Hierarchy: The Basics

Document created by 6185246 Administrator on Aug 8, 2014Last modified by 2261986 on Sep 8, 2018
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The User Hierarchy

Please view our video tutorial of Hierarchy Basics  as a supplement to this article. 


If you have the role of an Administrator, or a Supervisor with User Management, you can access and edit the Hierarchy. 

Go to Users > Hierarchy 



The Hierarchy is a tool in the Relias Learning Management System (RLMS) which allows you to organize the reporting structure to reflect the organization of your company.  Essentially, the Hierarchy will dictate which of your Supervisors will receive emails notifying them of other Learners' completed, upcoming,, and overdue training, as well as determine which Learners each Supervisor can see/manage.


The first step of building your Hierarchy is to identify the needs of your organization.  The structure and complexity of the Hierarchy you create will depend on the expected responsibilities of your Supervisors, and the amount of autonomy they will be permitted.  There is no right or wrong way to construct the Hierarchy; the number of levels depends on the individualized needs of your organization.  If you have questions on what may work best for your organization, please feel free to contact the  Relias Support.


Administrators have access to all Learners and all levels of a Hierarchy (once it is created); however, the access of a Supervisor is governed by the Hierarchy.  Supervisors are only able to view, edit, enroll, and receive reports for Learners within their level of the Hierarchy, sub-level thereof or any hierarchy they have been granted Additional Hierarchy Access to.  You can have as many Learners and Supervisors as you would like in each level of the Hierarchy, however each user can only be assigned to one level.


The Hierarchy is optional; however, it is highly recommended as it promotes accountability and aids with compliance.


Notifications Recipients

Each level in your Hierarchy should contain one Supervisor designated as a Notifications Recipient.  This Supervisor will receive training plan and module warning emails for the Learners within that folder.  Warning emails may be sent automatically or via the Warning Emails Report.  If warning emails are sent automatically, the Notifications Recipient will receive a weekly email which will include a listing of all Learners in the folder who have overdue or coming due training. The email will provide the names of the Learners and the modules that are overdue or coming due.  No email will go out if all Learners are up-to-date or have due dates outside the scope of the warning period. 


Upcoming and overdue training for Supervisors who are designated as a Notifications Recipient will be sent to the Notifications Recipient(s) of the Hierarchy level directly above their folder level.  If the next level above does not have a designated Notifications Recipient Supervisor to receive warning emails, no Supervisor will receive the reminder message for that particular person.  Please Note: warning emails for Learners in a Hierarchy level that does not have a Supervisor designated as the Notifications Recipient will not roll up to next level Supervisor.  Therefore, it is important to have a Notifications Recipient assigned for every level of the Hierarchy.


Hierarchy Examples

Single Folder Hierarchy:



The Single-Folder Hierarchy is, without a doubt, the easiest-to-use Hierarchy you can build. Single-Folder Hierarchies are often times the best choice for organizations with fewer than 50 users.  In the Single-Folder Hierarchy layout, everyone - all Supervisors and Learners - exist together in the same level. Since all Supervisors share the same level, any one Supervisor is able to run reports on any Learner in your site.

  • A disadvantage of this Hierarchy layout is that you may only have one Notifications Recipient for your entire organization.
  • A positive aspect of the Single-Folder Hierarchy layout is that it requires very little oversight from you or any other Administrator in your site. When your organization experiences change, there are typically no adjustments to be made in your Hierarchy


If your organization will have Supervisors responsible for their own employees in the site, and they should not be able to access the account information of employees who report to other Supervisors, you may be better served by either a Flat or Full Hierarchy.


Flat Hierarchy:

The Flat Hierarchy is often times the best option if each of your Supervisors will report directly to you and the other Administrators in your site.  Supervisors are not able to access Learners in another Supervisor’s folder.  Typically, these organizations have between 50 to 300 employees. 


In a Flat Hierarchy, each Supervisor is able to run reports and assign training to the Learners listed alongside him/her in the Supervisor's own Hierarchy level.  In the example above, the Supervisor of the Clinical Support Staff level would be able to run reports on the Learners in the Clinical Support Staff folder, but not on the Learners listed in the Environmental Services and Maintenance level or any other level.


The Flat Hierarchy is the most common Hierarchy structure Relias clients choose to build. One of the benefits to this format is that it requires very little oversight by Administrators while still providing a direct link between Supervisors and the Learners for which they are responsible.


If your organization will have leadership roles that will be responsible for multiple levels in the Hierarchy, or will be supervising other Supervisors, it may be best to build a Full Hierarchy.



Full Hierarchy:



Organizations may choose to build a full, complex Hierarchy when a successful reporting structure requires multiple tiers of responsibility.  In a Full Hierarchy, Supervisor(s) may be responsible for several sub-levels, each with their own Supervisors.  Most organizations using a Full Hierarchy have over 500 employees.


In the example above, the Northeast Region folder has four sub-levels nested beneath it: Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.  The Supervisor(s) of the Northeast Region is able to look down into the state sub-levels and view all Learners within those four states.  However, each state sub-level is moderated by up to 3 local Supervisors who can only view his/her one state.  For example, a Supervisor in the New Jersey folder is able to run reports on any Learner listed in New Jersey; however this Supervisor would not be able to run reports on Learners in the Maryland, New York, or Pennsylvania levels.


In the Full Hierarchy, Supervisors can access any level nested under their own, but not the levels on the same level as their own.   To learn more about the Hierarchy, visit Creating and Editing the Hierarchy.


To get back to the Knowledge Base and the master list of topics, please click here: RLMS How To Manual