Meet the HR demands of a ‘flat’ corporate structure

New changes to organizational structure could be easier to instigate with an appropriate HR function.

New changes to organizational structure could be easier to instigate with an appropriate HR function.

Customization is key for creating a an HR system that is perfect for your company's needs. One of the factors that may impact the HR processes you use is the way the company hierarchy itself is structured, and if you choose an idiosyncratic or unusual approach to career paths and responsibilities, the way you address personnel issues will need to reflect that.

Human Resource Executive Online recently examined one of the most prominent models of the unconventional business structure visible today. That would be the "holacracy" practiced by CEO Tony Hsieh at Zappos.

According to this source, Hsieh's company has spent the past few years phasing out extraneous employees and creating self-governing teams of employees instead of traditional managers. The apparent goal is to remove some of the barriers to productivity and create a more natural environment for work and change.

This seems to be the opinion of assistant professor Katalin Takacs-Haynes, who told the source that holacracy could work in certain settings, given the right employees and mindset.

"Employees who want to be successful in such a structure must be very driven and able to organize their work and prioritize tasks well," she said. "Some managers might equate losing their job titles and structural leadership positions with being demoted."

There are other similar inspirations to model a company on for a new approach to leadership. Gaming company Valve has become known for its employee-focused layout that eschews managers and supervisors in favor of a "flat" approach to career positions.

As the handbook for Valve employees states, hiring takes on a crucial importance in such situations. If your business is considering refashioning itself to match the "holacratic" workforce movement, you'll need HR consulting services to steer you toward the best solutions to reflect this.