The Future of HR, Part 23: Can we get rid of Org Charts?

When I entered one of the former organizations, I asked for the organizational charts, to help me to find my way. It turned out org charts were implicitly forbidden. Creating clarity on paper would cause too much trouble and would disengage too many people. I could have known, because in my selection process I had met already three executives who claimed that they would be my future boss. Initially I did not like this aversion for clarity and clear lines of responsibilities, but it turned out to function quiete well.

10 reasons why to get rid of your traditional hierarchical org charts

  1. People like to work for you, because they want to develop and learn a lot, not because they fit a box in the org chart. 
  2. You believe organizations are moving from traditional hierarchical organizations to global network organizations, and you do not want to emphasize the old reality.
  3. It is more about teams than individuals. Org charts stress the individual responsibilities, while you like to have high performing teams who sort out themselves how they achieve their goals.
  4. You need an agile organization that is able to adapt quickly to new realities. Stifling org charts do not help here.
  5. Org charts lead to job descriptions, and the last thing you want is people who stick to their job descriptions (and HR departments that have to spend time on writing job descriptions).
  6. Org charts give a distorted view of the reality, and why would you want that?
  7. Org charts lead to discussions about territory and borders. You want your people and teams to focus on the common goals, and not on useless territorial discussions.
  8. Org charts lead to a functional and fragmented approach, and not to a holistic multidisciplinary approach.
  9. Org charts and structures do not mobilize and engage people.
  10. You want people to collaborate and reach out to colleagues who can help them, disregard less of their position in the org chart.

Your reaction could be: but the org chart has also many advantages, like helping people to navigate through the organization, and to have a clear sight on their responsibilities. Of course, and I am sure you can come up with eight other positive aspects as well. I hope to read them in your blog soon!

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