Establishing a staffing structure may be a largely symbolic move unless company management works with department heads to give personnel the necessary levers to adequately perform tasks, weed inefficiencies out of internal processes, and address the thorny issues of risk management and profitability administration. Human resources managers have a say in staffing structure talks.


A staffing structure refers to the way a company decides who supervises whom, how department heads make decisions, what decisions to escalate to higher echelons, and how to resolve operational challenges and internal skirmishes effectively and quickly. Simply put, the structure is the organization's basic hierarchical arrangement. In a typical staffing structure, the top echelon includes senior management -- say, the chief executive officer, the chief financial officer and the chief operations officer. Then come department heads and segment chiefs, who oversee the work of middle-level managers. These, in turn, watch how rank-and-file personnel perform tasks, abide by superiors' recommendations and conform to laws.


Setting an adequate hierarchical structure enables a company's management to run a solutions-oriented operation, increase profits along the way, make decisions swiftly when needed, and put the business on the competitive map. Without a sound structure, internal inefficiencies and an exodus of competent personnel might leave a company's profit management plan in tatters. For example, if top-performing employees grow dissatisfied about the lack of clear direction from the higher echelons, they could resign to find out whether the grass is greener on a rival's turf.


The way a corporation arranges its hierarchical processes has budgetary consequences. For example, the number of levels personnel must go through before receiving guidance or making a decision may cost more or less money, depending on the corporate hierarchy. Fewer hierarchical levels -- a situation that corporate strategists call a "decentralized structure" -- may help the business make decisions quickly and enable it to be nimble enough to adapt to changing economic conditions. By contrast, a centralized hierarchical disposition calls for decision-making at the top echelon, usually by senior management at corporate headquarters, or by the heads of significant units or geographical divisions.

Tools and Technology

Companies rely on various tools and state-of-the-art technological equipment to hire and retain personnel, monitor their performance, fix broken internal processes and determine the best way to rotate employees to spur long-term profitability. The tools of the trade run the gamut from employee performance management software and human-machine interface applications to personnel scheduling software and process re-engineering programs. Other tools include mainframe computers, calendar and scheduling software, information retrieval or search programs, content work flow software and database management system software.