Director – People, Education, Community

Architects Orange (AO) Architects Orange (AO) Employer:
Orange, CA, USLocation:
Tue, Jan 11 '22Posted on:


 WE are better together.

 Here at AO you’re not just a number, you’re family. We believe in casual Fridays, company sponsored events, annual holiday parties, picnics, bowling and more. As the host of Toastmasters International, we seek to expand one’s confidence in public speaking, leadership and teamwork while providing both professional and personal growth. With collaborative work spaces and driven coworkers AO welcomes creativity, learning, and lasting relationships.

 Since its founding in 1974, AO has evolved from a 2 man single office to an award winning full service firm spanning a campus of 5 buildings in Orange and additional offices in San Diego and Santa Clara, an engaged staff of 270+ souls and 12 Studios (Multifamily, Retail, Hospitality, Restaurant, Mixed Use, Office, Industrial, Parking, Landscape, Modular, Science and Technology and Global Design).  Just like Historic Old Towne Orange where we are located, AO is family focused, hardworking and built to last.  AO believes in the power of relationship. Everything we do is motivated by what it takes to be effective and successful for our clients. We value service, our people, a roll up your sleeves attitude and continuous improvement.  If you are young in your career, come grow with us.  If experienced, come get better with us.  There is no one like you, and there is no place like AO.


At AO we are always on the lookout for exceptional talent looking to join our organization. 

SUMMARY:  AO is seeking a confident yet humble leader with demonstrated and clear experience proposing and executing on creative and pragmatic solutions to challenges in people operations.  In this role you will be collecting and synthesizing input from stakeholders at all levels, building consensus and thoughtfully designing adoptable process and rollouts targeted at enhancing the employee’s journey through the entire employee lifecycle.

Through collaborative efforts at all levels of the organization, this individual will work to further define and clarify the unique employee lifecycle at AO.  This role is intended to have profound impact on the continued cultural maturation of a 300 person and growing Architectural firm of national and international repute entering the beginning stages of its first generational transition of leadership.

AO was founded as a small single focus firm in 1974 rooted in an entrepreneurial model and  evolved into a multi studio firm  driven by the individual Partners and their project pursuits.  This developmental history engendered a group of separately organized but cooperative Studios.  In recent years, under the guiding principle of becoming Better Together, the company has committed to taking a direct and intentional role in its organizational evolution towards cooperating under a singularly cohesive goal and vision: to foster an ecosystem of people and process in which every employee is empowered to pursue their highest potential and, collectively, put a dent in the universe.

As our Director of People, Education, Community you will be a central strategist and agent in that process: a designer, a doer, a champion, a collaborator a coach and a caretaker. You will  help develop, motivate and retain the team at AO.  You will be instrumental in helping support a culture that encourages pride and happiness in our workplace.  You will have a key role in managing the employee journey, developing a people strategy, increasing employee value, utilizing our HR systems, analyzing metrics, all in the service of helping achieve AO’s business goals. 


  • Solid understanding of HR best practices, positive employee relations, employee retention, candid and effective communication (including being proficient at and willing to have difficult conversations), employment law, and process design and improvement.
  • Ability to work in a team environment and interact effectively with all levels of employees and management.
  • Understanding of organization building and human capital.
  • Excellent communicator—both orally and in writing.
  • 10 years of progressive experience and demonstrable history in some combination of Human Resources, Marketing, People and Culture Operations, Team Leadership, Recruitment, Learning and Development.
  • 5+ years of demonstrable success in a similar role.
  • Familiarity with LEAN principles is desired.

Some of the Opportunities ahead for the right individual:

  • Augmenting our current onboarding practices: content, delivery and administration
    • Making sure that employees feel welcomed, informed about team and organizational expectations and are prepared to excel in their roles
  • Developing and administering a meaningful firm-wide mentorship program that allows for studio specific variety
  • Assist in the management and resolution of complex people-related issues with minimal business disruption
  • Employee recognition; personal and professional
  • Collaboratively manage retention and development of top performers/high potential talent.
  • Collaboratively drive the evolution of our Performance Management Review Process
    • To include employee goal tracking and effective performance management
    • Moving the entire process online into our HRIS(Paycom)
    • Oversee and participate in the development and administration of content and documentation of all training efforts at the organization.  We want you to work with internal leaders to shape our decentralized education efforts into a cohesive continuing education program.
    • Guide managers to make effective and timely talent assessment, as well as coach poor performance in an impactful manner
  • Partner with internal teams to reinforce the brand vision and company culture; support and enhance Marketing, HR and educational efforts.
  • Foster a culture of engagement that values diversity and inclusion and that demonstrates fair and consistent management practices.
  • Help define and create strategies for AO’s organizational culture goals, working to make AO an employer of choice
  • Partner with internal teams to reinforce AO’s Brand Vision.
  • Assist and support in future employee attraction
  • Work collaboratively to evolve a cohesive wellness program


We offer all the benefits of a big firm, with all the human connection of a small one.  You will never be a number at AO.  Come join our community.

Partial list of benefits:

  • Full Suite of Medical, Dental, Life & Supplemental Insurance             
  • Ongoing Education and Exam Reimbursement
  • Most Medical Plans fully paid for employee only coverage 
  • Company Paid Basic Life Insurance & Long Term Disability
  • Retirement Plan, Health Savings and Flexible Spending Accounts      
  • Overtime Compensation for Hourly Employees
  • Paid Vacation, Holidays and Sick Time        
  • Flexible Schedule
  • Rail Station one block from campus with participation in tax-benefited Metrolink rider program


Please apply directly through our Website at

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