Understanding How to Use SharePoint Sites: Team vs Communication vs Hub

Sharing information throughout your organization effectively can be a challenge. But with the use of the right cloud services, you can make it more efficient and engaging at the same time.

For example, if an organization normally sends HR forms, like vacation requests or app evaluation surveys via email, these can easily get buried in inboxes. The HR team then ends up spending countless hours per year resending that information when people can’t find it.

Now imagine if instead, the HR department could put all those forms up on an internal website that was only accessible by your company team members. Instead of having to ask HR yet again for a vacation request form, employees could just visit the site and download the most updated form themselves.

This is the type of process improvement that SharePoint was designed for.

60% of businesses don’t have a long-term strategy for their internal communications. 

SharePoint is a communication and file sharing tool that comes with Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) business subscriptions. It’s designed to empower the information sharing within organizations.

SharePoint is also often underutilized by companies that use Microsoft 365 because they aren’t sure how to effectively use it.

Have you been confused by SharePoint’s Team, Communication, and Hub sites and unsure how to integrate them into an effective communication strategy?  

We’ll help clear up the confusion and give you several ideas below on how to use SharePoint sites to make information sharing more efficient and dynamic. 

Which SharePoint Sites Should Be Used for Which Information?

Once you understand how to properly use SharePoint Team, Communication, and Hub sites, you can build a powerful internal and external information sharing network. One that’s effective, easy to keep updated, and that properly secures any sensitive information.

First, let’s go over an overview of each of the three site types in SharePoint, then we’ll look at how you can use each one of them.

SharePoint Sites Overview:

  • Team Sites: For internal sharing of information by groups or teams, like a specific department or project team.
  • Communication Sites: For broadcasting information outside a department or outside your organization.
  • Hub Sites: For organizing Team and Communication sites for easy access.

How to Use SharePoint Team Sites

Team sites are designed to be used by a specific department for sharing information and collaboration within their group. They have security safeguards that only authorize the group members to access the content.

When you create a new team in Microsoft Teams (for example, “Project X Team”), a SharePoint Team site is automatically provisioned and only members assigned to that team can use it.

You can mirror team sites to match your individual departments, such as HR, Marketing, or Sales. You can also assign them for projects, so team members can easily share documents and collaborate.

The beauty of a Team site is that it is specific to a group. Often, departments or other groups will be sharing sensitive information that shouldn’t be freely accessed by anyone else in the company.

Using the HR department as an example, they may need to collaborate on confidential employee evaluations or draft a new employee policy manual that they don’t want seen until it’s finished. Using Team sites will allow HR group members only to access and easily collaborate on those documents.

How to Use SharePoint Communication Sites

Once the HR department finishes that new employee policy manual we mentioned in the example, they would post it on a SharePoint Communication site to share it companywide.

Communication sites are made to broadcast information and make it easily accessible in a website format, which is much more engaging than getting an email with multiple file attachments that can be easily lost.

Here are some ways that Communication sites can facilitate information sharing:

  • The marketing team can post company social media campaigns to keep employees aware of initiatives they can participate in.
  • The head office can create a site to keep employees updated on company news and information, including downloads of any new policy manuals.
  • The sales team can create a Communication site for a large customer that includes specific product information, reordering forms, etc. to create a “concierge-like” customer experience.

SharePoint Communication sites are a great way to ensure everyone has the most updated copy of a form or brochure, because they can be updated in real-time. Employees or customers can access updated information from the site instead of using on an old document copy from their hard drive.

How to Use SharePoint Hub Sites

You can think of Hub sites like a table of contents for your SharePoint Team and Communication sites. Hub sites bring them all together and group them for easy access.

Here are a few examples of how to use Hub sites for organization of communications:

  • A Hub site created for employees to access any companywide Communication sites.
  • A Hub site that lists all Team sites for easy access by supervisory staff.
  • A Hub site that has a collection of external Communication sites grouped by industry you serve to make it easier for customers to find industry-specific information.

Hub sites are the way to keep all those other sites organized and easy to locate in a way that makes sense for your communication flow.

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Contact us today to schedule a cloud optimization consultation. Call 919-263-5570 or contact us online.