What is an employee directory?
An employee directory is the central repository for employee information. It's used to store all kinds of HR information such as employee name, role, contact information, working hours, vacation schedules and other contractual data.
It is unrealistic to expect that employees know all their colleagues and can find the right team member (based on different criteria: their title, location and/or skills) to help them get their job done, especially in large companies, with disparate locations and remote workers. You probably never think about the employee directory at all until you need to find someone and no one else you have asked can tell you where to find them.
Why do you need now an employee directory?
The Human Resource world is continuously changing and evolving towards a complete digitalization, as the advantages of technology are easily absorbed, and they became assets for any organization.
The business environment is exposed to fierce competitiveness where only the strongest survive and grow. Among the strengths of a company are its people and the software that is managing them.
The HR leave management software is more and more complex, permanently updated based on the market realities and challenges, thus allowing people to focus on really important development goals.
One of the commonly requested features in the digital workplace is the employee directory. The 10 best intranets of 2020 nominated by Nielsen Norman Group all had an employee directory on the homepage.
Why is important to use an employee directory?
Companies frequently use one of the available tools for managing an employee directory.
Some still rely on manual spreadsheets, but they are hardly flexible and reliable enough for housing an entire employee database. The problems with spreadsheets are many: they are manual, which adds the 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 that is supposed to be the golden record. They are limited in the employee details they provide. Most cells are filled simply with facts, such as names, titles, department, location, and email and phone numbers. Discover additional 10 reasons why a Leave management software is more powerful than a spreadsheet.
The intranet site of an organization is loaded with company information. The employee directory is hidden amongst the files, links, and pages. It is difficult to find, rarely 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 waste of time and money 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.
HR software includes an employee directory feature, making these tools more effective for both the staff and the HR department.
Employees may access these directories when they have administrative tasks, such as updating their payroll details or HR benefits, but it is not a tool they use for finding and getting to know their coworkers. 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 user-friendly.
Over time, organizations have realized improvements to resource utilization and collaboration by entrusting employees with key information about their colleagues, like phone numbers, job titles, email address, department, and location. Technology has allowed employee directories to evolve from primitive paper lists to Excel to highly structured and automated systems integral to the digital workplace.
Now, the employee directory aims to be the single source of truth for employee information.
The most common uses of employee directory?
There are many ways the employee directory assists with everyday tasks and getting employees to the information and help they need to work toward their goals and achieve results. Here is a list of just a few:
Looking someone up to contact
We all engage with co-workers on many platforms, the employee directory gives us a quick way to find contact details to connect, rather than sifting through emails hoping they have an accurate email signature.
Understanding where someone “sits” in the org chart
Knowing the department someone belongs to, as well as who they report to and work with, helps employees understand what tasks they can collaborate on. It also allows you to know who you can talk to when the job owner is away.
Finding where someone is located
Meetings and phone calls are often more effective than back and forth email communication. Knowing where someone is located, allows meetings to be quickly organized or helps to determine the best time to call them if they are in another time zone.
Integrating new hires to the organization
The employee directory is a key resource for new team members to learn about their new colleagues and for others to learn about them. It helps new employees get up to speed quickly and contributing faster.
Finding people with specific skills and expertise
Whether it's putting together a project team, gaining feedback, finding a mentor, or finding someone to collaborate with; the ability to search for people with specific skills allows users to locate experts across the entire company.
What makes up an employee directory?
Names, job titles, contact information, and location may be helpful, but what about a system that facilitates collaboration, getting things done and identifying the data when you actually need it?
An employee directory can be so much more than a name and email address. Employee directories are all about people and connecting employees.
While an employee profile can be made up of many attributes such as contact information, employment information, personal information, as a baseline the following are commonly included in an employee directory:
- Job title
- Employment date
- Emergency contact.
Over time many organizations have expanded the information they gather about employees and make available via the employee directory. An employee directory is the central point of HR data. And data provide you insights, save you time, facilitate access to people analytics, and help you take better human resources decisions in your small and medium business.
What are the benefits of an employee directory for employees?
- Employees can easily and quickly access any employee info from anywhere.
- It is always up to date with all employees and their necessary information.
- Employees can easily do an advanced search, not only by name, but by location, department, job title, or email.
- It is super secure so when an employee leaves the company, they lose all the details that the directory included.
What are the benefits of an employee directory for businesses?
Build better working relationships
When you can put a face to a name, you are already closer to creating a better workplace relationship. Instead of having a paper directory or countless numbers on your phone, an employee directory software allows you to have photos, a biography, job title, location, expertise, and so on. This makes it easier to identify who’s who, especially when you use a self-service approach. A visual corporate directory app creates a more human, social experience.
Boost employee engagement
When employees can provide and access information directly, they feel more empowered and that helps boost employee engagement. Besides, an employee directory app makes it easier to quickly and easily find sources, data and other details without having to stop and ask others for contact information.
Strengthen the company culture
When employees know how they fit in the company and have an appreciation for the big picture, you easily establish their identity and purpose within the company.
Collaboration becomes easier
An employee directory software is a great way to connect employees and make it easier to collaborate between teams or departments.
On-boarding is improved
Whenever someone new joins the company, they are overwhelmed with all the new names and faces, and especially who is responsible for what. It can get a little embarrassing when you are bothering a team member to help you remember who’s who. By using an online employee directory, you can reduce the risk of awkward encounters when you cannot put a name to the face or vice-versa. All the new hire needs to do is check the directory to know which employee is responsible for what.
What makes an employee directory a successful one?
A successful employee directory is one that gets used. Here are a few tips to ensure yours gets the attention it deserves and it is accessed and used whenever it is necessary:
On the intranet homepage
Make it an integral part of the corporate intranet landing page for all your employees and never have them wondering where they need to go to find someone.
Build company culture and pride and make it consistent with the "look and feel" of your digital workplace.
Complete and up-to-date people information
Employees want confidence in the information they are presented. Having gaps in your employee directory and out of date information is a surefire way to make it redundant.
Quick and easy to use
Make the search box prominent on the page and ensure results returned are fast and accurate.
Ensure a directory is a tool that people want to use by making sure the search interface and results are displayed logically, with appealing fonts and colors that align with your corporate brand.
Uses specific terminology of organization
Avoid confusion by using the familiar terms used within the organization i.e. use division, branch or unit rather than department.
What are the key takeaways and bottom line regarding an Employee Directory Software?
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.
An employee directory is more than just finding someone, it helps you with your everyday tasks and gets you the information you need to achieve your goals. What do we mean by that? You’re engaged with your colleagues, know who sits where in an organizational chart so you know who to contact especially if the main person is on vacation, and easily search for people to help you out based on their skills and expertise. That’s why having an employee directory software that is easy to use is crucial to your business.