Managing Multiple Business Units – Chain Of Command & Accountability
Depending on the type of business and business units being managed, it is sometimes better and more effective to create a hierarchy structure within the business units. This can help with communication effectiveness, training abilities, keeping the points of contact for one business unit to a minimum, and creating accountability among employees and leadership members.
First, determine what hierarchy is necessary and how many levels are needed. If there is one location manager and all others are employees, that hierarchy would be simple: employees > manager > you. However, if there are multiple departments at the location with department managers, plus shift or location managers, the hierarchy may get a bit more complicated.
Second, create a visual hierarchy ladder that clearly outlines who fits in to what role, the purpose of that role, and the specific reporting relationships at each level. The more detailed information provided, the better.
Third, define the formal and informal power each level has and to what extent. For example, what level determines who to hire or fire, conduct write-ups of employees, creates employee schedules, authorizes employee time-off, etc?
Fourth, define the flow of information through the chain of command. For example, if you send out communication to location or shift managers, do they pass it on to their employees, or are you expected to send that information on? Knowing exactly what is expected of them will help all employees understand their specific roles and responsibilities.
Fifth, develop a constant communication process so that information flows freely between you and your top leadership team.
Sixth, let your leadership team know exactly what you expect of them, how you will communicate what is expected of them (including deadlines), what response or acknowledgement you expect, how they will be included in decision-making processes in regard to their personal goals, their location goals, and the company goals. This will help everyone get on the same page.
Seventh, develop accountability throughout the chain of command. All employees should be involved in the company, location, and their personal goals, and they should be held accountable for those goals. Accountability should be kept for everything from ensuring all employees receive necessary communication to proper training to properly working with customers.
Eighth, conduct random on-site visits to ensure that company standards and procedures are being met, that the location is being run how it should be, and to talk with employees to hear (and act on) their ideas to make their location run smoother and increase production. After all, they are the one’s working the ground floor…and they really do know best.
All in all, developing and fostering a positive atmosphere where employees are included in developing goals, an atmosphere of high motivation and open communication, and where employees are comfortable going to upper management when needed will increase productivity and employee retention.