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How Companies Are Getting The Most Out of Their Org Charts

How Companies Are Getting The Most Out of Their Org Charts

The Versatile Company Org Chart

It’s not often a business leader can say a single piece of technology, software or application can do more than one or a few things well. Most are purchasing individual products that do one thing well, like project collaboration, project management, customer management, and human resource management. While many of these systems are necessary and required for basic business operations, what if some could be consolidated to do more?

I’m not referring to presentation software that has an organizational chart component, like PowerPoint. I’m talking about software that is purposely built for org charts. This is an important distinction because org charts can play a much larger role in the enterprise. If your org chart can only do one thing, you’re probably missing something.

We were curious to see what users have to say about their org charts so we conducted our own poll. When asked how org charts are being used in their company, respondents said:

How are org charts used at your company?

“Organizational Planning”

I recently wrote an entire blog about organizational planning but I’ll give you the cliff notes. The business org chart is ideal to reveal structural, managerial and resource issues in a visual way. Why is this important? Because when people hear information, they only remember about 10 percent of it. When they can add a visual image to that information, they retain 65 percent of the information, even days later. We are visual creatures so the more visual you can make your org chart, the better.

The org chart illustrates the current status of the organization, often revealing issues that can be more concealed in rows and columns of a spreadsheet. The org chart is the easiest way to quickly recognize issues with headcount, resources, management, career development and dispersed teams.

 

“Help Onboarding New Hires”

No one likes being the new hire. It’s not fun to find your way around a new office, meet everyone and try to remember their names, and find someone who’ll go to lunch with you so you don’t look like the newbie who sits in their cubicle eating a pb&j alone. Think I’m exaggerating? Nearly 60 percent of new hires say they’d love to have a friend or mentor for their first week in a new office.

Related: Research Shows Employee Onboarding Can Be Eased with Technology

Modern org chart software provides employees with a mobile and computer app where they can access the company org chart with the swipe of a finger 24/7, along with contact information and personal details. Here, they can look at employee photos to learn names, understand the company structure, and search for specific traits, such as “marketing specialist”, “project manager for X project,” or “people who like sushi.” Onboarding couldn’t be any easier.

 

“Discover Who’s Who and Who Does What”

Whether you’re a tenured executive or the newest hire, it’s important to know who is who and what everyone does in your organization. It not only helps you build rapport, but it also helps you find who you need quickly. This isn’t always easy when all you have is a generic employee directory and an obscure org chart.

Org chart software now allows employees to upload professional details, such as skill set, specialized training, current projects and teams, and subject matter expert. It also leaves room to add personal tidbits, such as hobbies and interests, favorite foods and sports teams, and anything else the organization is interested in having employees include. When these characteristics can be searched similarly to a Google search, everyone in the company can instantly find who they need, understand what they do, and then contact them directly.

 

“Show at Company Meetings”

If you haven’t pulled out your company org chart for a meeting, I am willing to bet it’s because of one reason: you can’t trust it. Many company org charts aren’t kept up to date. Our poll showed nearly 46 percent of respondents know their org charts are outdated. If you can’t trust what’s on the org chart, how can you reference it in a meeting? Instead of being a valuable resource, it’s just a historical reference that doesn’t have a lot of meat on it.

Today’s org chart software lives in the cloud so updates are instant and in real-time. HR isn’t the only ones who can update the org chart. Managers and even employees can update their positions, personal and professional details, and contact information from the comfort of their mobile device. No one has to wonder if they are using the right or latest version of the org chart because every edit, addition and deletion is live.

 

“Shared with Board of Directors”

Just as with the previous use, many business leaders aren’t comfortable sharing their org charts with their board of directors because the org chart simply can’t be trusted. That, and it’s often not the prettiest or easiest chart to understand. With so many different organizational structures and reporting levels (or lack of), many traditional org chart software apps can’t accurately diagram the complex web of relationships.

Related: The 7 ½ Types of Business Organizational Structures

That was then. Org chart software has come a long way and is infinitely more flexible and scalable than PowerPoint and Visio. Companies can configure their org charts with as many layers and details as they want. The organizational chart is dynamic, even beautiful in its simplicity. Org charts can be printed and shared or digitally presented in real time. These are org charts business leaders will be proud to show their board. Can you say that about PowerPoint charts?

 

What Needs to Change with Most Org Charts

We recognize not all org chart software is doing all it could be doing to bring real value to businesses. That’s why we wanted to know what users really want to change about their current org chart. When asked what changes they’d make, respondents said:

What's the one thing you'd change about your org chart?

“Everything! We Don’t Even Have One!”

Even with all of the advances in organizational chart software, some companies still aren’t using anything. Instead of leveraging awesome technology to visually represent their company, they are drawing out org charts, using spreadsheets or even sticky notes.

Related: The Business Case for Org Chart Software

Perhaps some of the hesitation to invest in org chart software is that it’s too expensive, too complicated, takes too long or doesn’t have the ability to accurately chart the organization. All of these are valid points but today’s org chart software isn’t your father’s org chart software. Modern org chart software makes developing and maintaining the org chart simple, saving administrators and users countless hours and frustrations. It does a much better job at representing today’s fast-growing companies and brings significant value to any organization. That’s real ROI we’re talking about.

 

“Have it Updated in Real-Time”

Old data is bad data, particularly in this fast-paced, data-centric world. People need data in real- time, including the data in their org charts. When one person makes an edit, everyone should be able to see it and know they have the latest version. There shouldn’t be multiple versions and there shouldn’t be time wasted digging through emails and files to make sure you’re working off of the right one.

Related: Why Is Real-Time Such A Big Deal?

Org chart software that is based in the cloud kills two birds with one stone: it allows multiple users to make updates simultaneously while ensuring every user has the latest version. It’s big things like this that make today’s org chart so much more valuable, so much more accurate, so much more usable than old PowerPoint slides that one person at a time had access to at any given time. Version control is ensured. Data is live.

 

“Be Able to Add Employee Photos”

It’s one thing to know the names of your management and employees. It’s quite the other when you can put a face with a name. Most org chart software only shows names, titles and positions in the company. This doesn’t exactly help when you walk into a company meeting and don’t recognize all of the faces that go with the names you memorized.

Fortunately, there is org chart software that enables users to upload headshots with their employee profiles. Some companies allow their employees to add personal photos of themselves engaging in their favorite hobbies, wearing a favorite sports team jersey, or with a pet. This adds a level of personality you can’t get from boxes and lines in a typical org chart. It helps everyone, from the new hire to the executive, learn faces as well as names.

 

“Be Able to Add Employee Contact Info”

If you’re going to take the time to look up someone on an org chart, it only makes sense to be able to contact them directly from that org chart. Why waste time taking the extra step to look up the person in a separate employee directory?

Related: Why Your HR Software Isn’t The Answer for Your Employee Directory

The business org chart software available today combines employee contact information from within the employee directory with the org chart, saving users time and making it more convenient and easier to communicate.

The org chart is so much more than a graphical representation of the company and all of its layers of management. It is an engagement tool that brings the employees together, no matter how dispersed or remote they may be. It gives business leaders the visual insight they need to make business decisions. It humanizes the company as each employee can add personal details to their profiles and allow them to discover commonalities amongst their peers. Perhaps no other software solution provides such value to so many people at every level and significant ROI so quickly.

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.