Effective use of organisational charts in HR controlling

Potential, challenges and solutions

In traditional HR controlling, we rely on tables and charts. Organisation charts are used to visualise the organisation, but are rarely used for target/actual comparisons or for planning personnel requirements and costs.

Why is this the case and what possibilities are there for using organisational charts in HR controlling beyond the visualisation of the organisation?

It sounds tempting to show deviations in the organisational chart instead of just in lists or tables at department or cost centre level. In some cases, planning in an organisation chart is more intuitive than in a list, as the user moves around in “his” organisation. Similar positions or employees can be seen together in their respective cards in the organisation chart.

One major problem is that organisational charts are static – each position has exactly one superior position at a given time and is filled in exactly one way. If a position is added in the course of the planning year, moved within the organisation or filled differently, a new organisation chart is created. If you map the organisation of the planning year in monthly slices as an organisation chart, you will have up to 12 different organisation charts.. Although this could be visualised by offering the user a choice of different organisational charts, in practice it is difficult and confusing.

The problem cannot be solved completely, but it can be reduced to changing the organisation by moving positions (other superior positions). This is rarely the case in practice, as new jobs are often created for this purpose. The chances are therefore good that a stable organisation chart will be obtained for the planning year.

The solution approach creates an organisation chart that contains all positions and their staffing that are active throughout the year. A position that is only added in July is drawn in the organisation chart in the same way as a position that is terminated in March. If a position is filled by different employees over the course of the year, they are shown together on the respective card. If the superior position never changes, an annual organisation chart is created.

This “annual organisation chart” is ideal for planning. In customer examples, users click on a position to plan this position, the employee or (in the case of superior positions) the subordinate positions and employees.

The second problem is the calculation of totals for superior positions, e.g. for a target/actual comparison. For each position, the data of all subordinate positions, which in turn can also be superior positions, must be determined. This is not trivial and can hardly be achieved without special software. However, if it can be done successfully, it is possible to make wonderful target/actual comparisons in the organisation chart (and thus independently of departments etc.) and thus gain new insights.

And then there are the rather small cards in the organisation chart. If you display too much information on one card (job + employee), it quickly becomes confusing – so large cards are not the solution. nstead, it should be possible to display dialogues with more details or use the organisation chart as a filter for graphics and tables so that they display the organisation’s data “below” the card when you click on it. This creates a wonderful combination of the advantages of the organisation chart display and the clarity of charts and tables.


There are good reasons why organisational charts are rarely seen in HR controlling. Nevertheless, there are ways to use organisational charts successfully in HR controlling, but these require suitable software.

The HR controlling system 4PLAN HR is one such software. You can find more information about 4PLAN HR here: https://www.software4you.com/en/solution/

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