There’s no question you need an org chart for your company. An org chart is a vital tool for helping new hires understand the chain of command and can allow them to easily access contact info for their peers. HR or leadership teams find a lot of value in org charts for succession and workforce planning.
The question then is not if you should have an org chart, but how best to create it. Luckily, there are several software options available. But how do you choose which to use?
This guide provides a brief overview of how to build an org chart using Microsoft Office and Pingboard. We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of each option to help you decide which one is the best fit for your team.
It’s possible to build an org chart in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. The steps are similar for each program, so we’ll use Word as an example.
First, open a new document, then navigate to the Insert tab. Click on the SmartArt dropdown, then select Hierarchy. Choose the Organizational Chart option.
Word will automatically generate a diagram and offer some design and formatting options in the top bar. A SmartArt Text box will also pop up. Insert info about an employee into each line, then the diagram will automatically display the text.
To learn how to add a new shape or import data from a spreadsheet into the document, visit our How to Build an Org Chart in Word article.
Check out our guides for building an org chart in Excel, Powerpoint, Google Sheets, and Visio.
If you would like to get a head start with building an org chart in MS Office here is a quick template:
There are three ways to build an org chart with Pingboard: importing a spreadsheet of employee data, syncing with an HR system you already use, or building an org chart from scratch.
Click Sync & Import under the Admin menu. Choose CSV Import. Drag and drop your CSV file into the box, or click Choose a File and find the file in your computer’s browser. Click Continue.
From there, Pingboard will guide you through a few steps to finish setup and format your org chart. You’ll also show a preview page and a summary of the data being added to your org chart before you complete the import. Finally, click Import, sit back, and let Pingboard do the rest.
For a more in-depth guide to importing a spreadsheet, visit Pingboard’s Help Center.
Do you store your employee data in another tool? Check out these step-by-step instructions for syncing with software supported by Pingboard:
Prefer to drag and drop roles for your org chart? While it might take a little longer, there’s no reason you can’t. You can quickly create a free Pingboard account, then choose to start with a blank slate, use a template, or play with an org chart demo before building your org chart by hand.
Here is a quick example of what Pingboard org charts look like, and a template to help you get started.
There are two primary benefits to using MS Office Tools:
Accessibility – Many companies already use MS Office for daily tasks and don’t have to learn an additional tool to build an org chart
Flexibility – The design and layout of org charts are up to users
However, using MS Office to create an org chart also has its share of disadvantages:
Unautomated Process – Each new hire, promotion, or change in contact info requires that someone manually update the org chart and then share that updated version with the rest of the company
Inconsistent Design – The downside of flexibility is inconsistency in the org chart’s appearance, especially as users add more data
Limited Functionality – An MS Office org chart is a static document
There are more than a few upsides to using Pingboard to build your org chart and organize and share your company data.
When it comes to the org chart, Pingboard’s is:
Automatically formatted – Pingboard can interpret spreadsheet data to automatically create a hierarchy of employees—as long as the spreadsheet has a “reports to” column with data for each employee, we know what to do with it to build the perfect org chart
Automatic updates – Whether there is a change in position or an employee gets promoted, the org chart updates automatically when integrated with your HR system
Shareable – Create different versions of your org chart based on your target audience: Build one form for sharing with your entire staff, another version for certain employees or teams, and yet another for distribution to people outside your company.
Reliable – By visualizing your data, you can see which areas need updating so everyone’s contact info is reliable
Good for workforce planning – If your HR team wants to plan successions or new hires, they can create an alternate version of the org chart that only they can see
Pingboard also keeps your team connected and informed, with these core features:
The “Who’s Who” game – It helps new hires learn the names and faces of their peers more quickly during onboarding
Vacation time – Track time-off and share schedules with the entire team
Mobile directory – Employees can access the employee directory from their iOS or Android phone, so it’s always easy to get in touch
Visualization of your cross-functional teams – Plan cross-functional teams for different projects, products, or customer segments
Peer-to-peer Recognition – Share praise about an employee with the entire company
Pingboard does have some limitations:
Cost – A free version is available, but it does not allow you to invite your whole company to view the org chart or take advantage of beneficial features of Pingboard that increase employee connectivity.”
Onboarding – To get the most out of Pingboard, it’s best to onboard your entire team. This takes some time to roll out, but can help your workplace be a beacon of transparency
In the end, your choice of software is determined by which functions and factors are most important to you. Pingboard is much more than an org chart: It comes packed with functionality that MS Office simply does not offer.
In short, Pingboard isn’t just for building org charts. It improves company culture by connecting employees with a mobile directory, a get-to-know-you game, and a lightweight peer-to-peer recognition solution, among other things. MS Office might help you build an org chart for free, but Pingboard will encourage your employees to actually use that org chart in ways that foster a better workplace experience.
Best of all, it’s free to get started with Pingboard. Take the basic version for a test run before deciding to buy the full package for your team.