I have a system where manager can toggle between viewing their direct reports and all the employees who ultimately report to them. High level HR users have a third option of being able to view everyone regardless of reporting lines.

I want the labels on these options to be both succinct but also readily understood, and so far have options like:

  • "Everyone", "My Team" and "My Hierarchy"
  • "All", "All Reports" and "Direct Reports"
  • "Subordinates", "Immediate Subordinates" and "Everyone"

All of these terms seem a little confusing to me. "Reports" seems likely to be confused with our reporting functionality. "Subordinates" seems clearer, but also vaguely pejorative these days. The first option is my favourite, but while words like "hierarchy" seem obvious to me I think they may be too obscure for most.

Is there a nice commonly understood word or term that I could use here? I'm not looking for a single word that's synonymous with team or hierarchy, I'm looking for the words or phrase that most clearly makes the distinction between the immediate team and the hierarchy.

For instance, I want a director to be able to tell at a glance whether they're looking at their middle managers or their entire division. I want those middle managers to see whether they're looking at their line managers or their department, and so on.

  • The tag [vocabulary] is deprecated -- don't use it. The tag [single-word-requests] is intended for questions of your type. Jan 12, 2012 at 16:15
  • 1
    @JSBᾶngs but I'm not asking for a single word.
    – Keith
    Jan 12, 2012 at 17:15
  • 1
    @JSBᾶngs where does it say that [vocabulary] is deprecated? From the tag wiki entry it seems like a better fit for this question?
    – Keith
    Jan 12, 2012 at 17:23
  • 1
    Maybe [phrase-requests]? Jan 12, 2012 at 17:25
  • @JSBᾶngs: If you/we don't want the tag [vocabulary] to be used, we need to unlink it from the (currently 353) questions using it. I don't know if we then need to get a mod to delete/synonymise it, but I don't think there's much point in castigating individual (particularly new) users as things stand. Jan 12, 2012 at 22:00

5 Answers 5


I think My Team and My Hierarchy work perfectly well and will be understood, especially if you couple the terms with a simple icon (one showing parent-children nodes, the other parent-children-grandchildren).

You could also post on ux.stackexchange.com for more ideas to clearly convey the concepts in your user interface.

  • I like the idea of backing up the terms with an icon, and I might try a more general question on UX, cheers.
    – Keith
    Jan 13, 2012 at 14:40

The terms that I sometimes hear "for an entire hierarchy of employees in an organisation" include "organization tree", "organization chart" (sometimes shortened to "org chart"), "corporate hierarchy", and similar terms. I don't think these terms actually apply well to this context.

For your case, I think the second option might be the best, though I might change it to:

  • All employees
  • Direct & Indirect Reports
  • Direct Reports

I'd avoid using "Team" with "Hierarchy" as the two could be confused, although you could make it more clear by qualifying them, such as "Full Team" and "Immediate Hierarchy", though I still think "Full Hierarchy" and "Immediate Hierarchy" is better because it uses consistent terms ("Hierarchy").

  • Cheers. "Organisation chart" isn't really an option for us as we have a visual organogram elsewhere. We also have a "Reports" function, which leaves me with "hierarchy". That makes sense to me, but I'm a logophile.
    – Keith
    Jan 12, 2012 at 16:18

The term "pecking order" may be considered too informal, but it would be readily understood.

You may also want to use the term "Direct Reports" and "Indirect Reports" if you are considered about confusion with the reporting functionality.

  • Yeah, pecking order might be readily understood, but not something you'd use openly in a business context. I think the reports term is readily understood, but I have another function on the same page that says "Reports" and runs the printable reports across the data, so in this context I think it may be confusing.
    – Keith
    Jan 13, 2012 at 12:10

Marketing lingo: Peer, Downline, Upline, Team, All.

Subordinate is to be deprecated for all time.

  • Downline doesn't really make the distinction that I'm looking for: I want a term that is obvious to most readers as referring to specifically just the direct team and another distinct one that refers to the entire hierarchy at any depth.
    – Keith
    Jan 13, 2012 at 12:18

How about everyone in my reporting line.

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