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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.

WHAT IS ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN?

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.

WHAT GOOD IS IT?

Many firms get stuck in patterns of inefficiency, often without realizing it. Business environments can change quickly, and business goals are constantly evolving. However, few firms take the time to adjust their processes and procedures to ensure that they’re meeting the challenges of their new environment, or even that their operations are in line with meeting their goals. Businesses may change their goals, but they may simply continue doing things the way they’ve “always been done.” If it’s not broken, why fix it?

The problem is that those tried-and-true procedures may not fit your organization’s new goals after a realignment or reorientation. The environment may have changed so that your systems are outdated or your workflow isn’t taking full advantage of new opportunities. Organizational design can identify these flaws and help you overcome them. This can lead to cost-savings, better efficiency, and, ultimately, a better bottom line for your firm.

STEP BY STEP

The design process is holistic in its consideration of your business and focuses on improving your business in almost every aspect. The process begins with a charter, in which senior management and leaders meet to discuss the current situation. The parameters and scope of the project are decided.

Next, the firm is assessed. This part of the process illuminates how your business works, how various parts of the whole interact, what the health of the business is like, and, most importantly, which areas are ripe for improvement. Following this, the actual design work can take place. What does your new organization look like? Streamlining and standardization of procedures are typically a large focus of this part of the process. Finally, you’ll begin to implement the new design.

DO YOU NEED TO RETHINK YOUR FIRM’S DESIGN?

Typically, businesses engage in organizational design exercises following major changes. This could be a reorientation or redefinition or what you do, or it may follow a drastic reorganization after a sale or merger. For smaller businesses, however, looking at organizational design may not follow from a redefinition of goals or merger activities. Rather, it can be a great way to make sense of your business. Small businesses in particular experience growing pains; procedures are often implemented on an ad hoc basis, and workflows may not be efficient because employees have simply been working to get things done with a skeleton staff or minimal resources. Organizational design can give you a clearer sense of what your firm does, how it functions, and where you’re going—as well as what you can do to get there.

Businesses that don’t periodically review their design are at risk of becoming inefficient and falling behind the market. Organizations without clear visions of their place in their market are in trouble. Organizational design can present a clear vision, and if you weren’t before, you should probably consider undertaking a design exercise now. If you feel out of your depth taking on the process, don’t worry—there’s help at hand with HR experts who can guide you through the process, every step of the way.

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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