Right Sized Organisations.

Today I started my new job. Along with the typical first day awkwardness there was also the information overload that I always seem to get. There’s just so many new things to remember, and I know that I’ve already forgotten at least half of my new work mate’s names. Still my new work place is a great example of what I used to believe was just an executive speak term, but it seems it can actually exist.

Way back in the good old days you’d always hear of companies down sizing workforces due to automation or a down market. Over time the word downsizing became something of a black word and managers sought to conjure up a couple euphemisms so that they could speak about firing a large portion of their workforce and make it sound like a positive thing. Enter the term right sizing where management could say that they weren’t particularly looking to down size, no they were just trying to find the most optimal size for the organisation. Most people would hear that and think that everything was going to be OK, only to get hit just as hard. It seems in recent times that employers are now more direct with their employees and don’t try to beat around the bush anymore, which is probably for the best.

Austrade however is a great example of what I would class a right sized organisation. The total workforce is about 1000 employees worldwide with an infrastructure to match. In terms of technical progression they’re far and away the most advanced of any I’ve worked for, even if I do disagree with some of their choices. There are two major factors at play in this:

  • Lack of unnecessary bureaucracy: In an organisation of 1000 people you require a fair amount of managerial staff to keep everything running smoothly. However, you can’t go the whole hog and copy a large corporate structure as that would probably put more than 50% of the workforce into management. This size keeps the bureaucracy at that optimal point, making sure that the managers aren’t overloaded (like they are in smaller organisations) or completely unnecessary (like in big ones).
  • Funding: This is where Austrade shines. Whilst I have no idea of their current budget they appear to be extremely well funded for an organisation of their size. This not only allows them implement some of the coolest tech around (most of their fleet is windows 2008) but also lets them hire in the talent they need. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked in smaller environments and had to fight to get the right person in to do some work that I wasn’t skilled in myself. You don’t get this problem in larger organisations, but you’ll be fighting the red tape for a couple weeks to get it done.

Overall my first impressions are extremely good and I’m looking forward to the challenges that face me ahead. My direct manager has some big plans that he wants to get done, and they’ve already put me to work on achieving their goals.

It’s nice to feel wanted and useful on your first day 🙂

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