SharePoint look book – New Employee Onboarding Hub Overview

What is SharePoint look book?

Modern site templates created by Microsoft and available free to be used and get inspired for creating modern portals, intranet , team and communication hub sites.

You can access all the available templates from here https://lookbook.microsoft.com/

Why you should have a look at this?

Firstly why create the wheel again! Portal which your developers might take few months to create is easily available at free of cost. Of course it will not suffice all your needs or requirements but it can be a great starting point, I am very sure 50% of the work is already done.

What templates are available?

Templates have been categorized and Microsoft keeps on adding new templates keep an eye of the web site URL shared before and Twitter handle of Microsoft SharePoint https://twitter.com/SharePoint

As of 29th August these templates are available

  • Organization based: Leadership connection, The Perspective, Crisis Communications, News site, The Landing and Benefits
  • Department based: Global sales hub, Fly Safe Conference, Retail Operations, Human resources hub, Global marketing hub, Workshop training site
  • Team based: Team communication site, Product Support Collaboration team site, Mark8 Project Team
  • Community based: Charitable site, Branding site
  • Solutions based: Microsoft 365 learning pathways, Microsoft 365 freelance communications site, New Employee Onboarding Hub
  • Schools: School home page, Class home page and Staff home page

We will look into the new “New Employee Onboarding Hub” template in detail.

How to create “New Employee Onboarding Hub” sites using the template?

Interestingly Microsoft has made it very easy to try out any templates, you just to have visit the page of the template and go through an online form to install it.

In this case we should visit this page https://lookbook.microsoft.com/details/75e60a32-9849-4ed4-b83e-b2b08983ad19

Click on the “Add to your tenant” button to start the process but make sure that account you are using is a “Tenant Administrator”.

Look book add to your tenant

This will take you to page in which site urls needs to be decided, it will automatically pick name and URL but you can modify it, it will also validate if those URLs are valid or not.

An email is sent once the provisioning finishes so make sure email address given is correct.

This should start the process and usually will take 15-20 minutes to finish.

SharePoint look book page
Look book provisioning confirmation

It’s important that till all 4 sites are created and you get an email you don’t access the sites else it create issues, first time when I did this I did not read the message properly and it actually created the issue and I never got an email.

If all goes well you should get an email like below

Email confirmation for look book provisioning

Here is a video of the process applying the template “New Employee Onboarding Hub” in your tenant.

What do you get once installation is finished?

So once this is done, it creates 4 site collections and 1 site is set a hub site.

  1. Pre-Onboarding site: A start up site for new hires which can be accessed before starting with the company.
  2. OnBoarding site: Main site which provides access to information related to onboarding.
  3. Department based Onboarding sites: As a sample Engineering and Sales departmental OnBoarding sites are created which will hold departmemt level onboarding information.
New Employee OnBoarding sites in SharePoint Admin Center

Look at these videos to get an overview of what we have.

New Employee OnBoarding Hub – Pre OnBoarding site demo
New Employee OnBoarding Hub – Corporate OnBoarding Site demo
New Employee OnBoarding Hub – Departmental site (Sales) Demo
New Employee OnBoarding Hub – Departmental site (Engineering) Demo

What can we do after installation?

As you can understand from the videos the sites created are like sample sites, the content needs to be added, replaced to make it work in your environment but it is a great inspiration for creating such sites as it has covered all the basics needed to create sites such like this. The sites have been created based on research done. You can read more here on how to customize sites but if you know how to handle a SharePoint sites it is not that difficult.

Once you have created and customized sites you can always use Site Usage features for SharePoint how it has been doing it.

How to use PowerShell to install New Employee OnBoarding Hub Template?

You will be happy to know that you can use PowerShell to install the sites which were described if you do not want to use the user interface based Provisioning.

Steps are very simple:

  1. You should have PnP PowerShell installed
  2. Download the source code from https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-dev-provisioning-templates
  3. This source code contains all templates which have been created as part of Microsoft SharePoint look book
  4. Open PowerShell and to go NEO folder <<yourpath\provisioningtemp\sp-dev-provisioning-templates-master\tenant\NEO”
  5. Connect-PnPOnline https://yourtenant.sharepoint.com/
  6. Apply-PnPTenantTemplate -Path .\NEO.pnp

These steps will do the same as User Interface that is create four sites as described.

PowerShell to install New Employee OnBoarding Hub Template

You can also look at this video to view complete process

How to extend this further?

Since we the source code we should be able to make changes to NEO.XML file from the path “yourpath\provisioningtemp\sp-dev-provisioning-templates-master\tenant\NEO\source”.

I did a small change that added an extra navigation on Pre-Boarding site, similar to that you should be able to add new pages, change existing pages, update with your own images or create more sites etc.

Once you have done changes to NEO.XML file use below command to create a new PNP file which will provision the site according to changes you have made.

But before you run commands make sure you change your working folder in PowerShell and go to “YOURPATH\provisioningtemp\sp-dev-provisioning-templates-master\tenant\NEO\source” else the Save.PnPTemplate command will fail with below error as it looks for the SiteAssets folder just under the working folder

Processing template
Processing SiteAssets/SitePages/Home/888651967GettyImages-1167777577.jpg
Save-PnPTenantTemplate : Value cannot be null.
Parameter name: stream
At line:1 char:1
+ Save-PnPTenantTemplate -Template $kit -Out NEOnew.pnp
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : NotSpecified: (:) [Save-PnPTenantTemplate], ArgumentNullException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : System.ArgumentNullException,SharePointPnP.PowerShell.Commands.Provisioning.Tenant.SaveTenantTemplate
$kit = Read-PnPTenantTemplate -Path YOURPATH\provisioningtemp\sp-dev-provisioning-templates-master\tenant\NEO\source\NEO.xml
Save-PnPTenantTemplate -Template $kit -Out NEOnew.pnp

Once the New PnP File is created use Apply-PnPTenantTemplate -Path .\NEONew.pnp to install the sites.

If you are interested in understanding how the User Interface provisioning service works, source code for that is also available but I am will not go into details as I will save it for another blog but you can refer this link https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-provisioning-service

This is the source code used for lookbook.micrsoft.com.

So that is all about New Employee OnBoarding Hub from Microsoft SharePoint look book.

Summary: The templates provided by Microsoft as part of look book are quite useful and also the source code is available to extend it further. It has also been announced in Microsoft Ignite 2020 that new Site Templates will be available from End of 2020 which are based on look book but has been polished and more value has been added by Product team.

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References:

https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-dev-provisioning-templates

https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-provisioning-service

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/provision-neo-hub

https://lookbook.microsoft.com/details/75e60a32-9849-4ed4-b83e-b2b08983ad19