On Our Minds

Working with so many organizations across multiple issue areas gives us a unique view into what's happening in the social sector. This is where we share our insights and ruminations.
We congratulate Cheryelle Cruickshank on her new role as Executive Director at @INCLUDEnyc We are proud to have played a part in placing Cheryelle in this role and look forward to seeing her impact on the organization.
15 Dec 2022
43% of employees felt that their employers weren’t doing enough to foster a sense of connection with their colleagues, according to a recent BetterUp study. Learn three actions employers can take to cultivate a sense of belonging: #Inclusion #Workplace
14 Dec 2022
Are you an experienced and equity-centered evaluator committed to improving higher ed and career success among underserved populations? If so, ECMC Foundation is looking for a Learning & Evaluation Officer. Apply here! https://www.on-ramps.com/jobs/2821
13 Dec 2022
7 tips for finding the right CEO for your nonprofit

Are you searching for a new chief executive officer? Our team shares their insights into finding and hiring a CEO that fits the needs of your organization.

Pay transparency: A crucial tool for equity

On-Ramps recently reassessed our own policies around compensation equity. Here’s what we learned in the process and how equity-minded leaders can implement pay transparency at their organizations. 

Retaining talent through The Great Resignation: A conversation with Desy Osunsade

We recently asked Desy Osunsade, Global Head of People and Culture at Imaginable Futures, why so many employees are leaving their jobs and what employers can do to keep them during this wave of departures and beyond. 

Finding the right COO

Are you thinking about creating a Chief Operating Officer position or filling an existing one? Our team discusses the challenges, benefits, and nuances of this always bespoke role in social sector organizations.

Trivia with a purpose

At On-Ramps, trivia has become a staple and tradition during our celebrations. The stakes were high this fall: the winners would get to pick the organization who would receive On-Ramps’ annual charitable contribution fund. Here are who the winners picked and why. 

Creating an impactful CDO position

How can a Chief Diversity Officer make concrete changes to organizational culture? Our team shares their insights into effectively hiring and retaining a CDO to build a more equitable and inclusive organization. 

15 years of On-Ramps: Gratitude, intention, and a little bit of luck

On-Ramps’ founding partners reflect on the lessons they’ve learned—as a team and as individuals—over the last decade and a half. 

Interview questions to assess culture alignment

We asked social sector thought leaders to share their favorite interview questions for ascertaining mission and cultural alignment. Here’s what they had to say.  

Building an inclusive workplace for employees with disabilities: Lessons from the Frick

We recently caught up with Dana Winfield, Chief Human Resources Officer at The Frick Collection. She shared with me the museum’s journey to building a more inclusive staff, which included employing people with disabilities. Here are the tips, takeaways, and beautiful benefits from her experience.

Beyond Search: How music fuels my passion to find balance

Search analyst Deonté Savage discusses his “other life” as a singer and songwriter, and how it informs his work at On-Ramps.

5 methodologies for a more equitable hiring process

Building a fair and impartial recruiting process—and ultimately building a more diverse team—requires implementing a number of best practices. Here are five we think are essential. 

A tool for reducing bias—and increasing success—in the hiring process

Hiring managers can create more equitable interviews by replacing gut feelings with a more intentional, structured methodology. Here’s a look at how disciplined, competency-based assessment can help combat the pitfalls of style-based biases in the interview setting.

The power of in-person connection after months of Zoom

After working remotely for many months, On-Ramps came together recently for a long overdue in-person meetup. It was a joyful reunion, and a reminder of just how invigorating it can be when teams interact in real life.

LGBTQ+ allyship and recruiting

On-Rampers, who are also members of the LGBTQ+ community, discuss insights and practices that have helped us match queer candidates with welcoming workplaces.

Strategies to manage workplace conflict in the age of Zoom

When we’re not face-to-face, we need a more intentional approach.

Revisiting employee benefits and policies with mental health in mind

The multiple crises of 2020 forced a much-needed reexamination of employee policies and benefits to support mental health. Here are some of the changes On-Ramps and partner client New York Cares made.

Creating community at work during Covid-19

What does the absence of day-to-day connections show us about how we spend our days? Our culture team unpacks Roxane Gay’s latest op-ed for The New York Times about how our society is re-evaluating work life.

Industry Report: How will workplaces change post-pandemic?

On-Ramps surveyed 100 social sector organizations to find out what changes we should expect to see in workplaces post-COVID19. Here’s what we learned. 

Recruiting during a pandemic: Helpful data is in

Can the traditional search process yield successful results in a predominantly remote working world? The answer might surprise you.

Joining a team remotely

What’s it like to join an organization without ever meeting in person? New members of our team reflect on where our virtual hiring and onboarding succeeded, and where there’s room for improvement. 

Building culture virtually

What goes into keeping a company together when everyone is working remotely? Here are the questions, decisions, and ideas that have fueled our culture initiatives over the last nine months.

Unpacking accessibility: How hiring teams can do better

Extraneous barriers to the interview process reveal larger issues of accessibility and privilege. It’s on us to check our biases and hold ourselves accountable.

Making hiring more accessible

We discuss the questions, challenges, and opportunities that come with making hiring processes more accessible and equitable to a broader range of candidates.

DEI: Practicing what we preach in hiring

Clients hire us in part because diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices are integrated into the process we use to find them the best candidates. Here’s how we strive to walk the talk when hiring for our own team.

Back-channel references: Why to avoid them, and what to do instead

There are more effective—and equitable—alternatives to back-channel references.

A Response to Charlie Scharf’s Unfortunate Reality

One of our founding partners, Harry Weiner, draws upon his own experience in executive search for the financial services industry to respond to the Wells Fargo CEO's ridiculous and harmful statement.

Going Remote: On-Ramps shares its learnings and best practices

Nakia James-Jenkins, a Partner at On-Ramps overseeing the organization’s operations and talent practices, discusses 3 changes her team has made in response to the pandemic—and the conversations that went into making those changes.

Going Remote: Code for America shares its learnings and best practices

Zeryn Sarpangal, chief financial and people officer at Code for America, shares how her organization has adapted its remote working practices in order to preserve its strong culture during the pandemic. This unique chance to experiment with different approaches has resulted in changes that may become permanent. 

Going Remote: JFF shares its learnings and best practices

Jennifer Anderson, vice president of people and culture at JFF, shares the 4 big shifts in talent practices that her organization has made during COVID-19—some of which might live on past the pandemic. 

The Community Hiring Collective: Job openings at mission-driven organizations

Today, mission-driven work is more important than ever, particularly for organizations that serve our most vulnerable communities. On-Ramps is eager to help, which is why we’re sharing the Community Hiring Collective—a list of open jobs at great mission-driven organizations.

Is it Time to Hire a COO?
As 2016 comes to a close, it’s a natural time for organizations to reflect on the progress made within the last year and to set goals for the year ahead. At On-Ramps, we’re proud of our accomplishments over the last 12 months, particularly the addition of human capital consulting (https://www.on-ramps.com/consulting/) to our suite of services. As...
Creating Safe Spaces in the Workplace to Open Up About Diversity
I am pleased to announce that I recently wrote an article for Co.Exist about the discussion of complex, potentially difficult topics in the workplace. The website, part of the Fast Company family, provides “a daily tour of the latest world-changing ideas and innovations in transportation, energy, education, food, and health." As you know, diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamentally important to us....
The High ROI of Human Capital
May 23, 2016, Chicago, Illinois I had the honor of taking part in A Better Chicago’s inaugural Education Summit this past week. The vibrant event convened business, civic and academic leaders to explore how philanthropy can accelerate change and deliver a world-class education to every Chicagoan. I participated on a panel discussing the high ROI of...
Hiring Talent with Diverse Thinking Styles
We know that many forms of diversity within and across teams are important for everyone. We believe it. We see it. And we want it for our own teams and organizations. When trying to create a diverse team, gender and racial-ethnic diversity are easier to spot straight away and come to mind quickly. But what about...
Re-considering the Failure Question
I am often surprised at how frequently impressive candidates, in the context of otherwise strong interviews, falter when I ask them to tell me about a time they failed.   I started asking the question to get beyond rehearsed stories of success and to uncover a candidate’s capacity for humility, self-awareness, and learning. More often than not,...
What's your dream job? And why do we care?
Anyone who interviews has a favorite question. It's the question that they think provides a meaningful snapshot of a candidate and his/her fit for the role. What’s *my* favorite question? I like to ask, ‘Tell me about your dream job…’ This question not only gives me a sense of a candidate's current motivations but also an...
Unpacking culture fit
Lately we’ve been thinking and talking about culture fit even more than we normally do. In addition to working with our clients to assess candidates for culture fit, we’ve also been doing some hiring of our own. Both experiences have pushed our thinking on the notion of culture fit and have helped us to unpack the...