Over the last 35 years, Otak has built a highly collaborative team with award-winning multidisciplinary expertise: urban design, architecture, planning, engineering, and construction management. The company provides clients with innovative and practical solutions, addressing each project’s economic potential and fostering environmental stewardship and social responsibility. Otak’s success can be attributed to its dedicated staff members and the quality of their work, in addition to the trust garnered from their private and public partners who aspire to build better cities, reliable infrastructure, stronger communities, and great places for many generations to enjoy.
Photo courtesy of Otak
As an established multi-disciplinary design firm on the west coast, Otak continues to expand its organization across multiple locations throughout Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. Even with new acquisitions and additional employees, Keith Biggs directs all HR operations for the company’s 350 professionals from Otak’s Portland office.
Keith once conducted all new hire onboarding; however, as Otak continues to expand, he has fewer face-to-face opportunities with each employee. A growing company where employees may serve among multiple teams, departments, or locations makes access to a visual org chart a necessity for Keith and the Otak team.
Originally created using Adobe InDesign, Otak’s org chart was updated by its internal Marketing Department. Unfortunately, the company had a limited number of people who were able to update the chart using the design software.
"Our Marketing person would only update the chart once a month. In a month we can have a lot of changes." - Keith
Unable to make live updates, Keith and the rest of the team found Otak’s org chart to be inaccurate at times. It was important for all departments to have access to the chart, but it was less likely to be utilized if the chart failed to reflect real-time employee information or recent changes to Otak’s reporting structure.
An updated org chart is an extremely valuable tool for Otak’s operations, where projects vary in size and involve multiple teams. Accurate org chart information needs to be included in each proposal sent to a client for a new project. However, the company’s existing org chart lacked vital details such as a project team’s certification or education level which was beneficial information to the client.
"The Marketing Department needs to see which teams are going to be on projects and what kind of certifications they have. They are always asking us for these reports." - Keith
Because departments previously did not have direct access to important employee and team data Keith and the HR team were required to take additional steps to pull and supply reports.
Photo courtesy of Otak
Making monthly updates to the org chart became an inefficient and time-consuming process for Otak, so Keith set out to find a product that could be easily updated. Built assisted Keith with importing Otak’s employee data sheet and helped make any adjustments to display the organization correctly. Within a week, Otak had their updated org chart up-and-running.
"Built saves a lot of time. Our Marketing Department was spending hours and hours a month working on the org chart and now it is super easy to update." - Keith
Keith enjoys how simple it is to grant permission for multiple administrators to update the chart, including Otak’s HR Coordinator and Recruiter. Designating access to the right people in the company keeps the org chart live and accurate through any changes.
"When there is an open position, our Recruiter can go in and can create an open position on the org chart. Once that person is hired, she can go in and fill it." - Keith
The ability to update the chart has lead to improved access for the rest of Otak’s team. Keith finds the org chart link to be more frequently visited and he has received positive feedback regarding the intuitive new design. With more employees utilizing the chart, Keith has realized the potential for adding customizable data fields. Showcasing additional employee data would allow the org chart to serve as a more complete employee directory for Otak.
As a member of the executive management team, Keith needs to quickly share employee information when the team is discussing a particular business line. Built allows Keith to customize the employee data displayed on the org chart in these situations.
"We are able to pull up a person’s picture and profile, and how long they have been part of the company very quickly instead of me logging into our HR (payroll) system. If I log on to our payroll system they would see the employee’s pay rate and all sorts of stuff that I don’t want them to see." - Keith
Keith also finds the chart useful for one-on-one meetings or group presentations when visiting Otak’s multiple locations. Built’s visualization tools allow for color-coding by specific locations and departments to quickly organize the chart data for the intended audience.
Photo courtesy of Otak
With multiple locations across different states, Keith has a challenging task to familiarize himself with the employees he supports. He appreciates the addition of each employee’s photo to the chart, which brings a level of personalization to the organization.
"We used to be a company where everybody knew everybody, and now as we have grown we have gotten away from that, but we are still trying to keep the small company feel." - Keith
Otak is committed to offering the flexibility and expertise of a large firm delivered with the friendly and customization approach of a small firm. The company needed a tool that was easy to update and simple to access for its growing operations. The Built Advanced Org Design product offered Otak an affordable solution. The chart provides visualization of data related to teams, departments, and locations while also allowing Keith to stay better connected to the individual employees he supports.