Employee-Driven Design Part 4 — Connecting Employees

Now that you’ve created engaging content and gathered all of the personalization information about employees that you need, it’s easier to create a trustworthy system that end users want to engage with. But, aside from content, how can you effectively connect employees to the organization, and to each other?

How Well Do You Know Your People?

Your company is only as good as the people in it. If you don’t know who those people are, you can’t effectively leverage their talents, and you can’t cultivate a work environment that allows them to thrive. Microsoft 365 has a ton of tools that can help your people get to know one another as they interact with the Digital Workplace.

Become Familiar With Fellow Employees

In the Microsoft suite, Profile Cards are one of the easiest ways employees can get to know one another. Anytime you click on someone’s name, in virtually any application, you will be directed to their Profile Card. At a glance, it can provide all types of valuable information about a person like:

  • What they look like
  • How to contact them (phone, email, etc.)
  • What skills they have
  • What their interests are
  • What files they’ve collaborated with you on
  • What email conversations they’ve had with you

Utilizing Profile Cards and encouraging employees to keep them updated can make collaboration infinitely easier. For example, here a few of the ways we’ve seen organizations use Profile Cards:

  • Displaying Certifications/Credentials — If a project needs a team member with a specific credential, managers can easily find a person with the bandwidth and ability that’s needed
  • Connecting Employees in Different Countries — Is the talent at the local office all booked up? Find a person at a different office with similar skills and expertise
  • Find Subject Matter Experts for Content Creation — Is it a struggle to track down in-house experts for internal content creation? Quickly find and connect with all the people in a department/project who might be willing to lend a hand

When we design Digital Workplaces at Withum, we create a custom People Directory that can be used to populate your Profile Cards, and acts as a database search for all team members and staff, filtering by location, job title, industry, skill set, etc.

Meet People Where They Are With Conversation Based Interactions

Having Profile Cards that display static information certainly helps employees get to know one another, but the best way to do so is through having conversations. If your intranet makes it easy to facilitate conversations wherever people prefer to communicate, the more collaboration and camaraderie there will be. For instance, on a contact’s Profile Card, there are buttons to start an email or a chat directly with that person. Video conferencing provides the best form of communication, but personal and professional conversations can spring up anywhere; via email, phone, enterprise chat, etc., so it’s best to provide multiple options.

Communication Through Content

Connecting employees also involves making it easy for them to get familiar with, and leverage each other’s work. Microsoft 365 has some pretty great backend features, like Microsoft Graph, that make content discovery easy. Graph curates a user’s search experience by ranking search items according to individual relevance. It shows trending documents, as well as documents that may be of interest (based on personalization information). From an organizational perspective, this type of transparency makes the company more efficient by fostering collaboration and making sure people aren’t recreating the wheel, or producing duplicate work.

Another way to make it easier for employees to find and access other’s work is through comprehensive Intranet Search capabilities, but we’ll dig more into that during Part 5 — Search & Find (stay tuned)!

Topics: Corporate Intranet Tips, Digital Workplace Trends
Adam Levithan

Adam is a Principal at Withum and is a Microsoft MVP. He is a seasoned business strategist, SharePoint advocate, and information architect, focusing on designing information management and collaboration solutions leveraging Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 technologies.