Organizational Reviews

Brown University’s Human Resources Department is available to consult with departments looking to assess their organizational structure and operational efficiency.   Organizational reviews can be formal or informal and may be conducted internally or by a consultant.  Generally, one of the following three approaches is taken:

  • Informal Review – department assesses their own organizational structure and presents a recommended structure to their HR Generalist for feedback and assistance in its implementation.
  • Formal Review (Internal) – requires significant involvement from Human Resources, is typically three months in duration, and involves the steps outlined in the chart below. 
  • Formal Review (External) - Compensation and Organizational Services is available to assist a Senior Officer or Department Head evaluate and select a consultant to perform a review. 

Formal Organizational Reviews Conducted Internally

 A formal Organizational Review is a service offered by Compensation and Organizational Services (COS) that is designed to provide guidance with respect to organizational structure, organizational culture, and building and managing work and teams. In the process of conducting an organizational review, COS completes an evaluation using the following established principles that foster organizational effectiveness:

  • An organizational structure that allows for the provision of the best services and support to our students, faculty, and staff;
  • Alignment of departments and groups that provide similar services so that Brown is well positioned to meet present and future goals and objectives, foster collaboration and minimize duplication of effort;
  • An organizational structure that supports work being performed at the right level and to the right standards;
  • A team comprised of staff members who have the skills and abilities to perform the required work and/or have a professional development plan which includes a timeframe when incumbents should be functioning at full capacity;
  • Methods for consultation and decision-making processes that are understood and transparent and result in informed, integrated, and timely decisions; and
  • Mechanisms that foster consistent, clear, and timely communication.

Organizational Review Process

Requesting an Organizational Review

Senior Officer, Department, or Division manager recognizes a need and submits a request to the Director of COS.

Designing the Organizational Review Team

  • An organizational review team is typically comprised of members of Compensation and Organizational Services and the HR Generalist assigned to the Department. 


  • Organizational Review Team meets with client to discuss and agree on the scope and guiding principles of the review;
  • Organizational Review Team drafts timeline, communications, interview questions, and surveys;
  • Client reviews, edits and approves materials.

Launching the Review

  • Client meets with directly impacted staff to discuss the review and answer any questions.  Organizational Review Team attends if requested;
  • Client sends formal communication to identified groups;
  • The Organizational Review Team sends communication to identified groups (e.g., direct and indirectly impacted staff and faculty).

Data Collection – one or several of the methods may be used

  • One-on-one interviews with staff
  • Reaction surveys
  • Focus group meetings
  • Benchmarking
  • Reviewing web sites and other pertinent reports/documents
  • Reviewing job descriptions
  • Interviewing subject matter experts on campus
  • Shadowing employees
  • Collecting market and internal salary data.

Developing the Report, Findings and Recommendations

  • Organizational review team develops and presents a draft report to the client outlining different organizational models and options, process improvement recommendations, and training needs, as well as management and communication recommendations;
  • Subset of organizational review team meets with client to review report and discuss recommendations/options. Report is edited and finalized.

Communication and Implementation

  • Client determines which recommendations to implement short-term, near-term and long-term and discusses with senior officer,
  • Organizational review team and relevant HR specialists assist with implementation and communication,
  • Talent Development consults with the department heads and HRBP to assist with the development of both departmental and individual professional development plans