Amidst concerns with diversity and inclusion, digital transformation of workforce, personal branding and learn organizations, office hierarchy are often overlooked topics because we think power dynamics in the workplace are about to change and top-down structures are losing relevance. However, hierarchy and power will continue to define working relations regardless of the industry, organization or team you are in. has published an article on how to mitigate the challenges posed by a rigid and difficult hierarchy in the workplace, in the youth of your career.

1. Initiate shared responsibility rules

It’s important to have mutual respect in the workplace, regardless of status and authority. Initiate a shared responsibility rule in your office for those monotonous and lackluster tasks that often get delegated to the intern or junior team members – like photocopying, tea rounds and setting up meeting rooms

2. Redefine roles and responsibilities

Make it a mission to ensure every employee has a clear set of objectives and knows what’s expected of them. Give employees the opportunity to show their capabilities and give them each their own desired level of autonomy and decision-making power within the framework of their job role.

3. Give junior team members the floor

If employees feel like they’re being side-lined from responsibilities that are reserved for more senior staff or not invited to internal meetings, you risk them feeling like their opinion isn’t valued. This is especially a concern for employees in the early stages of their career and could impact them speaking up in future.

One thing to remember about hierarchy is that if it becomes a problem in one area of the business, the negative feelings can creep into other departments and that negativity can even spread among employees.

4. If possible, trial an open-plan office space

Having the CEO and directors sitting alongside the rest of the workforce can have a huge impact on morale. Where possible, try to design the office space so that the people of higher seniority are integrated with the junior teams to encourage conversation and rapport, rather than having a separate bank of desks in the corner which can still be perceived as segregation.

One of the biggest things that can influence a workplace culture is how close the workforce is. By getting all levels to sit together and collaborate not only will staff happiness improve, but it should also reflect on retention levels and business performance.

5. Respect at every level

Continuing on from the above theme, Forbes suggests one of the things most of us dislike most about bad hierarchy is that the people at the top of a power structure often get treated with a lot more respect than individuals at the bottom.

It doesn’t have to be that way – and it shouldn’t be. Communicate clearly and consistently with all employees about big things that are happening in the organization. When you don’t let people know about important events that affect them, it feels deeply disrespectful – as though they’re simply mindless cogs in the machine and not worth keeping in the loop.

This post was originally published on takes no credit for the work of the author.

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