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At a time when artificial intelligence and automation are becoming widespread in the workplace, and companies need to respond with greater agility to changing environments, it is vital that organizations have effective structures in place to optimize processes. Since the backbone of a successful business is the talent of the company business leaders need to ensure they are providing a healthy work environment to attract and retain the best possible employees.
Looking past the layers
Traditionally, most companies have been structured around rigid hierarchies, with junior employees reporting to managers and managers to department heads, and so on. However, as the way we work transforms, these structures are being questioned. Some businesses are beginning to remove layers of management completely so that decision-making becomes more autonomous and they can react swiftly to market changes.
Businesses that are looking for talent to drive strategy will look very different to the hierarchical organizations of the past, weighed down with many layers of ineffectual managers. For example, companies where employees can decide for themselves which team to join, or which project they’d like to own, would empower them to work harder and innovate; all outcomes which would benefit the business.
Instead of assigning roles and responsibilities around an organized hierarchy, business leaders should instead look to empower teams to define their own goals. By doing so, they can grow themselves fluidly in a direction guided by senior leadership in ways that take advantage of the strengths of the organization and its workers.
If someone has too many people reporting to them, or if the business needs more technical expertise, for example, it’s more efficient to split a role into two or to look for expertise outside of the organization. This allows businesses to remain efficient and effective without adding unnecessary management layers which often serve to slow down processes and reduce efficiency.
It’s also important for business leaders to be willing to use talent outside of the company. That way, the organization can benefit from better expertise or more technical advice. Low-cost developers, for example, might be better found outside of Europe, and in many cases may be more suitable for the task in hand. Consequently, it is crucial for businesses to invest in external and not just internal talent.
Encouraging collaboration and communication
Businesses leaders should also look to create a more open culture where ideas can be shared at all levels, and flexible and remote working encouraged. This kind of collaborative culture means individual employees have more control over their tasks and roles within an organization and will therefore feel more empowered to work away from the office where necessary. Businesses can benefit from hiring a broader range of talent as working hours can be adapted to suit the individual.
With such a variety of collaborative flexible working technologies now available allowing employees to connect with one another at any time and in any place, good business leaders will onboard such new tools that encourage worker connectivity. These technologies improve communication between workers and create an environment of collaboration, also encouraging employees to work together beyond usual hierarchies.
The physical layout of workplaces should also be redesigned to support a shift to a less hierarchical model. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, for example, famously works in an open-plan office in close proximity to more junior colleagues. Businesses would therefore benefit from setting out workstations in groups to encourage stronger team interaction and communication across levels of previously established hierarchy.
Ultimately, in order to stay efficient and maximize company growth and development, business leaders need to move towards flatter, less hierarchical business models that allow workers to be more fluid within their roles. This will allow organizations to foster more inclusive environments, creating environments that retain talent and help attract new workers that will ultimately contribute to further building and developing the business.
January 14, 2019 at 07:29AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs