10 Tips for Perfect Organizational Charts
1. Format the chart to fit on a single page
Use a combination of a horizontal arrangement of boxes at the top of the chart, and vertical below to fit as many boxes on a single page as possible.
A combination of horizontal and vertical arrangement of boxes fits more boxes on a page.
Using only horizontal arrangements of boxes makes the chart wider.
6. Show managers with two titles as two different boxes in the chart
Particularly in smaller companies, one person may manage multiple parts of the organization. For example in this technology company, the CEO, Paul Smith, also acts as the VP of Engineering. Both the management team and the programmers report to him. The best way to show this is to include both positions in the chart and show Paul as occupying both of them. Remember, the organizational structure is based on positions; not the people that occupy them.
8. Draw your chart automatically by importing employee data
The best organizational chart software programs will create your chart automatically. This is accomplished by importing a data file that lists the title of each position, the name of the person assigned to it and the title of their manager in each row. You can create one of these in a spreadsheet program, such as Excel®:
You can use any application, not just Excel, to create a file formatted this way, including PeopleSoft® or SAP R/3®. Learn more.
9. Create an online version of your chart with hyperlinks to more information
Most people are familiar with printing an organizational chart on paper, but distributing them online can be much more useful. Both let you see the structure of an organization and read the names and titles of the people that work in it, but only an online chart lets you interact with it.
If you want to know who the VP of Sales' assistant is, you can find out from the org chart. With a printed chart if you want to contact her, you can find her name, but then have to look up her email address. With an online chart, her name can be linked directly to her email address, so that clicking on it in initiates an email to her automatically. Positions can also be hyperlinked to other documents, like job descriptions, or even records in the employee database. Your org chart can become a visual interface to more detailed information.
10. Break up large charts in to multiple smaller linked charts
In any format, a very large chart is cumbersome to view. An org chart showing every employee of a large company like GE is impossibly too big and complex to be useful. A more manageable approach is to break the organization up into smaller groups, each with a reasonably-sized org chart, and then link them together. For example, here is GE's top-level organization chart:
Each of the presidents heads up a different company within GE. Their positions can be linked to the org chart for that company. For example, the box for Healthcare links to the org chart for GE Healthcare:
The healthcare chart itself is so large each of these positions links to charts for the CIO's organization, the Business Development organization, and so on. Each sub-chart links back to its parent, so no matter where a reader is in the hierarchy, they can find their way back to the top.