Your business and your team are growing, and you can’t be everywhere at once. Sound familiar? It might be time to rethink your organisational structure.

Small businesses do well with flat structures. At their best there’s a friendly, informal, ‘just get on with it’ feel to them as the team deals directly with the owner. With growth, some degree of hierarchy becomes inevitable. It can have negative connotations for people. Businesses described as ‘hierarchical’ can sound like they’re oppressive to the people who work in them and frustrating to customers.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Depending on your approach, it can improve morale, productivity and your overall business success. It can be a very pragmatic solution when a business is growing and suddenly the team (and you) can’t keep everything in their heads any more. It’s possible to create a structured environment, with individual roles and responsibilities and, at the same time, encourage employees to express ideas freely. Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us like a bit of structure.


Aim For: A guideline for employees to understand where they sit within a business model and what needs to be achieved in order to ascend the ranks or be promoted. Better communication flow; knowing the right person in each department or area to chat with regarding particular issues.

Avoid: An environment where employees feel a lack of power, leaving a sense of being devalued. Stifling creativity when those at the bottom of the pecking order lack the confidence to come forward with new ideas and approaches.

What should you do?
Involve your team. Let them know why you want to change the current structure. Seek their views on what works and what doesn’t. Whiteboard out the major processes to identify bottlenecks and where the business would benefit from better systems e.g. a ticketing system for repairs and complaints. Talk through options and how best to achieve the right outcomes. Hold regular meetings to support innovation amongst staff members and reiterate the company culture.