Does your business need a hierarchy gut check

5 ways to give your business a hierarchy gut check

Does your business need a hierarchy gut check? Does your organizational structure need adjustment? If tasks aren't being accomplished because they're falling off someone's overfull plate, or simply aren't any one person's specific responsibilities, it may be time to give it a second look. Resentments can grow among staff over coworkers' job titles, pay and duties. Ensuring a sound structure is the easiest way to serve the whole and create positive work environment.

As a leader you must continually adapt your business structure to support ever-changing goals. Yes, each business is unique, but these basic guidelines can bring balance and strength to all organizations:

1. There are limits to the number of direct reports a supervisor can handle.

It’s important for managers to maintain a personal connection with their people. Without that connection, workers can feel undervalued, unsupported and unfocused. For managers of departments where most people are working the same job, such as the front-end, the maximum should be 10 to 15. For general managers who are supervising other managers, a group of 5 to 7 is optimum.

2. Every employee should report to someone, and ideally just one person.

When people have multiple supervisors, they get mixed directions and priorities. If your business is large enough to have multiple departments, make sure each employee has a “home” department.

3. Creating special positions just to give someone a raise is never a good idea.

When an employee steps up to a new level of responsibility, say, taking over buying for a department, they should earn more than they did in their previous job, and on par with others with the same level of responsibility. Creating unnecessary positions just to give someone a raise, can cripple your business’s effectiveness and damage your image as a fair and equitable employer. Instead, show your appreciation for good work and help employees sharpen their skills to be ready for the next opportunity that becomes available.

4. Long-time employees don’t automatically report to the top manager unless their job descriptions warrant it.

Perhaps your bulk buyer used to report directly to you and now sees reporting to the grocery manager as a demotion. Nevertheless, reporting hierarchy should be based on the needs of the organization. Show long-time employees gratitude and appreciation in other ways but do not create special reporting relationships for them just because of their length of service. Instead, help them see that their wisdom can build strength on the team where they best belong.

5. Create a fair and equitable pay scale based on level of responsibility, not individual income needs.

Each position should be paid according to the levels of decision-making and daily responsibilities it involves. And all positions should be placed in the scale at the same level where other positions with similar sets of responsibilities are placed.

All employees should belong to a team. Employees need to feel connected to the goals of the organization. The best way to maintain and strengthen that connection is to ensure that they are regularly meeting with a primary team working toward a common goal. No one should manage a department in complete isolation. Brainstorming, building and improving and celebrating with a team keeps everyone feeling connected to their co-workers and to the overall organization.

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