An organizational chart is an invaluable resource for every employee in an organization. It’s especially useful where there’s lots of cross-collaboration between individuals and teams, or where employees are working remotely or on a hybrid schedule—and these days, who isn’t!?
As an organizational leader, however, the last thing you want to be doing is spending several hours or more painstakingly building your organizational chart bit by bit, as you push people for fragments of information, and then format it into a readable format.
But let’s be honest, it’s 2023 now. Technology has found its way into pretty much everything, and it’s now easier than ever to build your very own modern org chart as a result. This is something we’ll be covering later on in this article—for now, let’s get the basics checked off.
What Is an Organizational Chart?
An organizational (org chart) chart is a graphical representation of the structure of an organization, its hierarchy, and the relations between different positions, departments, and functions within this hierarchy. A standard org chart typically shows the chain of command, reporting relationships, and the roles and responsibilities of each position within the organization.
Org charts can include different levels of detail, depending on the purpose of the chart and who it has been created for. Some charts may show only the top-level positions and departments, for example, while others may provide more detailed information about specific job titles, reporting structures, and functional responsibilities.
Org charts are useful for a variety of purposes, such as helping employees understand the structure of the organization and where they fit in, providing a framework for decision-making and communication, and identifying areas of overlap or duplication in responsibilities.
What are the Different Types of Org Chart
There are many different types of org charts that SMBs can decide to use. Although we can’t list every type that exists (because there are many!), there are three “main” ones to note: hierarchical; functional/divisional; and matrix.
The Hierarchical Org Chart
In a hierarchical org chart, employees are grouped into teams and assigned direct superiors such as supervisors and managers. Employees can be grouped together by things like their role, function, geographical location, and skills. Hierarchical structures are often shaped in a pyramid because of the many levels of authority that exist, with the highest typically being the executive level where you’ll find the CEO and other leaders.
The Functional/Divisional Org Chart
A functional org chart divides an organization into groups based on roles and skills. This is another common type of org chart that you’ll often find in larger organizations with lots of employees. While it retains some elements of a centralized hierarchy, it’s a little more relaxed than a strict chain-of-command structure.
The Matrix Org Chart
In a matrix org chart, employees with similar skills are grouped together and report to two or more managers, typically a functional manager who oversees projects and a project manager who has ownership of a specific project. Matrix structures are typically used by larger organizations with lots of different projects because it promotes collaboration and skill-sharing across departments.
What are the Benefits of an Org Chart
An org chart provides a clear and concise way of representing the hierarchical structure of an organization and helps to define the roles and responsibilities of each employee, team, and department. This clarity in communication reduces the likelihood of miscommunication and confusion as information passes through the organization.
Optimized Decision Making
With an org chart, line managers and leaders have more data that they can use for things like hiring new staff, planning promotions, and delegating tasks. This is because an org chart allows them to see the big picture of the organization and understand how each department and employee contributes to its overall goals.
Better Information Sharing
While org charts were once tools designed only for HR and management, this has changed over the last couple of decades. Today, live org charts, such as those that you can build by using Organimi, are significantly more powerful and have use cases that go beyond the realm of human resources.
Org charts can, for example, be used for better information sharing by:
- Forming part of the onboarding process for new employees, helping new hires learn names, faces, who their colleagues are, and other important information.
- Being synched with third-party apps, email, calendar, and more so that employees can easily find out when colleagues are available or when their next meeting is.
- Creating advanced, searchable directories that help employees new and old find and contact the people that they need. This is especially useful in larger organizations.
Facilitates Growth and Expansion
As an organization grows, it becomes increasingly complex, and an org chart can quickly become essential for managing this complexity. For instance, it can provide a framework for managing various departments, teams, employees, projects, initiatives, and more, helping to facilitate the achievement of strategic goals and as a result, further growth.
Better Workforce Planning and Skills Management
When it’s time to plan for growth or rethink an organization’s structure, org chart tools like Organimi can be used to create different collaborative versions of potential successive structures. These can then be shared among leaders and, where appropriate, the wider workforce to give a larger group of people the opportunity to provide their feedback on any decisions before they’re finalized and rolled out.
How You Can Build Your Own Org Chart
There are a few options open to you here.
You could use the old-school approach and put pen to paper… but why would you do that? It’s very inefficient and your org chart will likely be outdated by the time it’s completed.
You could use Microsoft Word or Excel. Although this is a better option than drawing your org chart, it’s tedious and requires a lot of manual input and maintenance as people move and roles change.
You could use an org chart-building tool. This is by far your best option. It’s easier and quicker, and it produces better results.
Creating an Organizational Chart with Organimi
A flexible cloud-based org chart tool like Organimi makes quick work of building your organizational chart. It includes a variety of features, free org chart templates, and example charts that you can easily get started with.
Organimi also offers plenty of options for third-party integrations and connections to Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, and more. These not only enable you to use existing data to build your initial chart in a matter of seconds, but they also keep your org chart updated for you automatically.
You can get started either by building your own organizational chart from scratch using our intuitive drag-and-drop builder, or you can import existing data and work from there.
If you would like to get a feel for how Organimi works, why not check out some of our example org structures on our Org Chart Wiki? Here, you can see Organimi in action and even play with them yourself by importing the provided CSV data into the app itself.
Let’s look at the Barclays chart as an example.
You can download the CSV file of Barclays’ org structure, import it into Organimi and start editing this chart right away! Here’s how:
- Sign up for a free trial of Organimi.
- Select Data Import from your dashboard and click CSV.
- Click Upload Your File.
- Select an Excel file from your device (Download the Barclays CSV file)
- In the Organization field, select an organization.
- Click Create a New Chart and then select Organization Chart.
- Select the auto-build tool to automatically build your chart.
Organimi will automatically use the data from within the CSV file to build an organizational chart that you can then modify to your liking. You can do this with your own CSV file or data from other sources through our third-party integrations, tool.