Revamping your organizational structure is not an easy task, especially if you have an established company that has had the same framework for years. I recently had to guide our marketing department through the restructuring process. Although not easy, we ultimately accomplished our goal and now that I've done it, I know what is required to pull off an effective restructuring process.
Allow me to share the four step process I followed so you can be prepared if you have to do it in your organization.
1. Analyze your current structure.
There are no alarms that go off when your organizational structure is flawed. It's more like a slow pile up of little problems that eventually becomes obvious.
Excessive customer complaints, high turnover, low employee morale and stagnant sales are just a few signs that your corporate structure might be a hindrance to your business' success and your individual employees' success.
Usually when a company's structure is flawed, it's because the structure is more function-focused than goal-focused, as my marketing department was. Many companies look at their organizational chart and see functions they need to perform and build departments around those functions.
For example, we had our marketing department segregated into the various functions it performed, like SEO, paid advertising, content marketing, etc. with all those sub-departments reporting to the marketing director, overloading that person and causing a bottleneck.
Some of the problems we found with this structure were:
- Lack of scalability
- Limited opportunity for career growth
- Too many functions and connections between each department
- Unclear KPIs for the functions involved
2. Survey your employees.
You may sense that there is something wrong with your corporate structure, but the only way to be certain is to ask your employees about it. This is also a good way to identify where the bottlenecks are, if you have too many hoops to jump through to get anything accomplished and if you are looking at the right KPIs. Asking your employees directly will also give you an indication of how you can fix these problems.
We had drastically cut back on in-person meetings thinking that we were saving everyone time. Thanks to our employee survey, we learned that these in-person meetings were an integral part of the company's workflow and it wasn't the meetings themselves that were bad, but how they were structured and conducted. One employee said on the survey: "How can I ask for my team members' feedback about something I am working on in an email? I need to meet with them to talk about stuff." The benefit of these meetings was clear and we restructured the meetings to be more effective.
We also learned that we needed a project management tool to help us with the various connections between departments and we went about getting one to help our workflow.
3. Design your new structure.
Once you know where the problems exist and you've heard from your employees about what will help them perform their duties, you can design your new organizational structure around the goals you are trying to achieve.
The goals in a business are almost always things like increasing revenue or gaining new customers. They certainly were for us. So, based on those goals, we came up with the new departments of Customer Acquisition and Customer Engagement, each with their own director.
These replaced all the sub departments we had like the aforementioned SEO, paid advertising and content marketing because those functions are all for the goals of customer acquisition and engagement.
Each task now has its own KPI to give employees ownership over them as they work toward these goals. The KPIs also help with accountability. This, we believe, will help our employees grow and develop as decision makers.
Scalability was also important to us, so as the company grows we could expand this new structure easily. With fewer departments, we can scale up quicker and with less hassle.
4. Implement the new structure.
Introducing an entirely new way to run your business is no easy feat. Pick a date when the new structure will be implemented and make sure everything is in place to make the transition as smooth as possible. Depending on how you do it, you may need to hire people, lay people off, move offices around, promote, demote and any other number of things.
Above all else, you need buy-in from your team. You need the team to want to change because they know the new structure is better. We decided on a presentation to convey the benefits of the new structure over the old one.
Introducing a new organizational structure to your business can help smooth processes and get work flowing freely again. Keep in mind that your new structure should always be goal-oriented rather than function-oriented and you'll find the optimal structure for your organization.