Set up employee data to form a valid hierarchy

Note: We're rolling out new hierarchy validation features to a select group of customers. To enable hierarchy validation on your account, talk to your Customer Success Coach or email

Why to add hierarchies?

Culture Amp is continually building out capabilities to enable and support managers. To have a truly thriving culture - it has to be driven by more than just HR - managers and team leaders play a critical role in it as well. This is why Culture Amp has made sharing data & reports about employee experience and performance extremely easy, yet customizable. Getting data in the hands of your managers allows them to understand where to focus and act on a local level.

All we need from you to enable these amazing manager capabilities is to specify in your employee data who is the manager of whom.

Data requirements for building hierarchy

Once your account has been set up to use hierarchy-based features, you'll need to import your organisation's employee data and pass hierarchy validation.

  1. You'll need to select a unique manager identifier such as Manager ID or Manager Email
  2. Every employee in your data file except for the person at the top of the hierarchy (e.g. your CEO) must be assigned a manager using this manager identifier.
  3. Create a new column in your employee data file and add this unique manager identifier. Your manager identifier must correspond with an employee identifier in the Culture Amp platform. 

So, if you’ve chosen Manager ID as your identifier, make sure: 

  1. Your data has a Manager ID column
  2. Each person in your organisation has a manager assigned in this column, except for one person who will be at the top of the hierarchy
  3. Every Manager ID in this column matches up with an employee in your data using their Employee ID 

An example of a well-formulated hierarchy.

An example of a well-formed hierarchy. All employees except one are assigned a manager using a unique manager identifier that corresponds to an employee.

Tips for selecting a unique identifier for managers

  • If you have unique numbers or IDs for every employee, we recommend using these as your identifier by creating a demographic called Manager ID and populating it with the relevant Employee IDs of your managers.
  • If you do not currently have Employee IDs, you can alternatively use Manager Emails. This can create issues as some employees have multiple emails, or change emails over time, so an ID number is preferred.
  • The demographic you select as your manager identifier must be unique to every manager. Because two managers can have the same first and last names within an organisation, you cannot use Manager Name as an identifier.

If you have set up a BambooHR integration, you can use these tips on configuring hierarchy validation via BambooHR integration.

TIP: To help you prepare your data, we’ve provided some guidance on translating manager names into manager emails using VLOOKUP function.

Hierarchy validations

Once you've imported your employee data and validated your organisational hierarchy, hierarchy validations will be permanently turned on for your account. Every time you import data, it'll be checked to see if it forms a valid hierarchy. This is to ensure that you, your managers and employees always have access to manager-based capabilities, such as hierarchy-based report sharing or performance cycles.

If you cannot build a valid hierarchy, the import will be blocked and you won’t be able to proceed. You can review your import in the Review Wizard to see the changes you might need to make. Then, you’ll need to fix your data so it builds a valid hierarchy and re-attempt the import.

TIP: These additional validations are run only when the Hierarchies feature is activated. Need more information? You can view a summary of potential hierarchy errors or you can read more about the general data import process.

Manually adding and editing users

If you have a hierarchy enabled, then some of the fields in the Add/Edit user modal are blocked to prevent you from unintentionally breaking your hierarchy. This is to ensure Culture Amp functionality works correctly and you can continue using manager-based features.  

If you want to update those fields for a few users, you can use ‘Import users’ and select ‘Partial import’. You will then be guided through the process of validating your employee data and hierarchy. 

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