How to Troubleshoot Hierarchy Errors

Guidance on how you can troubleshoot hierarchy errors when importing your user data

Jared Ellis avatar
Written by Jared Ellis
Updated this week

What can I learn from this page?

Guidance on how you can troubleshoot hierarchy errors when importing your user data

Who is this guide for?

Account Admins

Importing employee data into Culture Amp? In some cases, your import may be blocked if we detect an issue with your data that could create problems with some features of the Culture Amp platform, such as hierarchy-based report sharing or performance cycles.

To complete the import, you must correct these issues and try importing the data again. Depending on your data, you may need to repeat this troubleshooting process several times until validation passes.

Here are some of the key errors you might encounter and how to correct them.

“Import blocked due to reporting loops“

FIX: Find and resolve the root cause of the loop in the hierarchy.

Employees can’t appear in a hierarchy more than once. If an employee appears twice in your hierarchy, this will trigger a ‘loop’.

The simplest example of a loop is: Lucy is assigned as Jessica’s manager and Jessica as Lucy’s.

Diagram of the loop between Jessica & Lucy.

There could be more complex loops, with many employees caught in between, see the diagram below for an example.

Diagram showing a reporting loop with multiple levels of employees.

Most loops are unintentional and caused by data errors. If your organization has a complex or non-traditional hierarchy, you may have deliberate loops. In these cases, we recommend you determine a more simple top-down hierarchy that you can use for Culture Amp reporting purposes.

“Import blocked - These employees are assigned managers that are not in your employee list”

FIX: Check your data to ensure all managers that appear in the Manager Email or Manager ID column also appear somewhere in the Employee Email or Employee ID column.

The Manager Email or Manager ID you provide for each employee must match up with an individual’s Employee Email or Employee ID, so we can validate each manager is also an employee in your organisation. You’ll see this error when a Manager Email or Manager ID does not match with an employee in the employee list.

For example, Lucy is managed by Jessica. Jessica’s email is There must be an employee with the assigned email “” in order for us to validate that Jessica is an employee.

Note: An inactive employee can still be considered a valid manager. This means that an employee can have a manager who's inactive, e.g. whose end date has expired.

It’s also possible to trigger this error by selecting a non-unique manager identifier, such as Manager Name. Make sure you select an identifier that can only be matched to a single employee, such as Manager Email or Manager ID.

It is also possible to trigger this error if you have not completed an import to first add the managers to the platform as users, prior to completing a full import to validate your hierarchy.

“Import blocked - These employees are assigned managers that can’t be imported due to invalid data”

FIX: Check the “Ignored Data” section for employees who are managers. Correct any invalid data that may be preventing their import.

You will see this error if an employee cannot be imported and they are also listed as a manager. For more information on the specific error that is preventing the import, you can refer to the “Ignored Data” error section.

Culture Amp has several core demographic fields that must be formatted in a specific way. Specifically, each employee in an account must:

  • Have a Name, and/or an email address and ID

  • Not have a Start Date that’s before their Date of Birth

  • Not have an End Date that’s before their Start Date

  • Not have a Date of Birth that’s less than one year before today

  • Not have an invalid email address: (Must follow the format [name]@[domain].[domain]/No special characters eg ()/!*)

  • Not have an invalid language code

  • A User can’t be added to Culture Amp if their email address is the same as that of another User (either in the account, or globally).

  • If a User is a Primary Account Administrator, they cannot deactivate themselves (eg an End Date cannot be set for them until another Administrator is designated).

  • If a User’s ID is the same as that of another User in the account, the new User data will be flagged & ignored.

  • Dates in the Date of Birth, Start Date and End Date fields must be in an accepted format. We request dates in the format Mmm dd, yyyy (eg Feb 20, 1947), and can accept dates in these additional formats: MMM DD YYYY (eg Feb 20 1947); YYYY-MM-DD (ISO 8601 standard, 1947-02-20).

If your import contains employees that do not meet these requirements, these employees will be considered ‘Ignored Data’ and will not be imported into Culture Amp.

"No leader of organization assigned"

FIX: Ensure at least one employee in your HRIS has no manager assigned and complete a manual sync.

You may see this error if you have integrated Culture Amp with your HRIS and have enabled autosyncs.

In order to have a valid hierarchy, your employee data must always contain at least one employee that has no manager assigned (or an employee that is assigned as their own manager). This employee will be placed at the top of your hierarchy.

To avoid breaking your hierarchy, we will block any autosync that assigns a manager to the employee at the top of your hierarchy. To fix this issue, ensure your top of hierarchy has no manager assigned in your HRIS. Or, you can complete a manual sync to select a new top of hierarchy.

"More than one organizational leader?"

A common workaround if your organisation has two or more leaders, is to create a dummy user profile where those leaders/CEOs report to them as their manager. When you complete your sync, the dummy user would then be placed at the top of the hierarchy.

“These employees don't have managers”

FIX: Ensure anyone you want to include in your hierarchy (except the top of hierarchy) has a Manager Email or Manager ID assigned.

Employees that have not been assigned managers will not be assigned a level in your hierarchy. They will still be assigned direct and indirect reports, but won't be included in level-based report sharing. Furthermore, any direct and indirect reports of the employee will not be assigned a level either. To assign them a level, make sure everyone in the reporting line has a manager assigned.

Some employees may not have a traditional manager, such as contractors. Others may be temporarily without a manager. In these cases, you can either assign them a ‘proxy manager’, or simply choose to exclude them from your hierarchy by not assigning them a level. If they are not a manager themselves, and you are not planning on including them into surveys and performance cycles, you may consider removing them from your employee data and this way deactivating their account in Culture Amp.

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