What’s In Your Employee Directory?
When you think of an employee directory, you likely are not thinking of anything too exciting. In fact, you probably never think about your employee directory at all until you need to find someone and no one else you’ve asked can tell you where to find them. If you’re part of a growing company, it can be a challenge to keep up. If it’s hard on you, think of those new hires who are trying to find their way. Most company address books aren’t sexy; they aren’t memorable; they aren’t used much. There’s a reason for that.
Companies frequently use one of a few available tools for managing an employee directory. After all, every company has to have one, right? Some rely on manual spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are great for some things, such as budgets, but they are hardly flexible and reliable enough for housing an entire employee database.
The problems with spreadsheets are many. They are manual, which inherently adds risk of human error. They are static, meaning they rarely change. People forget to update their information or one person, usually an admin, is tasked with keeping track of every employee. Contact information can change, as well as titles and roles, quickly outdating the spreadsheet which is supposed to be the golden record. They are also typically limited in the employee details they provide. Most cells are filled simply with facts, such as names, titles, department, location, email and phone numbers.
Because everyone recognizes the spreadsheet is likely not a current version, few choose to use it. It gets buried in a file folder somewhere on a desktop or in a shared folder, and when it is accessed, there is always the question of whether it is accurate. Not exactly the most reliable way to document employee information.
Some companies depend on Wiki/Intranets. The company will publish the employee directory on these proprietary sites using popular software such as SharePoint, Google Sites, and/or Atlassian Confluence. This is definitely a step up from the spreadsheet, particularly for larger organizations, but they too have their flaws.
The intranet site is loaded with company information. The employee directory is often hidden amongst the many files, links and pages. It is difficult to find, infrequently updated, and even less frequently used. Every company realizes the need to produce an employee directory and it takes quite a bit of effort to generate it, so it appears a colossal waste of time if no one is accessing it. This time drain is multiplied by the fact that because no one is using the employee directory, they are instead asking coworkers for the information.
The other most common employee directory tool is HR software. Many HR software products include an employee directory feature, such as Workday and ADP. Newer age HR software offers expanded employee directory features, like BambooHR. These tools are effective, but they were built for HR staff, not the rest of the employees.
Employees may access these directories when they have administrative tasks they must tend to, such as updating their payroll details or HR benefits, but it is not a tool they often use for discovering their coworkers to help get work done. It is not a solution they typically enjoy using to help them with their work, perhaps because HR software is not considered employee friendly
Of course, HR software vendors are beginning to pick up on this fact and are purposely building employee directory functionality that is more palatable for employees. The only problem is it requires the organization to switch HR systems, something budgets are not prepared for and administrators do not have the time for. New employee directory features are typically not a catalyst for such a massive undertaking.
The Pingboard Alternative
Pingboard offers an alternative that is not only affordable, but loaded with features employees actually love to use. Our interface is beautiful, providing an ultimate user experience no matter their device. Our organizational chart software includes robust employee directory features that are designed for employees and give new hires an invaluable tool to orient themselves. Our software enables employees to upload photos and easily update their status with personal details that help coworkers get to know them professionally and personally.
Names, job titles, contact information and location may be helpful, but what about job skills, current projects, work hours and vacation schedule, and personal interests? An employee profile should be just that - a profile of who that person really is and what skills and talents they bring to the table. What are they good at and how can they collaborate with others to get a job done well? An employee directory can be so much more than a name and email address, but only if you use the right software.
Pingboard is easy to implement and requires no specialized technical skills or training. It integrates with existing tools companies often use, such as Google Apps and Okta, to pull in employee data and sync it automatically. Because we can sync the directory to employees smartphone’s local address book, any text and phone call from a coworker will be immediately identifiable—instead of wondering who that random number is. And onboarding all those new hires? Provide them with a tool that will enhance their experience by helping them instantly feel part of the team.
Speaking of smartphones, we understand your employees are mobile. Few people sit at their desk all day staring at spreadsheets or HR software on their computers. They are always on the go and expect their work will go with them. Our responsive employee directory works beautifully across all devices using the Android and iPhone app, and gives employees instant access to more than just basic contact information and job titles. It’s a no-brainer for new hires.
Pingboard makes it super simple to find anyone in your organization, no matter where you are, where they are or how long you’ve been with the company. The larger the organization and the faster it grows, the more challenging it may be to find a specific person, particularly if you are not sure who you are looking for.
Our superpower search, powered by Elasticsearch, allows employees to search for all kinds of keywords so users can find the ideal person to help them. While you may know you need someone in marketing, you may not know who in marketing has the expertise to help you. Search by skill or project or virtually any other attribute you can think of and not only will the results yield possible names and titles, but their photo and complete profile so you can literally see exactly who you need to talk with. No spreadsheet can offer the same.
If You Build It, They Will Come
Employees love using our software and organizations find it boosts efficiencies and productivity. Administrators and those responsible for keeping the employee directory as current as they possibly can are relieved to be able to offload much of the burden to the employees. Employees can update their information, giving admins and IT staff a bit more time to do other important work. Updates are made in real time so there is never a question of whether the information is current or if the directory is accurate. It truly becomes the golden record that accurately depicts the current state of the organization.
Change can sometimes be a roadblock, but we built Pingboard with the employee in mind. Because our software is fun to operate and easy to use, employees adopt it faster than most new software deployments and do not consider it a burden at all. In fact, they enjoy updating their profile and humanizing their name with a little personality. They also appreciate being more self-sufficient by having all of the resources they need in front of them instead of having to track it down through emails, phone calls or lengthy conversations.
Pingboard spread through the company like wildfire; it really changed the way we work and increased efficiency. Landon Pearson | Vice President at Demandbase
Features Customers Love
One of the features most welcomed is the ability to upload your own photo so employees and particularly, new hires, can quickly put a face to a name. Many companies encourage employees to have fun with their photo, choosing a photo that most describes their personality, passion, or interest. These photos can be interchanged at will or even as part of a company-wide campaign. Holiday photos, photos with favorite pets or sports teams jerseys, action photos depicting your favorite weekend pastime are all culture-building activities companies can encourage.
Skills are probably the greatest addition to any profile, offering coworkers a quick way to find the subject matter experts inside the organization. We built our employee directory smart enough to autofill as employees begin to type in their answers to the standard profile questions companies set as the guide. This way, skills are standardized and searches will return all candidates fitting the same description. Not only can seasoned employees quickly find people with the skillsets they need, but new hires can be more self-sufficient when they can find who they need with the swipe of a finger instead of asking 10 people who they should talk to on their first week on the job
Organizations can also add custom fields to the profile options, giving them incredible flexibility and customizability. This level of detail is highly beneficial when a coworker is not sure who to talk with but knows they need a person with specific experience.
The top 10 fields our customers customize:
- Ask Me About
- Favorite Food
- Favorite Drink
- Favorite Color
- Favorite Sports Team
- Favorite Dessert
- Favorite Beer
Even with all of these search capabilities, finding the perfect person to work with can only be successful if that person is actually there. Our employee directory has a built-in vacation calendar so users can see exactly who is in the office and who is out. Whether sick, on business travel, or vacation, employees can instantly update their whereabouts so anyone looking for them will see they are absent. This is much more efficient than an “out of office” reply in an email. The person you hoped to speak with is out? Simply search for a replacement or see when that person will be available.
The employee directory is linked to the overall corporate organizational chart, giving employees an even greater understanding of where they and others fit into the organization. This is helpful in many ways, particularly if someone is absent. It makes it much easier to visualize their team members, managers, and direct reports in case a substitute is needed.
The Bottom Line
Organizations who implement our software find it not only gives employees a more efficient way to find people across the company, but it enhances the corporate culture of a growing company. When names and contact information is hidden in spreadsheets or HR software and rarely used, a huge opportunity is lost to build camaraderie amongst coworkers. Rarely do people envision an employee directory to be a team-building solution, but with Pingboard, it really is.
Employees who use our software tell us it’s actually fun to learn more about coworkers and new hires can jump onboard much more quickly. Sure, your staff can get a name and contact information from any employee database, but Pingboard reveals much more about the people they work with in a fun way. Even when people office in the same location, unless they are working with you daily or their workspace is nearby, it can be challenging to actually know every person in your office. This is even more challenging if people work remotely or travel.
Pingboard makes it easy and fun to click on a name or photo and learn who they really are. What are their hobbies? Where did they graduate from college? What things do they have in common? It makes each person seem like a real human who has more to offer than just a job position. When people understand each other on a more personal level, attitudes change, conversations begin, and relationships are built.
Ready for a Change?
If you are using any other kind of employee directory or wonder if your company even has one, it may be time to look at Pingboard. We have experts ready to help you via chat or over the phone. You can schedule a free demo or even start using Pingboard for free. We are confident that once you try Pingboard, you will wonder how you ever got along with a spreadsheet.
Use Pingboard for yourself, your team or roll it out to your entire company. In only minutes, you can be building your new employee directory everyone will want to use. Contact us today to get started