An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

Direct Reports

What Are Direct Reports?

Direct reports are employees who, as the term implies, report directly to someone who is above them in the organizational hierarchy, often a manager, supervisor, or team leader. Another term for direct reports is subordinates. The person in charge of direct reports is responsible for assigning them work and monitoring performance.

Direct reports may themselves have direct reports. For example, a sales manager may report directly to a director of sales and also be in charge of a team of sales representatives.

How Many Direct Reports Should a Manager Have?

The more direct reports, the more employees a manager or supervisor has to monitor, motivate, and mentor. The span of control, or number of direct reports someone has, will depend on several factors, including:

In a 2016 report by Deloitte, the average number of direct reports at U.S. companies was 9.7; this number is slightly higher at large companies, where supervisors have an average of 11.4 direct reports.

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