How to Build a Culture of Collaboration with SharePoint and Microsoft 365 Tools

Let’s explore how businesses can use SharePoint to foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork. Here are some tips for engaging employees, encouraging knowledge-sharing, and breaking down silos between departments.

Engage employees

One of the keys to building a culture of collaboration is to engage employees and encourage them to participate in the process. SharePoint offers a range of tools and features that can be used to foster engagement, including discussion forums, surveys, and social like and comments features. Organizations can also use SharePoint to surface employee profiles that showcase their skills, interests, and expertise, making it easier for employees to connect with each other and build relationships.

An example of this is a large insurance company we recently built an intranet for. The engaged with a stakeholder in each of their 8 countries to provide a wishlist, give feedback, test what was built, and train them on the basics of uploading content. Content was shared on Teams and country representatives were showcased on each country page so people knew who to contact for what.

Encourage knowledge-sharing

Knowledge-sharing is essential for effective collaboration, and SharePoint can be a powerful tool for facilitating this process. Organizations can use SharePoint to create centralized repositories of knowledge, such as wikis, knowledge bases, and libraries of best practices. They can also use SharePoint to create communities of practice, where employees with similar interests and expertise can collaborate and share ideas. Build a culture where sharing knowledge is the most valuable thing you can do.

One of our business partners uses Viva Learn to ask questions that others in the organisation reply to. This is building a healthy knowledge repository that new staff members can refer to.

Break down silos

Silos between departments can be a major obstacle to collaboration, but SharePoint can help to break them down by creating systems and sites that all relevant parties can use. By creating these shared spaces for teams to collaborate, (like project sites or departmental sites), businesses can encourage cross-functional collaboration and communication. They can also use SharePoint to create a centralized hub for accessing information and resources, reducing the need for employees to work in isolation.

An example of this locally, is two departments who both need document management on similar documents. Instead of building two separate systems, we add a few extra features to accommodate both departments. They now understand each other’s worlds better and saved the company money by collaborating to use one master system.

Use analytics to track progress

Analytics can be a powerful tool for tracking progress and identifying areas where collaboration can be improved. SharePoint offers high-level analytics tools that can be used to monitor usage patterns, identify popular content and features, and track engagement levels. This data can be used to identify areas where collaboration is strong, as well as areas where improvements can be made.

We use this to check rates of adoption. We also always advise people to be careful of the wording they use on their KPI’s. We encourage using words like “increase usage of my site by X percent over X months”. The analytics provides the body of evidence they need to support this goal.

Provide training and support

Finally, it’s important to provide employees with the training and support they need to use SharePoint effectively. This should include training on specific features or tools, as well as ongoing support to help employees troubleshoot problems or navigate the system. By providing employees with the resources they need to use SharePoint effectively, organizations can help to build a culture of collaboration that drives innovation and success.

If you build an intranet as a once off exercise and do no further engagement or training, it doesn’t matter how much training was done during launch, the intranet will become stagnant very quickly. It needs constant fuel in the form of training, fresh content, support and communication to stay alive.

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