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Organizational design is important for businesses, even though few firms actually think about it in a structured way. More often than not, a business is structured the way it is simply because of the way the company has evolved over time, through patterns of growth or scaling back. Sometimes, mergers or sales may affect a business’s structure—and not always in a way that makes much sense. Even a shift in the business’s focus or strategic plan, including goals, can lead to restructuring, sometimes without consideration of the bigger picture.

All of that can lead to dysfunction and inefficiency. That’s where organizational design comes in: The design process is a step-by-step methodology that businesses use to identify those dysfunctions within the organization and then remedy them through realignment. That can help your firm combat inefficiency in a number of ways.

STREAMLINE YOUR PROCESSES

Organizational design looks at a business’s bigger picture. While some people might think it focuses on the structure of departments and divisions, the truth is the process also includes a review of strategies, goals, procedures, and even the business environment.

The focus on procedures and processes is perhaps the most important when one considers efficiency. Many firms have processes and procedures that don’t necessarily make sense; sometimes, the process is convoluted, or a procedure may contain many repeated steps. A look at these processes and procedures can help your firm identify where you could be doing things differently—and then streamline those processes in order to realize efficiency.

CORPORATE STRUCTURE

This is the meat-and-potatoes of organizational design; in fact, it’s what most people think of when they talk about the design of a business. This step involves reviewing the business structure and identifying potential problems.

Perhaps there was a past merger of two divisions or departments. While that may have made sense at the time, does it still make sense now? For example, is your communications department lumped in with your HR department? While the two may have had some similar functions or even overlapping areas of expertise in the past, the same may not be true in the wake of social media. Alternately, you may find it makes more sense to merge your legal team with the HR team, since HR requires more and more legal expertise.

Obviously, reviewing the structure of your company doesn’t stop at this large-scale review; you might also review the structure of management or hierarchies across the company or in any given department. This allows you to review for inefficiencies—for example, do staff have to pass communications through three or four people when one might do? Are managers bogged down with micro-managing every little thing their staff does? These sorts of issues lead to inefficiency—and rethinking your structure can help you resolve them.

REVIEW GOALS AND PLANS

Chances are your company has business goals and even a strategic plan; these are statements of intent that help steer your business in the direction you want to go. Without them, your firm may seem a little lost in the sea of corporate entities.

But how long ago did you decide on those goals, and when did you draw up your strategic plan? Have you reviewed them recently? The business environment is ever-changing, and businesses can shift directions seemingly at the drop of a hat. If you haven’t reviewed your business goals and your strategic plan in a while, you may be shocked to find that they no longer line up with the direction your business is heading.

A review can certainly help you revise those goals and draw up new strategic plans to support where you want to go. An outside review can also help instigate renewal, since it can sometimes be difficult for organizations to shake things up even when they know they have to.

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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