Employee data

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Get Organised With This Free Employee Directory Template

Get Organised With This Free Employee Directory Template

With so much information coming at us from all angles, it’s easy to forget someone’s last name, which department they work in, or which days they work. It can feel awkward to ask for help in these situations — especially if you’re brand new.

Your team members want quick and easy access to information, without having to wait or ask someone for help. What you need is an employee directory.

In this guide, we’ll run through what an employee directory is, why they’re useful, and how you can use an employee directory template to streamline the process. We’ll also share a simple yet effective template you can use right away to start building your own people directory.

What is an employee directory?

An employee directory is a central database that companies use to store information about employees. This internal directory holds data that your HR team and other employees would find useful to have in one place — like everyone’s name, department, and contact details.

Every employee directory will feature slightly different data, but it’s common to for them to include:

  • First and last name
  • Job title
  • Department
  • Location
  • Email address
  • Phone number

Your employee directory might be a shared spreadsheet or database, or it might live within your existing (or future) Human Resources Information System (HRIS). Typically your directory is shared with all employees so they have open access to find the information they need, whenever they need it.

The benefits of having an employee directory

Your employee directory (also known as a people directory or staff directory) is a useful tool not only for your human resources team but everyone in your company. It’s more than a way to share contact information — your employee directory can be a valuable asset for communication, culture, and transparency.

A good employee directory can:

  • Increase productivity — Team members can quickly access information and make decisions on who to contact, so there’s less waiting around for answers or spending time on repetitive, time-consuming tasks.
  • Increase transparency — Your directory acts as a single source of truth for contact information and employee details that everyone has access to.
  • Promote employee autonomy — Team members can find and use relevant employee details whenever they need to, without asking someone else.
  • Improve communication — With a central record of everyone that works there, it’s easier to start conversations with others and improve cross-team collaboration.
  • Identify staffing needs — A well-kept employee directory can help managers and HR teams with employee management, identifying gaps, and keeping track of employees’ needs.
  • Enhance the employee onboarding process — Give your new hires access to your people directory early, so they can learn more about their new team members.
  • Cultivate company culture — Introduce rich employee profiles that allow team members to get to know each other better through interests, goals, and preferences.
  • Keep communication relevant — Use the data in your employee directory to send location or team-specific communication to only the people that need it.
  • Act effectively in a crisis — An up-to-date employee directory allows you to get a message to the right employees quickly in a time of crisis, in a way that best matches the situation.

The benefits of creating and maintaining a staff directory make it a must-have for any organisation that wants to improve communication, increase transparency, and introduce more employee autonomy.

How to make your own with an employee directory template

Starting from scratch as you build a people directory can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not a huge fan of database software. But you don’t have to start from nothing — there are plenty of employee directory templates out there that can help you streamline the process.

Follow this five-step process to use templates to shortcut your way towards your ideal staff directory.

1. Find the right template

The first step is to find the right template for your needs. This will depend on what you currently use, the software you already have, and how you’d like your employee directory to function.

For teams that already use a HRIS tool or HR platform, check to see if there’s a people directory feature included. For example, Charlie’s built-in employee database software allows you to quickly and effectively create your own people directory and keep all your employee data in one place.

Help new starters put names to faces with our employee directory.webp

If you don’t have easy access to a dedicated people directory feature, your next step is to figure out whether you can use your existing project management or CRM software to create one. Many productivity and project management tools have a template gallery and might have an employee contact list template that you can modify.

Don’t panic if you don’t have access to dedicated software or a template that works with your existing tech stack. That’s not uncommon for small business owners or new teams. You can easily create your own employee directory in Excel or Google Sheets, and there are plenty of templates available for both.

You don’t even need to look far to find a great employee directory template for Google Sheets — we have one right here:

Download our employee directory template-01.webp

Download the template now and you can use it as you move through the next few steps.

2. Decide which data you’ll include

After you’ve found the right template, you need to decide which fields are essential, which are voluntary, and which you don’t need at all.

At its most basic, your employee directory should include: 

  • key employee information such as
    • Name
    • Role
    • contact details
    • preferred pronouns. 

You might also want to add in details like start date or length of time with the company, birthday, or languages spoken.

If your goal is to create a people directory with in-depth profiles, consider which fields would help make these more valuable to your team members. You could introduce voluntary fields where people can talk about their pets or favourite foods, or give an insight into their working or communication preferences. If you use Charlie for your employee database, adding custom fields is easy.

Add custom fields to your employee directory with Charlie.webp

Some teams choose to include photos in employee directories, while others are text-based databases. Some team members may feel more comfortable if they have the option to customise an avatar or use an illustration that looks like them instead. It’s worth considering how you can build inclusive systems and workflows — especially when it comes to sharing personal information with the wider company.

3. Gather data for your employee directory template

Your template is all set up and ready to go, but it’s missing something crucial — all the employee data. It might seem overwhelming, but this part of the process is easier with a little organisation and some tools to do the heavy lifting.

If you’re starting from scratch, this step will usually involve manual data entry into a spreadsheet or database. If you’re using an existing tool to build a new directory, see if you can use built-in features or integrations with third-party tools to move your people data from one place to another and cut down on data entry.

Sometimes you may not hold all the data you’d like to share, especially if it’s not mandatory. If your software allows people to edit their profile directly, prompt users to do this. If not, send out a link to an employee details form that they can use to share this information with you.

4. Customise your new employee directory

An employee directory template helps you organise your data, but they’re often fairly plain by default. Before you share your live directory with everyone, take a moment to customise it so it matches your brand and company culture.

Add your company logo, and update the template to match your brand colours, fonts, and style, while also keeping readability and accessibility in mind. If there’s space, add a welcome message or introduction on the directory page so users know what it’s for and what information it holds.

5. Share your employee directory with everyone

You’ve found a template, customised it, and built a people directory that not only includes essential contact information but represents your culture. Now it’s time to share it with everyone.

Prepare an email or update post in your team chat app that introduces the new employee directory to everyone. Share a link to the directory, and explain why it exists and how team members can use it. Invite feedback and use any comments, insights, and criticism to help you develop the directory into an even more valuable resource for the whole company.

Get organised with the right employee directory template

A good employee directory template can help you take all your key employee data and organise it, giving you a central location for everything your team members need to know about each other. Use this guide to help you create your own people directory and customise it to match your needs, goals, and culture.

If you’re looking for an even better way to organise your employee data and do more with it, try Charlie for free. Our platform brings all your data and docs together in one place, with smart automation that saves you hours on HR tasks every week. Plus, our built-in people directory will help you say goodbye to the spreadsheet for good.

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Employee directory templates: Frequently asked questions

Building an employee directory can introduce plenty of questions around what it should include, who should access it, and how you should keep it up to date. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about employee directory templates.

How do I create an employee directory?

There’s no one way to create an employee directory, but we recommend following our five-step process listed above. Use our free employee directory template to kickstart the process.

What should I include in a staff directory?

Your staff directory should feature key employee details like name, role, department, and contact details. Beyond the basics, it’s up to you what you choose to include. Identify which fields are mandatory, and also which would benefit different user groups — like HR teams, managers, and individual employees. You could also send a survey out to your team members for their feedback on which voluntary fields they’d like to see.

How do I maintain an employee database?

After you’ve created your employee directory, maintaining it is an ongoing effort. Keep your data up to date by including a requirement to update the database as part of your new employee starter checklist or offboarding checklist. If you’re using an HR tool with automation like Charlie, you’ll be able to make one change to an employee’s details and see the change go live in your people directory too.

Who should have access to the employee directory?

Your employee directory should be visible to everyone working for your company. You might also choose to share the directory with freelancers, contractors, or agencies. For some users, like HR team members, it’s useful to have additional user permissions and the ability to add private fields or notes — this saves having to create a separate database for recruitment or HR purposes.

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