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Span of Control Guidelines

Management Guidelines on Reduction of Supervisory Layers and Spans of Control
November 3, 2010

Overview

It is the University’s goal to achieve and sustain a reduction in layers of supervisory management. This goal originates from the recommendations of the Bain Report and carried forward to the University’s CarolinaCounts initiative. Reduced layers of management are expected to enhance University‐wide communication, which can be adversely impacted by excessive layers of supervisory management, as well as improve efficiency and economies of scale with regard to supervisory resources. By increasing the number of employees currently managed by an individual supervisor, a reduction of managerial layers and an increase in spans of control within each Department and School/Division can be realized.

Guidelines

  • For the purposes of this policy:
    • “Supervisor” is defined as an SPA or EPA non‐faculty employee who has primary responsibility for hiring, assignment and monitoring of work, and performance management for at least one other individual within their work unit.
    • “Supervisory span” or “span of control” is defined as the number of individuals who directly report to an individual supervisor excluding dotted line reporting relationships.
  • Faculty supervisors and research supervisors (e.g., Investigators, Research Project Managers, Research Project Coordinators) are excluded from the provisions of this policy due to the unique role and mission of the instructional and research enterprise.
  • Department Heads are expected to make every effort to achieve a minimum supervisory span of four employees (including any administrative or executive assistants) for each supervisory position with seven direct reports considered a desirable goal. It is recognized that the minimum supervisory span of four employees may not be achievable or appropriate in every circumstance and Department Heads have the latitude to depart from these standards when essential business needs or University operational needs dictate.
  • In circumstances where a Department Head will deviate from the minimum number of direct reports set forth in this policy, the approval of the relevant Dean or Vice Chancellor is necessary. Delegation of this approval authority by a Dean or Vice Chancellor to a subordinate is not permitted except in exceptional circumstances.

Reporting and Monitoring

The reporting function of Infoporte, which is available to Departments and School/Division Administrative offices, includes the capability to report on supervisory spans and layers by Department. The Chancellor has directed OHR to implement specific procedures to monitor supervisory spans and layers throughout the University and to assist University Senior Officers and Department Heads in facilitating achievement of these goals within their work units.

Accordingly, Departments will be asked to address supervisory spans of control in all SPA and EPA non‐faculty position classification or reclassification actions and to assure consideration has been given to these spans prior to a supervisory position being created or recruited.

Opportunities to Reconsider and Increase Spans of Controls

The following are specific situations in which opportunities to increase supervisory spans, and thereby reduce layers of management may be present. Department Heads should utilize these opportunities to the greatest extent possible to advance the goals of this policy.

  • Employee retirements
  • Vacancies
  • Organizational re‐structuring due to operational needs or budget cuts
  • Layoffs as a result of budget cuts
  • Creation of new positions
  • Use of a “lead employee” versus a formal supervisory position
  • Reporting relationship changes
  • Creation of Unified Business Clusters (UBCs) or elevating Department‐level business functions into School/Division‐level Finance and/or Human Resources Manager

Technical Assistance

OHR is available to provide consultative assistance to Department Heads in their efforts to increase supervisory spans and to reduce organizational layers. To obtain such assistance, contact OHR’s Senior Director of Classification and Compensation at 962‐8099.