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Optimize Your Span of Control

Increase cost containment, productivity, and people management capabilities by optimizing your span of control.

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  • Human Resources Manager, Construction Machinery and Equipment Company
  • Ronald Capelle, President & CEO and Author, Capelle Associates
  • Sharon Patterson, Former SVP, Human Resources, Canadian Tire Corporation
  • Andrea Peres, Director, Human Resources, Moneris
  • Bramora Rebello, Director, Compensation & HR Analytics, Chemtrade Logistics
  • Karen Riddell, Director, Talent Strategy & Employee Experience, London Health Sciences Centre
  • Richard Sperling, Consultant and Principal, Sperling HR, LLC.
  • Naomi Stanford, Organizational Design Consultant
  • Stuart Wigham, Director at Wigham Consultancy Services Ltd.
  • Tammy Williams, Director, Human Resources, Zappos
  • Absence of a standard approach to optimizing span of control (SoC) creates a lot of uncertainty around measurement, analysis, and timing decisions.
  • Managers play a significant role in driving engagement. Overlooking engagement decisions in SoC can be risky. The SoC structure must be optimized to leave space for leadership action that improves engagement.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Span of control isn't a math problem; it is an organizational effectiveness problem. To effectively optimize SoC, organizations must be strategic in aligning SoC with organizational goals in both the short and long term.
  • There’s no magic number when it comes to SoC; in order to be agile in the face of rapid change, every organization, business function, or industry requires a structure specific to its unique circumstances, and these may change over time.

Impact and Result

Use McLean & Company’s customized SoC process to effectively prepare to restructure. Complete the SoC Playbook to capture project decisions and data for all iterations of your SoC optimization process, including:

  • Collection and analysis of organizational data to identify SoC patterns, extract insights, and determine pain points.
  • Assessment of the five critical factors that impact SoC, from both organizational and functional perspectives.
  • Review of the various cost-saving scenarios through widening SoC.
  • Establishment of high-level SoC parameters to guide customization efforts.
  • Tracking of organizational and project metrics.

Research & Tools

2. Assess impacts on current SoC

Assess SoC impacts on the organization, brainstorm cost savings, and determine next steps.

3. Prepare to deploy initiative

Set scope and timeline, develop optimization process, and conduct information sessions in preparation for project implementation.

4. McLean Academy Learning Snapshot

Watch this learning snapshot for an introduction to developing an organizational design.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a six call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Determine current SoC

Call #1 - Discuss data collection options.
Call #2 - Review current SoC data to identify patterns and insights.

Guided Implementation #2 - Assess impacts on current SoC

Call #1 - Discuss assessment of impact factors.
Call #2 - Review potential for cost savings.

Guided Implementation #3 - Prepare to deploy initiative

Call #1 - Discuss project scope and process steps.
Call #2 - Review communication plan.