The Flat Line Organizational Structure Is the Way We Roll
Every company no matter what type of industry they are in have their own corporate cultures. What is a corporate culture? It’s the work environment of a company that includes their staff, size, traditions, and structures. Now, each company’s culture is typically different from others. However, most companies pretty much have one of these two traditional structures within their corporate cultures. They are known as the horizontal and the vertical structures. Both of these structures typically are the same when you think about it. These structures provide power over others and sometimes employees may feel like they’re in their own little worlds. They feel like they’re separated from their other co-workers that work in different departments. They may not feel as if they’re a part of the family even though that’s what every HR professional says to new employees, “We are all one big happy family.” Companies that have these structures can also have a hard time communicating with each other and getting to know one another. Typically, companies that have vertical and horizontal organizational structures are either medium or large businesses. On the other hand, small businesses such as EWA Travel typically don’t have a lot of employees nor big offices. At EWA, we have a different kind of structure known as the flat line organization structure. This organizational structure has been a great part of our corporate culture and it has brought our staff closer together like a real family.
Before you know what a flat line organization structure is, you should first know how this organization structure started at EWA. Our President, Tom Ollinger, was the one who came up with this idea of having a flat line organization structure for EWA Travel. His philosophy of a flat line management enables him and our Vice President, Chris Van Dyke, to maintain intimate contact with staff, stay close to our clients’ needs, and keep up-to-date with the changes in the travel industry. As a result we have had one of the highest staff and client retention rates. This in a way has helped made our company’s bond very strong in many ways.
What is a flat line organization structure? It’s an organization structure that has few or no levels of management between staff level employees. This helps remove excess layers of management which improves the communication between employees, and of course with the amount of clients that we have traveling all over the world it is important that all of our travel counselors work together as a team. Which is why if you were ever to come into our office in Herndon, you will notice that all of our travel counselors are sitting down in the suite with no cubicles nor any other type of barriers in the way. If one of our travel counselors needs help with something, then one of our three or four travel counselors can immediately assist them right away. In some ways when we all work together we all work as a team. In fact, no matter how many departments we have here at EWA, we always work together as a team which in some ways brings us together as a family.
Like every company we do have departments. We have only three department at EWA Travel and they are accounting, marketing, and travel consolation. We also have a total of 17 employees at EWA. It might sound really small at first and you guessed it, everybody knows each other pretty well. In fact, most of our staff have been around for well over a decade. Our Vice President of Accounting, Molly, has been at EWA since 1988 and she told me this past summer when I came to EWA that her first job in the States was with EWA. She also said that she viewed Tom as a friend and not as a manager. In fact, our President and Vice President, Tom and Chris, don’t have a personal office space. You think I’m joking…I am not joking. I am being for real, both Tom and Chris actually sit in the suite with the other travel counselors. Again this is going back to the travel counselors at EWA helping each other out. Only Molly, Mirna, and I have offices but we keep our doors open most of time (it can sometimes get loud with the agents talking to each other and on the phone). Anyways, everybody in the office always has a big smile and love their jobs here at EWA.
Having a flat line organization structure has brought us all together. It’s one of the reasons why most of our employees have stayed for a very long time. Also, because we have a warm and friendly culture, everybody feels like they are a part of the family. Everybody respects each other and yeah we all have our disagreements at times, but at our Holiday Parties that we have each December we all come together as one big happy EWA Travel family.
Director, Social Media Marketing, EWA Travel