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Updated: May 15, 2023 101

101: Founding a department

Creating departments out of nothing is necessary as companies grow and develop. Some managers welcome these experiences to start from scratch and see them as potential opportunities for recognition and promotion. Others shy away from such assignments due to risks involved: What if the department doesn’t meet performance expectations?

Here are tips in building anew:

Analyze the company’s path, says Angie Ross at business blog Centrinity. A department needs to be founded on an understanding of where the company is going. “In the beginning, you may have just wanted to stay afloat, but taking that next step requires you to set a course,” she writes. Ross says it’s important to know where the company is now, as well as the end goal, to check for alignment with the company’s mission and vision. “You’ll develop a better understanding of all the requirements that need to be addressed,” says Ross. Outsiders’ perspective is part of this picture, gained through client feedback, employee input, and the company’s online reputation.

Like a startup, departments need a brand. They need an identity, and they need to deliver value – in this case, value to other departments, says Mary Shacklett in TechRepublic. “Value is created when you continuously demonstrate that you can eliminate pain points and move the company forward,” says Shacklett. “At the beginning of the process, promoting the new department – as well as developing it – will be primary functions. If you can recruit strong performers and build a cohesive team, the job will be that much easier.”

Hire right. Some core questions: How many people do you need? What will they do? What role will they play? How will the team be structured? “It’s perfectly acceptable (and recommended) to start with the basics, and grow the infrastructure and processes as you grow the team,” according to

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