The Workish Guide to Workplace Departments

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With a multitude of companies boasting over a million employees (both Wal-Mart and McDonald’s float near the 2M mark), navigating large organizations can be more challenging than making a business case for LinkedIn Premium. And as companies like Apple approach $1 Trillion in market capitalization, worker populations are rising like the tides in that one scene from Pacific Rim.

But because enterprises are inherently competitive, trade secrets like algorithms, recipes and org charts are held close to the corporate vest — and global businesses aren’t likely to collaborate on a unified handbook with rules of the road. If you’re new to a company, you have to rely on their own biased description of how things operate. Fortunately, Workish is here to help. After decades (minutes, actually) of research (wild guessing, really), we’ve compiled a short guide for new hires at companies of all sizes.

Whether you work for Start-Up Bed & Breakfast or Big Important Company LLC, use this manual to give you a departmental lay of the land.


Typically led by a vice president or chief marketing officer, the Marketing Department is responsible for promoting the business and driving sales of products and services. This division also researches consumer insights like Niagara Falls is fun the first time (but not the second time) and Coffee wakes you up. The marketing department typically deals with intricacies of retweeting celebrity endorsements, attending conferences in September, and creating the Holy Grail of Sales Tools, the Capabilities 1-Pager, built to convey a company’s story for customers in need of a 1-pager describing the company’s capabilities.


The Sales Department is customarily directed by a VP of Sales, and is comprised of a team of account representatives mandated with contacting customers, building empathy, and grabbing hoagies. Most importantly, sales reps are charged with providing marketing colleagues with “quick tweaks” on Capabilities 1-Pagers. Most departments hold Big Weekly Meetings to facilitate group discussion around revenue projections, new product ideas, and that one new hoagie shop down the street that everyone should for-sure check out.


If you’re new to a company, you might not interact with Finance all that often — but it’s a good idea to know how the division functions. Guided by a Chief Financial Officer, the fiscal bureau is responsible for planning and distributing assets, reminding co-workers that “business is a numbers game,” and providing budget allocation to outsource revisions for Capabilities 1-Pagers. Working in harmony with the CEO, partners in finance also collaborate on annual reports, risk management, and who’s on top of gas reimbursements for client meetings in Oakville.

Human Resources

The Human Resources branch of most companies is headed by a Chief Human Resources Officer, who’s ultimately responsible for employee recruitment, relations, and clean-out schedules for the break room fridge. During your interview, it was an HR contact who likely led your onboarding process, which included asking for your “quick outside opinion” on the Capabilities 1-Pager and answering the company’s new Pick a Card, Any Card personality assessment. Visit HR for questions around benefits, safety management, and the company’s “You can work from home but nobody really works from home” Work From Home policy.

Remember, when starting your voyage within a new organization: listen, stay positive, and imply that the company should change the corporate logo to something closer to the Nike swoosh.

At the very least, point it out on the Capabilities 1-Pager.