Company structuring is a complicated process. The hierarchies, titles, departments — there are infinite possibilities when you are building a company from the ground-up. To make things more complicated, I’m going to tell you what you probably don’t want to hear: your company structure says even more to those outside of your organization. In particular, your company’s priorities and mission are signaled by the way you organize your human resources.

Take, for example, a highly traditional organizational structure:

(image courtesy Reference for Business)

In this structure, a single president oversees a board of Vice Presidents (often between 2 and 6 for modest-sized businesses) who then oversee their own departments made up of several staff members.  Each of these departments is a signal of the company’s priorities. In the above example, “Finance” and “Marketing” are the primary functions of the company, and therefore are the 2 departments therein. While it’s nothing earth-shattering, it’s a significant difference than, say, an additional 4 departments and what it means to have a company with multiple simultaneous priorities.

How can an alteration on this traditional structure change the signal? For starters, departments matter. If your company does not prioritize marketing and yet you have a VP of Marketing, you send a confused message. Think of top-level departments that define your company. If marketing instead fits into a larger content-production structure, i.e., a VP of Content, that structure helps signal those priorities. On the other hand, large structures can often be confusing for small companies with few staff members — why have a vice president of a department that has no additional staff?

Structures don’t have to follow a strict hierarchy as above, either. Especially in companies with few staff members (common in esports), a flattened structure often makes the most sense, though is difficult as a communication tool. Example:

It’s not nearly as specific as the example above, but represents a true theoretical flat structure. In flat structures, employees don’t have levels or hierarchy above one another. Instead, they have job responsibilities (often emphasized by their specific job titles) that signal their role. When everyone fulfills their particular roles, the company works as normal. While it has some organizational challenges, it is an emerging structure for many start-ups. The disjointed nature of these companies can often confuse or even worry a potential sponsor or investor — what happens if one employee leaves? Can you find a specific individual to fill that specific role? How does the company grow without clear hierarchical guidelines? Who’s in charge?

There’s no clear answer. These structures vary widely but do more than just organize your human resources. Perhaps more importantly, they tell external viewers how you consider your responsibilities, and what priorities are most important to your company. Parse Esports Consulting can help here — my experience in organizational leadership has given me insight into appropriate organizational structures. I also understand how to communicate those structures in a way that will help your pitch to investors and potential sponsors.

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