Sharepoint is a hit-and-miss tool in my experience. It’s clunky and counterintuitive in its good places and just plain rubbish in the bad ones (check out its poor excuse of a Wiki feature). I have a litany of gripes with the product, but it has features that perform surprisingly well for supporting learners once they leave the classroom. I plan to publish a series of posts over the coming weeks about leveraging Sharepoint for supporting employees’ performance.
Let’s look at a Sharepoint 2007 (MOSS) feature that can help solve a common training situation – helping new employees not feel “lost” in the organization after orientation is over. Many of us have to throw employees to the wolves after a few days of training. It’s a scary place for a neophyte, learning company culture while trying to digest a hundred policies and a thousand procedures. The My Site feature of Sharepoint can help offset the angst.
My Site allows an individual to create a personal site for managing and storing documents, links, and contacts. It is also a place where others in the organization can learn about your interests and skills.
Consider requiring that all new employees set up a My Site and add the other new employees as colleagues in the Colleague Tracker. This is a bit of social networking in the office. Newbies can support each other by sharing common experiences and tips and tricks they pick up over time.
Your new employees can also create a blog housed inside of their site. The blog can be used as a professional development journal for sharing goals, accomplishments, and frustrations. Finally, My Site includes an RSS Viewer. In Sharepoint it is possible to receive an RSS feed on a list or library that has been modified if you have signed up for an Alert. Encourage your new employees to sign up for RSS feed alerts on important documents, like the policies and procedures manuals.