Giving employees a sense of empowerment and a creative voice is a huge motivating approach to gain the most engagement and productivity from each person within your business. This makes everyone a true knowledge worker striving to create the next big thing or add real value to the product or offering they are working on with their team. The fewer layers in an organization lessens the noise in the communication. The more empowered an employee feels, the more they will achieve. Bill Gates said this about building flat organizations: “here at Microsoft we eliminate politics by giving everybody the same message and maintain a flat organization in which all issues are discussed openly.”
There are many advantages to a flat organizational structure:
One of the largest issues I have seen around flat organizational structures, as mentioned in the list above, is around the lack of clear reporting structure. It is difficult for a person to have more than one manager. That stated, during our career, all of us have likely seen or experienced working for more than one person at the same time. While creating a flat and empowered organization, we must focus on driving the good outcomes while removing the downsides. Flat and empowered organizations tend to create great cultures and solid business outcomes for all involved, if managed appropriately. If you do decide to move to a flat and empowered organization, ensure transparency and strong lines of communication are in place. Have weekly check-in meetings to ensure the objectives of the business are aligned and being executed.