5 Steps to Taking Your Org Chart from Useless to Useful
Traditional company org charts can help explain reporting relationships and team accountabilities, but for many organizations, they aren’t all that useful. Why? Because a traditional static org chart isn’t dynamic, doesn’t reveal much about people or teams beyond who reports to whom, and quickly falls out of date as soon as an employee joins the company, leaves, or changes roles. Conversely, a live org chart does everything a static org chart can do, but with superpowers. It lives in the cloud, can sync with HRIS systems and employee calendars, and can accommodate a broad range of organizational structure configurations, including shared roles, dotted-line relationships, and employee profiles with custom fields.
Your company org chart doesn’t have to be an outdated paper or computer file that goes largely unused. Rather, it can be a valuable tool for supporting a collaborative work culture, helping employees build relationships, and assisting in workforce planning efforts. Here are five steps to taking your org chart from useless to useful:
1. Target areas for improvement.
A great place to start is by examining your current org chart, what you use it for, and the additional ways you wish you could use it. For example, an area of improvement that you might target is the ability to integrate the org chart with payroll, HRIS, and enterprise-wide systems so that the org chart stays up-to-date even when reporting relationships and headcounts change. As you develop a complete awareness of areas for improvement, you can then set clear goals for what you want to accomplish with your new org chart. Some other areas of improvement might include:
- Access: Native mobile apps can help to ensure the org chart is accessible by all employees at any time.
- Planning: Creating collaborative versions of the org chart supports workforce planning and reorganization scenarios.
- Employee profiles: Profiles provide a way to for employees to learn more about each other beyond their titles and reporting relationships.
- Onboarding: The ability to put the org chart into the hands of new hires helps them ramp up quickly.
2. Research available options.
Once you have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish with your org chart, you’ll need to research available options and determine how they match your company’s needs. In addition to available support and features that align with your goals, you’ll need to examine the degree to which the org chart solution integrates with existing company platforms, such as HRIS, payroll, or identity management systems. It will also be helpful to understand how much onboarding and training support will be provided to help users understand the org chart’s full functionality. Lastly, you’ll also benefit from understanding not just costs and fees, but the required time commitment and the ability to scale the org chart as your organization grows in size and complexity.
3. Conduct a trial run and gather feedback.
As you evaluate org chart solutions, it can be helpful to select a partner that offers a trial run. A trial can provide a valuable opportunity to explore all the features of the org chart and determine how they will best fit with your organization. It also gives different kinds of users a chance to get a feel for the various ways they can use the org chart. Employees and managers can provide feedback on the more helpful integrations, favorite profile fields, and the types of information that should be included.
4. Introduce the new org chart.
Once you’ve gathered and assessed feedback from the trial run, you’ll be ready to select an org chart solution that best fits the immediate and future needs of your organization. When rolling out the finalized org chart, it will be helpful to encourage employees to take a test drive, update their profiles, and use the org chart features, and you should also explain to the entire organization the reasons for adopting a new org chart and what the organization intends to accomplish with it. When employees understand how the new org chart can fit into their day-to-day work lives, they may be more likely to embrace it.
5. Monitor and encourage ongoing collaboration.
The benefits of using a live org chart are evergreen and continue to offer value to the organization long after the initial rollout. A live org chart will have the most value when leaders rely on it to connect with their teams, encourage collaboration by involving team and divisional leaders in workplace planning decisions, and when employees continue to update their profiles and take the time to learn more about their coworkers.
An Org Chart Everyone Will Use
The days of keeping an outdated org chart sitting unused in a file drawer are a thing of the past. With the aid of modern technology, a live org chart can offer real value to an organization and bring up-to-date transparency to organizational structure. When information-rich employee profiles combine with the ability to create shareable versions of org charts for planning purposes, the org chart becomes not only useful, but also invaluable to any organization.