Figuring out the employee hierarchy at your business is part of the foundation of any strong organization.
How an organization is structured can influence many things. Not only can it influence the operational efficiency of a business, but it can also affect the ways that employees relate to each other and even the overall morale of certain teams.
Many organizations have transitioned over to a “flat structure,” essentially eliminating levels of middle management. In some businesses, this looks like everyone reporting into a member of an executive team. Some studies have suggested that this leads to greater autonomy and employees who feel more engaged in the company direction and decisions. Some HR and executive leaders have found that this kind of structure also leads to better collaboration, better communication, and more creativity because employees don’t feel constrained by what their position or management dictates are within the boundaries of the org chart.
Other more traditional companies find that a hierarchal structure – or chain of command – helps to keep departments and employees organized. Many companies find that it empowers employees to have more resources for guidance in the form of supervisors, specialists, managers, and directors, and a traditional organization structure gives businesses more opportunities to offer promotions and more responsibilities to people with long-time appointments and more experience.
How to create effective employee hierarchy for maximum engagement and efficiency
Different people respond differently to various employee hierarchy structures. Some people find it helpful to have a flat organization, while others feel it’s too loose and chaotic. Here are some things to keep in mind for organizing your employee hierarchy.
1. Decide on the functions that need to be filled
You need to know what you want to have dedicated resources for. Do you need a social media specialist, or can a marketing manager absorb those responsibilities? Do you need a project manager to keep deadlines? Deciding on how many positions are crucial business can help you decide on things like department and management structure.
2. Make expectations clear
The most important part of the employee-employer relationship is clarity. Employees need to understand what’s expected of them in order for them to succeed and gauge their success. Additionally, they need to understand what resources they have when they have questions, whether it’s a coworker, a manager, or an employee handbook or position guide. When deciding on the shape of your employee hierarchy, you’ll need to ask yourself form lends itself best to clarity for the most people.
3. Consider a change when necessary
Don’t be afraid to make structural changes. This doesn’t just mean adding more levels of management or creating new job titles. Eliminating management positions or restructuring departments to reflect a flatter, a more peer-focused structure can be a way to grow collaboration and productivity.
4. Ask the Right Questions
When it comes to growing employee engagement, it’s important to make sure you’re focusing on the right things. Gallup believes that businesses should ask the following questions to increase engagement and understand if their hierarchy structure is working for them, starting with the most basic and moving to more growth-oriented.
- Do employees have the tools they need to do their jobs?
- Are assignment and position expectations clear?
- Do employees feel like they belong?
- Are their skills being grown and developed?
- Do they feel they can trust their coworkers, peers, management, and other employees?
- Do they receive recognition for their work?
Having the answers to these questions can help you understand what is missing in your employee engagement strategy and better position you to make necessary changes, perhaps with your organization’s structure.
Providing employees with structure, leadership, and accountability is important in any business’s success. The way that a business chooses to do that will vary, however. When arranging your employee hierarchy and your organization chart, try to keep the employee experience and overall business needs at top of mind to help create the structure that serves the most people towards meeting your business goals.