Sometimes It’s About Perspective – Management at The Bottom

Paul Hebert Culture, Employee Engagement, HR, Leadership, Paul Hebert

There as many ways to generate employee engagement as Carter has little liver pills. (Look it up. It’s a saying. An old one but nonetheless.) If you read the press and the blogs everything from humor to humidors can drive engagement, and there is probably a company-generated (but not peer-reviewed or validated) survey to accompany it to “prove” it is the “way.” When it comes to employee engagement there are many Neos… many “the one” ways to do engagement.

I’m going to bore you with one more. Full-transparency—this has never been vetted nor has it been tested in the wild. This is purely my opinion. I know I’m not the first to think of this, but you may be the first to implement it.

Engagement is a Function of Organizational Chart Design

Below is a typical org chart in a company. It shows the levels of management, by function, division, etc. It shows that on the bottom is you… at the top are the folks with good hair and expensive watches. It is the one cultural artifact, the one company symbol that communicates your role—and everyone else’s role—on one single piece of paper. It is the distillation of where you are and what you do.

And if you aren’t in the top half of that graphic, you are theoretically supporting the entire organization. Yep—you are the key to keeping that pyramid stable and working.hierarchyHow do you feel right now? Less than thrilled? Aren’t you glad you have the role of keeping everything going—of supporting everyone else?

Now… think of it this way. What if you rearranged your org chart to show what the real relationship is—or more correctly—what the real relationship should be. Managers supporting their teams. Vice Presidents supporting their managers and the C-Level supporting the whole kit and kaboodle.

Below is a reworked org chart—one that I think puts a more enlightened cultural spin on the organization.

pillars2Let me ask you this…

Does showing the management in your company as supporting pillars change the way you think of them? Does showing the lower levels at the top increase their esteem slightly? Would seeing this chart give you a completely different view of the importance of the various roles in an organization and could it actually change how people might behave?

I think this org chart design communicates how companies should be viewed if that company wants engaged employees.

What say you—are your org charts creating disengagement? Or is this just too simple to really have any value? Remember what Einstein is purported to have said…

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

I have a couple of rules in life. One of them is never argue with Einstein.