Running a business is a monumental task, and whether your firm is small or large, you want to be sure that you’re running it in the most efficient and effective way possible. That’s why organizational design is so important. Unfortunately, it’s also something that many firms overlook.

The design process is a step-by-step methodology that businesses use to identify dysfunction within the organization. The ultimate goal is to realign your processes, procedures, structures, systems, and workflows with both your business goals and the realities your firm faces in its business environment.


The first step in initiating a design review exercise is to call a meeting with senior management in your firm. At this meeting, the company’s leadership will consider why an organizational review is necessary and agree to begin the process. The parameters and scope of the project are decided as management considers the current situation facing the business. Strategic planning can be, but isn’t always, part of this process.


Once the firm has decided to proceed with an organizational design exercise, along with the goals of the project, the next step is to assess the firm. Since the design process is holistic, it reviews everything from the business’s overall health to its processes and procedures. This gives you an idea of what your firm does, its strengths and weaknesses, how various divisions and departments interact with each other, and, most importantly, how you can improve. The assessment also accounts for various challenges facing the firm in the operating environment.


Once you have finished the assessment, you’ll have a clear picture of your firm’s situation, including its challenges and advantages, strengths and weaknesses, and where you can improve. You’ll have a better understanding of what the firm does and how you’re accomplishing that.

The next step is creating the new design of the organization. After the assessment, it will be easy to see how well your business is meeting challenges, how effectively you’re using your advantages, what you could be doing better, and even how current operations align with business goals.

During the design process, you take the information gathered from the assessment and begin to implement changes. Are there places where workflows can be revised to improve efficiency? Are there redundancies in your procedures, or are you operating underoutdated policies about cybersecurity? Do you need to upgrade your systems in order to meet company goals? Streamlining and standardization are typically focal points during this part of an organizational design review.


While this last step may seem like the simplest, it is actually the most intense. Implementing the new design won’t happen overnight; in fact, you’ll likely need to roll it out bit by bit, overhauling particular workflows or divisions. It can take months to fully implement a new design.

Once the design is implemented, of course, the process shouldn’t be viewed as “completed.” In fact, monitoring the impact of implementation is important for businesses. Are your new procedures truly more efficient? Did a new technology appear on the scene between the time you designed your organization and the time you implemented the new workflow? The business environment is constantly changing—and businesses must remain fleet of foot to keep up with it. That means monitoring and revising procedures on an ongoing basis.


Businesses decide to undertake organizational design exercises for a variety of reasons. Some may be responding to challenges in their operating environments. Some may be experiencing a realignment after a sale or merger. Smaller business simply may not have had any formal structure to begin with and are now realizing a need for design to combat “growing pains.” No matter the reason, an organizational design exercise can help you ensure your firm is as efficient as possible.

Felicia Smith

Felicia is the manager of human capital solutions at AugmentHR. With over six years of recruitment experience coupled with multi-faceted HR roles, Felicia is an expert in matching people with the right role and environment. She has worked in many different industries, including investment banking, HR consulting firms, medical, and commercial. Understanding people is one of her strengths, and she has recruited at every level, from directors, project managers, and engineers to operators and general labourers. Her ability to network and develop relationships has been a key tool to her success. With approximately two years of experience managing people and creating a positive work environment, Felicia’s diverse skill set makes her a well-rounded individual. Her business education and background help her identify different business needs and human capital solutions.

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