A Time for Change

It is hard to believe but it has been one year since I came to Tides as Chief Executive Officer. This past year has seen some major changes and we’ve also had some major successes in our efforts to remain sustainable, competitive, and innovative.

When I arrived at Tides, 35 years after its founding, the organization was faced with increasing competition, rapidly declining interest rates, and pressures to update antiquated IT systems. Over the past several months, we have been working diligently to improve client service, create career pathways for staff, expand our geographic focus, and improve the overall sustainability of Tides.

One of the most important changes has been the continued restructuring of Tides toward a unified set of products and services to support more comprehensive and impact focused social change. The board focus for the last several years has been on the creation of the Tides Network. During the past month we have been engaged in the final stages of the organizational restructure that includes updating our functional organizational structure and staff assignments. This phase was initiated by an internal workflow mapping project and completed in partnership with a third party consulting firm.  This group has worked with over 900 employer groups, provides assistance to non-profit and for profit firms in areas of organizational design, title structures, cash compensation structures, and performance measurement tools.

A critical component of the restructure efforts has been to complete a comprehensive analysis of our compensation practices and implement a pay structure plan that is linked to our values and mission.  We set out to complete this work with four key goals:

  • To attract and retain employees by paying competitive base salaries within our financial realities
  • To assure internally equitable compensation levels across all positions
  • To facilitate linkage of pay to performance
  • Optimize Tides payroll costs

While we say farewell to many staff, we remain aligned with our historical commitment to progressive values and high levels of customer service. More specifically, we are making every effort to insure that Tides’ clients will continue to be served by staff with expertise in all areas of services. Each client will continue to have one main point of contact that will assist them with work or any questions that arise, and they will also ensure that questions about this process are answered in a timely manner. Over the next several weeks we will be working with all staff and senior leaders to complete client assignments, and, where needed, reassignments. We expect minimal interruptions in the short-term, and significant improvements in the long term.

In the long term Tides expects the broader structural changes to result in stronger organizational leadership and sustainability as well as better positioning Tides for future growth and expansion. It will also support new partnerships, new business opportunities, and create new capacity. We are also very excited about Tides’ new products, services, and leadership. More specifically, I am proud to announce the following:

  • Launched Impact & Innovation Department – led by Chad Bolick
  • Centralized service delivery and business development activities at Tides
  • Created new focus areas for education, equity and environment
  • IT Systems upgrade to Tides Partners
  • Improved internal communications and transparency, including creation of CEO SharePoint for all staff and quarterly town hall meetings for all staff and projects
  • Launching new HNW consulting service led by Gary Schwartz
  • Expanded geographic focus including launch of office in Washington, DC
  • Created the Tikkun Olam Jewish Social Justice Fund – led by Hadar Susskind
  • Launched a Tides Fellows Program, which includes Gara LaMarche and Sonal Shah
  • Developed a 2012 and beyond Civic Engagement Strategy

Over the next several weeks, if you have questions or comments please feel free to reach out to me at any time. At the beginning of January we will host a call for the Tides community to present our goals and plans for 2012 and beyond.

As we enter the holiday season Tides offers its deep appreciation and thanks for your partnership, support and service. We thank you for supporting our changes and progress, and look forward to your continued support and partnership with Tides. Happy Holidays!

Melissa Bradley is the Chief Executive Officer of Tides.