10 Reasons HR Departments Use SharePoint

Most organizations have SharePoint and almost all organizations can afford SharePoint if purchased as part of an Office 365 package in the Microsoft cloud.  In our video, Tips for SharePoint Adoption, we recommend that information technology (IT) departments involve business users early on in the process of building an intranet in SharePoint.  The human resources department is one of the best places to start.  Below are ten common uses for SharePoint by the human resources department.


  1. Policies and Procedures

Publishing sites are the most common place to start based on the Xgility SharePoint adoption maturity model (see the graphic below).  Many organizations tell us they are looking for their Intranet to be the single version of the truth.  In the past, organizations emailed documents to users and many organizations found email is not effective for distribution of policies and procedures because users may delete the emails or are overwhelmed by the amount of emails.

When using file shares to store policies and procedures, it can be difficult to keep track of the latest version of a document. We worked with one organization that had to manage different policies and procedures across 8 divisions and 16 countries.  By using SharePoint, the human resource department can ensure that employees only have access to the latest documents that are relevant to them.

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  1. Leave Requests

Many companies have come to us looking for solutions to replace a combination of PDF documents and emails.  Solutions can be basic or integrated by checking a HRIS or accounting system for vacation balances and automatically debiting the balances.


  1. Resume Databases

While several SaaS based solutions exist to track resumes, many companies, especially government contractors, prefer SharePoint for two reasons.  First, their teams work in SharePoint all day long and don’t want use other systems.  Secondly, many organizations utilize resumes as part of their proposal sites.

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  1. Requisition Requests

By using a requisition request form during the hiring process, human resources departments can ensure accountability and eliminate errors and miscommunications.

SharePoint forms can be used to capture requisition requests so that the human resource department and their recruiters can formally start searching for potential canidates.  Views and reports can be created on the types of jobs open, how long they have been open, and other important metrics.

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  1. Offer Letter Generation

By using a form to request an offer letter, it is possible to create a workflow that ensures sign off by each department including the hiring manager, human resources, and finance.  The information in the form becomes part of the metadata within the document and can be used to automatically generate and email the document for signature by the candidate.  It is possible to integrate DocuSign or other electronics signature software applications into SharePoint, Word, or Office 365.

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  1. Employee Reviews

Most organizations have a formal review process where the employee fills out a self-evaluation, the manager adds her comments, and the final review document is sent to human resources.  Using SharePoint, organizations have the ability to automate this workflow including notifications, creating dashboards based on information in the document, and controlling permissions to allow for different views of the data based on role.

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  1. On-boarding

In very simple implementations, SharePoint can be used to manage a task list to track the completion of on-boarding tasks.  These tasks may be completed by human resources, information technology, the hiring manager, and the employee.  With custom code or Nintex, the workflow can be completely automated to handle the complex processes of a very large organization.


  1. Off-boarding

Managing the process of off-boarding is similar to tracking on-boarding tasks.  Completion of these tasks can be important to make sure former employees have completed all paperwork, return company assets, and no longer have access to systems or buildings.


  1. Mentoring Programs

Many organizations have formal mentoring programs or high potential employee programs.  While some companies may purchase a software as a service (SaaS) application to help manage these programs, companies at a minimum, may want to link to these programs in SharePoint or store key artifacts used to manage these programs.


  1. Training

SharePoint has out-of-the-box features such as video libraries and wiki’s. If you have more experience with SharePoint, you can create extensive knowledge management.  If your organization requires a full learning management system (LMS), our team can help you compare your requirements to what is offered by 3rd party SharePoint companies and products offered by ShareKnowlege and ELearning Force.  If you have a 3rd party LMS that is not integrated with SharePoint, it is possible to integrate or supplement your LMS with content on your SharePoint intranet.

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Interested in learning more?  Contact us.


Author: Dean Virag

Editors: Kurt Greening and Robert Anderson

Contract Tracking Part I

A few months back, a general counsel of a non-profit organization wanted to see examples of how their legal and contracts team could use SharePoint.  Our team built this proof of concept to show how SharePoint forms and workflows can be used to build a system that tracks contracts and invoices against those contract.  This is part one of the video series.  Part two of the video can be found here.


The transcript for the video is below…

Welcome to Part one of a two-part video series on Using SharePoint for Contract Tracking. Hi, I’m Dean, a SharePoint expert at Xgility, and in this video I’m going to demonstrate how to use a document library in SharePoint to store contracts and to capture information about each contract. I am also going to demonstrate how to track changes within a contract and how to track different versions of a contract. Finally, I am going to demonstrate how views can be used to gain insights as to the status of the contracts. Let’s begin.

As you can see here, I already have a document library set up and named “Contracts.” In it, I have created several columns for collecting information about each contract. I’m collecting the name of the vendor, the contract status, the contract start and end date, the initial value of the contract, the available balance remaining on the contract, and the percentage of the value remaining on the contract. The balance remaining and percentage remaining are calculated after invoices are processed against a contract. That will be the subject of Part two of this video series.

Adding a new contract to the library is very easy. Simply click “Upload,” choose a file, and click “Okay.” You will then be prompted to add some more information about the contract. This is a very important step, as this additional information is needed when processing invoices against the contract. In this case, I copy the name of the contract and paste it into the title field, then select a vendor from the drop-down and change the contract status if I need to. However, in this case, I am not going to. I enter the contract start and end dates, then enter the initial value of the contract and the available balance, which is the same as the initial value, as no invoices have been processed against this contract as of yet. Then I click “Save” to complete the contract upload process.

Now, lets take a look at how track changes works in Microsoft Word 2013. In reviewing the contract, I see that there are a few changes that the vendor needs to make before I accept it. There’s a line about where the services were rendered that needs to be removed and I also want the vendor to add a title next to Contract 1 at the top of the page. The vendor is going to make the changes and email them to me. At this point, the vendor has made the changes and sent me the updated document, which I have now downloaded onto my computer. I can update the contract by re-uploading it into the library, replacing the existing file. Notice how the name of the updated contract is the same as the original version. There is no need to manually change the name of a contract to reflect different versioning. SharePoint takes care of version control automatically in the background, again, so there is no need to change the name of the file manually. I do have to re-enter the information about the contract and click “Save” to complete the upload process.

Lets open the file in Microsoft Word 2013 and see that the changes have been tracked… Everything looks good. I’m going to accept all the changes and save the document to complete the process. To view the version history of the contract, click in the white space between the two columns to select that contract line item. Then click the Files tab, and click version history. As you can see, there are two versions of the file. The original one the vendor sent and the one that I just uploaded. You can use Version History to use or restore previous versions. In our case, we’re okay. I’m going to go ahead and close the dialogue box.

Right now there are just 5 contracts in the library, so it’s fairly easy to analyze what we have. However, in a few weeks, we’re expecting to have hundreds of contracts, and it will be much more difficult to analyze their status. That’s where list views come in. Views let you non-destructively reorganize what contracts are displayed.  This is similar to a sort in Microsoft Excel. In the library, I have three different views that I’ve created. All Documents, which is the default view created automatically, which shows all of the contracts. The second view is called “Below 20% Remaining,” which shows all of the contracts whose percent remaining is less than or equal to 20%. In this case, there are no results because all of the contracts are above 20% remaining. The third view is called “expiring within 30 days.” That shows you all the contracts whose end date is within 30 days. As you can see, views allow you to look at your information in different ways.

SharePoint libraries are a perfect solution for storing and tracking your contracts. In Part 2 of the series, I will demonstrate how to process invoices against a contract and automatically update its available balance and its percent remaining. Thank you for reading.

If you have addition questions are would like help automating your workflow in SharePoint, Office 365, or SharePoint Online please contact us.


Author: Dean Virag

Editor: Alex Finkel

Creating Excel Surveys in Office 365

Are you looking for a way to take a survey of people in your office, customers, or partners?  While there are many ways to accomplish this with SharePoint and other SaaS technologies, this is a simple way to get survey results if you are not a SharePoint power user.

The image below is what a survey would like from your browser.  We have used Excel surveys to collect user stories from large organizations where we could not collect all of them in person.

Creating Excel Surveys Office 365 SharePoint


The transcript from this video is below…

Hello again, it’s the SharePoint Experts from Xgility here to give you another tip to help you achieve transformational results in your business. Today I will be talking to you about a feature known as Excel Surveys in Office 365. Frequently the folks at Xgility design forms for our customers for use in SharePoint. Many customers are coming to us with questions about InfoPath and also asking us for ways for them to develop simple forms without the use of SharePoint Designer or other more complex tools.

This example is how you can create an easy survey using the Excel Survey feature in Office 365 or your OneDrive. You’ll start out by browsing to your OneDrive, clicking on new document, and then clicking on Excel Survey. You’ll be asked to give your file a name.

The next step is to add your questions. You simply go in and click on, “Add your first question,” and you can answer a question yes or no. You can provide choices, text, or a paragraph of text. Then simply go through and add questions you think are important to your survey. At the end you’ll be asked to share your survey.

If you’d like a link for what a completed survey is going to look like to the user getting the link, you can contact us and we can give you a quick example of an Excel Survey.

In the last step you’ll be able to open your Excel workbook and see the results of your survey and in this case, you can see a sample survey that we created. Questions related to requirements for SharePoint, and yes this does work on any browser including an iPhone, iPad, PC, or Mac. You can use this Excel file either to show the results in a beautiful graph to the folks in your department or you can see this data in real-time. This Microsoft Excel file is like any other file in your OneDrive and you can choose to share it or give it permissions, just like any other document in your OneDrive, SharePoint online, or in Office 365.

I want to thank you for your time today. This has been the SharePoint experts from Xgility here to give you another tip to help you achieve transformational results in your business. If you have questions about Excel Surveys or need help with Office 365 or SharePoint, feel free to contact us.


Author: Kurt Greening

Editor: Alex Finkel