Rolling out User Profiles on SharePoint 2010 isn’t of much use if people don’t fill them out. Frequently organizations struggle with getting employees to fill in their profiles for a number of reasons.
Here are some tips from my experience that can help overcome this.
Encouraging Executive Adoption
One of the most fundamental mistakes that organizations make when rolling out profiles is not leading by example. Users will not follow if the executive team is not leading by example and the most powerful statement that a CEO or CIO can make in adoption of User Profiles is to ensure that they are up to date and to actively use it.
Bear in mind the the CEO’s profile will probably be the profile that will be visited the most, so it has to be filled in according to the policies the organization has established. If the CEO is not inline with the policies then it is highly unlikely that the organization will follow. Remember that actions speak louder than words and a profile that is completed from the CEO has immense sway over the perceptions of others.
Another tip is that if the executive team has assistants that could fill in their profile, SharePoint 2010 allows you to define an assistant on the profile that then can fill in the details without other users knowing. Sneaky, but in the battle for adoption, very valuable. Check out the post here.
You need to communicate what the purpose of the User Profile in the organization. A bad example of communication is this:
As part of our SharePoint roll out each user has a profile. Please be sure to fill out the fields necessary in your profile by March 23rd 2010
Mr Horrible CEO
A much better example is to state why users should fill in their profile and what is in it for them:
As part of our ongoing attempts to tap into the amazing information in our organization each employee now has their very own user profile! Your user profile contains a wealth of information such as past projects, your skills, expertise and social interests.
We encourage you to fill in the profile so that you can find like minded individuals easier, find experts in topics your are interested in, see who worked in previous projects and help us all learn more about each other to strengthen the ties in this wonderful organization.
Mr Awesome CEO
Another approach is to highlight additional functionality that a complete User Profile provides such as activity feeds, people search, colleagues in common,organizational chart and others.
Expertise finding is particularly valuable for many organizations and having a complete profile is obviously a pre-requisite to this. By highlighting the business value that expertise finding provides, then tying this back to SharePoint functionality with people search, users can make the link that unless they fill in their profile they will not be found.
A interesting example I saw at one organization was the social clubs would only be approved and funded if a corresponding number of employees had their User Profiles filled in with their interest specified in this area.
Conversely in one organization Human Resources would poll users profiles and create events based on the interested contained. In this example they found that many people had a love of scotch in the organization so they bought someone in for the day to talk about the process of making scotch whisky ( unfortunately no one could drink )
Another frequent approach is to use a User Profile to create a ‘Featured Employee’ that can be shown in an area of high visibility- usually the home page of an Intranet.
Serveral organization I have worked with have used this to great effect within their organization in the following ways:
- One organization had a ‘Friends Leaving Us‘ list that drew information from a User Profile called ‘Retire Date’. When any employee was within a month of retiring they would get free meals at the cafeteria. However they could only get on the ‘Friends Leaving Us’ list by having their entire profile populated
- Another organization used these Web Parts on the home page of various projects sites that would cycle through employees that met a specific criteria. In this case a field called ‘Current Projects‘ was listed and once a web part was configured with the project name, all employees that matched the criteria would be shown at random. It was a great way to introduce project members to each other.
I hope that you enjoyed some of these tips and tricks with getting employees to fill in their profile. In the end you have to ensure that this information is providing business value to your users. If the value is apparent then employees will populate and continue to keep their profiles up to date.