SharePoint Champion Tutorial – How to Get Your Company Using SharePoint
A survey by AIIM in 2016 found that SharePoint adoption remains a challenge. In 43% of organizations, employees had their own file-sharing systems that they preferred. 22% of organizations reported that reluctant employees were hampering their SharePoint adoption. A consolidated, comprehensive system for document management is critical to improved organizational efficiency, but it cannot be achieved without bringing employees on board.
Here are some tips for enabling better SharePoint adoption in your organization.
Involve Users from the Beginning of Your SharePoint Implementation
Rather than migrating to SharePoint and then training employees, organizations should involve employees from the outset. By involving employees from the start, the solution can be tailored to the organization’s needs at all levels, ultimately creating a solution that is more powerful and effective.
- Request feedback from employees regarding their current issues
- Find ways in which SharePoint can solve these problems effectively
- Ensure that employees are regularly updated on the status of the transition
- Get feedback following the implementation to address any issues
Keeping employees engaged has a two-fold impact. Employees can notify the organization of issues that may interfere with their work. Further, employees will feel more comfortable with the transition when they are involved.
Brand SharePoint for Your Organization
It might seem trivial, but how SharePoint looks and the way it is organized can have a big effect on user adoption rates. By ensuring the overall look of your company’s SharePoint site has familiar themes, colors, and logos, users are more likely to see it as a company-wide business tool. You can configure SharePoint with custom CSS and other styling techniques to achieve this (or contact us and we can help). How your files and folders are organized can also create a big impact and determine adoption. Separate menus, sites, and folders/sub-folders to be easy and clear to navigate and ensure proper permissions are set on each to avoid any unnecessary noise for users. Finally, ensure the proper meta details are automatically added to folders to ensure searching is easier. ( for an article outlining how to use meta details to enable better searching in SharePoint)
Identify Power-Users and Ambassadors Early On
Power users are representatives from departments that will be closely involved in the transition to SharePoint, bringing back information and aiding in training and the transition. Ambassadors are a form of ‘marketers’ within your organization who will be able to describe the benefits of SharePoint and will encourage and promote proper usage throughout the organization.
Both power users and ambassadors will be incredibly important to your SharePoint onboarding process, as they will be able to improve upon employee engagement through one-on-one interactions. Employees will be better informed about the product and about its goals and ultimate results.
Build a Strong Feedback-Loop Following Implementation
After implementation, users must be able to report issues with their SharePoint adoption. These issues must further be addressed and the resolution must be described to the users themselves. This creates a strong feedback loop through which users can make suggestions and lodge complaints and feel as though this feedback matters.
Employees are knowledgeable about their day-to-day needs. There are potential blind spots that can occur through implementation that cannot be revealed without employee engagement. Having this close feedback loop can help ensure SharePoint keeps growing and improving to benefit your workforce. (Hint! Why not use SharePoint to collect feedback! Create a section on your SharePoint site where users can submit feedback forms and ideas and even vote on other ideas!)
Provide Personalized Support and Training
Training should begin before SharePoint is implemented, to ensure that employees are prepared for the transition in advance. Once SharePoint has been implemented, training should be on-going, with one-on-one training available for employees as needed.
Solid training processes will prevent potential issues down the line. Employees who aren’t properly trained may get frustrated with the product and decline to continue its use, instead of resorting to their own solutions. They may also use the product incorrectly without being aware of it, leading to inaccuracy of data and metadata. For any SharePoint administrators, developer/administrator training should be an ongoing goal and it should be specific to the business or team usage. Cookie-cutter training might be enough to teach users to basics of SharePoint, but it will not drive day-to-day adoption. See CRGroup Academy for live class-room training for SharePoint users and administrators.
Make Sure that Buy-In Flows from the Top
When implementing a solution such as SharePoint, it is important that the product is implemented from the top down. If management and executive staff are not making the transition with the rest of the employees, it can be difficult to inspire them to change. Having buy-in and enforcing usage from the top will help ensure that the entire company uses SharePoint properly and consistently. Ensure your leadership team understands their roles as leaders in adoption and spend the time needed to ensure they have the training and resources necessary to encourage adoption and proper SharePoint usage. Going a step further, usage should be monitored and needs addressed as soon as they are identified to ensure no momentum is lost.
Make It Fun
Although streamlining document management might seem like reason enough to drive organization-wide SharePoint usage, it isn’t. SharePoint has a lot of great bells and whistles that can be implemented to not only make it a regularly-used bookmark, but a necessity for day-to-day business functions. Be sure to make use of some of the cool features and add-ons to enable collaboration and drive adoption.
- Implement social forums for the company or teams for discussions and information-sharing
- Encourage the use of media and metadata to allow for rich posts and images/videos
- Have users maintain their company profiles to encourage interactions and communication
- Use forms for company surveys or to collect information on anything from ideas to event RSVP’s
- Make sure of ‘voting’ for team idea sharing and engaging participation
Ultimately, SharePoint provides a comprehensive intranet system that can vastly improve productivity and efficiency — if it’s used correctly. Building a solid foundation requires involving and engaging employees from the outset, and listening to their feedback once integration has begun. Through these strategies, organizations can better improve their workflow and document management solutions, while also keeping employees happy.
About the Author:
Elizabeth Brown is one of CRGroup’s senior SharePoint Specialists and works with clients to setup, configure, upgrade, and customize their SharePoint systems. Elizabeth has over 8 years of experience working in IT, focusing on system analysis and application development and support. In these roles, she worked directly with end users to develop and customize applications to meet long term needs. In addition to SharePoint and Dynamics CRM, she has extensive experience with web based technologies and SQL databases.
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CRGroup’s team of SharePoint business and technical consultants is here to help setup, configure, integrate and support your SharePoint systems. If you need help with customizations, troubleshooting, or training, contact us for a free SharePoint consultation. firstname.lastname@example.org
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