  We also were available to support the retained workforce as they reacted to the news and adjusted to the reduced organization.


Prior to the reduction in force, the individual contributor responsible for payroll and benefits management resigned from his position.  We worked closely with him before his departure to understand the company’s payroll process, ensuring continuity of service and managing the complex benefits and severance payments related to the restructuring. Although we had not previously worked with their specific payroll system, we skilled up quickly to track benefits and deductions, partner with benefit service providers, calculate employee earnings, and manage handoffs to Financing and Accounting departments for payroll reconciliation.


As a result of the restructuring,  the organization’s employees took on additional roles and responsibilities. We  led managers in a complete review of the organization’s job description and integrated feedback from job questionnaire surveys completed by the employees. We helped team members identify core competencies for their positions using the Korn Ferry Leadership Architect. Follow up interviews were conducted with employees to guarantee accuracy and relevance of updated job responsibilities. Completed materials were presented to organization leadership for approval and we facilitated distribution of updated materials to the organization as a whole through a specific and concerted communication plan. 


Throughout the course of our engagement, as we provided ongoing organizational support,  we identified an insufficiency within their primary customer-facing internal team. We collaborated with leadership to create a problem statement and recommend solutions: focusing on customer service training, clear performance metrics and KPIs, and overall professional development of the team. 

The Result

We continue to serve as the organization’s trusted HR partner, working with them beyond the initial engagement.  As they moved beyond the impact of COVID-19, we became the trusted advisor on workforce planning as they looked to the future and prepared to return to holding in-person events.  We became the owners of their internal recruitment process, freeing up bandwidth for senior leaders to focus on their essential job responsibilities while we built their teams with a well-developed talent acquisition strategy and plan.  


As we continue to move forward, we are tackling issues and challenges across the employee life cycle: identifying opportunities to streamline processes and save time and resources. We continue to work with senior leaders to build an efficient, effective, and engaged organization that serves customer needs working under a new and different business model.

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