What Is a Live Org Chart, Really?

4 minutes • Dec 20, 2018General

Ever since organizations started building org charts in Word, organizations have worked to illustrate organizational structure as a way of showing hierarchy and the division of responsibilities. As organizations have become more complex, the traditional org chart has evolved to include not just reporting relationship, but much more. With the introduction of cloud-based technology, the live org chart features information about individuals and teams that was never possible before. It’s a shareable, collaborative tool that’s not just for HR and the C-suite, but for all organizational stakeholders. To help further explain what a live org chart is, here are some of its key characteristics and benefits:

Key Characteristics of a Live Org Chart


Smart integrations with a range of platforms ensure that a live org chart is up to date and reflects the current organizational structure and headcount at all times. Unlike a traditional org chart, which is often a single file or piece of paper, a live org chart can integrate with the following platforms, to name a few:

  • Payroll systems

  • Messaging and document-management platforms such as Google Workspace (formerly Google G Suite)

  • Collaboration platforms such as Slack

  • Single sign-on services such as Okta or Microsoft Azure Active Directory

These seamless integrations make the live org chart ultimately more useful than an org chart file that sits on someone’s computer. In addition, native mobile apps make the live org chart accessible from anywhere, so leaders and employees can see and connect with their teams no matter their location.

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Employee Profiles and Directory

A staff directory and customizable employee profiles provide workers with more ways to learn about one another, including where to go and whom to ask for information. With a live org chart, employees are not just a headshot and name in a box, but each employee has a profile where he or she can list education, special skills, and even his or her favorite foods or sports team. When employees need to find someone in the organization, a searchable directory helps them pinpoint the information they’re looking for, quickly and easily.

Flexible Design and Layout Options

Today’s organizations aren’t all typical hierarchies. They can be organized by product, geography, or customer type. A live org chart isn’t limited to displaying only one or two types of organizational structure. It can show company structure in a variety of layouts, color schemes, and styles, including showing teams with co-leaders and dual reporting relationships.

Benefits of Using a Live Org Chart

A live org chart is a dynamic organizational tool with many uses. Here are some of its key benefits:

More Information in Employees’ Hands

While a traditional org chart is typically a tool for HR and senior managers, often used to justify headcount changes or show how many people report to a single manager, a live org chart offers broader use for employees and leaders—for example:

  • Gamified features such as a Who’s Who game help individuals learn names, faces, work locations, and other information about co-workers.

  • Syncing capability with email and calendar platforms helps employees see when the person they’re looking for is available and in the office.

  • A searchable directory helps existing and newly hired employees find and contact the people they need.

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Supports Workforce Planning

When it comes time to plan for growth or conduct a reorganization, different collaboration versions of the live org chart can be created and shared among leaders, giving a broader group of people the opportunity to weigh in on workforce-planning decisions before they’re finalized. Before and after a merger or acquisition, the live org chart remains up to date and helps HR and business leaders pinpoint key roles to be filled and areas where there may be a talent gap or redundancy.

Supports Team Alignment and Accountability

In companies large and small, there can often be some complexity in how people and teams are organized, and it can sometimes be confusing trying to understand which team has responsibility for what. A live org chart not only helps to bring clarity to team accountabilities but also helps organizational leaders see how individuals and teams are aligned across products, geographies, and customers. A live org chart makes room for details about individual and team accountabilities so that it’s easier to ensure individuals are aligned with the roles that fit their skills and capabilities. It also helps everyone see where teams are aligned with one another so that they avoid duplication or letting things fall through the cracks.

Improves Employee Engagement

While it’s no secret that overall employee engagement is low across most companies, a live org chart can help to address waning employee engagement. Unlike a traditional org chart, a live org chart is interactive, providing employees with an outlet to share information about themselves and learn more about others—and helping them develop a sense of team and connectedness that boosts engagement. In addition, when individuals can see the whole organization at a glance and drill down to see team details, they not only know where they fit in but also have a chance to gain a sense of job opportunities and career paths they may want to pursue.

Bring Organizational Structure to Life

A live org chart is truly alive—integrating with other platforms so that it’s up to date, mobile, and accessible. Organizational structure can be complex and ever-changing, but a live org chart keeps up with the organization as it grows or reorganizes. A live org chart also holds value for everyone in the organization, putting more information into the hands of leaders and employees so they can find important information, learn more about one another, and develop a deeper understanding of exactly where they fit in.

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