Ways to work with SharePoint

SharePoint enables organizations to find solutions to common business problems using ready-made web parts and applications. Your unique business scenarios will determine the type of site and web parts that will be used. There are several resources to inspire your next SharePoint site - like the SharePoint look book and guided walkthroughs

Use this article to see how different types of roles and departments within any organization can work together to meet the needs of their users and business objectives.

Site creation examples:

  • See how a HR manager creates a site for new hires to improve new employee retention

  • Learn how a passionate employee creates a new corporate community group to empower others

  • See how a product manager creates a project specific team site to expedite the launch of a new product

  • Learn how a product marketing team creates a site for a new business unit to increase awareness

Create an on-boarding site for new hires

Tom is a departmental human resources (HR) manager who sees an opportunity to improve the on-boarding experience for new hires. Currently his organization shares an excel spreadsheet with some links to common resources, and hiring managers are responsible for new hire on-boarding. Both recent new hires and hiring managers have expressed dissatisfaction with the current on-boarding process. 

New site goals:

  • Help new employees on-board successfully to the department

  • Improve new employee performance and time to productivity

  • Improve new employee retention

  • Increase new employee engagement and satisfaction

Steps to create the site:

Plan the site - 1 day

Tom meets with hiring managers to ensure the new hire experience is aligned with the goals of the organization and the departments the new hires will join.

It's decided that Tom will build the site, and hiring managers will contribute to the site's content strategy and maintenance. One hiring manager identifies a recent new hire to act as a champion for the new site. Other hiring managers and HR members make plans to contribute to the new hire site regularly. 

Tom starts by gathering all the content new employees need to know about the company, culture, department systems, processes, policies, and benefits.

Build the site - 2 days

Tom decides to use a SharePoint communication site to centrally manage on-boarding documents, training materials, and social outlets that can be easily accessed and all in one place. 

  • Using the Document library web part, Tom creates files and folders organized by region, role, and benefit types

  • Using the List web part, Tom creates a new hire checklist for the hiring managers and the new employee

  • The site includes a Yammer Conversations web part that allows employees in the department to share experiences, grow their network, ask questions, and give feedback about the new employee on-boarding process

  • New hire welcome videos were created by the leadership team and posted using the Microsoft Stream web part

Manage the site - Ongoing

  • Tom plans a launch event that celebrates the new site and schedules training sessions for stakeholders and champions over the course of the new few months 

  • To get feedback and measure the impact of the new employee on-boarding process, Tom creates a survey using the Microsoft Forms web part

  • Monthly, Tom reviews and shares the site usage and analytics with the leadership team and hiring managers

Results:

  • Increased new employee retention within department from 75% to 90% in one year

  • Improved new employee engagement by 10% in one year

  • Increased hiring manager's satisfaction and confidence in the new hire on-boarding process

  • Decreased the amount of time and resources spent recruiting, hiring, and training new hires

Create a corporate community group

Maria works in an organization that's been actively recruiting more diverse employees than in the past. Over the last year she hears more and more about how women in her workplace are looking for a greater sense of community. Maria discovers this unmet need goes beyond just building a community - women are looking for mentors, career coaching, access to leadership, and news about women in the workplace. 

New site goals: 

  • Unite women across all regions and departments in the organization

  • Create a safe meeting place to connect, share, and create

  • Engage women who are looking to build their network, community, and ally-ship at work

  • Empower champions to enable more women to find success at work

Steps to create the site:

Plan the site - 3 days

Maria finds people who she already knows are passionate about creating and managing the new community site. Together, they define the goals of the site and discuss how to prioritize the needs of their community. Then, they meet with other communities within their organization to learn best practices on how to amplify and recruit for their cause.

After defining goals, Maria and her team start compiling images, files, news articles, videos, and other content for the site. Working together, content gets grouped and organized into pages that will make up the site structure. Then, Maria identifies owners that will be responsible for creating and managing the content on each of the pages within the site.

Build the site - 1 day

Maria builds a SharePoint communication site and enables the page owners to edit, add, and delete content. While building the site's pages, Maria's team focuses on using web parts that will require little maintenance over time.

  • Using the SharePoint News web part, Maria and her team write and curate community-centered news

  • Monthly events are organized and advertised using the Events web part

  • One page features the People web part which easily connects the community with other allies in the organization

  • Using the Yammer web part, members of this community can start conversations with leaders and connect others with resources

  • The Embed web part is used throughout the site to embed videos (from YouTube for example) that highlight discussions and content from community leaders

Manage the site - Ongoing

  • Maria regularly monitors and shares insights from the site usage and analytics

  • Monthly content strategy meetings are scheduled to organize the editorial calendar, plan community events, and recruit new content contributors

  • Semi-annually, Maria and her team re-evaluate the site's pages and navigation to make changes as the community grows

Results:

  • Increased engagement and satisfaction among women in the workplace

  • Increased employee retention for community members compared to non-members

  • Increased networking and collaboration across teams who participate in community events and Yammer discussions

Create a project specific team site

Megan is a project manager who is responsible for leading a team that's working towards releasing a new product in the next 6 months. She knows she needs a place to store team documents, collaborate on content, share updates on project news, and communicate with the team. Currently, Megan's team is using email as the primary form of communication and some project documents are stored in a shared place but can't be accessed securely outside of the office or on a mobile device.

New site goals:

  • Establish one unified place for project news, team collaboration, and project communication

  • Enable more efficient ways of communicating by using real-time chat and video conferencing

  • Unify team resources like a team calendar, email address, OneNote, and task management tool

  • Securely store files and folders in one place that can be accessed remotely an on any device

Steps to create the site:

Plan the site - 2 days

Megan starts by brainstorming ideas with another project manager who has created a similar site in the past. She learns the best way to start her project site is to ask her team for feedback on how they prefer to communicate, collaborate, and the types of features that will be the most valuable for the new project site. Megan identifies her teams' top priorities and starts to gather documents, images, and other content.

Megan determines that a SharePoint team site will best fit the needs of her team and project. However, a SharePoint team site doesn't allow for real-time chat unless you integrate Microsoft Teams. Megan works alongside the SharePoint tenant administrator to ensure Microsoft Teams is available. She learns that her organization already has permission to use Microsoft Teams and all she needs to do it make sure her team site is connected to an Office 365 group.  

Now, Megan is ready to get started building her Office 365 connected team site.

Build the site - 1 day

Megan builds a SharePoint team site and connects the site to an Office 365 group. By connecting to the group, she automatically gives her team access to shared resources like a group calendar, OneNote, Planner and email address.

Manage the site - Ongoing

  • Megan reviews the team site semi-monthly to ensure project deadlines and news are up to date

  • When the project launches, Megan plans to revise portions of the site's content and web parts to adjust to the new rhythm of business of supporting the product

Results:

  • Increased team productivity by streamlining communication and collaboration in one place

  • Decreased the volume of meetings and email prior to the launch of the team site

  • Enabled remote team members to work more effectively

Create a site for a new project

Mike is a marketing manager who is preparing for the launch of a new project. He already works with several internal stakeholders like product engineering and customer support. They agree that a shared space to prepare the rest of the organization for the project launch is the right solution.

New site goals:

  • Establish one source of information truth to ensure employees fully understand the project details and can adopt the project value and mission

  • Enable employees to evangelize the project and speak confidently about the project internally and externally

  • Equip employees with marketing-approved visual assets that can be shared externally

  • Provide access to project resources, training, events, and answer project questions

Steps to create the site:

Plan the site - 2 days

Mike knows he needs to get the entire organization excited and prepared to support this new project. He meets with subject matter experts - like the engineering team, product team, and support team - to validate the content that needs to be on the site. Then, he works to collect site assets like approved project images, logos, marketing materials, and training guides.

Mike decides to create a SharePoint communication site which enables him to reach dozens, or hundreds, of people at a time. 

Build the site - 3 days

Mike builds a SharePoint communication site using web parts that will engage and inform his audience. He focuses on designing the site in a way that's visually pleasing, interactive, and easy to use. Mike knows that his audience will likely access the project site on a mobile device, so as hes building his site he also optimizes the design for the phone. 

Manage the site - Ongoing

  • Mike views site usage regularly to understand which people visit the page and what content is popular

  • Using the Forms web part, a survey is embedded into the site's page to gather feedback on the project training's effectiveness

  • As the project evolves over time, Mike continues to use the site to inform employees about project updates and milestones

Results:

  • Accelerated the speed of project adoption compared to previous project launch announcements 

  • Increased the support team's effectiveness and ability to scale resources over the project life-cycle

  • Decreased the amount of meetings and emails after the site's launch while increasing productivity

More site creation inspiration:

SharePoint look book

Guided Walkthroughs: Creating sites

Microsoft 365 productivity library

Modern workplace training 

Microsoft Tech Community - Driving adoption

Plan your SharePoint site

Video: Create a team or communication site

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