How to correct errors with hierarchy validation

Importing employee data into Culture Amp? In some cases, your import may be blocked if we detect an issue with your data that could create problems with some features of the Culture Amp platform, such as hierarchy-based report-sharing or performance cycles. 

To complete the import, you must correct these issues and try importing the data again. Depending on your data, you may need to repeat this troubleshooting process several times until validation passes.

Here are some of the key errors you might encounter and how to correct them.


“Some employees don’t have managers.” 

FIX: Ensure everyone except the top of hierarchy has a Manager Email or Manager ID assigned.

If you have an active hierarchy, or are setting up a hierarchy for the first time, then you must ensure every employee in your organisation has been assigned a manager -- with the exception of the person at the top of your hierarchy (usually your CEO or Managing Director). 

If you encounter this error, it’s likely the field you have designated as your ‘Manager Identifier’ (Manager Email or Manager ID) is blank for some or all of the employees you are trying to import. Ensure every employee except one has a manager assigned. 

Some employees may not have a traditional manager, such as contractors. Others may be temporarily without a manager. In these cases, the best solution is to assign them a ‘proxy manager’. You can even assign them directly to the person at the top of your hierarchy. If they are not a manager themselves and you are not planning on including them into surveys and performance cycles, you may consider removing them from the spreadsheet and this way deactivating their account in Culture Amp.


“Employees can’t be listed as their manager’s manager.“ 

FIX: Find and resolve the root cause of the loop in the hierarchy.

Employees can’t appear in a hierarchy more than once. If an employee appears twice in the hierarchy, this will trigger a ‘loop’.

The simplest example of loop is: Lucy is assigned as Jessica’s manager and Jessica as Lucy’s. THere could be more complex loops, with many employees caught in between.

Most loops are unintentional and caused by data errors. If your organisation has a complex or non-traditional hierarchy, you may have deliberate loops. In these cases, we recommend you determine a more simple top-down hierarchy that you can use for Culture Amp reporting purposes. 


“All managers should also be in the employee list.”

FIX: Check your data to ensure all managers that appear in the Manager Email or Manager ID column also appear somewhere in the Employee Email or Employee ID column.

The Manager Email or Manager ID you provide for each employee must match up with an individual’s Employee Email or Employee ID, so we can validate each manager is also an employee in your organisation. You’ll see this error when a Manager Email or Manager ID does not match with an employee in the employee list. 

For example, Lucy is managed by Jessica. Jessica’s email is There must be an employee with the assigned email “” in order for us to validate that Jessica is an employee. 

NOTE: An inactive employee can still be considered a valid manager. This means that an employee can have a manager who's inactive, e.g. whose end date has expired.

It’s also possible to trigger this error by selecting a non-unique manager identifier, such as Manager Name. Make sure you select an identifier that can only be matched to a single employee, such as Manager Email or Manager ID. 


“Some managers can’t be imported”

FIX: Check the “Ignored Data” section for employees who are managers. Correct any invalid data that may be preventing their import.

You will see this error if an employee cannot be imported and they are also listed as a manager. For more information on the specific error that is preventing the import, you can refer to the “Ignored Data” error section. 

Culture Amp has several core demographic fields that must be formatted in a specific way. Specifically, each employee in an account must:

  • Have a Name, and/or an email address and ID
  • Not have a Start Date that’s before their Date of Birth
  • Not have an End Date that’s before their Start Date
  • Not have a Date of Birth that’s less than one year before today
  • Not have an invalid email address: (Must follow the format [name]@[domain].[domain]/No special characters eg ()/!*)
  • Not have an invalid language code
  • A User can’t be added to Culture Amp if their email address is the same as that of another User (either in the account, or globally).
  • If a User is a Primary Account Administrator, they cannot deactivate themselves (eg an End Date cannot be set for them until another Administrator is designated).
  • If a User’s ID is the same as that of another User in the account, the new User data will be flagged & ignored.
  • Dates in the Date of Birth, Start Date and End Date fields must be in an accepted format.  We request dates in the format Mmm dd, yyyy (eg Feb 20, 1947), and can accept dates in these additional formats: MMM DD YYYY (eg Feb 20 1947); YYYY-MM-DD (ISO 8601 standard, 1947-02-20).

If your import contains employees that do not meet these requirements, these employees will be considered ‘Ignored Data’ and will not be imported into Culture Amp. 

General information about enabling hierarchies can be found here.

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