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7 Ways Your Org Chart Is Failing Your Company

Org charts can have real value when they support company strategy, employee productivity, and engagement. But if your org chart is little more than an illustration of who reports to whom, you could be missing out on opportunities to bring teams together and make more progress on your strategic goals.

Traditional org charts have evolved quite a bit over the years, but they still have a number of drawbacks. In many companies, the org chart is a rarely used resource brought out only for headcount or reorg discussions. Today, the modern, live org chart is a dynamic tool that offers value to the whole organization, helping improve collaboration, relationship building, and organizational alignment. Here are seven ways your org chart could be failing your company (and where a live org chart can help):

1. Not Adaptive Enough

According to research conducted by Gartner, the average organization has undergone five enterprise changes in the past three years, most likely in addition to dozens of other changes such as new hires, employee departures, and other tweaks to the makeup of teams. Organizational change is always happening, and if your org chart isn’t adapting to changes happening within the company, eventually the org chart becomes less accurate, and your people will be left in the dark.

A static org chart built in a word processor or a standalone desktop system is hard to keep up to date when changes are happening everywhere in the organization. Conversely, a live org chart that syncs with your payroll or HRIS system is automatically updated and changes with the organization as it grows. A live org chart can also offer a wider variety of org chart layouts, colors, and orientations, and it can be embedded in your company intranet, exported into a PowerPoint, or printed for handouts.

2. Doesn’t Explain Accountabilities

Groups of boxes connected by lines don’t tell you who is responsible for what or how teams fit together, which is what new hires, existing employees, and leaders should be able to see when they look at the company org chart. If your org chart is showing only reporting relationships and titles but doesn’t explain how work actually gets done, the org chart is not living up to its potential.

A live org chart explains and illustrates individual and team accountabilities so that everyone can see, for example, which aspects of the customer experience are handled by which teams and which members of the sales team sell which types of products. The searchable directory and customizable profiles in a live org chart provide a view of team accountabilities so that employees know whom to go to for certain information and who has decision-making authority for certain types of projects.

3. Doesn’t Support Workforce Planning

A static, paper-based org chart makes it difficult to display multiple staffing or reorganization scenarios. Changes to organizational structure aren’t often made overnight or with the involvement of just a handful of people. Planning out how your organization will be structured and who will lead your teams is a dynamic process that requires the input of a range of people. Your org chart should be flexible enough to support your workforce planning processes now and into the future. If it’s not, the org chart isn’t doing its job.

A live chart is a dynamic, cloud-based tool that can be shared with anyone you choose. When your key leaders or board members need to review and compare multiple staffing scenarios, a live org chart allows for collaboration, making planning discussions more fruitful and comprehensive. A live org chart allows you to make better data-driven workforce planning decisions in many areas, including:

Related: Learn how to transform your organization with a live org chart, schedule a demo today.

4. Limited Structure Types

While a traditional hierarchy may make it easier to understand the chain of command, many companies have moved to other types of organizational structure. Furthermore, in a Deloitte survey of business executives, only 14 percent said they believed a traditional hierarchical structure would make their organization more effective. Not every company is a traditional hierarchy, but unfortunately, many traditional org chart platforms offer only structure options that mimic a hierarchy. If you’ve ever struggled to create an org chart that looks the way your organization is really structured, your org chart just isn’t flexible enough.

Your company org chart should have a flexible design that can show a range of structure types, whether the company is organized by product, customer type, function, or geography. A live org chart can be organized to look the way your organization looks, even when there are dual team leads, multiple CEOs, or shared assistants.

5. Not Integrated with Other Platforms

Talent management systems need to work together to ensure a seamless employee experience, which means that the company org chart should mimic what’s in the payroll system, HRIS, and other enterprise systems that support your workforce. That level of integration can’t happen with an Excel org chart that sits on someone’s computer. An org chart on a standalone platform isn’t efficient and can’t be kept up to date as changes occur. Conversely, a live org chart can integrate with a range of other software platforms such as messaging and calendar systems, single sign-on platforms, and native mobile apps. Some examples include:

6. Doesn’t Impact Employee Engagement

It’s unusual to think of an org chart as a tool for engagement because it’s often used solely to show headcount and reporting relationships. However, the org chart can be your secret weapon to keep employees informed and engaged. A live org chart can help bridge the gap between knowing a coworker’s name and building a solid working relationship with that person because you know more about what makes him or her unique.

In a recent SHRM employee engagement report, relationships with coworkers were named the number one driver of employee engagement. A live org chart features rich profiles that help individuals form relationships and learn more about one another, including their important skills, achievements, and fun facts such as their hometown and favorite sports team. It also integrates with collaboration software like Slack, which helps facilitate more communication and information sharing among team members. Because it is shareable, a live org chart can also build engagement among new hires who need to get to know their new coworkers quickly, and leaders who want to be sure they know more about the individuals on their team. Matching names and faces with the characteristics that make each individual unique helps people feel more connected and united as a team.

7. Only Certain People Can Use It

A traditional org chart has certain uses for company leaders and HR, but a live org chart can be accessible and useful to everyone in the organization, no matter where they’re located. Thanks to native mobile apps, a live org chart is accessible from any device and from any location.

When everyone has access to a searchable directory as well as employee profiles and can see how organizational structure aligns with company strategy, they are not only informed, but they also feel more included. Just a few of the ways employees can use the live org chart include:

An Alternative to the Traditional Org Chart

If your org chart is failing your company and you want to improve employee engagement, keep everyone informed, and achieve more efficient workforce planning, a live org chart is an ideal solution. As your organization grows and changes over time, a live org chart can help you plan for the future and ensure people are properly aligned with the organizational structure. An org chart can do more than show reporting relationships and headcount. It can be your go-to platform for managing and engaging your workforce.

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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.