Every organization needs some form of organizational chart. It is the map that shows employees how to get from one place in the company to another, and it helps keep everyone on the same page about who does what.
But not all charts are created equal. Some are simple, while others are more complex. And some work better than others at achieving specific goals for your business or team. Follow these 10 tips when making an organizational chart so you can create an effective roadmap for success:
1) Use colors effectively.
Color coding can help people understand where they need to go faster by associating different departments with different colors, which makes it easier for them to see if they’re going in the right direction without having to read any text on a page.
2) Keep it simple.
If your organizational chart is too large, employees will get lost and stressed out trying to figure out where they’re supposed to go and who they’re supposed to talk to about different issues. Make sure that your chart is easy to navigate and fits well on one page (even if you need two pages, split it down the middle and put an index at the top so people don’t get confused).
3) Don’t forget about matrixed organizations.
If your organization isn’t necessarily simple, straightforward or flat, the organizational chart can still work for you. Matrixed organizations have two sets of reporting structures: one for each business unit, such as sales and marketing, and one for the entire organization. If that’s you, make sure that your organizational chart includes a matrix in the middle of it to show employees where they fit into both structures.
4) Make sure all boxes are filled.
You can’t just put people in boxes on your organizational chart – you need to fill them with information. Under each box, put a description of the person’s role in the company and how it relates to other people on the chart. This will help them understand what they do in the context of everyone else in your organization.
5) Make sure titles don’t overshadow roles.
It’s good to have a title for every role in your company, but just because you have a job title doesn’t mean that’s who the person is. For example, if your company has an HR manager, don’t just put “HR Manager” in their box on the chart – include what they specifically do in that role.
6) Don’t use generic titles.
If you can’t think of a specific title for someone, put their actual title in parentheses. For example, you may have a person who works in finance and deals with government compliance issues. Instead of labelling them “Compliance,” which doesn’t tell employees what the person does, call them a “Director of Government Compliance” or an “FCC Specialist.” This will help employees understand their role in the context of what they do.
7) Don’t use too many levels.
If your chart has too few levels, you’re not showing proper hierarchy; if it has too many, it’s confusing to employees and difficult to keep track of who’s doing what so they don’t get confused when talking with other departments. If your chart seems flat, add in an extra level or two; if it has too many levels, try consolidating some of them in the middle. Keep the organizational chart simple and easy to understand for everyone involved in it so you won’t have to re-make it over and over again until it’s perfect.
8) Don’t make it too tall.
Nobody wants to scroll through an entire page of information just to figure out who does what, which is why your chart needs to be no taller than two pages. If you need more space on the second page, divide the first page down the middle and put an index on top so that people can always find specific information. If you need to, you can save the second page for later and just use the first one to help employees navigate your organization.
9) Don’t forget that everyone needs job security.
It’s important to be aware of terms like “at will” in your state or country when writing descriptions for positions in case someone decides to sue you for being fired without warning. Even if you have the right to do so, it’s usually a good idea to give employees a reason for termination. When crafting job descriptions, include information about your policies on advancement and promotion opportunities to help them understand how they can move up in your company.
10) Use graphics.
If you’re making a very large chart, pictures make it much easier to understand than copious amounts of text. You can use graphics like icons to represent different departments in your company; for example, if you’re making a chart showing the duties of each employee who works in operations, create an icon that represents “operations” and put the department’s title under that. If you’re creating an organizational chart for your company, you can use pictures to show the hierarchy of different departments. For example, if your department is split into four different sections and each section has lead editors, you could draw a picture in the box showing what each section does so employees know where they fit in.
Bonus tip: Use Venngage.
Venngage is an online editing platform that provides a wide range of free organizational chart templates for everyone. All you need to do is create your free Venngage account, browse different free org chart designs, choose what’s best for your team, customize the layout to your liking, and download. To give you an idea, here are some org chart examples from their collection.
Organizational charts are an important part of any company, but they can be difficult to create and maintain. If you’re looking for some organizational chart template to lighten up your load, don’t forget to visit Venngage. What are you waiting for? Make your company even more effective and organized by creating an organizational chart with Venngage today!