Employee skill search remains top requirement of intranets and digital workplaces for organizations both large and small. This is backed up by the comprehensive Nielsen Norman Group’s Intranet Design Annual report – where the top goal of unifying the organization is driven by “rich employee-profiles” and “the ability to search for and find colleagues with expertise in different areas”.
Furthermore, the significant growth in the Work from Home economy (42 percent of the U.S. labor force now working from home full-time) the need for effective employee skills search to support collaboration is even greater in 2021.
As we discussed in our previous blog Why You Need an Employee and Skills Database Solution in Power Apps when it comes to employee profiles in Office 365 there are limitations on what information will display on the out of the box profile cards, additionally the task of managing employee profiles is fraught with challenges. In fact our partner LiveTiles shows in this blog that when it comes to employee profiles – there is no single source/storage across the various Office 365 Apps.
Skills in SharePoint & Office 365
When it comes to people and skills search – SharePoint and Office 365 are still the leaders when it comes to what Microsoft service to use. SharePoint offers the People Search option from the Enterprise Search Box, to deploy check out the official steps and prerequisites.
There is plenty to like about the SharePoint/Office 365 People Search capability:
- Includes Skills, Past projects, and Education.
- Can be configured to display custom profile information.
- Supports phonetic, fuzzy, and nickname searching as well as best bets.
For some organizations, the default capability may be sufficient but to get it right you need to be diligent on your configuration/setup and have good way of managing employee profiles which feed the search. We see many organizations wanting to deliver a better or targeted skill search experience in SharePoint or Office 365 and have built custom solutions to meet their needs.
Skills search in Delve
When Delve was launched back in September 2014 there was much hope for what it would offer around People and Skills search. Delve user profiles contain rich information on skills, past projects, and education but Delve search has not extended to these attributes.
As this Microsoft Tech Community post from 2016 shows – this has been a challenge for many organizations for years.
After 4 years and 243 Votes on UserVoice it appears there has been some movement/resolution of the matter but still does not extend to the Delve App. In fact, the development/roadmap of Delve has really slowed in the last few years – with the focus now on the Graph.
Skills in Teams
The number of organizations and users of Microsoft Teams exploded in 2020, the last official announcement from October 2020, disclosed there are 115 million daily active users.
The rollout of new features across 2020 and into 2021 have been frequent but when it comes to employee skills search there has not been any recent developments. There is demand for advancements in this area as shown on this User Voice, and the highlight that remote work increases this need for many organizations.
Teams does allow for People Search and provides a nice organization chart of immediate manager, reports and people in the same team. Teams also allows for phonetic searching and the ability to start a new Teams chat, email, audio, or video Teams call directly from the profile card.
But Teams does not allow for customization of profile cards to contain additional attributes like skills. Key word search in Teams is limited to Group Chats, Teams, Files and Apps, which further prevents the ability to perform and effective people search, even when job titles are known. Some people and skills search capabilities can be add be to your Teams environment by deploying the Who Bot.
Driven by Employee Profiles
Like we said in our previous blog, the management of user profile can be problematic but is an essential part of driving effective people and skills search.
While this may seem like an impossible task, we are here to let you know that there are options.
We have developed an employee and skills database solution powered by Power Apps. Contact us to talk through your unique employee and skill search needs.
We are also partnered with LiveTiles whose LiveTiles Directory solution delivers a proactive, ongoing approach to the maintenance of accurate and relevant user profiles across disparate sources – Active Directory (AD), Azure AD, SharePoint Online User Profiles and HRIS/HCM systems. Speak to us about a free demo.
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