If you run a business, government organization, or nonprofit unit, your employees need to understand their roles, who they answer to, and who they can turn to for guidance. Your managers must also keep track of the people who work under them at a given time. One excellent way to illustrate this information is through an organizational chart template.
An organization chart is a visual representation of the roles and relationships within an organization. It can come in handy when assigning projects or developing new strategies for company growth. In this article, we look at what goes into preparing it.
What Is an Organizational Chart?
An organizational chart, or org chart, is a visual illustration of the internal structure of a company. It defines the roles and responsibilities of each member and explains how they – or different departments – relate to each other. Depending on your needs, you can create an organizational chart for your entire company or individual departments, units, or tasks.
What Is an Organizational Chart Template?
An organization chart template is a printable document that contains all the general details of a company structure. You can make it your own by filling in the blank spaces with information particular to your company. If your company structure changes often, you can create a basic in-house template.
Understanding Organizational Charts
As mentioned, an organization chart displays how individuals, units, and departments in a company function in relation to each other. Representing such information often requires the use of symbols like arrows, circles, and lines. For context, consider a chart where the manager falls above the assistant manager. The latter knows to answer to the former and the former to check on the latter’s work.
If your company has multi-talented employees that can function in several projects or departments at once, an organizational chart can help you better track their roles. This helps you spot any inefficiencies in your system and address them by assigning such employees to open tasks.
Organizational Chart Templates
Types of Organizational Charts
An organization chart can take one of three formats. Remember, there is no wrong or right way to structure your chart as long as it clearly represents the relationships within your company. Here are the main types you can choose from for your entity:
The hieratical structure is the most common organization chart model. It arranges employees and departments in order of seniority. For example, a typical company may have the following vertical arrangement:
- Chairperson of the board of directors
- Vice-chairperson of the board of directors
- Board members
- Chief executive officer (CEO)
- Company president
- Company vice president
- Assistant director
- Assistant manager
- Employees (full time)
- Employees (part-time)
Essentially, one organizational chart will not work for any two companies as organizations tend to have different personnel compositions. That said, you can easily tailor an Organization Chart Template to your industry, company size, and location.
The matrix organizational chart structure represents individuals by the departments where they work, common skills, and the authorities to whom they report. These individuals are then interconnected with their managers, usually more than one, using vertical lines. For example, consider a technician that works on one project with their team manager and a different task with a project manager.
The horizontal or flat organization chart represented individuals, teams, or departments on the same level. It is used in companies where all these entities share equal power and decision-making ability.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Organizational Charts
While they are a crucial tool in many businesses, organizational charts don’t help everybody. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of these documents:
- Employee orientation – Organizational charts help new employees understand who they will be working with or under even before they meet the team. This helps orient them to their new role and work environment.
- Clear Reporting Structure – By reading an organization chart, an employee can learn who to report to or contact if they have an inquiry. This information is extremely helpful in large companies with multiple departments.
- Easy Planning – If you plan to grow your business, you can refer to the org chart to determine employee and department competencies when allocating resources.
- Doesn’t Illustrate Informal Channels – Besides the communication channels defined in the business plan, corporate work often requires individuals from unrelated projects or departments to share information. Organizational charts don’t capture these informal communication channels.
- Difficult to Maintain – Employees quit, resign, retire, or are promoted all the time. When such an event happens, the organizational chart must be updated immediately, or it becomes obsolete. These constant changes can make the document difficult to maintain.
Do You Need a Template to Get an Organizational Chart Done?
Generally, it depends. If you have an in-house web or graphic designer, they can easily prepare an organization chart from scratch. An administrative employee, on the other hand, might have an easier time using a pre-formatted template. Either way, it is advisable to have one at hand.
How Can You Make Your Organization Chart Stand Out?
While your organization chart will definitely be unique to your company, you can help it stand out by using design elements like fonts, colors, and imagery. You can make it readable by using a legible font – at least 10 points – that won’t require readers to squint. You can also combine several fonts, a different one for titles and content, to increase your chart’s attractiveness.
Besides font size and type, you can also add color and symbols to your chart. This is easy to do from the ‘Insert’ or ‘Design’ tabs in Microsoft Word. From there, you can fill texts or shapes with colors, add highlights, or create shadows to make your document look more 3D.
Note: Don’t overdo colors, fonts, and symbols as you might overwhelm your readers and draw their attention away from the content of the chart.
An organizational chart visually represents the structure, jobs, departments, roles, and relationships within an organization. They can be used to depict an entire company or individual teams, units, projects, or departments. Generally, most organization charts follow the hierarchical structure where management is represented at the top, and other personnel are listed in descending order of superiority. However, an organization chart template can also be a matrix or flat.