Creating a supervisory tree
The financial system provides an organizational structure for departments
But the people in those departments also need an organizational
structure a supervisory tree. This function would normally
be provided by a human resources system (HRIS). Unfortunately, the
Meditech payroll module, which we use for some of the functions
of an HRIS, does not track supervisory relationships. In any case,
an HRIS only tracks employees, and non-employees also need a supervisor.
At a prior employer, the HRIS tracked the primary supervisory relationship
for employees, but the connection was based on the person. In other
words, Joe Smith supervised Bob Jones, and the HRIS linked the employee
IDs of the two people.
process design has a huge flaw. If one of the people leaves the
organization, the supervisory connection is broken, and must be
manually reestablished when the vacant position is filled. The results
were predictable: at any given time, a high percentage of positions
did not have a supervisory assignment.
from the mistakes of others, our new process links positions instead
of people. This means that even if a position is vacant, the supervisory
assignment is never broken. The only way to break a connection is
to change a position number.
We built an application on the intranet for managers to make supervisory
assignments. Logically, the first step in the process is finding
the position. Most of the time, that's done by selecting the department:
select the department:
the positions in the department are displayed, and the manager can
select any combination of positions to assign:
the supervisor's position is vacant, so the supervisor search offers
the option of looking for the position number instead of the current
about reorganizations? In that case, we need to find everyone reporting
to a position, and reassign them to someone else. The first step
is selecting the current supervisor. This can be done by looking
up the current supervisor (shown below) or looking up the position
number if the position is vacant.
there are multiple supervisors that match the search criterion,
select the correct one:
list of all supervised positions in all departments is then displayed,
and the reassignment process works exactly the same as shown above.
So what happens when the department responsible manager ignores
the e-mailed requests to make a supervisory assignment? We make
the assignment for them. If any position has not been assigned to
a supervisor within three days, an automated process assigns the
department manager's position as the supervisor for the unassigned
position. This ensures that no position remains unassigned, and
the department manager can always correct the assignment at a later
positions by position number not employee number
one primary supervisory assignment does not reflect the complexity
of real organizations (many people have one or more "dotted
line" relationships), but it's good enough to meet most needs.
is essential to have an automated assignment process if the manager
does not act.
is no point in waiting more than a few days before making an auto-assignment.
Conscientious managers will make assignments immediately, and
others won't bother even if given more time. We initially allowed
two weeks, but subsequently used data to reduce to three days.
Posted 22 March 2008