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Organizing Your Organization

When you hear about a large corporation experiencing distress, terms like “reorganization” and “right-sizing” start flying around. The bills for change management firms to help negotiate implementation also begin piling up. For the small and medium sized companies SEWN works with, this is not the case. Signs of distress can mean the end if help isn’t sought in time.

Without a doubt, COVID has caused some type of distress on your company – lost revenue, remote work situations, supplying PPE materials, supply chain struggles – completely justified concerns. Rather than be discouraged, companies should seize this opportunity to do a little bit of ORGANIZING YOUR ORGANIZATION.

  • Evaluate Your Internal Communications. Transparency and consistency are key to assuaging rumors or complaints. Solicit feedback from all levels of the organization. Your next big idea may come from the least expected person. True leaders appreciate tough feedback and employees need to feel comfortable offering it.

  • Don’t Ignore Your Remote Workers. With so many people working from a home office or dining room table, levels of camaraderie may be nil. Schedule regular a check-in, host virtual “happy hours” or just pick up the phone. Make sure they’re kept in the loop and provided with the resources they need to be included.

  • What Is My Sales Funnel? Knocking on doors and customers walking in is not always an option right now. Have you taken a look at how your sales funnel is changing? Google your company...are you showing up in the results? Do you have a social presence? Do you need one? How are your salespeople selling? It may be time to up your online game.

  • How Does It Get To My Customer? What is your product life from raw material to delivery? Are your operations moving as smoothly as possible? Do all your floor workers use the same methodology of completing their tasks? Take some time to assess how (what may be basic things to you) processes are working within your company.

  • Assess Your Cash/Expenses. Are you sitting on too much empty office space? Does your shop floor have the appropriate distances between workers? Are you providing PPE materials? Do you have excess raw materials sitting around collecting dust? Have you looked at your insurance policies, internet service contracts, or phone bills recently? Review the flexibility you may have in how you are using your space and dollars.

  • What’s My Org Chart? Staggered staffing, remote workers, or flex time employees may not have direct access anymore to their supervisors. Is your company owner now a direct line to floor workers? Not that they shouldn’t have an opportunity to interact, but day-to-day operations should be handled by managers – make sure they’re available.

Once you have had an opportunity to organize your organization, it may be time to make some investment in human capital. There are organizations across Pennsylvania who provide low-cost or free incumbent worker training programs. In assessing your internal processes, you may recognize that Alicia in Accounting could be using QuickBooks online as opposed to a desktop version due to a lower cost. Programs such as WEDnetPA can provide up to $2,000 for qualifying companies so Alicia can learn that new program.

SEWN works with companies to provide all the assistance possible to negate the necessity for closure or laying-off employees. If a company determines temporary layoffs are needed, Pennsylvania offers a Shared-Work Program to provide qualifying employees a percentage of their Unemployment Compensation while they work a reduced schedule.

In challenging times, a shared vision is essential. Both leaders and workers must be vested in a company’s mission and values to rebuild and be successful. Our next SEWN Series video on Organizing for Difficult Times will take a deeper dive at the one thing often overlooked when difficult business conditions appear: the overall nature of your organization and how it may need to change. Our Northeast Director, Gary Wickham, will bring to the presentation his years of expertise as a CEO and how he handled structure, management, and culture.

This is just a small sampling of what SEWN can offer you as a small or medium sized manufacturing company. We don’t offer “assessments in a box” but a customized plan built around your needs, resources, and desire. Keep in mind whether you’re paying $300 an hour for a turnaround firm or receiving no-cost assistance from SEWN, a plan is only as good as the execution.


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