What is a Hierarchy?

To operate a peer to peer recognition program you must be able to provide a position feed which represents your hierarchy and employees. In simple terms this means that we need to know which employees work for which employee (i.e. line managers). If the data was mapped out in a diagram it would show every employee in a pyramid leading to the MD/CEO at the top.

There are 2 types of hierarchy:

  1. Employee based hierarchy
  2. Role based hierarchy

This document will describe each and discuss the Pro?s and Con?s along with some samples of data.

What is Employee based hierarchy?

This is the most basic hierarchy that can be used and should only be used when position ID’s (unique ID’s for individual roles) are not available. In this model you could use the username, employee ID or any other unique ID that relates to the individual to identify them and their line manager.

Lets start by describing a hierarchy and building a sample data set. The following example shows a simple hierarchy with each employee using the EmployeeID from the HR system as the position ID:

../_images/data-requirements-employee-hierarchy.png

This would give us the following position data:

Role Position ID Manager Position ID
MD BH-01 BH-01
HR Director GD-01 BH-01
HR Manager JB-01 GD-01
HR Manager MT-01 GD-01
HR Manager AJ-01 GD-01
HR Co-ordinator AG-01 MT-01
HR Co-ordinator KK-01 MT-01
Sales Director JH-01 BH-01
Sales Manager PH-01 JH-01
Sales Manager SR-01 JH-01
Sales Person EG-01 PH-01
Sales Person CJ-01 PH-01
Sales Person AW-01 SR-01
Sales Person AH-01 SR-01

It is extremely important that your data does not create orphans. Orphans are created when a position is empty and the employees that report to them are not updated to report to the correct line manager.

For example from the previous example if the Sales Manager Paige Hammond left the company this would create an empty space and create a broken hierarchy as shown below:

../_images/data-requirements-employee-hierarchy-broken.png

This must be resolved by changing each of the employees that used to work for her (i.e. Evie Grant and Charles Jenkins) to point to her line manager (i.e. The Sales Director JH-01). The new hierarchy would be:

../_images/data-requirements-employee-hierarchy-fixed.png

This would give us the following position data:

Role Position ID Manager Position ID
MD BH-01 BH-01
HR Director GD-01 BH-01
HR Manager JB-01 GD-01
HR Manager MT-01 GD-01
HR Manager AJ-01 GD-01
HR Co-ordinator AG-01 MT-01
HR Co-ordinator KK-01 MT-01
Sales Director JH-01 BH-01
Sales Manager SR-01 JH-01
Sales Person EG-01 JH-01 (previously PH-01)
Sales Person CJ-01 JH-01 (previously PH-01)
Sales Person AW-01 SR-01
Sales Person AH-01 SR-01

As you can see her role has been removed and the 2 employees now report directly to the Sales Director and the hole has been removed. You can now trace every employee through the hierarchy and up to the MD/CEO.

What is Role based hierarchy?

A role based hierarchy is the best way to operate a peer to peer recognition program. It requires that your data shows each unique role within your organisation without regard to individual employees. Roles are allowed to exist without employees assigned but the hierarchy must always remain in tact i.e. you must be able to trace any position up through line managers until eventually arriving at the MD/CEO.

We will take the same corporate structure as the previous example except here you will see we are using the roleID from the HR system as the position ID:

../_images/data-requirements-role-hierarchy.png

To avoid confusion there isn’t any employee information shown above, this is because this is a role based hierarchy and therefore the employees are not relevant when discussing hierarchy.

This would give us the following position data:

Role Position ID Manager Position ID
MD 0001 0001
HR Director 0003 0001
HR Manager 0006 0003
HR Manager 0007 0003
HR Manager 0008 0003
HR Co-ordinator 0013 0007
HR Co-ordinator 0014 0007
Sales Director 0002 0001
Sales Manager 0004 0002
Sales Manager 0005 0002
Sales Person 0009 0004
Sales Person 0010 0004
Sales Person 0011 0005
Sales Person 0012 0005

Unlike the employee based hierarchy when an employee leaves a role the position does not have to be removed nor does the line manager position have to be updated. This is because the role has not been removed rather the employee has just left and therefore the role has become vacant.

Budgets and Historical Data Restrictions

If you are running a program with financial rewards you will assign budgets to managers, these are stored against the positionID. As we can see from the above examples there are very different responses when an employee leaves or changes role. In an employee based hierarchy when an employee leaves, the position must be removed from the hierarchy whereas in a role based hierarchy there is no change required. Also when a new employee starts even though they were replacing an existing employee they will occupy a new position.

This creates 2 problems for employee based hierarchies:

  • Budgets cannot move with the position
  • Data cannot move with the position

Any budget holders that leave and are replaced by a new employee will need the budget transferring manually. Also the previous data (although available in Admin) is no longer connected to the previous role therefore the new manager does not see any history. This is a side effect of employee based hierarchies as there is not way for us to know that employee A has replaced employee B. i.e A role may go vacant in January and only be replaced in June.

In contrast when running a role based hierarchy there is no change to the position and hence we still know everything about it and how it sits within the hierarchy. This means that when a role is vacant the budget and all history relating to that role is maintained until a new employee is assigned to it. As soon as a new employee starts they automatically inherit the budget and all the historic data.

The big advantage comes when managing budgets. Employees can come and go and budgets will still be available to the role without any admin required. Compare that to an employee based hierarchy where budgets must be re-assigned manually.

Warning

Roles are not a perfect solution as they suffer the same problem as employee hierarchies if the role structure itself changes (i.e. switching HR systems or company structure changes).