Organisation Charts

Organisation Charts are used to represent and communicate a company’s structure visually. As well as providing some information about the individuals who work within the organisation, they show where each person fits into the reporting structure (who they report to, and who reports to them). Using organisation charts as a business tool has some clear benefits, but it also presents some challenges.

Example Chart



Providing Information  

Displaying these details within a chart (rather than a list, or a collection of lists), makes it easier to assimilate; the chart helps us to visualise and understand the way an organisation works. This has a number of clear benefits  :

  • In larger organisations, or organisations that have a high turnover of staff, an organisation chart will show who works in a particular area, or who is responsible for a particular team. Organisation charts also provide an indication of the relative seniority of staff  .
  • If an individual is not available at a particular time, using an organisation chart it will be easy to work out who else might be contacted about a particular query or issue, and if a more-senior person, or perhaps a junior member of a team can help.
  • If the organisation chart includes pictures, it will help to locate staff who have not been contacted before. This is particularly useful for new employees.


A Management Tool

Organisational charts can also help understand the way the management works within a company. The chart shows how the activities and tasks are delegated, it also shows who provides supervision and who monitors performance (undertakes reviews, appraisals, etc.) and day-to-day aspects of the business such as attendance.


A Planning Tool

Organisation charts can also be used as a planning tool. The constant need for some degree of flexibility will always shape the structure of an organisation.

If a particularly large order, or a new project is to be delivered effectively, it is important to ensure that resources are available to cope with the additional workload. An up-to-date organisation chart can help planners to get a feel for the level of resource available in different areas of the business. They can then ensure that there are enough staff available, and that the staff in question have right skills for the task in hand.

As the demands on the business change, some level of restructuring may be required. In this situation, organisation charts are a really effective tool to help model and understand the changes that are needed. Building a visual representation of the way the organisation will work following any structural change will enable planners to understand the benefits and the limitations of any new approach.

Managing successors can be done using an organisation chart. If key staff were to leave or be promoted, who would replace them? If a team needs to be established to take on a new project or launce a new product, who can step into the vacated posts and ensure the business continues to function normally?


The Challenges

There are clearly some challenges associated with using organisation charts; these usually relate to their size, upkeep and distribution.

Large organisation charts are often difficult to view and therefore difficult to understand. Splitting an organisation chart into parts (by team or department, or perhaps by location) helps to deliver the charts in a manageable format or size.

It is often difficult to keep the information held within the organisation chart up-to-date, particularly in an organisation where employees join and leave, or change roles frequently. A chart that is out-of-date can cause more confusion than benefit. A well-defined process or system is therefore required to ensure that the charts do not fall into disrepair. Linking the chart to (or producing the chart from) the organisation’s HR database is one solution to this problem. Without this approach, keeping track of what has changed and maintaining the information (manually) will be both prone to error and time consuming.

Making up-to-date organisation charts available to staff within the company can also prove difficult. One effective approach is the make a copy of the organisation chart available via the company intranet. Having the chart available ‘online will mean that there is no need to continually print updated copies and distribute them. Doing this also ensures that an up-to-date copy of the organisation chart is always available to all staff.

People Inc. and Organisation Charts

It is possible to generate organisation charts in a number of different ways using People Inc.

  • Using a third-party charting tool (such as Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Excel)
  • Using an on-line service (for example Google charts)
  • Using the People Inc. organisation chart plug-in

The first 2 options require that information is extracted from the People Inc. database (using a report) and this is then used to generate the chart.

The third option provides a number of additional benefits. The plug-in is easily added to an existing instance of People Inc. (version 3.5 or above). This tool utilises the Reports To field on the employee’s current Job History record to create a reporting structure in the form of an Organisation Chart.

Using the People Inc. Organisation Chart plug-in, at the click of their mouse, the user can generate charts based on all of the current employee records within the People Inc. database, or select a specific company, then department, or location and generate a chart that includes just the people who work in this area of the organisation.

It is possible to modify the way the organisation chart looks, this includes a choice of colour for the background, cells and the text; a means to rotate the chart from portrait to landscape mode (and vice-versa).

It is also possible to generate an image file containing the chart. This can be printed or used elsewhere (outside the People Inc. system), for example, it can be added to a company Intranet to make it available to staff within the organisation.

Once a chart has been created, it is possible to make modifications. The user can select areas of the chart and move them so that the selected staff report to a new manager. The modified chart can be used to update the employees’ records within the People Inc. system.


More Information

Please contact us on 01908 268111 for more information