Cliff Face vs Hierarchical Structure?

What is the difference? Which is better?

These are two important questions that I get asked when kicking off system design meetings with new partners. The reality is; there’s no right or wrong way.

To understand the difference, we need to decide firstly what we want to see. When we open the Organisation Structure, do we want to see all of our departmental units?, and then all of our posts stacked underneath? Or do we want to see only the top level departmental units, and underneath those show a visual hierarchy of posts reporting into posts?

The first option is Cliff Face. The second is Hierarchical.

With a Hierarchical structure, there are more lines to click open to drum down to the bottom position within that reporting unit. However, using this method there is also the ability to create a new position within a post, and the system determine where they should report to.
Using Cliff Face, this is more difficult, and the system generally picks up who it thinks it should report to – more often than not, it is that item sat at the top – as the system defaults everything alphabetically.

When it comes to reporting, Cliff Face is the easier of the two. This is because the reports use “unit levels” and if you have a number of unit levels within one area of the structure, and not within another, then it will be difficult to determine if those two sets of administrators are actually at the same level.
Using Cliff Face structure, everything (all posts within the lowest level department) will be at the same level across the board.

Only you can decide which is best for your Organisation, but if you contact us for more advice we can help you along the way to determine which would be best for you moving forward. We would take into account how your reporting works, how you authorisations would work and whether or not you would be using other modules that this may affect (such as People Manager) moving forward.

We are always happy to help, and listen, and look forward to hearing from you soon.