When was the last time you looked at your company’s organizational chart? If it’s been a while, you should think about the purpose—and potential—of this document. Structured correctly, an org chart can become much more than a simple representation of your organization’s structure. It can help you understand relationships, make important decisions, identify opportunities for growth, and build company unity.
Of course, your org chart is only as good as the information found therein. Though this may be challenging in a fast-moving company, it’s important to keep your chart up-to-date. If that’s an overwhelming prospect, remember that you don’t have to go it alone. It’s a great idea to use a web-based app to share your org chart with the entire company.
Why Involve Multiple People with Org Chart Creation?
By involving the right people from each department, you can quickly source needed information to keep the entire org chart up-to-date. Because org charts are more of a data repository than a creative product, the problems of writing by committee don’t really apply. Instead, your colleagues can help you:
- Devise better paths from one position to the other. If Tim from Accounting actually reports to someone who’s not listed as his supervisor, that’s valuable information—and something that higher ups may not realize.
- Spot mistakes. Jane’s cubicle mate probably has a better idea of her office number than you do.
- Advise on inter-office relationships. No, not that kind of relationship, although office romances shouldn’t be ignored. We mean everyday relations between colleagues and supervisors. If things aren’t hunky-dory, you might consider changing the org’s structure.
- Identify key stakeholders and their responsibilities. It’s so important to know who’s responsible for what. That way, a lackadaisical employee can’t slip under the radar, and a hard-working one can be rewarded and promoted.
When you’ve finished reviewing your chart, everyone in the organization should have a clear, defined role in the company. The org chart should also help employees know where to delegate tasks, seek approval, and disseminate reports.
Use Effective Crowdsourcing Tools
At this point, I hope it’s obvious that an updated org chart can aid your company’s stability and agility. But what’s your plan for regularly reviewing your charts? All companies change, and dynamic charting requires a tool that keeps everyone in the loop without adding unnecessary complexity.
Previously, this kind of communication was done through version tracking and countless emails. The process was cumbersome at best, and had a tendency to allow errors to creep into the system.
A web-based solution, on the other hand, eliminates things like versioning and compatibility issues. As long as they have an Internet connection, everyone can provide important information from their departments—from headcounts and job openings to compensation and tenure—as soon as it’s available.
Make sure that your online solution offers serious encryption, a reliable backup system, and plenty of support. While you can always print out hard copies of your charts, you need to know that the vendor will protect your digital assets. And make no mistake—your org chart is a valuable asset, online or off.
Cloud-based org chart software can help you to see how your company can work together to build mission-critical diagrams. It might be hard to face the truth about organizational weaknesses and failures. But shining a light on these problems is the first step towards creating a stronger company.
Published: December 13, 2013