Example SharePoint Survey Application

SharePoint comes with an easy to use survey application that can be used for just about any type of survey (e.g. customer, employee, vendor, etc.). This blog post illustrates using the survey application for an internal employee survey. We use Monster’s “Employee Survey: Use this Sample to Build your own Questionnaire” to illustrate setting up a SharePoint survey.

Select the app by going to Site Content>Your Apps>Apps You Can Add and on the second set of apps is the Survey app. Double click on the icon and the app will be added to your SharePoint site. In this case, we added it to the Human Resources subsite.

Once added, the Employee Survey app looks like this:

The survey name and description is set through the app General Settings page illustrated below.

Notice the Survey Options settings. I decide for this illustration that I don’t want user names showing up in survey results. If I had set it to Yes, only users with the proper permissions could see the user names. Also I want to limit the user to one survey response. Setting “Allow multiple responses?” to No means the user cannot access the survey once they fully complete it the first time.

Below is the screen shot of the actual Employee Survey web page. You can’t tell by looking at the screen shot, unless you are already familiar with SharePoint surveys, but there only two questions. The first question is “Sample Employee Survey*” and the second is “Comments:”.  The * meaning required to be completed.

The numbered questions you see under “Sample Employee Survey*” are sub-questions. I set them up as sub-questions because I want to use apps built in Rating Scale capability for answering the questions. You set the scale range and the Range Text you want to use. Notice there is “Branching Logic” in the settings. I’m not showing that in my screen shot because I’m not using it, but that capability allows you to control the next question the user sees based on the answer to the current question.

Instead of using the built in Rating Scale, I could have set each sub question up as a separate question and required a 1 to 5 number response (or anything else). I felt it was important to allow employees a submit comments so I set the Comments question as multiple lines of text.

The Survey app comes with a “Show a graphical summary of responses” and a “Show all responses” view. Screen shots are shown below.

Notice that the Created By is hidden since opted not to include user names in the survey.

Setting up this Employee Survey took me about 5 minutes and it furthers show has SharePoint Online can be used to monitor and improve your business.

Customer & Employee Scheduling

My post Example Employee List from QuickBooks discusses how to import employee information from QuickBooks into SharePoint.  Since SharePoint is team driven, we need to get employee information setup as easy as possible and without redundant data entry into multiple applications. The import process I outline in that post does that.

Now let’s look at using of our Employee List along with our Customer & Prospect List for showing an example of customer and employee scheduling.

QuickBooks’ “Sample Larry’s Landscaping & Garden Supply” company provides customer services that are repetitive and undertaken at the customer’s location. Effective service delivery can be achieved by optimally scheduling these services based on frequency and customer location.

Our first step is to determine the customers that require repetitive services and their addresses.  The view below shows us that information. In the Customer & Prospect list we captured the type of services customers want (e.g. basic lawn maintenance, tree & bush trimming, etc.). I checked off the services needing scheduling so I can view only those customers.  The list view is sorted by Zip Code and Street 1 Address so I can easily decide how to schedule the customers.

Lawn Customer ListThe second step is to set up a Service Delivery Calendar based on the above view to show which customers will receive the services by day, time and frequency.

Customer Landscaping Calendar  (Note: Please use your browser’s zoom function to enlarge the screen shot.  Also I only schedule a limited amount of customers for illustrative purposes.)

This Calendar provides an easy view of customers by day and duration.  Any Larry’s employee could view this calendar to see when the service is due and who will be undertaking the service.

The screen shot below depicts the information that is entered into the calendar. Also if a user was to double click on a customer name on the calendar they would also see this form with the completed information.

Calendar Service Schedule Form

Upon completing the Calendar, I will have the customers and service staff scheduled for the delivery of services.  The view of the below shows the result of the scheduling.

Customer Landscaping Schedule

Users can easily see all the required scheduling information.  I built in travel time between customers and the time it should take to deliver the service.  Since I also have employee information, I could calculate the amount of time an employee is busy during a given time period.

Scheduling of lawn mower equipment could also be added to this calendar to manage those resources.

HR Documents Custom List

The post Improving HR Communications shows how using the HR sub site’s Document Library is used to allow employees to accesses the companies HR documents.  Another approach is to set up a SharePoint Custom List for the HR documents.  The screen shot below shows this alternative:

HR Document Custom List

Notice that the list is much different than the document library.

  1. I named the list “Human Resources Documents”.
  2. Category and Sub Category items are added to group the documents rather than the folder approach in the Document Library.
  3. A Description item was added so the employee can understand what is in the document.  Note:  I could also have added Description to the Document Library.
  4. The paper clip is used as the link that opens the document.
  5. I sorted the list by category and sub category so that if there are a lot of different documents the employee could easily go down the list. Of course the search function can also be used to find a specific document.

If there were many Employee Benefits documents, I could have set up a separate list called “Employee Benefits”.

The “new item” and “edit this list” in the screen shot do not appear if the employee only had Read permissions.

Choosing either the Document Library or Custom List approach is really a matter of preference and the types and volumes of documents involved.

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.

Training Remote Sales Staff

PRA’s sales people generally do not have medical practice revenue experience when hired. They all work remotely out of their homes. Thus, PRA has the challenge of remote training and staff integration.

Let’s take a look at how the business need of remote training is addressed using a SharePoint list from the Sales subsite.  PRA setup a SharePoint List, screen shot below, that is organized in the order that a new sales person needs to review internal and external training materials to understand the software and service offerings of PRA.  The Task Name is the training action to be undertaken, Estimated Time provides guidance on the length of time that should be spent on that particular training task, and the Site Link provides links to internal training documents to be reviewed and studied and outside links to such sites as YouTube where there are training videos for viewing.

A new sales person downloads the training list into Excel and then changes the No to Yes as they complete each training task so they can keep track of their progress. In total there are 25 training tasks which take an estimated 3 days to complete.  At the end of each day a PRA sales manager meets via Microsoft Skype (video and voice conferencing technology available either independently or through Office 365) with the new staff persons to determine their progress and answer any questions they may have concerning the day’s training materials.

PRA finds the SharePoint list and daily review to be a highly effective training approach.  Also any sales person can access the list at any time to review areas that they may have forgotten about.

Sales Training Tasks