Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How to Get Internal Policy Acknowledgement via Microsoft Forms and SharePoint Pages


Recently I was asked to find a way for a HR manager to circulate a new policy and collect acknowledgements from staff members. In the domino world, we'd already have custom databases to do this (or we could whip one up in a matter of minutes) but I needed to find an Office 365 equivalent. 

I put the idea to the excellent Office 365 facebook group and got a number of good suggestions that I'll follow up later to see where they lead me.

I was also reminded of the Voting Buttons in outlook which are certainly the fastest method, though not the prettiest.

Since I'm determined to use mainly "the new things" in Office 365, I wanted to see if there was a really simple way to do this without getting too technical for my users. The way I found involves SharePoint and Microsoft Forms (but I'm sure that you could just as easily swap out Yammer or even Teams for SharePoint).

Procedure

1. Go to a (Modern) SharePoint site that all staff members have access to.
2. Create a new Page (Click New, then Page)
3. Give the Page a Heading



(Interlude)
I have a little trick when it comes to naming pages.
I use short headings with no spaces, then I save the page as a draft. 
This FORCES the URL into something that I like with no funny characters. Something easy to remember/type etc.
Then I edit the page and change the header to something presentable. The heading will change but the URL remains the same. 

4. Next, add a section for Microsoft Forms (click the plus symbol at the bottom of the header and choose Microsoft Forms).


 5. The form will appear with some buttons on it.  New Form or Add Existing form.  Choose New Form.

6. You'll be prompted to name your new form. Type a short name. eg: PolicyAcknowledgement and click Create.

7. Microsoft Forms will open and you might be prompted to sign in.

8. Click the button marked Create a New Form.

9. The title and description will be blank. Fill them in. Then click the button marked Add Question.



10. The next menu is graphic. Choose the circle option.

11. The next steps are to type a question (eg: "Do you agree with the policy?") and add some possible answers (Yes and No).  Since you want the users to only choose ONE of these answers, you'll want to make sure that "Multiple Answers" is set to OFF.  You'll also want to turn "Required" ON.


12. As with most Web things today, your form will already be saved. So you can switch back to your SharePoint Page and refresh it. The form won't look quite the same in edit mode, don't worry about this for now. 

13. You'll want to add your policy. There's several different ways that you can do this but all of them require adding a section. You can either add a section above or below (using the plus signs) or you can drag sections into layouts to make something creative.

14. Add a section that is either Text, an embedded document, quick links or a combination of these. Add your document and any explanatory text required.  You might also want to take advantage of some of the cool formatting options available in pages. 

Note: I had some problems getting my form to display, possibly because I changed the name during editing so I copied the URL from the forms page and pasted it into the settings for the container. This fixed the problem. 


15. Click Publish

If you're happy with the look of your policy page, you can use the promotion facilities to push it to email, to Yammer, or to make it "News" for your site.  You can also tie the form into your induction processes for the new staff and even use Microsoft Flow to send the URL annually. 


Checking the Results

If you've got the URL (and the rights) over the Form, you'll be able to check on the results anytime by clicking on the responses part of the form. This gives you a nice summary.  If you want details (names etc), click on the button marked Open in Excel

Other Uses

Just a reminder that this is one of those things that has a variety of other uses beyond simple acknowledgement.  You can use it for all kinds of surveys and quizzes. 

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