How to create an Employee Directory in Sharepoint
In one of the earlier blog posts I provided instructions on how to create an amazing org chart in SharePoint using Organizational Browser web part. The web part allows you to display your company Org Chart on any site/page in an interactive/dynamic format. There have been a lot of SharePoint Online/Office 365 improvements since the time of the post, mainly in the area of Office 365 Delve User Profiles. Moreover, many organizations do not require to see a reporting structure and just need to quickly lookup contact information on their colleagues. As such, today I want to explain the options you have when it comes to creating a versatile SharePoint Employee Directory.
How to create a SharePoint Employee Directory?
Option 1: Use the Contact List Web Part available in SharePoint
If you are a small organization, you can simply use an out of the box Web Part called Contacts to manage contact information. The beauty of this approach is that you can customize your Contacts Web Part with any columns/metadata that you wish. That means you can add all sorts of phone numbers, notes, other information and group/organize it in any way you wish on your SharePoint site or page.
Option 2: Create custom SharePoint Employee Directory
The second option when it comes to SharePoint Employee Directory is to create custom sites/pages using Content Search Web part. This option works well when you have a larger organization and want to create an Employee Directory that allows you to filter the different properties using left-hand-side metadata criteria. You do need to be an advanced SharePoint User to create this sort of Directory. If you are comfortable with some customization and want to give it a try, here are couple of blog posts (not written by me) you may reference and follow instructions on:
Option 3. Use Office 365 Delve User Profile
This is my preferred and most favorite option. Yes, you can surely create custom SharePoint Employee Directory pages using methods described in previous section, but why reinvent the wheel? Office 365 has a built in User Profile Page, part of the whole Office 365 Delve experience. You can access that page by clicking on any user name from within your SharePoint Online Sites. Below is an example of what it looks like.
The page displays more than just the contact information for an employee. It also shows employee’s photo, latest activity (recently updated documents). It also includes the Org Chart component, where you can browse through the reporting structure and see other employees’ information. Lastly, you can also use the search window in the upper-left hand corner to search other employees by first and lat name.
The contact information is stored in SharePoint User Profiles and you can also sync this information from Active Directory. Please reference this blog post for more information on this topic. You also have full control over whether users can edit their own (contact) information, picture, etc.
In case you want to link to Office 365 Delve User Profile Page (your Employee Directory) from your SharePoint Site, you need to use the following URL in your Top Link Bar navigation:
Below is an example of that link from my SharePoint Intranet Page
Some pain points/wish list on Office 365 Delve User Profile
Office 365 Delve is relatively new functionality within Office 365 family, but there are few improvements I wish could be made to it:
- There is no easy way to go back to SharePoint Sites you came from. If you clicked on a user name from within SharePoint, there is no link from Office 365 to go back to the SharePoint Site you came from. So you have to hit the browser’s “Back” button
- In SharePoint Online you have very little control over layout and look and feel of the User Profile page. If you wanted to add custom fields to contact information, you can do that, but very limited options as far as how those fields will be displayed to the user.
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