Posted on / by Azka Naqvi / in Sharepoint

How to convert an employee notebook to SharePoint library using Metadata

Sure, nobody reads employees handbooks in a corporate world. This is because they are often bulky and finding something useful from them is really hard.

However, they may provide useful information in some cases like planning holidays. You can convert these employee handbooks to SharePoint document library using metadata.

This allows for a better way to organize such documents and makes it much easier for the end-user to find them. Let’s look at the process of converting employee handbook (or any other large document or manuals) to SharePoint so that you can apply it to your organization as well.

The main idea behind this conversion is that instead of logging all the information into one big employee handbook or a manual, break it apart into a number of documents. An example could be that you got an employee handbook with say 200 pages and a Table of Contents. This document may contain sections and paragraphs with information related to Benefits, Medical Insurances, Vacations, and Computer Policy, etc.

The technique here is to split all of these sections into separate files or documents and then load them all onto a single document library using Metadata. Your Metadata will be used to categorize different sections, files, and chapters so that the users can find easily what they are looking for. Also, the document library is fully searchable and your users can search for relevant sections not just by metadata but also using text search and keywords.

Creating a separate document for each of the sections:

You must know how to do it. Naming each file as what it is will help a lot like if it is a Vacation Policy or it may contain Resignation Guidelines, name them according to the information they contain. The name could be Resignation Guidelines.pdf and Vacation Policy.pdf etc.

Decide on Metadata:

This is the most crucial step. Most of the time you got Employee handbooks broken into various chapters and sections related to different topics, but while converting them to metadata you might not use the same chapters and sections. You should ask yourself and decide how your employees may want to find a particular piece of information or content.

Here are some suggested metadata properties along with their corresponding tags:

  • Chapter / Section Numbers: (i.e. Section 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 etc.). This is not necessary, but if you want to maintain these then this can be a piece of metadata as well.
  • Chapter Name / Category: (i.e. Overview, Employment Information, Benefits, Attendance at Work, etc.).
  • Type: (i.e. Policy, Process, Guideline, Form, etc.).
  • Department Owner: (i.e. HR, Compliance, IT, Finance, etc.).
  • Target Audience: (Full-Time, Part-Time, Intern Employees, Contract Employee, summer students).
  • Effective Date.

Building your Document Library with Metadata:

Create a new Document Library named as Employee Handbook on the Site where you want to build the library like a Human Resource Site. Next, build all the Columns for Metadata.

  • You can use a Choice Column Type for most of the drop-down Columns.
  • For Chapter Section Names, It is highly recommended to use Term Store Metadata. This will enable you to create subsections with the help of the term Store Term Hierarchy feature. Users can find the required information for the full section or for the subsection only.
  • It is also suggested to use Term Store Metadata for Section Numbers, this will enable you to generate subsection numbers like 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc. This approach will also help users to filter documents by particular Sections or by the full chapter i.e. Chapter 1 and all the Sections within.
  • Creating different views:

While users are enabled to filter documents themselves, it might be helpful to create some special views for them. An example could be filtered by Target Audience + Full Time or Group by Document Type. These readymade views can help users in viewing relevant documents with just a click and without having to apply any special filters.

There is also the possibility to train users to utilize different filter options themselves. This can be quite useful and robust looking at the amount of metadata we got. It is also recommended to use Compact View to save some real estate on the screen.

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