Policy and Procedures : Using SharePoint Search to find policies quickly

This post is part of a series illustrating how SharePoint can help manage the life-cycle of a policy. In this post we explain how SharePoint search can meet the requirement below:

It should be possible to find a policy in seconds“. To view all of the features for a policy management system, please look at “The Ultimate Buyers Guide To Policy Management Software” on our blog.

Using SharePoint Search

For those considering SharePoint as a platform to manage their organization’s policies and procedures, a well configured Search service should be high on the priority list. When a user can’t find something quickly, frustration sets in. This means that if they can’t find your policy in a few seconds, it’s likely not to get read. You will then need additional technology and organization rules that enforce users to read it.

One major feature of SharePoint that greatly improves a person’s ability to find a policy is to use SharePoint search. The beauty about search is that a user doesn’t have to have any knowledge of where the document is stored. They simply need to type some keywords in the search box and a list of results will pop-out. The other great benefit is that search results are security trimmed, meaning that only results that a user has permission to see will be displayed.

Customizing SharePoint Search

Search can be also be customized in many ways to help make the process much easier, such as:

  • Adding custom properties to the search filter. Meaning that you could allow users to perform searches such as ‘Show me all of the policies in the Finance team about Sox’.
  • A search scope can be defined so that only documents in a site or filtered on a property. For this project a scope of ‘policy’ would be generated which allows only policies to be returned.
  • Advanced searches can be carried out such as ‘Show me all the policies that in PDF, authored by Helen Jones, in October 2021 and have the keywords ‘Health’ and ‘Safety’.
  • Best Bets. SharePoint Search allows an administrator to a result that will always appear at the top for a particular search. For example, if a user searched for ‘Health and Safety Policy’ then a link to the actual policy can be set so it is always top!
  • Synonyms. SharePoint also allows synonyms to be set. So if there are many meanings for a term, then alternative descriptions and acronyms can be added. For example, if you want the same results to appear for ‘Health’ and ‘Wellbeing’ this is easy to configure.
  • Search Refiners. Search Refiners allow the search results to be refined and filter the results by choosing a particular piece of metadata. For example, you may wish to only show results that are Videos, or that originated from Germany.

Keep staff happy

Search in SharePoint is often a very under used area. However, it can be a very cost-effective way to build queries and datasets from millions of documents. A well organized and configured search can really help keep staff happy by finding what they want quickly.

Tired of reminding staff to read your company policies?

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