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Information Broker

Tool: Work unit

Typical use (type of issue/project)

To redesign the wider groups that individuals work within.

Ease of use rating

Used by

Yourself and your team.

Tips for effective use

Before you begin there must be a clear understanding of both the organisational design, as well as the individual role profiles involved. Once this is achieved you can decide who logically should work with whom, and what work they should do.

Signals of successful use

Being able to clearly identify what each work group should be doing, the types of decisions they can make, and how this can all be assessed and measured.

Signals of unsuccessful use

Two different units doing the same work resulting in a duplicate of outputs.

Links to other tools

Role profiles, Purpose of a unit, Process analysis, and Design governance.

Work unit

Organisation structure is the way people are organised horizontally (departments, business units, teams, geographic locations) and vertically (staff, supervisors, managers, executives). However, majority of the time at work – employees fulfil activities in teams. It is therefore important to organise employees into work units – the process of work unit design. The goal of work unit design is therefore to record the structuring of the ‘to be’ work activities into logical unit groupings (for example by common product, common process, common skill set) and set out guidelines for how work units will be structured (see also local design principles) – this is done by designing workgroups.

When forming work units or workgroups, key decisions are taken during unit-level design:

  • What is the work group structure? For example, co-location? Cross-group integrating mechanisms?
  • Who does what? What are the accountabilities?
  • Who in the group decides what?
  • What are the performance measures?

To really design the work group – a number of other questions ‘key work unit questions’ must be answered:

  1. Are there process owners and who are they now?
  2. Where are the departmental interfaces?
  3. What is the logical grouping for activities?
  4. What skills do they require?
  5. What skills do they have and where?
  6. Are IT systems aligned to support new activities?
  7. Are there any IT/HR implications of role changes?
  8. HR implications, for example job value, salary bill?
  9. How will we link the logical groupings of jobs?
  10. Do the measures align with the processes?
  11. Do the measures support the high-level critical success factors?
  12. Does the information technology support the measures?
  13. Is multi-skilling needed?
  14. How do you measure the group results and achievements?
  15. Who sets work group targets?
  16. What are cultural implications of new groups?
  17. Where processes and activities cross departmental boundaries how will these be handled?
  18. What communication infrastructure is needed to support organisation? (for example IT)
  19. How do we link these mechanisms back to process owners and include accountability?