We all know that your personal mailbox, agenda and personal documents will be deleted some time after you leave the organization.
But recently we have seen that more and more team content is stored (and automagically shared) on personal OneDrives, which means that when someone leaves, that shared content will be deleted and lost.
Owners may not be aware that they are the owner of the video, file or Whiteboard, and that these resources live on their OneDrive.
Colleagues of leaving employees may be in for several unpleasant surprises.
I tried to compile a list of things to look for, so if you are the leaver, you can check these items and decide if they needed to be handed over. You will save your colleagues, your manager and your Microsoft365 admins a lot of hassle!
Yes, the manager will have control of your OneDrive for some time after you have left, but
- do they know enough about the details of your work to know what to keep and what to let go?
- do you really want to burden them with this?
- do you want to leave your remaining colleagues in the dark about team stuff?
If you know that a colleague is leaving, you may want to help him/her with checking NOW which content you need after they have gone.
Step 1: Teams Meetings
Are you the organizer of a regular Teams meeting? The meetings will keep running, but nobody will be able to change dates or times, add or delete invitees, or manage the meeting details. At this moment it is not possible to transfer the ownership, but I think that is in the Roadmap.
It is therefore important to either
- Stop or cancel the meeting, and ask a colleague to re-schedule it. This will mean that meeting links and resources will change. This is the best suggestion for smaller meetings.
- For meetings with many attendees, a collague can duplicate the event by opening the meeting, clicking on the … and then “Duplicate event”. The meeting will the be copied with the same invitees. The new owner can then remove the old organizer and make sure times and recurrence is OK. This will send a message to all people in the meeting, but in any case you do not have to add them all again.
This will also change link and resources.
- Check meeting chats for important files or attendee reports or recordings that needs to be safe-guarded in SharePoint.
Step 2: Regular files – copy or move to Teams/SharePoint or delete
- Attachments (from Outlook)
- Office Lens
- Transcribed files
Step 3: Special files
I have based this list on the various OneDrive folders as described in my earlier post “Who created those folders in my OneDrive?“
Microsoft Teams Chat Files : everything you have shared in private chats
Do you realize that all those screenshots, funny videos and other stuff, that you have ever shared in a private chat (which means: not shared in a Teams channel) live on your OneDrive and will therefore be lost when you leave? It will not be big issue for that silly gif that made your colleague smile when they were feeling down, but there may be relevant documents or screenshots that your colleagues want to keep.
So, you can either check the Microsoft Teams Chat Files folder in your OneDrive, or scroll through your private chats. Upload the files to a relevant Teams/SharePoint site or send them as attachment to your colleagues. (Usually not recommended, but they will need their own document)
Now you will understand why Matt Wade, in his Definitive Guide to Everyday Etiquette in Microsoft Teams, says: “Work should not be completed in private chat”. (Page 14) 🙂
Microsoft Teams Data: Meeting notes from Teams meetings
This contains the Meeting Notes you have created in Teams meetings. I personally do not use this very often to take notes, as I think the functionality is rather limited, but it is helpful in emergencies. Additionally, it does not open easily from OneDrive, I had to select an app to open it (it is an .mht file).
Do you have Meeting Notes that you would want to keep? Copy the text into a Word or OneNote document in the relevant Teams/SharePoint site.
Recordings: Videos from Teams meetings
Another shared resource that is being stored in a personal location. Make sure you move the video(s) that need to be kept to Stream or Teams/SharePoint.
Whiteboards: Sketching sessions (can be from Teams meetings)
At this moment Whiteboards are still stored in Azure, but they will follow the Recording path and be stored in the OneDrive of the person who creates the Whiteboard. This is expected to happen in October 2021, according to the Microsoft Roadmap.
I expect you will be able to copy/move Whiteboards, and I will update this post when I know more.
Step 4: Applications
Forms – the Forms themselves
Please check out my earlier post on how to handle Forms when you leave.
Forms – files from “File Upload” questions will be in a folder called Apps
If the Form will still be running after you leave, please move ownership of the Form to a relevant Teams/SharePoint site as mentioned above.
If you still need these uploaded files, whether the Form is still running or not, please move them to the appropriate Teams/SharePoint site.
Power Automate workflows are not stored in your OneDrive, but they are personal. Your Flow will keep running (if it is not something in your personal apps, of course) but if it needs an authentication, or needs an edit, it will need a new owner.
You can simply share the Flow with a colleague, so you co-own the Flow.
If you have not done that before you leave, your Administrator will be able to hand it over to your colleague. But hey, your Admin is usually busy enough and all those individual fixes take a lot of time! 🙂
How to manage orphan flows when the owner leaves the organization (microsoft.com)
Do you have any instruction videos that may be useful later, or do you have any old meeting recordings that should be kept?
In Stream, go to “My content” and then “Videos” and see what needs to be transferred. Open the video in question, click the … and select “Update video details”. See screenshot.
More info: Permissions and privacy in Microsoft Stream – Office Support
I do not have too much experience with PowerApps, so I have found a blog that explains how to transfer PowerApps: HOW TO: Change PowerApps Owner | Todd Baginski’s Blog
For lists in a SharePoint site, you do not necessarily have to change ownership, as generally all Owners will be owner of the List.
For personal lists, that live somewhere in your OneDrive, it may not be so easy. You will have to recreate the list in a SharePoint site. You can use the Excel file as a basis (see my earlier posts on the topic). I hope Microsoft will make moving a personal list to a SharePoint site easier in future!
Make sure you appoint another Owner if you are the only one (which is not a good idea, I always suggest to have at least 2 Owners for backup)
You may also want to check the permissions to content that is important for the team, and make sure it will still have an Owner after you have left. Appoint another Owner or, even better, make sure that the permissions of that content follows the permissions of the site.
Have I missed anything?
Or do you have any experiences or suggestions to share? Please let me know!
Update 7 June 2021:
Good addition from Loryan Strant, I do not have too much experience with the apps mentioned (except for OneNote, of course) but be aware if you are using them!
Ellen, excellent article! Have you also perhaps written this in Dutch? I am wanting to refer to the article for our employee’s who leave the company. Most can work with English, but Dutch is their primary language.
Haha Russ, this actually started as a help file in my organization. I have not taken the original with me, but will create a translation. I have send you an invite on LinkedIn on how to transfer. Cheers, Ellen