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When Navigating Your Company's Org Chart Becomes a Job Skill


Image: Lucadp - Alamy Stock Photo
A worker typically has to bring multiple skill sets to their job. In addition to the mastery of the role-specific tasks that comprise the job itself, people often have to know how to use the appropriate executive function skills — planning, managing time, etc. — and the appropriate social skills. Then there's another set of workplace skills that are little discussed but equally vital: knowing how your organization works and using that knowledge to get things done quickly.
It's knowing who to talk to when you have a question about an area of operations outside your own. It's knowing which specific cloud-based service you need to access to before you can complete an esoteric task. It's knowing how the intranet is organized so you can find a specific reference material or person in less than an hour.
The results of a recent Forrester Consulting survey commissioned by Airtable, “The Crisis of Fractured Organizations: How Teams Can Address Organizational Misalignment & Achieve More In The Modern Work Environment,” point to the importance of knowing how to work within an organization — mostly by showing that not knowing where to find the right information and who to talk to can really kill both morale and productivity. Among the findings:
  • Large organizations (20K+ employees) use 367 software apps and systems, on average.
  • 60% of respondents said employee sentiment suffers from inefficient or disconnected processes.
  • The #1 reason that employees disengage is that it’s too hard to find the information they need to do their job.
  • 30% of respondents’ weeks are spent trying to find the right data and information – sapping 2.4 hours daily.
  • Disconnected and inefficient processes result in a 24% drop in productivity across the organization, according to business decision-makers.
This kind of momentum-sapping busywork — where you have to do a lot of work just to get to the tasks you're actually paid to do -- is a golden opportunity for workplace strategists. The technology exists to tackle the data discoverability issues; people rarely lose time because the information they need does not exist. They lose time because they don't know what they don't know, so they don't even know what to look for or who to talk to.
What workplace strategists can do is figure out which processes are not easy, obvious, intuitive or evident to the newbies who have to do them. They can figure out what the most common internal queries are and how much work it takes for people to find or give the answers.
(They can also see if anyone is being overloaded at work because they're the one person everyone knows will have an answer. Every organization has that one person who somehow knows the one person in every other department who will help get things done.)
We are in a workforce moment where employees are heavily invested in how they're spending their time and whether that activity is feeding their overall sense of work-life balance. Being able to give those workers back 2.4 productive hours a day could be a huge win.

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