With attention on data security at a current all-time high, it’s important for HR professionals to know what they have at their disposal. Whether it’s to ensure your compliance with the impending GDPR in May 2018, or you want to streamline your processes for onboarding and offboarding employees, SharePoint is a great tool to help you do all of that and more.

What is the GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and it is a new law that will replace the EU’s existing data protection and privacy regulation. It was agreed in April 2016 and will come into force in May 2018. The GDPR will apply to all companies that process personal data of European Union (EU) citizens. Individuals will be able to request a copy of all personal data held by a company that relates to them as an individual and have the right to have their personal data erased from the records of an organisation. An individual must explicitly agree to a company retaining personal data relating to them. Brexit will not influence the GDPR in the UK. SharePoint can help you become GDPR compliant regarding employee data management and control. Whether you’re using Office 365 on-premises or in the Cloud, there are secure ways to ensure your data is well-governed and compliant.

Using SharePoint for Data Security and Protection

Data security is one of the most prevalent aspects of the GDPR. To be able to store data securely and to have suitable permissions to certain data will help you ensure you’re compliant. As you now know, SharePoint is an exceptionally collaborative platform – where you can co-author documents at the same time as well as freely share documents internally and externally. These features sound great when it comes to enabling productivity in your organisation; however, they come with substantial risks too. It can be as simple as sharing a link to a document that wasn’t meant for the recipient, or allowing someone to co-author a document that they weren’t supposed to have access to. This is how data breaches start, and unless you have stringent policies and procedures, your data isn’t 100% safe and secure. Luckily, you can flexibly administer a level of control to your system; setting permissions and access abilities. If you’re an administrator or owner of a library, list, or survey, you can change permissions to let the right people access the data they need data while restricting others.

It’s important to have policies in place for when people leave your company and what data they may still have access to. Be sure to remove access permissions of their internal accounts. Remember: if you have data in the Cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere – so an employee doesn’t have to be on company property to be able to access it! Removing permissions is just as simple as adding them in. It’s also a good idea to check the permissions on a regular basis, just in case. There are things of course that as a company you need to address internally – and that’s the processes of your employees. How much data do they have access to? How easy would it be for them to breach internal data and share it externally? If an employee suddenly downloads an entire
list of potential clients, how long until somebody realises and can do something about it? SharePoint can of course help you with notifications and permissions – but work processes need to be addressed on a wider scale first.

Automate Employee Reviews

Some organisations conduct reviews more regularly than others. If they all come around the same time each year, the process can be overwhelming for line managers and the HR
deptarment. With SharePoint, you can automate the review process to ensure reviews are performed on time. You can ask SharePoint to tell you when a review is due as well as set permissions so employees can see their review (and nobody else’s!)

Employee onboarding, offboarding and training

Hiring and dismissal processes can be difficult with many steps to each stages and manual tasks involved. SharePoint can help with this entire process. There are hundreds of candidate/CV databases out there for HR managers to use. Many find it useful to have a database for this within SharePoint. Usually because they’re already using SharePoint for many other tasks and having databases like this all in one place can be really useful. The process from candidate to employee can be a complex one, involving several departments. You can create collaborative checklists in SharePoint to make sure the process is streamlined. The same can be said for dismissing an employee, or generating other important paperwork such as disciplinaries. When an employee starts at a company, there are many boxes that need ticking when it comes to orientation.

In SharePoint, you can easily set up an ‘e-learning’ site. When you input a new user, this kickstarts a workflow which will give them access to the area, and display a list of ‘outstanding tasks’ for them to complete. Using Microsoft Stream (an app within Office 365 for videos), you can link up training videos to this area and after they’ve been watched, give your new starters a test on said video. Below is an illustration of an e-learning area we’ve set up as an example. Offboarding is a similar structure. When an employee hands in their notice, an ‘end date’ can be entered into the system and workflows can be triggered. For example, an email can be sent to IT letting them know that they can reclaim any kit.

If you’re interested in finding out more, check out our guide on SharePoint for HR here.