Understanding Employee Directory Fields

Whether you're using an off-the-shelf employee directory tool or building your own, there's some key fields you'll definitely want to include and others you may not really need in your organization.

Understanding Employee Directory Fields

Here's a breakdown of some useful employee directory fields that you may want to include in your employee directory.

Basic "contact" fields

The most basic form of an employee directory is the contact list or "address book." It's essentially a list of names and numbers and where the individuals fit in the organization.

These fields make up every basic employee directory, and your directory won't be very useful without them.

  • Name - the employee's first name and last name, split into 2 separate fields for searching and sorting
  • Job title - what is the employee's official role at the company?
  • Email - their primary work email address
  • Phone Number(s) - work phone, mobile phone, extension, fax number, pager, even home phone if necessary
  • Office - which office location do they belong to?
  • Department(s) - which teams or departments are they a part of? It's usually best to have just the primary one listed.

Photo directory fields

Next, you can turn your basic contact list into a photo directory by adding one field.

  • Photo - a professional photo, preferably a headshot

💡 TIP: Copy employee photos from LinkedIn. We're not sure of the legal implications, but nobody's looking. Or maybe they are? But not really.

If you're building a simple address book in a spreadsheet or a list, you won't be able to include profile pictures since your list is probably text-based. In this case you can add a link to an externally hosted profile picture, but this doesn't offer a good user experience.

Detailed "profile" fields

Now that you have a basic contact list with added photo directory, you might want to give it some personality. Your employee directory can be a place where people want to go, not just when they need a phone number, but when they want to learn more about their coworkers.

Some fields to add:

  • Pronouns - she/hers, he/his, they/them
  • Nickname - what should people call them?
  • Birthday - so you know when it's their turn to bring cake!
  • Hire Date - the date they started working at the company, so you can celebrate their work anniversary
  • Bio / About Me - a text field where the employee can write a bit about themselves and express their personality
  • Languages - a list of their spoken and written languages
  • Skills - a list of their skills and expertise
  • Interests - a list of their hobbies and personal interests

Additional "find me" fields

By now you have a pretty detailed employee profile. But you might want to add some specifics around how to locate the individual better, both physically and digitally.

  • Location - the employee's physical work address, preferably split into 5 separate fields: country, state/region, city/town, street address, and zip/postcode
  • Desk Location - where in the office building does the employee physically sit?
  • Map - not strictly a separate field because it uses the data from the Location fields above, but a visual representation of the employee's location is a nice touch
  • Phone Extension - if you're using a VOIP system you may want to store the phone extension separately from the phone number to help you locate the individual within the company's IP/phone network
  • Social Media Links - links to help you find the person on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc.

"History" fields

Sometimes people want to share the projects they've worked on the past, or where they were previously employed or where they went to college. These are usually nice-to-haves but in some types of companies they might be more important.

  • Work Experience - which organizations did they work for previously?
  • Education - what professional qualifications do they have?
  • Past Projects - which projects or initiatives, preferably at their current company, were they involved in?
  • College - which college or university did they attend?
  • Hometown - where did they grow up?

HR-specific fields

To get even more value out of your employee directory you could add fields that are visible to only certain roles or people in your company, so they can do their jobs more effectively.

For example, your HR managers and office managers would certainly appreciate the following employee information being readily available to them:

  • Employee Number - your company's internal employee number for this person
  • Emergency Contact - emergency contact numbers, next of kin etc.
  • Medical Information - important to have on hand!
  • Allergies / Diet Preferences - useful when planning company events and outings
  • Home Phone - just in case
  • Home Address - for transport-related things
  • T-Shirt Size - for company swag
  • Myers-Briggs Type - formal and regulated companies often track employee personality type

More fields...

Of course, there are many other potential fields you could add to your employee profiles to make them even more specific to your requirements: name pronunciation, children and pets, external links, alternate contact numbers, industry-specific fields, the list goes on.

But remember, you don't need hundreds of fields to get value from your employee directory. Because there's also the fact that all those fields need to be kept updated.

A good place to start is with the basic contact fields, plus a photo, and some of the detailed profile fields like pronouns, birthday, hire date, bio, and skills.