It's summer vacation time — do you know where your experts are?

While the quiz below won't necessarily help you locate your sales rep in the Bahamas, it will give you a sense of how good your people finder is.

Answer the series of questions. When awarding yourself points, remember this is not just about the features, but how people use them. 

An empty Office 365 installation will tick some of the boxes, but has no value until people use it, so each statement should be at least 80 percent true in order to claim the points (e.g., you include at least 80 percent of your contractors in your directory to get the 2 bonus points). 

Rate Your People Finder 

1. One point if all your employees are searchable from one search box — this means ALL employees, not just those with email accounts

  • 1 bonus point if basic contact details appear in type-ahead 
    • after you type the first few letters, search should show possible names with phone number, email, etc.
  • 2 bonus points if it includes contractors
  • 2 bonus points if it includes supplier contacts 
    • e.g, the name of the account manager for your outsourced travel service

2. Two points if you have a mobile-optimized search option — for example, an app or a responsive design. Anything requiring a VPN token or desktop-style login doesn’t count

3. One point if all employee data comes from a master source — for example, the HR System might be the authority record, with Active Directory and SAP both interfacing with it

  • 2 bonus points if you use a regular process to check accuracy — for example, routinely deleting employees who have left

4. One point if you can refine search by department or location — for example, “Show me people called Terry in HR in Latvia”

5. One point if search automatically covers spelling variations — for example Sara/Sarah

6. One point if you can add a preferred or alternate name — for example a nickname or maiden name

7. One point if most people have photos

8. One point if you include line manager information — i.e., the person’s direct boss

    • 2 bonus points for a dynamic org chart
      • a visualization of who people report to and who the person’s peers are
    • 1 bonus point if you can print an org chart
      • you should be able to define how many departments or layers are included
    • 2 bonus points for other team relationships — for example, ‘dotted line’ reporting or projects they are part of

    9. Two points if you include skills and expertise

    • 1 bonus point if it includes both managed and unmanaged metadata options
      • ideally, it would have a taxonomy of standard skills to pick from as well as a free text or folksonomy tagging option

    10. One point if you can identify presence — for example, a green light when somebody is online

    • 2 bonus points if you can show physical presence
      • can you see where somebody is actually working that day, such as a GPS fix on a map?

    11. One point if you can see someone’s recent activity in their profile — activity examples include comments, likes and documents uploaded

    Add It Up

    How did you score? I’d love it if people were willing to share their scores in the comments below. 

    For reference, the maximum possible score is 28. When I’ve run an earlier version of this in workshops and conferences, most companies score around 10-14 and the highest I’ve seen so far is 22.

    Of course, there’s more to this topic than a static checklist. Beyond the tactics of persuasion I covered in a recent post about encouraging employees to fill in their directory profile, what really matters is the fundamental utility of the people finder service. The more ways in which people encounter it during their work, the more likely they are to view it as worthy of their time to contribute to.

    By all means use this quiz as a checklist, but bear in mind that the questions are sample tests of sometimes much bigger issues. Many nuances underlie the challenge of simply searching for a name without knowing the exact spelling, for example. Question 5 is a point test of this, but Martin White expands on many aspects in his post "Enterprise Search: Searching for Names & Brains."

    People finders matter because they underpin many other elements of a social-collaborative enterprise strategy: A rich profile gives you context to interpret comments on intranet news stories. It helps you evaluate the expertise of somebody responding to a question on an enterprise social network (and to find experts directly). And it helps form communities by communicating common interests. 

    People finders also matter because the person you desperately need might very well be on vacation right now. You’ll be glad to know who else you can turn to.

    Title image Abigail Keenan