ERC Announces New Board Members Dalithia Smith & Matt Dailey

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ohio - ERC, the 101-year-old organization that provides people data and HR services to help leaders make better decisions, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dalithia Smith with Oatey Co. and Matt Dailey with Royal Chemical to its Board of Directors.

ERC’s Board of Directors advises on the company’s overall operations, including finance, compliance, business strategies, and HR practices. The Board of Directors shares its expertise and guidance with ERC’s management team, President Kelly Keefe, Senior Vice President Carrie Morse, and Controller Sandy Sharrone, in quarterly meetings.

Dalithia and Matt 850 x 445-1

ERC also thanks its outgoing Board Directors for their service to the organization: Stephen Stanisa, retired Principal at HW&Co., and Kirk Zehnder, CEO at Earnest.

“We’re delighted Dalithia and Matt have joined the ERC Board of Directors. The background they bring will help guide ERC as we continue to serve our members and clients, providing critical people data during this pandemic. They have both proven a commitment to building and maintaining great workplaces for all employees, and I look forward to building on their experiences. We’re excited to channel their talent and energy into furthering our mission and guiding our organization,” said ERC President Kelly Keefe. “We’re also grateful for the time, dedication, and knowledge that Steve and Kirk contributed to our strategic direction.” 

Dalithia and Matt join ERC’s current Board Directors: Chairperson Nicole Crews, Global Diversity & Engagement Manager at Swagelok; Raj Aggarwal, Ph.D., CFA, Board Member, Executive, Teacher & Scholar; John Dearborn, Principal at Advise and Connect, LLC; and John Gadd, Chairman of Become Known and President & CEO of Hotcards.  

About ERC's New Board Directors

Dalithia Smith, Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer at Oatey Co.
With more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources leadership, Dalithia has significant expertise in all areas of human capital management, talent acquisition, and overall HR strategy. Dalithia joined Oatey Co. in 2018 and was promoted to Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer in 2020. In this role, she leads all HR functions at Oatey and is responsible for Environmental, Health, Safety, and Security as well as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Prior to Oatey, she spent 10 years at Lincoln Electric, most recently serving as Vice President, Human Resources, Americas Welding. 

Dalithia is a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), Senior Certified Professional with the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM-SCP), and a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources with the Human Resources Certification Institute (SPHR). 

Matt Dailey, President & CEO at Royal Chemical 
Matt Dailey is President, CEO, and majority owner of Chemical Services Group, Inc. (“CSG”). CSG is a holding company with three operating companies: Royal Chemical, DeForest Enterprises, and Innoleo. Matt joined the predecessor of CSG in September 2015 and led a management buyout of the company in August 2016.  

Prior to CSG, Matt was a Partner with The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm with more than $8.0 billion in assets under management. Matt joined Riverside in 2003, and over the course of his career there, he played an active role in approximately 20 investments across a variety of industries. Before Riverside, Matt spent two years at Morgenthaler. Matt began his professional career as an Analyst in National City Corporation’s newly formed Investment Banking group.

About ERC
Since 1920, ERC has provided people data and HR services to help leaders make better decisions. Through our certified HR advisors, we offer consultative services, compensation benchmarking and data, workplace polls and surveys, networking, and cost savings opportunities. We also offer virtual and classroom instructor-led training, on-demand learning, individual and team assessments, one-on-one coaching, and employee engagement services. In addition, ERC is the founder of NorthCoast 99, and sponsors the ERChealth insurance program for Ohio employers. ERChealth is an affordable, quality health insurance program for mid-market organizations that delivers uncommonly low rates, and comprehensive coverage and plan options.

2021: Compliance Here, Compliance There, Compliance Everywhere


As we transition from one of the most unprecedented and ever-changing years in recent history, HR leaders are tasked with creating an improved, resilient workforce strategy. 

It is pivotal to apply lessons learned in 2020 to better understand and align initiatives with anticipated new regulations and unchartered demands. Reflecting on the past year, there are a few key areas HR leaders should have on their short-term radar.

Review Policies and Evaluate Processes

As most employers were forced to adjust and flex on policies affected by COVID-19, it is important to revisit organizational positions on things such as safety, paid leave, travel and remote work. 

Identify areas that may have caused confusion and disrupted operational efficiency.  Look to amend procedures for short-term and long-term use to ensure a proactive preparedness for unexpected future workforce adjustments. 

Creating policies relevant to the current climate will allow for better alignment with organizational goals and assist in maintaining company culture. 

Prepare for Pandemic-Response Regulation Changes

As the end of 2020 neared, no one knew what would happen to the entitlements provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). 

Although the required FFCRA regulations expired December 31st, 2020, the challenges presented by the pandemic are still existing.   

HR Leaders, in partnership with management, should work to create measures to address unanticipated workforce disruptions.  HR leaders are encouraged to outline the organization’s plans to address the challenges that employees will continue to face in 2021. 

A communication strategy should be developed to ensure employees understand the changes to any entitlement rights and any organizational-specific alternatives. 

In addition, employers should anticipate further changes to recently relaxed compliance-related requirements. For example, federal regulatory agencies delayed some reporting deadlines and the State of Ohio relaxed mandated Insurance and COBRA requirements, all in response to the pandemic. 

These adjustments are contingent on pandemic protocols and state of emergency status.  HR Leaders should identify compliance adjustments that are impactful to their organizations and create a proactive response plan for any additional alterations and/or expiration of the temporary revisions. 

Understand Potential New Workplace Law Developments Under the New Presidential Administration

Employment attorneys have begun to forecast the impact the new President will have on the nation’s employers.  As the transition to a new administration begins, it is important for HR Leaders to recognize the potential for swift changes in workplace law. 

There is speculation based on President Biden’s campaign that shifts in areas such labor relations, wages, employee benefits and safety/working conditions are on the horizon. 

As we wait and see what the future holds, employers should continue to monitor new legislative proposals in an effort to respond efficiently to changes that may begin at the end of January.  

Moving into a new year will present new challenges and ERC is a committed to being a value-added constant that can support your HR needs.

We will continue to monitor compliance changes in an effort to provide personalized insight into best practices and process implementation.  Keep a look out for information in our myERC online portal and the QuickHits Newsletter. In addition, please consider joining us for our webinar, What to Expect in 2021: Looking Ahead in a Year of Change, on January 22 at 12 p.m.

The 2021 NorthCoast 99 Application Launches February 18


ERC Joins the 100 Year Club of the Western Reserve Historical Society

100 Year Club 850 x 445-1

Highland Heights, Ohio - ERC, the organization that provides people data and HR services to help leaders make better decisions, is pleased to announce that the company has been inducted into the 100 Year Club of the Western Reserve Historical Society.

The 100 Year Club of the Western Reserve started in 1953 to honor an elite group of corporations and institutions that have been in continuous existence for at least 100 years. The annual celebration recognizes the longstanding entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit embodied in these Northeast Ohio organizations, which includes over 200 members.

"Innovation is at the heart of an event that celebrates the past, present, and future of entrepreneurship," said President and CEO of the Western Reserve Historical Society Kelly Falcone-Hall. 

ERC was one of 10 organizations that was recognized for reaching the centennial milestone at the virtual event, which took place on December 7, 2020. The company joins the Class of 2020, which includes: The Butler Institute of American Art, Cleveland Institute of Music; Fincun-Mancini, Inc., Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP, League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, The Millcraft Paper Company, The National Council of Jewish Women Cleveland, Three Arts Club of Lakewood, and the Western Reserve Group.

“We're so grateful for the opportunity to be inducted into this club with organizations that have made it to 100 years,” said ERC President Kelly Keefe. “It’s truly an honor to be here representing all of the past presidents and past employees of ERC. We’re thrilled to join this great group of organizations, many of them our own members and clients.”

Founded in 1920 as the American Plan Association of Cleveland, ERC was formed in response to the labor movement by 15 business owners at the Union Club of Cleveland. Together, this group of CEOs united to create better workplace practices for both employers and employees.

One hundred years and several name changes later, ERC has maintained its founding purpose and has grown into a leading human resource organization that has served thousands of members and clients across the region, nation, and globe.

The 100 Year Club Virtual Induction Ceremony can be viewed here

About ERC
Since 1920, ERC has provided people data and HR services to help leaders make better decisions. Through our certified HR advisors, we offer consultative servicescompensation benchmarking and data, workplace polls and surveys, networking, and cost savings opportunities. We also offer virtual and classroom instructor-led trainingon-demand learning, individual and team assessments, one-on-one coaching, and employee engagement services. In addition, ERC is the founder of NorthCoast 99, and sponsors the ERChealth insurance program for Ohio employers. ERChealth is an affordable, quality health insurance program for mid-market organizations that delivers uncommonly low rates, and comprehensive coverage and plan options.

9 Things to Consider When Creating a Learning and Development Budget

7 Considerations When Developing Your Training BudgetThis blog post was originally published on September 20, 2017 and was updated on December 2, 2020.

Creating a budget for developing your people can be a daunting task for many HR professionals. Throw in a global pandemic and you've got an even more challenging task. While there are many unknowns, it's still critical to plan and be clear about specific learning needs and associated costs.

You can alleviate some of these “pains" by doing your due diligence during the creation of your learning and development budget. Here are nine actions to consider when creating your budget.

1. Benchmark Your Organization

The average direct learning expenditure per employee is $1,299, and the average amount of formal learning hours per employee is 34.0, not including informal learning such as on-the-job learning.[1]

Understanding your industry and how your organization compares to these national figures may give you a baseline for your budget planning. However, every organization is different, and therefore, has differing needs and approaches to staff development.

2. Conduct a Training Needs Assessment

A Training Needs Assessment is one method that can be used to improve the predictability of your professional development for the next year and for years to come. It is best to conduct a Training Needs Assessment annually. A Training Needs Assessment can be conducted in-house or you can bring in an outside consultant to assess the needs of your organization.

An assessment like this can help determine where the opportunities for improvement are in your organization. It can determine if you need to dedicate monies to leadership development, or succession planning if you have an executive or manager that will be transitioning out of the organization. It can also determine if you need to re-train managers on how to conduct performance reviews or at least provide refreshers on a regular basis.

You can determine these things by talking to your people and looking at your people metrics. If your turnover rate is increasing, find out why, then figure out what type of training, either for the managers or the employees, is necessary to improve that metric.

When conducting a Training Needs Assessment, it helps to assess needs categorically (e.g. by location; division/department; position level, manager vs. individual contributor, etc.). When there are large groups who need the same training, it makes it easier to know whether classroom training is the answer, individuals should be sent out, or webinars or e-learning should be used. 

3. Initiate Employee Engagement Surveys

With millions of employees working remotely, employers should consider adding employee engagement surveys to their budgets. An employee engagement survey measures the strength of the employees' emotional connection and commitment to the organization and its goals. Research shows engagement contributes to a number of business outcomes, including increased retention, motivation, and productivity.  

Employee engagement surveys are usually administered online. Standard and pulse versions are typically available. The data can be segmented and analyzed by using demographic categories like location, division/department, and position level.  

4. Review Administrative Costs

The administration costs that you can budget for truly depend on the size of your company. If you are a small organization and the only administrative aspects to training fall on an HR Generalist to coordinate and schedule training for a group of 60 people three times a year, your administrative line may be very minimal.

However, if you are a larger organization that needs to track and evaluate the training of 500+ employees, you may want to invest in an LMS (learning management system) to document, track, and report all of your training programs.

5. Invest in Consultations

Not every workforce “pain” you experience can be fixed by sending a handful of employees to training. Sometimes the pain is actually a strategic misstep that needs to be addressed on a higher level. Sometimes the pain is when only one employee is experiencing issues which may be resolved with one-on-one coaching rather than sending the employee off to training. 

For instance, if you are having trouble with one or two recruiters bringing in talent to your organization, you may be able to alleviate this issue by training those recruiters directly.

However, if your organization is experiencing a high turnover rate and is losing out on high-performing talent during the recruitment process, it may be time to take a look at your overall talent management strategy.

6. Experiment with Train-the-Trainer

Mid-size or large organizations that already have an in-house trainer on staff for onboarding new employees or training on soft skills can actually send their already-salaried trainer to training that teaches them how to train employees on a specific topic.

This is ideal for organizations that already have an instructor on staff and are looking to expand their in-house training capabilities.

7. Support Employees with Coaching and Mentoring

For many avenues of professional development, particularly for employees on leadership tracks, it’s important to support those employees by helping them achieve their objectives and goals. Coaching is typically focused on ensuring that key employees such as senior leaders and executives are continuing to develop effective workplace behaviors. Coaching can be paired with assessments that help identify leadership and interpersonal styles and areas of improvement.

Mentoring programs can also be developed for employees who may not be (or desire to be) on leadership tracks but are still looking to grow as a professional. Mentoring programs can either be set-up in-house in which more senior employees are mentoring entry-level or associate employees, or they can be set-up to involve outside professional networks. In either case, training for both the mentors and for those being mentored is necessary to ensure the mentees get the direction and development they need.

8. Factor in Direct Costs (The Basics)

Whether you are using an outside firm or an in-house instructor, there are a laundry list of questions you must ask and things you must account for, direct-cost-related, when developing your learning and development budget. Also, depending on your organization's comfort level with the risks associated with the global pandemic, you may want to factor in (or out) instructor travel, facility rentals, and any costs associated with in-person training. Here’s a list of a few direct-costs to consider, if applicable:

  • Trainee travel, lodging, meals, etc.
  • Instructor travel, lodging, meals, etc.
  • Instructor fees
  • Facility rental
  • Technology costs
  • Materials (workbooks, videos, etc.)
  • Evaluations

9. Don't Forget Indirect Costs

There are a number of indirect costs you also have to account for when developing your budget. These indirect costs include things such as employee absence and impact on the organization. In fact, if organizations are averaging 34.0 hours of formal learning per employee per year, accounting for employee absences adds up quickly.

This also affects any position that may need a replacement to fill-in during their time in training and that cost should be accounted for in your budget. 

[1]The Association for Talent Development’s (ATD) 2019 State of the Industry report

ERC provides customized training for organizations across the nation.

Train Your Employees

Megan Mayhugh Joins ERC as Chief Growth Officer

MeganM 320 x 320 (1)Highland Heights, Ohio – ERC, the 100-year-old organization that provides people data and HR services to help leaders make better decisions, is pleased to announce that Megan Mayhugh recently joined the company as Chief Growth Officer.

Megan brings over 25 years of experience in strategy, finance, human resources, and operations to ERC. Throughout her career, she has helped companies adapt to enterprise-wide change and improve their bottom lines, while never losing sight of the people that drive business results. 

In her role as ERC’s Chief Growth Officer, Megan oversees overall revenue growth and sales strategies for ERC Services, including ERC Membership, Professional Development, and ERChealth

“We’re thrilled to welcome Meg to our team as she has a proven track record for driving strategic growth at companies of various industries and sizes,” said Senior Vice President Carrie Morse.

Megan has held executive-level and leadership roles at leading organizations, which include McKinsey & Company, National City Bank, PNC Bank, Bridgewater Associates, Talent Launch, and Dealer Tire of Cleveland. Most recently, she served as Chief of Staff at INSIGHT2PROFIT, a consulting company focused on helping firms increase their profitability through pricing strategies. 

“Meg’s subject matter-expertise, skills, and experience align perfectly with our organization,” said President Kelly Keefe. “Meg is already making valuable contributions that will move the needle for our business lines and the clients we serve.”

“It’s wonderful to be a part of the ERC team at a pivotal point in the company’s 100-year history,” said Meg. “I’m excited to serve in this leadership capacity and contribute to the organization’s ongoing growth.”

Megan graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a degree in psychology. She also has an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College, where she was the recipient of the Julia Stell Award for outstanding school contributions. 

About ERC
Since 1920, ERC has provided people data and HR services to help leaders make better decisions. Through our certified HR advisors, we offer consultative services, compensation benchmarking and data, workplace polls and surveys, networking, and cost savings opportunities. We also offer virtual and classroom instructor-led training, on-demand learning, individual and team assessments, one-on-one coaching, and employee engagement services. In addition, ERC is the founder of NorthCoast 99, and sponsors the ERChealth insurance program for Ohio employers. ERChealth is an affordable, quality health insurance program for mid-market organizations that delivers uncommonly low rates, and comprehensive coverage and plan options.

6 Ways to Help Employees Get Along

6 Ways to Help Employees Get Along

This blog post was originally published on April 4, 2012 and was updated on November 5, 2020.

Sometimes employees don't get along and these conflicts and office disagreements can dampen productivity, waste time, reduce a team's performance, make the work environment tense and uncomfortable, and increase stress in work groups - none of which are beneficial to your business. Here are a few ways managers can help reduce conflict on their teams.

1. Set the tone

Managers and leaders set the tone for team interactions by what they say or do when conflict or problems emerge between their employees, how they manage conflict with their own peers, and what behavior they tolerate. If managers act passive-aggressive, disrespect fellow employees, or do not directly deal with conflict, employees will follow their lead.

2. Hire team-players

Hiring employees who have strong interpersonal, team-building, and internal customer service skills can decrease the likelihood of conflicts. While it's tough to predict how well a candidate will interact with your team, a solid personality or style assessment and behavioral interview as well as asking for references can help.  

3. Don't ignore conflicts

Managers have a tendency to ignore problems with poor team players or team conflicts until they escalate. Instead they should encourage employees to collaborate on a solution and seek coaching and/or training for current employees who argue with coworkers, don't provide good internal service, or are overly critical or judgmental of others. It's critical to not let conflict spiral out of control.

4. Educate on styles and generational differences

Great teams are melting pots of different generations and backgrounds. Each employee brings a different personality and style to the table. Most conflict stems from not fully appreciating who another person is, their background, and the strengths of their individual style. Spend time educating your team on style and generational differences.

5. Spend time interacting

Developing common ground is one of the most important ways to fend off conflict in the workplace, and it's achieved in the simplest of ways: spending more time with one another. Informally interacting and talking is one of the best ways to get employees familiar with one another. When they eventually find common ground, magic happens.

6. Reward teamwork

Most managers want teamwork, but reward individual achievement. Recognizing and rewarding teamwork, collaboration, and supportive interactions and promoting or giving choice assignments to employees who act like team players helps promote and encourage a supportive work environment.

When conflict strikes in the workplace, your managers are the best people to nip it in the bud, deal with it, and prevent it.

Conflict Resolution & Mediation Training

Conflict Resolution & Mediation Training

The course demonstrates how constructive conflict resolution techniques can be useful.

Train Your Employees

Talking Politics in the Workplace: Addressing the Elephant in the Room

Talking Politics in the Workplace: Addressing the Elephant (or Donkey) in the Room

This blog post was originally published on Oct. 29, 2018, and it was updated on Oct. 7, 2020.

With the upcoming 2020 Election Day on November 3, to say that this year has been more politically charged than most is an understatement at best. So what happens when political discussions begin to (or maybe they already have) sneak into the workplace? Hopefully, nothing. Ideally the discussions remain just that—a civil discourse between employees, perhaps during their lunch hour.

Read this article...

Samantha Vance Joins ERC as Research Associate

SamV 320 x 320

Highland Heights, Ohio – ERC, the 100-year-old human resource organization that provides training, HR consulting and support, coaching and assessments, and research services, is pleased to announce that Samantha Vance has joined the company as Research Associate.

In her role, Sam works with data to provide employers insights into practices that create and support great workplaces. She designs, analyzes, and interprets surveys and assessments across all practice areas and for the NorthCoast 99 awards program. 

Sam also offers project support both internally and to our clients in survey creation. She analyzes quantitative and qualitative data, performs statistical analysis, interprets results, makes recommendations, and drafts reports. 

Since March of 2019, Sam has served as a part-time research intern for ERC.

“We’re thrilled to have Sam join ERC full time and contribute to our research practice,” said Senior Vice President Carrie Morse. “We’ve been so impressed by her quality of work and professionalism over the past year.”

Sam has been particularly instrumental in analyzing and synthesizing benchmarking data as well as top-performer data for the NorthCoast 99 awards program. 

“Sam has already made notable contributions on the research team and for NorthCoast 99. I’m confident that she will continue to add value to our team and to our clients,” said Margaret Brinich, Manager of Surveys & Research.

“I love ERC, and I’m excited to join the company full time! Our work has such a meaningful impact on Northeast Ohio employers. It’s an honor to support our research team and make a difference in this capacity,” said Sam.

Sam earned her master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology research from Cleveland State University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in business administration from Ohio University.

ERC Real-Time Member Polls: Tell Us What Data You Need


In these challenging times, it's never been more important to share ideas and learn from each other. In March of 2020, ERC launched a new line of research focused on the most pressing issues that we hear about from our members.

These Member Polls are short and open for one day. Upon submitting responses, members see the real-time results instantly. The following business day, ERC posts the final results from all participants in ERC's connectwERC online forum for members.

Here are five of 18 polls that we've conducted and published since March:

We plan to conduct the following polls in the upcoming weeks:

  • Talent Acquisition Challenges During COVID-19
  • Long-Term Remote Work Options
  • Future Hiring Plans

How can we continue to serve you through this research series?

What are some additional poll topics that you would like to see covered? Please complete a brief survey (1-2 minutes) to share your thoughts and help us plan future polls. 

Take Survey




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Senior VP Carrie Morse Named to Board of Dress for Success Cleveland

carrie-morseHighland Heights, OHERC Senior Vice President Carrie Morse has been named to the Board of Directors of Dress for Success Cleveland, a nonprofit that helps women break the cycle of poverty by supporting them in the working world.

Carrie has attended Dress for Success events over the years and was attracted to the mission of the organization. “It’s about much more than the suit. Dress for Success teaches women workplace skills, including resume writing, interviewing skills, and professionalism,” said Carrie. “Economic independence is key to a healthy life for self and family. This program helps lift women out of impoverished circumstances and gives them confidence.”

Dress for Success is part of a global movement for change, empowering woman to obtain safer and better futures. They have been in the Cleveland area for 20 years. The organization provides each client with professional attire to secure employment and furnishes her with a confidence she carries forever.

Donations are accepted in the form of gently used professional attire and monetary gifts. Dress for Success is also always looking for mentors and volunteers.

“My participation on the Dress for Success working board dovetails nicely with the mission of ERC,” said Carrie. The ERC mission is simply to make workplaces great. “We need great people in business everywhere, and this program helps women to achieve success as a contributor in the workplace.”

Kelly Keefe is President of ERC and encourages employee involvement in the community. “I am proud that Carrie has joined the Dress for Success Cleveland Board. At ERC, we have a long-standing commitment to giving back and serving in our community," said Kelly. "Volunteerism is a huge part of heart-centered leadership – exactly Carrie’s style – and just one reason she has been so successful in her roles here at ERC.”

Carrie oversees ERC’s Membership, Coaching, Training, and Consulting practices, and serves on both the leadership and management teams. She has been with ERC since 2002 in a variety of roles, including Vice President, Member Services & Partnerships; Director, Partnerships; and Director, Training & Events.

For 17 years, Carrie was chiefly responsible for the planning and execution of ERC’s NorthCoast 99, an annual recognition program and event that honors 99 great Northeast Ohio workplaces for top talent.

About ERC

Founded in 1920, ERC makes workplaces great by providing training, HR consulting and support, coaching and assessments, and research services. We’re the creators and producers of NorthCoast 99, an annual awards program in its 22nd year that honors exceptional Northeast Ohio employers for top talent. ERC also sponsors the ERChealth insurance program in Ohio.

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