Improving HR Communications

Setting up a Human Resources SharePoint sub site where managers and employees can view HR policies, procedures, and documents at any time can increase staff morale and reduce HR time and effort.  These documents do not have to be repeatedly mailed to staff or sent out every time there is a new update.  Employees can research their own questions without contacting HR and HR can guide staff to documents for answers to their questions. Let’s look at an example HR sub site.

I set up the following sub site under the company’s main site. (Click on your browser’s Zoom function to enlarge.)

HR Main page

I set up two folders in the Document Library that employees can access to review HR forms and documents.  I then setup subfolders to further segregate the information.  Whenever you generate a SharePoint Team Site a Document Library is established.  As its name indicates, this is where you can store documents related to the site.  In this case HR documents.

The Policies folder has the following subfolders for their related documents:

HR Policies Subfolde

The employee benefits folder has the following subfolders that employees can access at any time:

HR Benefits Subfolder

Also notice that I added a Newsfeed to the site telling employees that an updated Health Plan description is now ready for them to review.  With SharePoint, employees can sign up for alerts when updates occur.  HR does not have to send out an email advising them of the update or send out the new document.

An alternative to an HR sub site would be to have an HR folder on the main company page and then add the appropriate subfolders below that folder.  This could be a better alternative for companies with few employees and minimal HR documents.

Folders are a great way of grouping information on a similar subject but there are couple of things to keep in mind.

  1. You do not see the parent folder name when drilling down to the subfolder. In the example above, you can’t tell that Education & Training is under Employee Benefits. If it is important for staff to see the parent name, a work around would be to place the parent name before the folder. For example you could use the name Employee Benefits – Education & Training.  Of course if you have subfolders within subfolders the name can become un-manageable.
  2. When you open a folder you don’t see the folder name as shown in the screen shot of the documents within the Vacation & Personal Leave folder below.
  3. If a user does a search using the Find a file, which appears on all SharePoint pages, they go straight to the document and also see the folder path.  This is illustrated in the second screen shot below.

Leave Policy Doc exampleLeave Search

My experience and advise is that users should use the search capability as the first resort.  It is quicker and avoids the guessing of where documents maybe.  In another post I will discuss alternatives to folders, but if folders work nicely for your company, go ahead and use them.

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