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3 Unexpected Downfalls of Traditional Static Org Charts

Org charts provide a useful way of illustrating organizational structure and showing where individual and team accountabilities lie. When many people think of an org chart, they think of traditional static org charts that connect lines and boxes, showing who reports to whom. However, these org charts are usually almost always out of date and normally not trusted by your employees. In fact, they have a range of disadvantages associated with using them. Here are three unexpected downfalls of traditional static org charts:

1. They Can’t Keep Pace With Change

Static org charts are a bit stuck in the 19th century, when organizations relied only on boxes connected by lines and updated manually. However, organizations are changing more rapidly than ever before, and the static org chart has struggled to keep up with the evolution of organizational structure. In fact, it’s not just reporting relationships that change, but other important data about the employees too.

Individual responsibilities expand, and employees change locations and product coverage. A static org chart is outdated usually within days or weeks and makes it difficult to trust as a business tool to get work done.

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In contrast, a live org chart that evolves with the organization can keep pace with organizational change and offer new information on employee profiles, expanded responsibilities, or reorgs that affect multiple teams. Most importantly it can easily be kept up to date in real-time.

2. Nobody Pays Attention to Them

No matter how well the boxes line up or how many colors they contain, a static org chart has limited usefulness. Someone spends the time to create the org chart, and then people look at it once. After that, there really isn’t a whole lot of value that a traditional static org chart brings to organizational decision-making, especially when things are always changing.

A key reason static org charts are a lot less useful than they could be is that they become out of date as quickly as your next hire starts or an existing employee changes roles. Employees eventually lose trust in an org chart that doesn’t reflect the realities of the actual company structure.

3. They Don’t Tell Much About the People

A traditional org chart is designed to illustrate how the people and roles in the organization are structured. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you anything about people beyond what fits in the boxes. Static org charts confine each person to a singular role and don’t explain team accountabilities or say anything about a person other than their title. Org charts should do so much more. They should go beyond who reports to whom and tell more about who the people in the boxes really are. Live org charts have rich employee profiles and photos and allow employees to add information about themselves that can be shared with others across the company.

Having an org chart should be about more than a piece of paper or desktop file that shows who reports to whom. Organizations today are changing rapidly, and the org chart can be a tool for displaying changing roles in real time, which helps employees understand how they fit together within the organization. Without a modern, live org chart that explains more about people than just names and titles, all you really have is a piece of paper or file that quickly becomes outdated and therefore offers little value to the organization.

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Cameron Nouri
by Cameron Nouri
I am the Director of Growth at Pingboard. I consider myself an entrepreneur at heart. I love trying new things and taking educated risks on new ventures, both professionally and in my personal life. I bring that passion to work everyday where I enjoy helping others discover the power that Pingboard can unlock.