The SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Certified Application Associate Exam: How I passed it and how I prepared for it

September 2, 2015

This article has three parts. In the first part I write about my personal experience of the test itself in more detail because I would have welcomed such insights before my exam. In the next part I talk about my learning journey and in the last section I speak about my learning strategy. I will also share my key learning’s and what I would do differently the next time.

My certification test experience

I was able to take my test from my home office. This is such a big improvement because I did not have to drive to a test centre which in my case is far away and where I can only take the test on specific days in the year. Instead I scheduled my preferred time in the certifications section on site.

Another good thing is that I could even change the start time just shortly before. This means if ever anything unexpectedly happens you can reschedule quite easily.

In order to do it from home I needed to have a webcam and a reliable and fast internet connection.

In the certification exam section I used the link to install the required questionmark secure browser 4 days before. Additionally I tested the system by connecting to a proctor to confirm it is working. A proctor will be the person to welcome you to your exam and give you advice as well as continue to watch you the whole time. SAP will allow you to do the system test up to 4 hours before your exam.

It takes a few clicks to get to the page where I launched the certification test. I logged in in as suggested 15 minutes before my start date on 14.00 hrs on Friday, August 14. You do not have be on time. SAP will allow 15 minutes after the start time to log in before you will be denied entrance. In total you are allowed to take 6 exams in one year. If you miss one you have 5 more opportunities.

On the SAP Certification Hub Page where the examination process is described in detail I needed to click on the link C_THR81_1502 on the left side of the page. This then opened up a page with a menu at the top. This menu contains a link to the “Exam Appointments”. This is also the exact same way to take when you schedule for an exam. I opened up “Exam Appointments” where the upcoming appointment is listed in a table with the following headings “exam title”, “booking code”, “exam date” and “start exam”.

Around 15 minutes before the exam date a green arrow should appear in the row “start exam”. This wasn’t the case for me. Therefore I contacted Technical Support and was advice to reboot my computer or even use another web browser.

I rebooted my computer but had to use Internet Explorer again the only browser currently installed on my computer. And yes after several minutes later and past 14.00 hrs. I was back to the same page. The green arrow did appear but when I clicked on it nothing happened. The secure questionmark browser does not start when other programs like outlook or skype are running. Even though I had switched off those programs before yet in my case skype always starts up again when my computer restarts.

Therefore my recommendation is to disable the auto launch of such programs. I quit Skype but to my surprise it took the questionmark secure browser a few minutes to launch. This was much longer time compared to the system test I did with a proctor a few days ago. You can guess how exited I got and how my blood pressure went up during those moments.

I would recommend you to boot your computer 30 minutes prior to such an event and hope that the green arrow is there 15 minutes before your scheduled time.

Additionally I had forgotten to have my two official identity documents with a picture ready to show to the proctor. The proctor was so kind to wait and let me get my passport and my driving license.

The proctor would then explain the key rules: If my connection would break down during the test I had 5 minutes to get back in and if I had technical issues I had another 5 minutes to contact the technical support. After this time my test would be cancelled. Also I was told not to leave the room during the exam. In a test centre someone can accompany to the rest room, but at home the proctor needs to rely on your presence in order to prevent any unfair test taking practices. I also had to show that I was alone in the room with my webcam by turning the camera 360 degrees. Further I had to point the webcam to my desk to proof that it was totally clean of any supporting material.

After this phase the proctor activated the test button. I now had 180 minutes time to go through 80 multiple choice questions while being watched all the time by the proctor. I needed to answer at least 50 (63%) of the questions correctly to become certified. For each multiple choice question it was indicated in writing how many answers were expected. A radio button indicates if only one answer is required. Boxes are used if more if more than 1 answer is correct. 3 were the maximum answers I came across. SAP provides a lot of information on the certification exam here:—cloud-hcm-employee-central-g/

As well you will find a link to 9 example certification questions.

Overall it took me around 85 minutes to pass the test. I went through question by question and I skipped a question when I was not sure about the answer yet. Then I went backwards from 80 down to 1 and checked each question again if I was confident about my answer(s) and reworked those that I was still not 100% sure of. Of course I answered all the ones that I had skipped. Each question I read at least two times before I made my choice.

Usually I read out questions aloud and write the question again on paper in order to uncover any hidden traps. But these practices are not allowed in the certification exam.

Learning Journey

On June 24th 2015 I got my access to the SAP Learning Hub ( ). The first course I had to take was the THR80 Foundations of SuccessFactors HCM. I passed this course on 29th of June.

As I had holidays scheduled from 11th of July till 1st of August I decided not to take the THR81 SuccessFactors Employee Central Academy before. I began with this course on August 3rd and finished by August 7th.

I scheduled my exam for August 14th at 14.00 hrs. In the week before the exam I read the Employee Central Implementation Handbook carefully and skimmed through the Employee Central Country Specific Implementation Handbook, Role Based Permission Handbook, Data Objects: Quick Reference Tables and the Metadata Framework Implementation Handbook. 2 days before the exam I went through my notes three times. I passed the exam on August 14th at 15:50 hrs.

During my holidays I read a few articles by Luke Marson: the SuccessFactors Employee Central Organization Structure, The SuccessFactors Employee Central Pay Structure, The SuccessFactors Employee Central Position Management feature, Extending SuccessFactors with the Metadata Framework and Rules and Picklists in the SuccessFactors Metadata Framework. You find the articles here at: SuccessFactors – Useful Resources and Documents

If I had to do it again I would not take a holiday between the THR80 Foundations of SuccessFactors HCM course and the THR81 SuccessFactors Employee Central because content from THR80 Foundations of SuccessFactors HCM is still part of the exam. It is best to keep these courses as close as possible together.

At least I would read the Employee Central Implementation Handbook thoroughly and schedule the exam as soon as possible after the end of the THR81 SuccessFactors Employee Central course.

At minimum I would leave a week between the end of the course and the exam. Yet I believe the longer you wait with the exam the more likely you will forget the content of the courses.

In total I invested 3 weeks net over a time of 8 weeks while still working on demanding projects at the same time and looking after my family.

Learning Strategy and Recommendations

As I have a very strong background in Learning & Development and a passion for continuous learning I used all my wisdom to make my learning journey as effective as possible. I have read all the major and current research on human learning and I have read a number of books written by world class memory champions on mnemotechnics and learning.

The first fundamental principle I follow is frequency over duration. Instead of learning on one day in a week for several hours I spread it out and learn every day at least for 5-10 minutes and if possible I do this several times a day if time permits. The only time I broke this rule was during my holidays. Only in the last few days of my vacation I started to read the articles from Luke Marson.

Further I use spaced repetition and the PQ4R method (Preview-Question-Read-Reflect-Recite-Review).

Everything that I found to be a good content for a question I wrote down. I came up with 200 items. Which brings me to my second fundamental principle of vivid associations I apply in learning. I used the method of loci ( to memorize it all. But before memorization I first and foremost try to establish logical rules to understand and connect the new knowledge. Sheer memorization is dedicated to exceptions and key underlying information chunks to build my knowledge or so called mind map.

And the third fundamental principle is called overconfidence in learning. Often when I listen to a trainer or read a document I come out feeling that I have understood everything and it will be easy to recall. Then a few days later I come across a question and I realize that I am not so sure anymore how to answer it. In order to overcome my overconfidence I created my own set of 212 questions to test my learning progress. I used those questions again just the last days before my exam.

If you would like to see my set of practice questions I am happy to share with you my document. Either send me a message on Linkedin Peter Palme or connect with me on Linkedin and let me know in your invitation that you are interested or enter your email address in this google form: My SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Practice Questions.

. Here are some of my sample questions:

  • Are all Foundation Objects effective-dated?
  • Is NationalID an MDF object?
  • Can one person have more than one active employment at the same time?
  • Can you assign a workflow to a field in a foundation object?
  • Can you assign a workflow to the payCalendar object ?

I would recommend you to read at least the Employee Central Implementation Handbook. Pay special attention to the info section that are highlighted in light red / pink colour.

If you do not have access to the SAP Learning Hub yet I have collected also some free resources on Employee Central here:

About me:

My vision is to build a truly integrated HR in the cloud. A truly integrated HR is the key enabler for organizations to maximize their business outcomes.

I will give a key note speech at on 17.09.2015 at the HR exhibition Zukunft Personal in Cologne on Education Hacking vs. Corporate Learning.

Education Hacking – The List

August 28, 2015

I am collecting information on education hacks, education hackers, useful resources and tools, on MOOCS …..
And I hope not only individuals but also my colleagues in corporate learning will profit from this list.
If I have forgotten any useful link please do not hesitate to leave a comment.

Free MOOC on the latest research in adult learning and plenty of practical tips. It is the top 3 most used MOOC worldwide:

Learning How to Learn University of California, San Diego Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects by Dr. Barbara Oakley, Dr. Terrence Sejnowski

Education Hackers:

Scott H Young succeeded to learn MIT’s 4-year curriculum for computer science in 12 months, without taking any classes and spending less than 2000 USD. His speech at the Ted Conference:

Jay Cross describes how to get a college degree in 1 year at 1/20th of the cost compared to the traditional way.

And Benny Lewis has demonstrated on how to become fluent in a language in just 3 months without having to visit the country where it is spoken.

Dale Stephenson – provides Gap Year programs for young adults who want to drive their own education after he dropped out from college. He is the Author of Hacking Your Education – he has a background in home schooling and shows new ways to drive your own education without having to attend college which costs a lot of money in the US. His book also inspired McKenzie’s new onboarding program.

Class-Central here you can search for MOOCs and get information on the content and the scheduled dates

Degreed. Com to track all learning’s. SuccessFactors is also now cooperating with MOOC providers to track learning.

MIT Free Learning Resources

Stanford:  (Certificate of attendance from professors but not Stanford). Additional certification with credits at German university ( Prof. Wolfram Burgard at the University of Freiburg! many international Universities accept such a certificate)
Other free classes at Stanford Engineering.
This course is now offered via udacity:

Free Courses from worldclass universities by Coursera –

Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT: (Certificate of attendance not from MIT) EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise of its founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

FutureLearn: 23 British Universities will offer free online MOOCs

Academic Earth:

Khan Academy: (K12 Education)

Salman Khan actually inspired the Udacity founders to offer a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) in 2010.


The Open University Learning space (600 free courses also with credits): See Credit Accumulation and Transfer  scheme (CATS): (Remark: Can be transfered into ECTS)

Udemy: (free courses available not all) – I have started a free course myself:

Skillshare is a similar to Udemy. Most courses charge enrollment fees:

Lore is another type of plattform to create free online courses. The focus of this plattform is on the community and the social networking between students.

Coursites by Blackboard is another free web-based course platform to attend courses or setup your own.

YouTube Edu:
Video Lectures online from reknown universities and other sources such as BBC.

Ted- Ideas Worth Spreading:
The latest in key research projects, findings and insights in less than 20 Minutes introduced in a compelling speech supported by presentations and media. Great resource to learn new things in any academic field.

Free online learning resources:

Open Learning Initiative:

Learning English Video Lectures:

Online College Classes:

Alison (Over 300 Free Online classes at Certificate or Diploma Level:

Any other university, organisation, instititution offering free education ?

A very well structured and very extinsive list at – Hacking your Education by Dale J. Stephens:

SAP offers free learning on

Tools for Language Acquisition:

Memrise is an excellent example


Data Scientist for Free

Free Learning Resources to Help You to Become a SAP Successfactors Consultant

May 19, 2015

I will collect all relevant resources in the best sequence to help you to become a SAP Successfactors consultant. Additionally you find my notes on what I have learned from these free resources.

Update 02.09.2015: I have written a post on “The SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Certified Application Associate Exam: How I passed it and how I prepared for it

And in October there is a new free course Run Simple HR with SuccessFactors Employee Central on available. The course starts on October 13, 2015. More details here.

Becoming a SuccessFactors SaaS Consultant Part 1

What I have learned from this video:

Luke Marson wrote a blog post about the skillsets a SaaS Consultant should have. In on-premise projects there are 5-10 different roles from program manager to hardware consultant while in a SaaS Project all is covered by just one person. This person needs to understand the business process, the technology and how to configure it, how to problem solve, how security works and how to secure data. The person also needs  to know how to manage the project. In summary this SaaS consultant needs a broad knowledge at a relevant level.

Jarret Pazahanick says people underestimate what it takes to learn to become a cloud consultant. A consultant works usually on multiple projects, two to three at the same time which is different to the on-premise projects. The work is done more and more remotely. The person needs to apply agile project management methodology. To have business process knowledge is great, but that is not what the business hires a consultant for. They have the knowledge themselves.

After three weeks of training in successfactors and getting certified a consultant cannot lead immediately a workshop at the client. The client will ask very specific questions if the system can do this and that and how the consultant would recommend to setup this. These questions are best answers by a consultant who has done several successfactors implementations. His recommendation is to join an experienced consultant for a few projects in order to learn before the new consultant leads his or her own project.

The consultant also needs to keep up with the new releases. SuccessFactors has 4 releases per year. Change is a constant and it is so much faster compared on-premise software. Every release comes with 200-300 powerpoint slides about changes. This person needs to have the aptitude of a life-long learner to keep up with this pace of learning.

Becoming a SuccessFactors SaaS Consultant Part 2

What I learned from this video:

John Reed: Do you need industry specific knowledge?

Jarret Pazahanick: Industry specific knowledge is not need in HR, there are only small nuances. There are bigger differences between the different SuccessFactors modules. A consultant needs to know about recruiting or learning. So most consultant focus on a niche area and not the whole spectrum of HR and successfactors modules.

Yet areas compared to the on-premise HCM solutions are pushed together.  If you take for example Successfactors Employee Central which is Core HR the consultant needs to do personal administration, organisational management, employee self service, manager self service, workflow and security. In the on-premise HCM world this was done by 4-5 different consultants.

Staying compliant is much easier now with the cloud solution. Changes in country laws are reflected always in the latest version.

When hiring a consulting firm there can be huge price differences. SaaS Implementation are much cheaper than what customers expect. You need less consultants than before and they can do much more work remotely. Companies purchasing these services still need to learn this.

Jarret Pazahanick focuses on Employee Central and Employee Central Payroll.

Training for non successfactors partner and certification ?

SAP Learning Hub costs 3500 USD / Year to use the learning material. You need provisioning rights to use SuccessFactors. You get the rights only if are certified. It costs 500 USD to take the certification exam. You can do it from your office or home. The certification exam can be taken without having gone through the SAP Learning Hub. After the certification the consultant will have to take a delta exam twice a year.

Luke Marson is a certified Employee Central Successfactors consultant.

Luke Marson’s Blog and Jarret Pazahanick’s Blog. And visit the SuccessFactors Useful Resources and Documents maintained by Luke Marson.

You will find a summary of the key skills in Thoughts on the SuccessFactors consultant skillset by Luke Marson

What I learned from this article: The most successful of SuccessFactors consultants should be able to understand and manage:

  • Customer needs and challenges
  • Business processes
  • Product capabilities
  • Configuration
  • Security and authorization
  • Extensibility
  • Integration
  • Soft skills: creative, problem solver
  • To create process or configuration workarounds need to understand logical calculations and rules
  • Able to create complex business rules in SuccessFactors

Recommended Book: SuccessFactors with SAP ERP HCM: Business Processes and Use (2nd Edition)

openSAP An Introduction to SuccessFactors Solutions

This course is aimed at HR Business Partners, people managers, and executive leaders who want to improve their overall HCM strategy.

The course starts at Thursday, May 28, 2015 09:00 (UTC) to Thursday, July 02, 2015 21:00 (UTC).

What I have learned from this course:

Week 1: All Units are presented by Steve Hunt, vice president customer value realization for Successfactors, industrial organizational psychologist, 25 years of experience in HR, 8 of those with Successfactors. He is the author of the book Common Sense Talent Management: Using Strategic Human Resources to Improve Company Performance

The first week consists of 6 Units. Most of the content you will find in the introduction in his book. You can Look Inside the book on Amazon.

Steve starts with the definition of human capital management. He talks about the 4 R’s – right people, right way, right things and right development and how hr processes such as workforce planning and succession management are aligned to the 4 R’s.

Then he looks at integrating HR Processes and how this will change perspectives in HR organizations. As an example he shares one company and how they changed their view on global assignments.

He talks about accelerating change. Steve has a very interesting view on the myth of people fearing change contrary to the mainstream view. I highly recommend you to view the sequence in unit 3A. The only point where I differ is that I see people’s need for belonging and their commitment they made in a group is much stronger than their personal sense of the purpose for the change. See this article What Really Drives People To Commit to Change? – Mini Case Study with Surprising Results.

My personal highlight was the unit 3B in week 1. Steve goes into chronic skill shortages. This is not labor shortage! He shows the factors that create it. But my key take away is his point he makes about what people want from work based on research going back to the 1920s and the only thing that has changed. Worth watching!

He shows a framework with six categories on how to link HR to the business needs. You won’t find innovation (disruptive and incremental) in this model. Steve suggested to place it under scalability and if want under alignment as well. With the ongoing digitalization of our economy we will see increasingly the need for large  scale transformation (restructuring) programs within our companies. In this model it probably will go under efficiency and alignment and scalability. However personally I would see at as a category on its own.

In the last two units Steve looked at how HR methods are impacted by technology and how to deploy it. My key take away is that it is not about automation of manual processes, it is about better ways of working. Example Performance Management: it is not about filling the goals and reviews electronically on time, instead the goal is to have better conversations between managers and their employees.

In order to achieve this you need a very effective process design and very good change management. It must be clear what people should do differently in the future than compared to now. The main thing is to address the mindset of people because this will shape their behaviour. You also need adequate end-user training.

Key is that the CEO gets engaged. Steve gave some excellent examples in unit 6 which I would highly recommend to view.

Week 2: Getting Started with SuccessFactors

Presenter Steve Gregory, senior consultant with the HCM line of business

6 Units from Driving successful business outcomes to the Onboarding

Unit 1: Driving Successful business outcomes

Steve touched on the five key success factors where SuccessFactors can transform business strategies into outcomes such as faster time to market, employee engagement and potentially increasing brand loyalty.

He gave an overview from Attracting to Onboarding and Developing Talents where Successfactors will support with the various tools.

The Learning Managements system (LMS) is also used in heavily regulated organizations where they are audited if the people have the right skills for the task they perform. What I could not get out of the presentations yet how the LMS will deal with Role Based and Massed Scheduled Trainings that usually take place just before a new go-live.

Unit 2:SuccessFactors Talent Foundation Skills & Competencies

Steve shared the three pillars of integrated talent management. Successfactors has a competency and skill libarary which already includes 14 000 Skills and knowledge elements, 250 sample job families each with 4-7 job roles and pre-mapped skills as well as 5 levels of proficiency.

Also with the prepopulated content it seems very easy to create job profiles.

Unit 3: SuccessFactors Talent Analytics & Planning

2000 KPI metrics as well as benchmarks are available. I was just wondering how these KPIs are interlinked and what is a leading indicator and what is lagging indicator.

Steve cited a Bersin by Deloitte study which found that organizations that embrace workforce analytics and planning have 30% greater stock return than the average. They have 79% higher return on the equity within their organization. 15 times improvement in customer satisfaction. Two times as likely to improve their leadership pipelines and two times greater talent mobility within these organizations. I was missing the word execution in workforce analytics and planning therefore I would like to know what these companies did based on the analytics findings and planning. Also I wonder what view the work councils in Europe have on such workforce analytics especially in France or Germany.

Steve mentioned now Generation Z which are the  people born after 1995.

Unit 4: SuccessFactors Recruiting Marketing

This was my favourite unit. I am always interested to find the right channel for the right segment and thus leverage the budget to attract the right talent and at the same improve the employer branding. Successfactors offers a very interesting tool to analyse and control the investment in the different recruiting channels. Also they have a patented technology to place you well in search engines (SEO). Very interesting was the fact that with the system one can now automatically trace where the candidates came across the employer website and the offered position without having to ask them.

Unit 5: SuccessFactors Recruiting Management

You can give the hiring manager view rights within the hiring process via the system. This way it seems much easier to keep the hiring manager in the loop. However this needs to well thought-through and the hiring manager have to be trained to understand the hiring workflow and how to interpret the data.

Also interesting for me to see was the opportunity to use online as well  as paper print outs to monitor the structured interview. Later all people involved in the interviewing process can give their candidate feedback within the system

Unit 6: SuccessFactors Onboarding

A further highlight for me was the onboarding wizard for the hiring manager. Besides the paper-work the wizard shows the hiring manager the various key steps he needs and can take to make the onboarding a success. He or she can start the requisition of all the necessary equiments within the wirzard, he or she can connect the new hire to a number of people and community of practice within the organization and he or she can send a welcome post card. Further options are  available as setting key milestones for the first 90 days and enrol the employee in relevant training programs and other events. When the employee logs in for the first time he will have a To Do List.

However what I find is too much focus is given to the onboarding of new hires and often the onboarding of internal transfers or promotions are overlooked. Think about first time leaders or the first global assignments. I have written my diploma thesis on successful internal onboarding and the key role the HR BP can play in it without a big effort.

Week 3: Perform, Reward, and Learn

Presenter: Steven Gregory for unit 1-3.

Unit 1: SuccessFactors Performance & Goals and Calibration

My highlights were the Goal Wizard that I have mentioned previously that guides the manager to create SMART goals. The ability to cascade one’s goals further down in the organization. Then for a goal of probability of success can be indicated. Interesting new concept. Additionally the execution map allows a leader to drill down in his or her organization at what level and what employee is to see where his or her goal is behind. And during the calibration employees in SuccessFactors can be moved around by using drag & drop in the calibration ratings table.

Unit 2: SuccessFactors Total Rewards & Compensation

Compensation Budgeting which is usually tedious task seems to be much easier to do in SuccessFactors. However the example shown where the total rewards were planned by the manager is usually done by different people in the organization. Often times the bonus plans are separated from the merit increases. And equity or non-cash incentives are managed by someone in HR on a separate plan.

Unit 3: SuccessFactors Succession & Development

Steve emphasized that succession still is more focused on high-level executives and not on the critical and most value adding positions in an organization. What I really liked was the ability to simulate the knock-on effects of promotions. Once the person moves on who are the likely candidates within the organization to fill this new vacant spot. The whole graphical representation is well done. Besides position and people succession there is also now a pool-based succession. You can quickly see how many people the organization has in specified pool. An example for such a pool could be project managers, or people with a certain certification, etc. The other element that I find usful was the possibility to create dynamic presentation. When you present to the executive board and there is a question about the person within the succession plan you can quickly pull up the background information from SuccessFactors. To set up presentations is almost automatic. No need to populate a Power Point presentation manually. As well SuccessFactors allows to compare individuals side by side.

Unit 4-6 was presented by Andy Shean, who is a principal consultant for SuccessFactors.

Unit 4: SuccessFactors Learning – Talent Development

SuccessFactors Learning is an extra application which interfaces with Successfactors HR solution.

This Learning Management now allows to pull MOOCs from Udacity, Coursera, and openHPI via the Open Content Network. Also I liked their theme of seeing an employee as a learner and a teacher at the same time. Therefore a lot of collaboration capabilities were added to the system. One feature that I was amazed about is the ability to highlight a section in a document and attach a question to it or give an answer to. As well the user can create step-by-step guides in a very easy and intuitive way and share with others.

Unit 5: SuccessFactors Learning for External Enablement

This is targeted for externals. For some industries people who come to work for you need to pass certain courses before they are allowed to work for you. As well the organization can also bill those courses to external users. It also includes now a multi-part electronic signatures. Not sure if this compliant for all countries or can only be used in this way in certain countries.

Unit 6: SuccessFacots Learning for Compliance

Nothing new for me. Therefore the only thing to mention are the availability of 200 out of the box reports in the system.

Week 4: At the core

The presenter for this week is Dave McHugh senior solutions consultant for SuccessFactors.

Unit 1: SuccessFactors Emplyoee Central

Employee Central was launched in 2009.

Employee Central Payroll is available in 28 countries.

I am impressed by the intuitive user interface. Especially about the workflows. It is very easy to track who is part of the workflow. Who has an active role and who needs to be informed. And the user can see where the workflow is currently at and who stills needs to approve.

The same applies to absence management. And you have an immediate view of who else in the team will be on absence in that period. All in one instead of someone in the team pulling all the absence data into an excel file and then project this list during the next team meeting.

Another highlight for me was whenever the user changes a value the old value will be displayed with a stroke through next to the field.

Unit 2: SuccessFactors Employee Central Service Center

I have never seen a system yet that helps the user to work seamlessly with the shared service center. Tasks like registering the birth of child just takes 60% less time because it only requires one system and not several different softwares such as Excel, PowerPoint and ticketing system as well as the evaluation form.

Employee can always initiated Ask HR wherever they area in the system and immediate direct their questions to the shared service center. At the same time the SuccessFactors will track service KPIs and give an overview of backlogs and other stats to the people working in the shared service center.

Unit 3: SuccessFactors Global Payroll

According to the survey conducted NGA HR over 35 countries Italy, Germany and France are the top three most complex countries to run a payroll for.

For managing employee on average 16 to 20 data fields per employee. There are 15 different parameters globally that will impact the net result of the calculated salary.

Also impressive was the Payroll Control Center. It gives an overview of the current running cycles and the upcoming processes where one is responsible for. And there is not need to rerun the total payroll when there are mistakes. Only need to fix the mistakes. Also retrorcalculations seem to be much easier to handle.

Unit 4: SuccessFactors Global Benefits

SuccessFactors works together with Benefitfocus. Also very userfriendly way for employees to monitor and change their benefit programs.

Unit 5: Final Recap

SAP bought FieldGlass in order to manage contract labor.

Employee Central is localized for 71 countries and supports 37 languages.

There is 24×7 global help and support. Regional data centers in North America, Europe and Asia and even one in the Peoples Republic of China. What I have not seen if they have a data center in Russia. Since a few weeks data of Russian Citizens cannot be stored outside of Russia.

SuccessFactors is preconfigured with the most relevant business scenarios, SAP best practices and relevant technical settings from pure cloud to hybrid solutions.

This week I will take the final exam.

Successfactors Training Sessions SAP SuccessFactors Online Training Demo | SAP SuccessFactors Overview

What I have learned from this video:

User based licensing fee for Successfactors. Walmart with 2 Million users is the bigget customer.  Successfactors supports 53 languages.

If you use the Talent management solution you need to provide the employee masterdata to the Successfactors cloud solution. See the next video below 2015 02 04 19 59 SAP Successfactors Online Training Feb Batch on how to import the employee master data. This is called the data integration concept.

You can also run a hybrid setup through Netweaver with your existing on-premise SAP system. This is called process integration as you will move between the SAP Screens and the Successfactors screens in the talent management process. You have a single sign on via your Netweaver portal.

Successfactors supports 4 main processes:

  • the core HR process
  • Talent Management
  • Social Collaboration
  • Analytics

The different modules can be grouped in three categories:

Employee Transaction Management: Core HR, Payroll, Benefits administration (Strategic Partnership with Benefitfocus) , Time & Attendance (Strategic Partnership with WorkForce Software)

Talent Management: Performance Management, Goals Management, Compensation, Recruiting, Learning, Social Collaboration, Succession

Workforce Intelligence: Workforce Analytics, Workforce Planning

Everything can be accessed via the Successfactors home page. The user can setup the homepage individually by moving around the tiles, display new ones or remove them from the home page. There is no limit to the amount of tiles on this page. The Company Logo can be customized.

The admin can search for employees, configuration notes and data maintenance notes.

Every Screen has a show me option. The admin can record a video (max. 5 min) to show how to use the particular tile, how to navigate in this section for the end user.

Add new employee is used to run the hiring process in Successfactors.

The configuration of Successfactors is now template driven. In the template the admin can set the authorization for fields or for steps.

Successfactors Training

What I have learned from this video:

Introduction to Mastery

You activate all the modules in the provisioning system that the client has licensed. You need to be certified by Successfactors to  access the provisioning system.

How to remove tiles from the home page. Click on the Tile “Tile Browser” Add/Remove tiles. You will see the list of tiles. Select the one you want to remove. Click the button Remove.

Proxy: SF Admin can log in as one of the employees in the systems. In AdminTools see Menu SF Admin.

In Options (SF Admin Menu) you can set who can proxy in for you, your start page, set your sub tabs, set if you want to receive notifications,choose your language and set the numbering scheme.

How do the upgrade of SuccessFactors and how to manage permissions of the users.

How to set detailed reporting privileges and compensation management privileges.

How to import users. How to do mass proxy.

How to upload the company logo.

How to do text replacements. (starts at 29 min in the video).

How to set the rating scales (starts at 30:40 min)

How to set up the performance management process (starts at 33 min).

How to set up Password Login Policy. (38:20 min)

How to manage the homepage. (45 min)

How to set up Security (1:02:50 hr)

Goal Management (1:04:50 hr)

Competencies (1:26:30)

Performance Management (1:39:30)


What I have learned from this video:

The LMS is a stand alone solution.

The  Video is an introduction to a 20 day training programs and what topics will be covered.

2015 02 04 19 59 SAP Successfactors Online Training Feb Batch

What I have learned from this video:

How to create users in the talent management system:

You need to enter the login credentials for the provisioning system from Successfactors. Use the company ID. This company ID is unique for each customers.

Go to the Company Settings.

First setup the superadmin for the instance. The superadmin will then login into the instance and create all the other users.

Then on the main home page choose Admin Tools from the Home Menu. On the admin tools page go to the Manage Employees pane. Click on the icon Update User Information and select from the menu Manage Users. Then click on the button Add New Users and choose Quick Add. You need to fill all fields for the new user. If there is no manager assigned yet put in no manager. The same applies to the HR Manager field.

If you choose Detailed Add Users you have more fields such as telephone number. Not all fields are required to be filled.

Before you can add users you have to setup the companies, divisions and department – the org structure and the job codes. This is all done by the superadmin in the provisioning system.

The other way to create users is to use the employee import feature. The system will give you a blank template. You upload the csv file with the employee records after you have clicked first the button validate file.

How to configure the system?

In Admin Tools choose Manage Templates. No need to work on the XML files.

2015 02 16 20 04 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

The following videos were created by called Kanthu. Blog.

How to work on the XML files?

Example Employee Files. Choose from AdminTools Menu the menu item employee files.

Select Profile from Public Profile drop down list. In this example the personal information tile will be customized.

In SuccessFactors you have two data models:

the corporate data model –  this contains enterprise/org.  ex. company, location, business units

the succession data model –  this contains employee data/personal details

The data models are maintained in the provisioning system. In the provisioning system home page go to the section Succession Management. Select Import/Export Data Model. Download the data model from the provisioning system. Open the data model file with a XML editor.

Remark: you get the latest data model file on the Successfactors partner website which for the first time you load into the provisioning system.

Use table view in your XML editor. Then  look at the standard elements. In this table you see the fields ,their label and properties. Next look at the element-permissions table. If you put * in a cell in the role name column everyone with access to the successfactors system in that company will be able to read the content in that fields. In the standard elements ref column you see all the fields this rule applies to.

Remark: if you want to get into the details of permissions read the article Successfactors all you need to know about authorizations and security

Next you can define the fields that can be edited and by which groups of employees. Change the word read in the first column to the word edit. In the role name column you can put for examples employees only, write an E instead of * or employees managers EM, or the employee managers manager EM+ or HR for the HR representative, etc…

If you want a user to write to a field put write in the first column. To limit the number of fields a certain user group for example can write to you need to go in the section of the XML source file and look for the tag element-permission type = write and delete below all tags that you want to exclude for this employee group. If you want additional fields that the user can write to just copy these field in the source code to the element-permission type = write section.

If you want to have two different employee groups for example employees and HR to be able to write to the same fields you need to copy the row in your employee permission table to each. In one row you put the first group E for employees and in the copied row you put HR.

2015 02 17 20 04 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

How to change the layout of the employ profile?

Go to AdminTools, click Employee Files and select Configure Employee Files. You can now configure  what views should be displayed in which order. Click on the profile view.  In there you can configure the portlets. Click on the edit button of the Live Profile User Information portlet. Now you can edit the fields. You change the order of how the fields are displayed. You can add new fields and you can also delete fields.

In the data model xml file the pii column (5th column) indicates if the content of the field is stored as secure data. Put true. The data will be encrypted and stored in a database and on the end user screen it will be displayed as **** (star characters).

If you want to add an editable custom field give it a name in the  ref-id column (last row). Then check if the field is displayed to the employee group in the element-permission type = write. If not you need to copy it into the section of your xml source code.

In the xml file you can also configure what characters the field accepts and at what positions. For example the first 4 characters should be letters and the next three should be numbers. You need to search for set id of the field.

You can also define own rules how the data is verified. Each time you make a change to the data model and import it into the provisioning system you need to log out and then into your instance again  in order to see the changes. The same applies for all other configurations you do in the SuccessFactor instance.

How to display a drop down list (pick list) in SuccessFactors? Go to the xml source code and add to your field the picklist element tag. In this video example the name is employeehobbylist. To populate this picklist  with items and display it to the users you need to go to your SuccessFactors instance. Go to AdminTools, click Employee Files and select Configure Employee Files. Go the Profile View and edit the Live Profile User Information portlet. You need to add the new picklist field. To populate the list go to the AdminTools in the Tool Search enter Picklist Management. Then export all picklists. How to populate the picklist will be shown in the next video.

2015 02 18 20 02 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

How to populate the picklist?

You need the name, the id of the picklist. In this example the id is employeehobbylist. Open the exported picklist file in excel. In the first column you see the picklist id. Now enter the picklist id employeehobbylist in the first column. The Optionid in the second column will be later generated by the system. In the columns minValue, maxValue and Value enter -1. In the Status column write ACTIVE. If you put inactive this item will not be shown in your picklist. No external code needed. Leave this field empty. Enter -1 for parent option. In the next column en_US enter the first item. In this example Reading. Then copy the row and insert it below the first row. Enter in the column en_US the next item. In this example Singing. Continue in the same way until you have entered all the items for your picklist. At the end save this csv file.

Then go back to the SuccessFactors and import this picklist csv file. You find the import function on the same page as the export function. After the import the system will need 1-2 minutes to process the file.

How to work with picklists that will show items based on the item the user has picked in another picklist. Let’s take the example where the user selects a country in the first picklist and in the next picklist needs to select one of the states in that country. In this case you need the option ID number that was automatically created for that country picklist and enter this number in all the parent option fields of the states for this country in your picklist csv file.

The external code column is used to align with another system such as in a hybrid setup.

For the past 15 days SuccessFactors will keep a backup. In case you made a mistake in your picklist file you can recover the data.

SuccessFactors Certification for Employee Central and Learning (LMS) is open for everyone. The compensation modul certification is only open to SuccessFactors Partner.

How to configure your email notifications?

Go to AdminTools, click Company Settings and select E-Mail Notification Templates Settings. You will see a list of all E-Mail Notifications. There you can activate all the notifications you want to use.

How do you load your E-Mail notifications from your legacy system?

Click on one of the E-Mail notifications in the list. Use the browse button to select the relevant E-Mail notification. Then click the Upload Template File button.

How to configure security settings?

Go to AdminTools , click Company Settings and select Password & Login Policy Settings. In the provisioning system you setup the IP range. On the home page scroll down. After the section Google Applications and SF LMS you will find a field to enter the IP range.

How to configure company specific terminology?

Go to AdminTools. In Tool Search enter Text Replacement. Enter your replacement text in the relevant fields.

2015 02 19 20 03 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

In the admin tool go to company settings. Go to email notification settings. There you can change your email signature. Click on Email signature.

Hybrid Modell implementation

1) File integration: Manual or Automation

2) Dell Boomi Cloud Atmosphere Integration Tool

3)  PI/XI/PO

4) Informatica Cloud

5) Jitter Bit

6) Cast Iron

2)-6) The successfactors consultant is not responsible for. The integration consultant is.

There is a SF(SuccessFactors) add 3.0 for SAP HCM to automate the import and export of data between the system.

To see what data you can import or export to SF go to AdminTools and enter the word import in the Tool Search. Do the same for export. It will list all functions.

To automate log-in to the provisioning system. Then from  the section Managing Job Scheduler select Manage Scheduled Jobs. Then create new job option. Choose Job Type from the drop-down menu.

If you have new customized fields added in SF you need the SAP Consultant with ABAP skills do add the same custom fields in SAP HCM.

You can also use FTP to exchange data. In the Managed Schedules Jobs all scheduled jobs are listed. You can run them at anytime by clicking Select and choose run it now.

If you choose monitor job you can see how each job has performed.

For realtime or exchange of data in another format you need to use middleware – see  point 2)-6).

Implementation Phases: Prepare / Realize / Verify / Launch

There is a section on how to match job roles to competencies. You will find a better and more detailed explanation in the videos 2105 02 27 and 2015 03 04.

2015 02 20 20 06 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

Workforce Analytics Modul: If it is not activitated there will be no reporting available in the SuccessFactors instance. How to activate it? In the provisioning system home page click company settings. Scroll to the section Analytics and Dashboards Tabs & Misc Reporting. In this section scroll to the Analytics Tab section. Then activate the four items Last Views (Dashboard Drilling), Spotlights View, Spreadsheet Reports and Classic Reporting. Then activate Dashboards 1.0 and Workflow Status and Score Distribution. Also activate the Reporting W2 below and Enable Schedule Export from List Views. If you want to build custom reports you can activate Ad Hoc Report iBuilder Standard Reports and Ad Hoc Report iBuilder.  And select the SuccessFactors Moduls and other categories (Rating Scale, etc.) below for whichyou want to build customize reports.

How do you grant Admin Privileges to other consultants for a specific modul?

Go to AdminTools, click Set User Permissions and select Administrative Privileges. Search for a username. Select the modul.

How to grant an employee view rights to the reports?

Go to AdminTools, click Reporting and you will see a various permissions to choose from.

How to restrict the views for employees?

You can also restrict the view based on the location of the user. A user for example in one country should not see the report  from the other country. Go to AdminTools, click Reporting and select Detailed Reporting Privileges. You can restrict the view based on Divisions, Departments, Location and HR Function. If you want to restrict a group of employees just click on the drop down list next to Find and select the group there for example With Direct Reports Only (Manager).

Where do you find the different reports?

Go to Reporting – your analytics modul. Click on the Analytics menu and on the page you will see all the available reports in the report center. You also see the 4 different types of reports listed. In the video the trainer also explains how to create a list view report. You can also schedule the export of these reports. If you have activated the relevant email notification an email will be send otherwise you can go the reporting center and select in the left menu Scheduled Reports to view your report.

2015 02 23 20 03 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

How to use the analytics portal?

Go to AdminTools, form the menu choose Reports then click on Analytics. On this page select in the left menu Ad Hoc Reports. There you have the option to create a new report (Button). Click on the button Create New Report. You then have the possibility to choose between the Single Domain and Cross Domain Report Types. Choose Single Domain. The Domain represents a modul in SuccessFactors. If you click on the picklist Report Definition type all available domains will be listed. In this example the trainer chooses the domain Employee Profile. Then click on the button Create. In this example the report name Feb Employee Profile Adhoc Report is entered. There you can choose the Report  Priority – Low, Medium, High. Then save.

Next click on People. Then select Detailed Reporting Rights. Tick Include inactive users. Then save. Click on Columns. Here you select what fields to display on the screen. Click the button Select Columns. In this example the trainer selects Username, First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, Email, Country, Address 1, Address 2, City, State, Zip Code and Divisions. Then save. No need to do anything in the configurations screen. In the last step select Filters. Here you can choose a filter based on a column. For example you want to filter on a certain division in the company or a specific city. In this example the filter is on the Country column. Select By Rule Equal to USA. If you wish you can add multiple conditions. Click Done to save it. You can also add more filters to the report. Click Generate. The report will be displayed.

You will  find on the Ad Hoc Reports page in the analytics tool the name of your report in the list of all the ad hoc reports created. Attached to the report is a drop down list. You can choose directly from here to run Run Report.

How to create a cross domain report?

On the Ad Hoc Reports page click on Create New Report.

Select from the Report Definition type drop down list the domains.

In this example the trainer chooses Employee Profile. Then click Create. On the next page you can click the button Add Domain. Enter Report Name Feb Cross Domain Report. Then click the button Add Domain and select Goal Management.

You can further domains or you can delete one.

Click People. In Team Reporting Type choose Detailed Reporting Rights. Also tick Include inactive users.

Then save.

You will see you new step. Data Sets. Click it.

You will see below Goal Planning Domain the button Select Template. There you can select against which year of Goal Management or location (based on your templates) you want to run your report.

In this example the trainer chooses all the templates.

Then save.

Click Columns and in the section Employee Profile Domain click Select Columns. In this example the columns Username, First Name, Last Name, Email, Business Phone, City, State, Zip Code and Division.

Then scroll to the section Goal Planning Domain (Goal Management). Again click on Select Columns.

In this example the columns Goal Plan ID, Goal Plan Name, Goal Plan Last Modified, Goal Plan Start Date,Goal Plan State, Goal Plan Data Last Modified, Last Modified Date, Goal Id and Goal Owner Username is selected.

Then save.

Leave the next steps Configurations and Filters as it is or choose your own settings there.

Last step is Relationships. You can choose relations between the two domains. Example Users Sys ID in Employee Profile Domain equals Goal Owner ID in Goal Planning Domain.

Run the report.

On the Ad Hoc Reporting Page you have other options in the drop down list attached to each report name.

If you choose Save as you can copy an existing Ad Hoc Report.

If you use the option Share you can allow another admin user to reuse your ad hoc report. In this case the other user cannot share it further nor can he or she edit the report settings.

You can also share with a group of people by choosing the tab Create Dynamic Group.

If you want to use run time filters in your reporting you need the advanced reporting tool from SuccessFactors.

You can also export the report to share with another user. This user just needs to go to the Ad Hoc Reports page and click on the Upload Report button and then select the report. The user can share this report with other other users.

2015 02 24 20 05 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module  

What I have learned from this video:

Dashboards are one page views and are based on reports.

You need to refresh your dashboards manually if you want to view the latest data.

Go to AdminTools, click Reporting and select Dashboards.

You will see a list of standard dashboards and your customized dashboards.

Select  show for the dashboard if you want the employees with the privileges to see them.

A dashboard can contain different portlets in different columns. You can choose between 4 types of layout.

You can only copy the standard dashboards. You can edit or delete the customized dashboards.

How to create a new dashboard?

Click the button Create New Dashboard. Enter a name for the dashboard. In this case it is Feb 2015 Dashboard. You have four different layout options. Choose Wide / Wide.

Click Insert Portlet. You will see a list of portlets. You cannot put a portlet marked as wide into a narrow column. In this example the portlet Overall Goal Status is added in the first column and Compa Ratio Distribution in the second.

Then Save Dashboards.

You can also set on the dashboard page which should be the default dashboard.

The user can click on any of the graphs to drill down.

Go to AdminTools, click Reporting and select Portlet Permissions to grant permissions to view by the  organization.

Dashboard 2.0 / Youcalc or Tiled based dashboards Framework. You need activate it in the provisioning system.

You can place these tiles also on the home page.

How you grant rights to the dashboard 2.0?

Go to AdminTools, click Set User Permissons and select Administrative Privileges.

Search for an user. Click on Dashboards / Reports and tick Youcalc: Tiles And Dashboards.

How to configure the tiles?

Go to AdminTools, click Reporting and select Manage Dashboards.

Click on Manage Standard Dashboards and YouCalc Files. You will see all the existing tiles in the organization. You can disbable, edit, download and delete these tiles.

How to add own tile?

Click  Add From Success Store. Remark: you can also add tiles from a legacy system. Choose the tile from the library and press the button Add to Instance.

In this example add Most Common Competencies.

How to build your own dashboards?

In Manage Standard Dashboards and YouCalc Files and click Build Tile.

Select a domain. In this example choose Goal Management. Name your tile. Example is: Feb 2015 GM Tile. Click on Next. You can set report type and levels. Choose Detailed Reporting in Report Type. Click Next. You can customize the Chart Type and add category. Choose Column as Chart Type. Select Goal Plan ID under Category. In Metric  add Category. In Calculation choose Count. Click Next. No filter is set. Click Next. Select Drill Down Columns for the users. In this example Goal Plan ID, Goal Plan Name, Goal ID, Category is picked. Click Next to see the Preview. Click Next. . In the Availability you can set if this tile is visible on the home page and or iPad. You have to tick Make Active. Then click Save and Exit. You need to create a Dashboard and add this new tile.

How to share your dashboard?

Go to AdminTools, click Reporting and select Manage Dashboards. Click Manage Tile Based Dashboards.Click the user icon in the action row field of the dashboard you want to share for example with all employees.

In Manage Dashboards you can also set a Manage Dashboards Filters for the users. The filters are on Department, Location, Division.

How to compare two  different periods?

Go to AdminTools, click Reporting and select Trending.

Where to configure the dates?

Go to AdminTools, click Reporting and select Performance Management Date Range.

Where to select the templates?

Go to AdminTools, click Reporting and select Processes and Forms.

2015 02 27 20 04 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

Performance Plan and Goal Plan.

How to activate the Goal Management Modul in SuccessFactors?

Go to the provisioning systems home page and click on company settings. Then scroll down to Goal Frameworks and activate Goal Management Suite. Below from the drop down menu choose Total Goal Management. Additionally you can choose what User Interface the system should use. You have the latest version Enable Goal Management V12 – requires Version 12 UI framework (Revolution) or the TGM Version 10 UI. If you want to enable Goal Transfer to allow managers to cascade their goals to their employees or to allow employees to transfer their goals to another employee you need to activate TGM/CDP Goal Transfer Wizard.

If you have employees goals in another system and you want those to import into SuccessFactors you need to select Goal Import. There is also a special tab based view on goals for employees. If you want to have this type of goal representation you need to choose My Goals Tab – For V10 and Ultra. If you want to assign goals to a group of people you need to activate Enable Group Goals 2.0  and Enable target population for group goals. And if you want to include inactive users as well you need to additionally tick Enable Group Goals 2.0 Push-down Update to Inactive Users. Inactive Users can be employees on maternity leave or on an extensive holiday. By changing those into inactive users you do not pay license fees for these users during this time. Activate the GM – PM Sync-up. If the a goal changes this should automatically change in the performance management modul as well.

In the Goal Plan Template you define what categories should be used, what fields should be displayed in the goal plan form, what permission is set for the fields and what are the route maps. I learned how the end user will enter a new goal with the Goal Wizard.

2015 03 01 07 20 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

How to manage templates?

Go to AdminTools, click Performance Management and select Manage Templates.

You will see a list of templates on Peformance Review, Goal Plan, 360 Multi Rater and Development.

Select Tab Performance Review. To create a new template click Add New Template. In this Performance Management – Self Review only is selected. Then Save. Under the General Settings you can set the Route Map and Rating Scale. Select Comp for the Route Map in this example. And for the Rating Scale choose 2014 CSV Rating Scale.

In the Edit Fields and Sections menu you can select what employee information the user will see in the form in the Employee Information subsection. In the subsection Goals you select the Goal Plan to use.

How to assign core values to Goal Plan?

In the subsection Core Values you can add the core values (core competencies) as well as the job specific ones and custom ones.

How to change a non core competency into a core value?

Go to AdminTools,in Tool Search look for Manage Competencies.

Click View Competency Libraries List, select SuccessFactors. For example click on Computer Skills and you mark here under Core, yes if it should be or no if it should not.

How to assign Role Specific Competencies?

Go to the subsection Role Specific Competencies.

If you do not want Core Values or Role Specific Competenices to be part of the goal plan just click on the bin icon next to the subsection. Then click the button Delete.

How to assign weightings for the different sections in your goal plan?

Go the Summary subsection. Here you can enter the weightings for the goals, core values and role specific competencies.

Below the Signatures section you find Add New Section if you need further sections such as a customized one in the goal plan.

Then Save.

The Goal Plan XML file is in the provivisioning system, the Performance Management and Compensation Management XML file is loaded into the instance.

How to load XML file into the instance?

Go to AdminTools, click Performance Management and select Form Template Settings.

Click on the button Upload New Form.

If you on the template in this list you will see a list of settings you can change. You can for example assign the route map. You can set Automatic Manager Transfer in case the manager will change during the review period. You can enable the SMART Goal Wizard. There are many more settings available.

2015 03 03 20 03 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

How to setup and configure the Compensation modul?

Compa Ratio = Current Salary / Industry Salary Mid Point

Range Penetration = (Current Salary – Range Minimum) / (Range Maximum – Range Minimum)

Go to the provisioning system. Go to Company Settings.

For the very first you setup a very new instance you need to active the admin configuration tool, live profile and the relevant language packs. Then as well activate the UI (User Interface): Tick Version 10 UI, Version 11 UI framework (Ultra), Version 12 UI framework (Revolution). Further select Profile V12 and Admin 2.0. Additionally enable below Admin 2.0 the Enable Compensation Admin 2.0. And you need to setup the super admin user.

Activate Compensation Management plus below Use edit-in-place for executive review edit,Compensation form UI V2,Enable Compensation Excel Offline Edit,Allow Compensation Managers to grant/revoke planner permission via UI,Enable YouCalc widget on compensation form,Enable Compensation Employee Profile.

Executive review means any manager in the hierarchy is granted view and editing rights on the compensation profile of all the team members under his or her hierarchy.

Enable Compensation Employee Profile to let the user view their personal compensation statement in their profile.

You can also activate below the Ad Hoc Report Builder Compensation Eligibility and Compensation Planning.

To work with compensation modul ensure that the Goal Management Suite and Goal Import is activated.

Go to AdminTools, click Set User Permission and select Adminstrative Privileges.

Search for all admin users and make sure they have the rights to the compensation modul.

Then you need to load the file with the employee names and additional information required for the compensation such as hierarchy details.

It takes a 1 to 2 minutes. Then go to the instance and go to My Employee Profile. Then choose from the menu Company Info. Search for one of the employees in the list. In this example Marla Gibbs. See if the reporting lines for her are correct.

In the next step activate Always enable proxy lookup and Enable Advanced Proxy Management.

Go to AdminTools, search in Tool Search for Proxy Management. On the page you will find the tick boxes to activate proxy lookup and proxy management.

Set permission for the people involved in the compensation process.

Go to Admin Tools, click Set User Permission and select Manage Compensation Management Privileges. Usually select With Direct Reports Only. Click the button Grant Compensation Management Permission.

You can also grant permission for a particular user. Just click on Manage Compensation Management permission security through individual users.

Email Notification Settings is the next step. Deactivate all email notification to avoid users receive emails when you are just mass uploading employee information and setting up the system. The only email notification active at this point for the end user is Password Changed Notification and Forget Password Support Notification. Also do not deactivate User Import Notification, Mass Create Compensation Notification, Group Import Notification, Live Profile Import Notification, Goal Import Notification, Report Process Notification, Success Email Approver Notification and Notify Calibration Rating Changes during Session Finalization.

2015 03 04 20 03 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

Import Goals with the Goal plan file template in a csv format to the Successfactors instance. ID of the file has to be same as the XML Template loaded to the provisioning system before. Go to Admin Tools, click the Goal Management icon and select the Import Goals option. After the import validate if the goals have been assigned correctly to the users. Select one user and then select in switch plan the correct goal plan template to show the goals for the user.

Next you need to load the file with job family and roles and competencies. Go to AdminTools,click the icon Company Settings, select Import job roles. Then import the relevant csv file. It can take 1 to 2 minutes to load.

Go to AdminTools and search for Manage Job Roles. You will get an overview of all the job families. If you click on job family you will then go the screen where all the roles of this job family are listed. When you click on the role it will open the page where it shows the required competencies for this role.

Next step is to link the jobcode to the paygrade. Go to Admin Tools, click the Compensation Icon, select Actions for all plans, from the menu Salary Plans choose Job Code & Pay Grade Mapping. Then you load the csv file with job codes and the pay grades.

Next is to setup Performance Management by adjusting the rating scale for each country. Go To Admin Tools, click Company Settings and select Rating Scale Designer.

After this step you need to Manage Route Maps. Go to Admin Tools, click Company Settings and Manage Route Maps. Here you define the people involved in the review process and the time Iines. Example: Employee Review, Manager Review and CompAdmin Review.

In the next step you load PM form template. Go to Admin Tools, select Performance Management and choose Form Template Settings. Then import the relevant xml template file. Go to Admin Tools, click Performance Management and select  Manage Templates. Then go to the Tab Performance Review. Your new template will be listed there. Open the relevant PM Form Template. Choose Edit Fields and Sections and click Performance Goals. See here if the right Goal Plan Template is linked.

Go to Admin Tools, click Performance Management and select Launch Forms. Choose the right Performance Template from the drop down list. Select the right dates. Then in the next step select the group of employees for example based on location. It will take 1 to 2 minutes to launch the form to all users. Then go to one of the users and select from the menu Home the item Performance. You should find the launched form in the list.

2015 03 06 20 02 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

How to set the salary range?

Go to AdminTools, click Compensation and select Actions for all plans.

From the menu Salary Plans choose Salary Ranges.

You will get a list of salary pay matrices. Click one of them.

It will show the table with pay grades and ranges. The list can include hourly paid as well as full time.

The position needs to be set in column Promotable to true if this role can be promoted to the next level.

There are additional rows available for each position. If you need to differentiate the salary range  based on the location or division or other attributes within the organization you can use these rows.

Under Salary Ranges you can create additional salary pay matrices. Once created you can import the associated salary pay matrices file.

From the menu Stock Plans select Stock Value Tables.

You see a list of stock value tables. Also you can create a new one and import the associated file for it.

How to provide the Currency Conversion Tables?

From the menu All Plans choose Currency Conversion Table.

Again here you see a list of currency conversion tables. You can also create a new one and import the related file.

If you have the compensation period of six months but want to refresh the currency conversion more frequent you need to use the same currency conversion table and edit the value there.

How to load the compensation plan template?

You need to use the ID of the performance management template to integrate with the compensation plan template because you need the performance ratings.

Go to the provisioning system and click on company settings. Scroll to Form Template Administration and click it. There you have the list of all templates with their IDs.

Select  the ID from the relevant performance plan template.

Then open the compensation plan template xml file. Search for the comp-rating-source tag. In the attribute  form-id enter the ID of the performance management template.

Load the compensation plan template into the instance. Go to AdminTools, in Tool Search  enter Form Template Settings. There  click  on Upload New Form. Name the new template. Browse and then click on Upload Form Template.

You will receive an error  if you did not  provide the Salary tab, the Bonus tab and the Stock tab name in the xml file.

In the compensation plan xml file search for salarytab and in the tag enter a name for the salary tab. Do the same for bonustab and stocktab.

This is optional. In the document outline click on the comp-pay-matrix tag. In the , and tags enter the respective names. See alternative  way below.

After you have loaded the compensation plan to the instance go to AdminTools,click Compensation and select Actions for all plans. On the left side all compensation plans are listed. Click on the new compensation plan template. In the Plan Setup under Settings you can also select from the drop down list the relevant Exchange Rate Template for this plan. The same you can do for the Salary pay matrix. And you can associate you approval process with the right route map. Then save.

Launch the compensation plan template. Go to the next step Manage Worksheets. Click on Create Worksheets. Enter a unique name for your worksheet. Select the date range. Then you can select a single user to launch to or click on Launch worksheet for specific group. You can select an existing group or create a new one. For the new group you can set the compensation budget (salary, bonus, stock, bonus)

In the Plan Setup in Plan Details you can also add a new rating source. It can be a form in the drop down list or you can use an import key.

In settings you can also set the proration dates.

2015 03 13 20 26 SAP Successfactors Online Training Intro Mastery Module

What I have learned from this video:

How to set percentage for the proration dates in percentage manually? How to manually upload the data?

Go to AdminTools, click Compensation and select Actions for  all plans.

Select the relevant plan. In this example 2015 March Compensation Plan.

Scroll down to Calculation Settings. In the subsection Salary proration activate Prorate based on percentage. Then Save.

Then select from the Menu All Plans Employee Data Export. In the section Specify Compensation Data Using Options tick Include User Compensation Data. Then tick Include Imported compensation fields(1). Select the relevant compensation template. In this example it is  2015 March Compensation Plan Template. Click Export User File.

In the downloaded the csv file you will the column SALARY_PRORATING. Here you will find the percentages. Enter here manually the percentage rate for the respective employee(s). Save the file.

In the same place in Actions for all plans import the updated file. From All Plans select Employee Data Import. Select the relevant Compensation Template. In this example it is 2015 March Compensation Plan Template. Then you can tick different options on what else should be updated when you import the compensation plan. In this example in the section Changes in Eligibility Update Budget is ticked. Then click Import User File. It can take 1 to 2 minutes to load.

Now in Action for all plans select your compensation plan template. Then select Manage Worksheets and click on the Manage Worksheets button and select the relevant compensation plan template to launch and delete all others. Then save.

Next click the Launch Worksheet button. Enter a unique Worksheet name. Set the plan start and end dates and the due date. Then in Step 3 Select Worksheets to Create tick Create for Head of Planning only. Then click Find Employees and enter the respective name. Click Launch Plan.

The prorates were not displayed. Trainer needs to come back with an update.

How do you calculate your budget in the compensation module?

Go to Compensation Plan Template. In the menu Plan Details in Plan Setup select the item Budget.

You can edit the budget calculation. You can select several components. Merit, finalSalary, Total Pay, Total Increase, Promotion, Adjustment, Lump Sum, Discretionary Bonus, Emp Tier, Hire Date, Previous Year Merit, Previous Year Salary, testt,  Employee Tier. You can choose different modes, such as PercentOfCurSal, PercentOfMerit Target, Percent Of Lumpsum Target,etc. Direct Amount.. In Budget Value you can choose the percentage.

2015 03 19 20 31 SAP Successfactors Online Training Employee Central 

What I have learned from this video:

How to load the standard data model into the provisioning system?

Go to the homepage in the provisioning system. Scroll to the Succession Management section. There are seven Links to load the different data models. You need all those to set up the Employee Central Modul. You need to load them in below order.

First click Import/Export Coporate Data Model. Then click the button Choose File. Then click Submit.

Next select Import/Export Country Specific XML for Corporate Data Model. Same steps as in the first one.

After this step choose Import/Export Data Model. And then in the next step choose Import/Export Country Specific XML for Succession Data Model.

Finally import the three outstanding Data Models: Import/Export HRIS, Import/Export Rules XML for EventReason Derivation, Import/Export Rules XML for Workflow Derivation.

If you have customized your data model and there is a new release with a new data model. You need to customize the new data model and load it again into the provisioning system.

Like always you have to set up the superadmin in the provisioning system. And when this admin logs into the instance for the first time, this person needs to go to AdminTools and click on Set User Permissions to grant him or herself the rights to access the different moduls. First this person needs to grant for itself the Role Based Permission Access. Then this superadmin will configure all the permissions for the various roles in the system. There is a standard setup already available. In the next step the superadmin will add users to the different roles.

This is different to the talent management setup. Here you do not need to customize the XML file.

How to configure Business Rules?

Go to AdminTools and search for Configure Business Rules.

2015 03 20 22 04 SAP Successfactors Online Training Employee Central 

What I have learned from this video:

If the visibility attribute is set to none in the data model xml model file, no data can be imported for this field.

If it is set to to both, it can manipulated by the user (read/write).

You have Foundations Objects, Generic Objects, Employment Objects, Person Objects.

Foundation Objects are the building block for the organization. These are Organization Structures, Job structures, legal entity (Company, BU), pay structures. This is part of the corporate data model.

The Generic Objects are Position Information, Vacation, etc…. It does not belong to a data model. Time Management as well is part of the generic objects.

The Employment Objects contain compensation data of emp., hire date of employee, job related information, etc….. It is part of the succession data model and also some of it is in the corporate data model (Job level, Job function)

In Personal Objects you have personal address, dependents, personal email, phone no.,… This is part of the success data model.

Where to see the corporate data in the instance?

Go to AdminTools, in Tool Search enter Manage Organization, Pay and Job Structures.

Select the arrow of the drop down list next to create new. Here you will see the different data object. In this example Legal Entity is selected.

I learned how to capture the client requirements in regards to customization of the data model and how to configure the requirements in the xml file.

How to customize the views?

Go to AdminTools and search for Manage Configuration UI.

You can add more fields and change the order of the fields.

You can also set an end-date. In the example of employees when their contract ends. In order to have the end-date field you need to make it visible and editable in the xml file. By default this field is not visible.

2015 03 23 20 33 SAP Successfactors Online Training Employee Central 

What I have learned from this video:

Where to find the standard association in the successfactors instance?

Go to AdminTools and search for Manage Organization, Pay and Job Structures.

Within the Division you can add a new Business Unit. This way you can build the hierarchy of the organization in the system. In department you can add a new department associated to your divison as well.

In the corporate data model xml file you will find the association under the location tag . The association is to the company and the geozone. You can have multiple associations.

If you go to the division tag in the xml file you will find the above configured associations.

How to create Propagation Rules?

Go to AdminTools, click Update User Information and select Add New Employee.

Select a company. Then choose from the Event Reason Picklist Acquired employee.

Enter details for new employee. When you go to Job information  and select the Business Unit some fields will be prepolutated according to the propagation rules.

You have a propagation data model xml file called HRIS Propagation Configuration XML file.

In the propagate foundation-element-id company tag you can see the propagation rule for standard hours to be prepolated the standard hour field in the job info.

In the corporate data model xml go to the company tag and look for hris-field id standardHours.

2015 03 24 20 32 SAP Successfactors Online Training Employee Central  

What I have learned from this video:

Manage Mass Changes.

Go to AdminTools and search for Manage Mass Changes.

How to create positions and maintain them and establish the hierarchy?

Go to AdminTools and search for Manage Positions.

Select from the Drop Down Menu Create the item Positions.

Before you can use this tool you need to activate it in the provisioning system.

In the provisioning system home page click on company settings.

In the section Employee Central tick Enable Position Management.

The position management depends on the Generic data model. This need to be active as well.

How to configure the manage position fields?

Go to AdminTools, click Company Settings and select Configure Object Definitions.

Make the field position id read only. Therefore the select the field code.

How to set number ranges?

You need to have a sequence object in place with the defined number range. Go to AdminTools and search for Manage Sequence. Select from the Create New picklist the item Sequence. Enter the externalCode and the externalName. Then set a start number and set the step. Then Save.

Go to AdminTools and search for Configure Business Rules.

Click on Create New Rule. Set a Rule ID and then select the Base Object which is Position.

Then enter a Rule Name. Select a start date. Then from the picklist Rule Type choose Position Management.

Then enter your rule.

If Position ID is equal to Null Then Set Position ID to be equal Format Number() Template Text Position_ and Number Get Next Value() and Sequence Value March_Pos. Then Save.

How to activate the rule?

You need to associate it to the position object.

Go to AdminTools and search for Configure Object Definitions.

Search for position. Scroll all the way down to click on Details.

You can add to different Events different rules. Like validate Rules or when the user saves the position.

Which Content was Shared More than 111 Million Times on the Internet in the Last 12 Months?

May 17, 2015


It wasn’t easy to find out what is the most viral content shared during the last 12 months on the internet.
With the help of Buzzsumo I was finally able to identify the most viral content. And I was quite surprised about the first place.

And the winner is:
“Which birth dates are most common”? So far this post was shared 111.5 million times alone on twitter.
If you are good in math and biology you could calculate the month(s) in which you are most likely to get lucky.


In the second place is “Which Song Was Actually Written About YOU?” on
with only 5.6 million shares. 99% of shares were on facebook. It is a quiz.

The third place is held by Ellie Goulding with her official video – Love Me Like You Do.
This video received 4.3 million shares with the majority on facebook.

And here the 50 most shared content – this stats are from 17th of March:
Content outliers: Learning from the Web’s Most Viral Content

If you can beat this viral content please let me know.

Scribble – Learn a New Language in Just One Day – Toki Pona

May 13, 2015


Oh what would happen if you had a stroke or an accident and lost your language  and you had to relearn it from scratch? How about this would happen to a person close to you? What about if your child suddenly couldn’t hear or speak ? It would take years to learn the sign language.

Sonja Lang invented a simple language that can be learned in one day. See the result below:

There are many other situations where it would be beneficial to have a language that can be learned in such a short time span. Think about people who fall in love with each other but do not speak the same language. Or think about people travelling to a country where they do not know the local language. In a very short time the host and the guest could communicate. Hotel and Restaurtant owners could indicate if they had mastered Toki Pona. The same would be apply for other business and other work related matters.

Specific in sports think about a trainer going to train in a language he or she cannot speak. Together with the new team the trainer could learn Toki Pona in a short. The same applies to expert going abroad to each very needed skills.

Sonja Lang  used the Pidgin-word tok (in English talk) und the adjective from Esperanto bona (in English good) to name her new language Toki Pona “the simple language of good”. Sonja is a linguist and speaks five languages one of them is Esperanto. The reason for her to develop this new language was to overcome her depression. According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis the language affects the way we think. It helped her to work through problems because Toki Pona strips away all the complexity of our mother language. With Toki Pona she could see patterns and how things are connected in a different way. ¨Reference The Globe and Mail

Pekka Roponen in Finland central hospital of Hameenlinnan says Toki Pona focuses on the positive thought so negative thought pattern can be eliminated. Reference The Globe and Mail

Toki Pona consists of 120 words. It takes about net two hours to learn the whole vocabulary. You could learn it during a morning or afternoon. There are many Toki Pona courses on Memrise. So from whatever language background people come they probably find a course for Toki Pona on Memrise. The main Toki Pona course has currently 977 students.

Toki Pona is receiving a lot of attention just lately. A recent article in the Guardian received over 550 shares on the various social media sites.

To communicate in Toki Pona you need to follow 10 simple grammar rules.

There is also now a Toki Pona sign language.

If you want to learn the language there are several resources:

The official book by Sonja Lang: Toki Pona: The Language of Good and a pdf file.

The Memrise Courses to learn the vocabulary. They are free.

Toki Pona Lessons by jan Lope. I take the free lessons from jan Pije.

Also free Lessons on YouTube:

There is also a Toki Pona Facebook Group with 750 members and a Toki Pona Forum with approximately 15 000 posts.

Jonathan Gabel developed a visual approach to Toki Pona. He created a number of glyphs.

On Omniglot you will some useful phrases in Toki Pona.

I noticed that most of the learning material could be improved. Benny Lewis has developed an excellent process to become fluent in any language in three months. How would his methodology improve the learning and teaching of Toki Pona? Tim Ferris has also an interesting approach to analyse the difficulty of a language with 8 sentences. This is another way to get people engaged early on. Then with Kato Lomb she gives excellent advice on how to use extensive reading to learn languages. So also something to add in order to help more people to get into  Toki Pona to solve their life challenges. Last but not least I wonder how fast a memory champion could learn this language. And what memo techniques can accelerate the learning. Their are many opportunities to ease the learning and motivate people based on the latest research such as gamification of learning.

What I would like to find out in the Toki Pona community is if someone had a real live examples where learning the language helped to overcame such obstacles that I had described at the beginning of my blog posts. Was Toki Pona used in AI ? dose not speak Toki Pona. There is one on Github called reserbot. Try to understand if the gini at wolfram research speak Toki Pona.

How I would learn the language?

Explain the first simple concept by comparing to how many words to be fluent in English, how many words in Esperanto, what are the 1000 most frequently used words in English, compare also the list of

Think about a language beginner with a restricted vocabulary or think about the guessing game of an object. – Concept of Toki Pona.

Let the user pick a noun from the first 5 introduced in jan Pije’s course.

Then use and introduce the pronunciation – see for audio on toki pona.

Also compare to the IPA – international phonetics alphabet on and write toki pona pronounciation in IPA.

Another opportunity to practice your new language skills.

How fast could a computer learn this language ? Have a competition between a human and a AI. Add Tim Ferris How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour (Plus: A Favor) and Benny Lewis 12 Rules for Learning Foreign Languages in Record Time — The Only Post You’ll Ever Need and the advice of Kato Lomb

Scribble – Learn to Read Your First Book in Chinese

May 12, 2015

it took me below 3.2 hours to learn to read my first book, When I read my first book The secret Garden I was amazed how fluent I was able to read it without consulting a dictionary It can be done faster, My questions are: how to teach others? who else written about the subject? where do people talk about this subject? who are the expert in this field?

Research on who and what is out there:

Buzzsumo: : The new paperless revolution in Chinese reading

Total Shares 253 facebook and twitter

Learn to read Chinese most shared: GIVEAWAY! WINK to LEARN Speak & Read Chinese Program Review + Promotion! several top shares

search on Chinese:

This Chinese Music Video Is Every kind Of WTF 596 800 Shares

Millions share new Chinese character   167 400 Shares

Analyse new character , break up into components


Use Text song for learning.

search on Mandarin:

Of Course Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Fluent Mandarin   78 900 Shares

Leave comment

Australian Man Wakes From Coma Speaking Fluent Mandarin Proving Again the Brain is a Wonderous Thing  72 200 Shares

Leave comment – can this man also read

Amber shows off her Mandarin skills on 100% Entertainment    26 000 Shares

Leave comment

Chinese Reading: This Video Will Teach You To Read Chinese In 10 Minutes.

34.1 K shares mainly on facebook Learn to read your first text in Chinese in under 10 minutes and then take this test. “Learning Chinese in 7 Minutes” Ted Talk by ShaoLan. Linkedin

It is traditional Chinese and not the simplified version although most of the are the same. You will learn the English word but not the Chinese Pronounciation and the pinyin of the character. The pinyin is useful if you want to type a Chinese character on a PC.


Profile:  Example that ShaoLan shared with the audience.

Fascinating. My kids (9 + 5 years)  just learned eight characters in 2 Minutes.

First Row: 1) Fire 2)Tree 3)Sun 4)Moon Second Row: 5)Human Being 6)Mouth 7)Door 8)Mountain

You learn 43 characters in 10 minutes. With these you cannot form sentences.

If you go by the course one memrise the first thousand words in Chinese, you are able to form sentences already after the first 15 words you have learned.

Scribble CaseStudy – Can a Amateur Like Me Learn to Write a Viral Blog Post?

May 11, 2015

Is it really possible to learn how to create viral content or is it sheer luck? Does is need a magic gift that only few possess or is true craftsmanship ? I wrote this blog post for all those amateur bloggers like myself. My goal is to have a proven methodology, a validated process, the right tools and all the key ingredients in one place. So whenever I set out to write my next “viral” content I do not have to put all the relevant bits and pieces of advice from various resources together. I have come across a number of very good research and case studies lately. These insights also confirmed to me to incorporate the experiences of Leonardo Da Vinci. He followed a very systematic approach in order to create the most famous paintings. For Leonardo Da Vinci patience is the first key ingredients to mastery. Most painters he observed where rushing to complete their paintings instead of having the patience to focus on the quality of their drawing. The second key ingredients is science. He measured intensively all the objects and human beings to find out about their  proportions. He studied people until he identified the key face muscles involved in their emotions. Up until a few days ago though I believed that viral content is either created by magician with a divine gift or pure luck. Then I came across a blog post with the title “Case Study: How to Increase Your Traffic by 226% in Just 60 Days” by  on (350 Total Shares – Buzzsumo) . Guy Kawasaki had shared this case study on Linkedin. The title itself  isn’t really attractive, yet the content is. It changed my view and got me exited to dig deeper into the subject.  on shared his research insights on what makes a blog post become viral. In summary it is: – Length of content:  2000-2500 words – A Case study performs better than author advice – Number of Images: 15+ and they need to be relevant – Lists perform better than feature articles – Titles should be long and descriptive – The author should have credibility in his domain At least I am very credible. I have never a written a blog post in my entire blogger life of seven years that went viral. I didn’t even write one blog post that was shared by anyone except myself. I was intrigued. Can someone like me learn to write a viral blog post at all or am I a lost case? The article is full of practical and extremely useful advice, but I was lacking answers still to a number of questions. What is the effort required to write such a long and sharable article? What additional research tools do I need to create the content for this article? Where do I find all these relevant pictures for my post? What is the threshold when a blog post is considered to be a viral one? What are all the process steps from beginning to end? Well, I started to dig deeper into the subject and found this article “Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us” by Noah Kagan at OkDork. 7200 Shares on social media (buzzsumo) It is a research done by Buzzsumo. Their conclusion is:

  1. Inspire awe, laughter, or amusement.
  2. Appeal to people’s narcissistic side (think BuzzFeed quizzes)
  3. Long-form content has less competition, and more shares on average. 2000 words+
  4. List posts and infographics are more likely to be shared.
  5. Make sure your article inspires trust. Have a byline, and bio. Make sure you have a professional logo and design as well.
  6. Mix text with visually appealing elements.
  7. Implement social metadata such as the Facebook preview image
  8. Reach out to influencers before you write your content.
  9. Promote your articles after it’s been published for a week
  10. Tuesday is the best day to publish and promote content

In the next step I look even further into the research. There is one researcher that stands out – Jonah Berger. Include a short description of his research and his book. Contagious… written by Jonah Berger + Kary Milkman and their research “What Makes Online Content Go Viral?” link to PDF Research Also John Doherty What Kind of Content Gets Links in 2012 showed that long posts over 2000 words receive more links. Lot’s of more great findings what the characteristics of a viral blog posts are. But still again what is the best way to put those into practice? I decided first of all to work on a concrete example. This is the best way for me to learn new concepts and methods. At the end of this journey I want to have a blog post that has all the potential to turn into a viral one. For my project I chose the topic of Learning To Read Chinese. Oh, wow how attractive is that? Noop. Definitely there needs to be some more magic sauce to this title. But this is something left to the end of the journey towards the viral blog post. What is viral ? How do you measure it ? Before I set out on the journey I need to understand what are the key performance indicators that make a blog post to be considered as viral? Look at the most shared content – what is the maximum? Share the suggestion of one blogger to benchmark against own content and then multiply by 10, or use tools like buzzsumo and see how related content performed, what is possible with the topic. It is about number of sharing, number of links not views (could be through Web searches), not number of comments. If you want more comments usually shorter posts perform better) 3 Secrets To Writing Blog Posts That Go Viral by Bryan Hutchinson at WriteToDone suggests a viral post has an extremely high number of shares compared to the number of shares for your average post. Example if you had a total shares of 10  in average for your blog post and you receive 10-20 times more shares for your blog post you can considered this as a viral post. How to write quality content ? Link to the MOOC on effective writing, mention the Harvard article on the phases of effective writing and link to the most shared article on effective writing. Mary Jacksch 200 000 Shares(?) How to create viral content ? “Even if nine out of 10 read the first few paragraphs and leave, the 10th person would be enough to begin building a loyal following.” Time Urban/Andrew Finn founder of Wait but Why. Ezine Article – How To Create A Viral Blog Post – Advise improve on what went viral already – and here how the process looks like Noah Robertson Fastcompany: Buzzfeed, PlayBuzz, ViroaNova, Upworthy Example: Wait but Why has 63 articles with over 2000 words, average of 300 000 to 600 000 shares , Comments in the 1000s Wait but Why Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy   2000 000 shares Tim Urbans advice: you need to be exited about your content. Content needs to be in easy digestible chunks separated by images. Maximum eight big paragraphes per chunk. Effort: About 50-100 hrs research and disuccion, about 80 hrs to write and edit it.

1.  Scribble – Empty Your Head The first step I usually take is to scribble like the baby in the picture. This is the phase of the “right” brain. The right brain is used for creative and meta thinking while our left brain is our judge, our analytic side. The key is to be wildly creative. If you start researching and start reading other posts you will frame your mind. It will already focus you in one direction. Become the madman (see Harvard Business Review). I write down everything I already know about the topic and the questions I still have. In this phase I do no worry about structure, grammar, spelling, format and design and of course not about the main title. In my concrete example I wrote down that it took me below 32 hours to learn to read my first book, that it can be done faster, the first book I read, how amazed I was and the question: how to teach others, has someone else written about the subject, where do people talk about this subject, who are the expert in this field? If you are unsure if this topic is really in demand you can go to step 3 research. There are number of tools to find out about the current interest into your topic. Before you finally decide you might go back and think if there is a different way / perspective to look at the subject and if there is a link to a subject that is currently trending. 2. Outcome You might also at this point start to think about the outcome. What do you expect out of your post? leads, subscribers, page ranking, income, learning, new contacts, networking, pleasure, …. see Buzzfeed’s guide to viral content on 10 Brilliant Strategies to Writing Viral Content outcomes (Deborah Jian Lee) are: form of readers, subscribers, advertisers, raising awareness for an important issue, brand recognition and financial success. In my case I would like to help people to learn to read Chinese more effectively, draw attention to my mission and if possible create an extra income. I would also like to see how my viral blog post process works out and how much effort it required. Especially in my case I have a full-time job and a family. Blogging just needs to happen on the side line. Also I am interested on the macro economical impact. A lot of people do all this work for free, yet they have indirectly an impact on the GDP. But we do not account for it in our statistics. Blog posts can lead to other people become more effective and efficient in their work. 2. Mind mapping

3. Research I collected  advise from the Top 50 Blogs to Learn Blogging – The Ultimate List of Blogging Blogs by Joseph Adediji at I was looking for advice on research tools and how to create viral content. Yet most their advice is focused on traffic. The Must-have Blog Post Topic Generation Tool by Eric Siu of Evergreen Search Weekend Project: Research the Audience You Want … but Don’t Have by Logan Marshall of the Free Life Project Buffer Social: 39 Blogging Tools To Help You Work Faster Write Better , And Land More Readers by Kevan Lee Where is the topic discussed and what is the challenge? Quora Yahoo Answers Amazon Reviews – look specifically for the negative ones Reddit LinkedIn Pulse Ezine Articles Research Tools: I am using the following research process.

First I would do a search via a Google. In my example I use learn to read Chinese, read Chinese book, learn Chinese. I enter the search term and all the urls into an excel file. In this phase I also highlight words that I think could become part of my title. For example I noticed a lot of people look for free resources on Chinese.

Second for each of the search result I would write down the unique urls found in the search results. I usually take the first 20 Google search results.

In the third step I go to Alexa and determine for each url their global ranking in their best country ranking.

Fourth I look at the top 5 keywords that drive traffic to their side.

And in the fifth step I look which side the visitor came from immediately before?

And sixth I note down the top 5 sites that link to this site. In the last step on Alexa I look at what sites are related to this one. Next I would take all these urls from the google search and run  each through Buzzsumo. Buzzsumo will tell me what was top most content shared from this website.

A short remark at this point. In your research it can happen that you come across a topic that is even more exiting. In this case you would just restart the whole process again or merge the two topics. This happened to me. I came across the artificial language Toki Pona that can be learned in just one day and mastered to fluency in two days. I immediately started a scribble for this new topic.

You have done all the research around the main domains related to your topic. Now you can check Buzzsumo again directly with your search words from your google search. I was surprised to find sites that were totally unrelated to the topic but achieved extremely high shares around a post on their site. In my case it is “Market Research”:

How popular is the content ? Google+ Trending Twitter YouTube

Social Media Shares: Buzzsumo SocialMention Google Trends  and Social Mention

Twitter trends: Topsy, Twittorati

Facebook or use the Content Strategy Generator Tool  from Daniel Butler SEOGadget. It will search through Twitter, Goolgle Search Trends, YouTube Trends, Reddit, Google News,  Rad URLs, All Things Now, LinkedIn Pulse, Digg and some other sources in one go and display the result in a google spreadsheet. Audience of a specific blog and top posts: Alexa showed me the global rank and how the site ranks in the US. Also what are the key search words and which are the key sites that drive traffic to it. Quantcast If the publisher hasn’t implemented Quantcast Measurement it won’t show of course any results. Semrush Gives you the most detail about the website 4. Influencer & Experts Reach out to all the people you mention in your blog post or you link to. Also reach out to all the photographers. Influencers: Guy Kawasaki, Elon Musk, Richard Branson People who produced viral content: see Jack Shepherd, editorial director Buzzfeed, Huffington Post also Tim Urban at Wait but Why. Neetzan Zimmermann most popular blogger posts 10 to 15 times per day 5. Write Don’t go for quantity go for quality. No need to write 2000 words or more if you can explain the problem you want to solve for the reader in less words. See Structure: Summary at the beginning who, what, where, when, why Guy Kawasaki/Peg Fitzpatrick The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users explain what happened, explain what something means, explain how to do something and surprise the reader see According to Nielson users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average web page visit Make sure your first point is as strong as your last. Under promise and over deliver. 6. Emotions What emotion do you evoke with your post? Emotion that arouse (high-arousal) the reader awe, anger, anxiety see Jonah Berger What is awe? See definition Jonah Berger Book and Blogpost Ian Lurie on how to write emotionally 7. Design Content is King ? The Content is King Myth Debunked – Research by Elizabeth Silence: 94% cited design problems Check your design vs. content shared in your niche and try to outperform if possible Also considered the user-experience Formatting: see Marketing Tip: How to Write the Article that Will Go “Viral” Read an F Pattern Top and and left of page then Z Pattern Zoom to charts ?. Include Pictures Buffer Social: 39 Blogging Tools To Help You Work Faster Write Better , And Land More Readers by Kevan Lee ?. Keyword Suggestion Tool Ubersuggest Google AdWords Keyword Planner Keyword Tool ?. Title 100+ Blog Post Title Templates That Grab Attention : How to Write The Perfect Headline: The Top Words Used in Viral Headlines by Kevan Lee at buffersocial Ripenn analysis 62 characters average length of a viral headline Portent Title Maker HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator Emotional Marketing Value Headliner Analysis ?. Quality Check Hemingway Grammarly ?. Check Outcome Define next minimal action the user should take and the maximum next step. Next minimal step could be share the post, leave a comment or maximum step give me business.

Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, from C2RMF retouched

Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, from C2RMF retouched

?. Publishing ?. Distribution see Kawasaki/Fitzpatrick: two or three sentences on Google+ and Facebook and 100 characters on Twitter Neetzan Zimmermann repetition, repost on twitter Buffer Social: 39 Blogging Tools To Help You Work Faster Write Better , And Land More Readers by Kevan Lee Timing: 9 am and noon EST best time for posts , Tuesday, LinkedIn Monday EST X. Follow Up Neetzan: Thank and favourite or retweet those that have shared your content – follow them back. Offer thoughtful comments Storify  How-To: Write Articles That Go Viral On Social Media (10 Tips) by Daniel Zeevi at Effort: I am now at 712 words. So far I spent 6 hours on research and 2 hrs on writing this article. This is a scribble. Therefore it is work in progress. What would you think how much time it will take to write a viral blog post? What key steps to take to get there? What viral content have you created? Do you want join the quest? Do you plan to create your first viral content? Plus 5 hours Plus 2 hours Writing Services: see How to make content go viral Bio: Peter Palme – Change & Development Manager. My passion and ambition is to help companies harness the power of the internet for learning. contact:

Learning Languages More Effectively Through Extensive Reading Practice

April 30, 2015

Dr. Kató Lomb (1909-2003) spoke 16 languages. Born in Hungary she learned English her first language at the age of 24! She is also was one of the first simultaneous interpreters in this world. In this free pdf ebook she describes how she used extensive reading to learn so many languages. Many polyglots use the same approach as Kató Lomb.

Prof. Stephen Krashen is well known for his research on extensive reading. He says “is the most powerful tool we have in language education, first and second”.

To read in a foreign language requires effort. Therefore Stephen Krashen and Kató Lomb recommend to find text the reader really engages with. It should be something you would also read for pleasure in your native language.

The second recommendation is not to interrupt reading by consulting the dictionary for each new word. Kató Lomb says keep on reading. If the word is important it will show up in another context. Over time you will sense what the unknown word could mean. If you still haven’t understood the meaning of the new word or text go back and reread it. You will be astonished how much more you will understand the second time and then the third time.

Why this method works ? Our brains are build to decipher patterns. This is how we orientate ourselves. Think of the last time you had to walk or drive to a new place. And how was it when you walked or drove this new way the next time? How much more did you recognize along the way which you couldn’t when you navigated it for the first time.

See the example below how well our brains decipher patterns:

“fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too. Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghi t pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.”

Research on extensive Reading:

1) “Extensive reading enhanced vocabulary recognition, reading performance and general performance ” See

2) “Despite the fact that ER develops FL learners‟ L2 vocabulary, grammar, spelling, reading speed, reading comprehension and reading motivation, it did not improve the participants‟ motivation for speaking across the proficiency levels” See

The Fastest Way to Learn to Read Chinese

January 8, 2015

I have met many people who became fluent in speaking Chinese in 6 months. Chinese does not have very complex grammar rules such as the slavic languages. It was also quite easy for myself. It took me longer to become fluent in French and I gave up on Russian at some point, because of the complex grammar. Benny Lewis, who is a well-known polyglot and blogger on rapid language acquisition achieved an okay fluency even in three months – see his blog. Benny Lewis also wrote an excellent bestselling book about his process and tactics of rapid language acquistion. Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World.

What is much more challenging is to learn to read.  This is not only a challenge for foreigners but also for the Chinese as well. Especially Chinese growing up outside chinese speaking countries find this particular difficult. It takes the first four years in school for chinese children to learn to read and write their first 1000 characters! This is not a fun process because it is mainly through continuous rather boring rote learning.

I found a way to learn to read the first 950 most important characters in 2 months and even had a lot of fun with it. All in all it took me just under 32 hours of my time. Now I am reading my first Chinese Book without consulting a dictionary . Actually I could have even done it in much less than 32 hours. As I am travelling a lot I used my iPhone mostly where I only type with one finger. On my laptop where I can use my ten fingers I am of course much faster. Usually I spent around 3-5 minutes to work on my course and I have done so several times a day. When I wait for the train, when I am in the train, when I wait for the plane, when I am in the plane, when I have a short coffee brake, when I am in the bathroom, when I wake up or before I go to sleep. You will be surprised how many 3-5 minutes slots you can find each day which I didn’t noticed before. I done all this while having a 120% job, a family and a few days a week when I look after the children and the household while my wife is on a business trip.

I only had a slight advantage as I knew still a few (less than 100) of the most important characters from my Chinese Studies at University 20 years ago.  In 2014 I also had picked up frequency lists on the internet and tried out the books “Remembering Simplified Hanzi: Book 1, How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Chinese Characters” by James Heisig and Timothy Richardson and the beautiful book on Chinese Characters “Chineasy: The New Way to Read Chinese” by Shaolan, “Turbo Chinese (English Edition)” by Saurabh Sharma and the well known Tuttle Learning Chinese Characters: A Revolutionary New Way to Learn and Remember the 800 Most Basic Chinese Characters. I had no success with these books because by the time I started to learn the 1000 most important characters I had forgotten almost all of them.

To sum it up even if you have never learned any Chinese characters before you would still need roughly the same net time as it took myself. But what could differ is the period of time. Instead of 2 months maybe it will take you two to four weeks longer. It all depends on the amount of characters you can learn per day and the frequency.

So what was the method I used to finally succeed with? I signed up for the course “Chinese words spoken by frequency 0-1000” by Ben Whately on Memrise. Memrise uses the state of the art of the latest in neurosciences and learning research. It uses the right spaced repetitions, learning chunks, social learning methodologies, reward system and mnemonics to keep learners engaged. And on top of all it is free.

The course is broken down in 136 levels. Each level contains maximum 15 words. In the odd numbered levels you will learn the characters and their meaning in English and in the even numbered levels you will learn the pronounciation in pinyin and the meaning in English.

When you start learning you will learn around 5 characters per round until you completed the level. Then the pronounciation will be trained in rounds of 5. You can stop anytime and save where you have left of. Each time you get it right you will receive a number of points. This instills some competition as memrise will show you how you compare to other learners in the same course and where you rank. As I am a competitive person this was very motivating.

Additionally in both levels an audio pronounciation of the character or pinyin (pronounciation) that you are currently learning will be given. You will also have various ways to reply. Sometimes you need to select from a list similar to multiple choice or you need to type it directly into a text box. The system will show you the character and ask for the English word or show you the English word and ask for the character or the pinyin.

But this is not all. For each new word that you learn you can see how other people used mnemonics to learn and retain these words. This can be stories, pictures with text or links to useful resources or sentences where the character is used in, etc. If none of these are suited for your need you can create your own mnemonics so called mems.

Memrise was founded by the Memory Grandmaster Ed Cooke who taught Joshua Foer to become the US memory champion and Greg Detra a PhD at Princeton University neurosciences.

Also Joshua Foer used Memrise to study a new language in just 22 hours.

My mission for 2015 is to help you overcome the first threshold to start to read Chinese. Once you start reading you will constantly add often without really noticing it more and more characters and vocabulary to your memory. To do that I will add small excercises for each levels of the memrise course over the next months.

Reading Exercise 1 Level 1 for the Course: “Chinese words spoken by frequency 0-1000” by Ben Whately on Memrise
These are the first 15 Characters/Words you will learn in Level 1. 的 我 你 是 了 不 在 他 我们 好 有 这 就 会
Before you do the below reading exercise you should first learn these words in the memrise course.

I will use these words from level 1 to form small sentences or fragments of it below:
这 是  zhe4 shi4   this is
这 是 我 的 zhe4 shi4 wo3 de5   this is mine
不 是 bu4 shi4  is not
是 不 是 你 的 shi4 bu4 shi4 ni3 de5   is this yours
不, 不 是 , 这 是 他 的 bu4, bu4 shi4, zhe4 shi4 ta1 de5  no, it is not, this is his
是 的 shi4 de5   yes it is
你 好 ni3 hao3  hello
你 有 ni3 hao3  you have
我 有 wo3 you3  I have
我们 有 wo3 men5 you3   we have
我 会 了 wo3 hui4 le5   I know how to do it (now)
我们 不 会 wo3 men5 bu4 hui4  we don’t know how to
我 在 wo3 zai4  I am in/at
我 不 在 wo3 bu4 zai4 I am not in/at
我们 在 他 的 wo3 men2 zai4 ta1 de5  we are at/in his….
就 是 jiu4 shi4  exactly (this word you will actually learn in later level in memrise
好 不 好 hao3 bu4 hao3  alright? or okay?
不 好 bu4 hao3 not good
我 是 不 是 你 的 wo3 shi4 bu4 shi4 ni3 de5  I am not your

Now over to you – try to come up with new combinations. And if you enjoyed the exercise may I ask you for a small favour to share your new combination in the comment section below the post. Thank you.

Another way to boost your chinese readings skills is to start to learn the first 100 most important radicals. These are the small components of a character and help you understand the meaning of the characters much better. I have developped a mnemonic system to make it quite easy and rapid for you. Please see The Fastest And Easiest Way To Learn Chinese Characters.

The best book to read after the course on memrise?
The easiest book to read after the memrise course is The Secret Garden: Mandarin Companion Graded Readers: Level 1, Simplified Chinese Edition. It is so far the best way to start to use your new character and word skills. I was able to recognize 98% of the characters. As I am reading the book on Kindle I can click on the underlined characters that I see for the first time and will be directed to a word list where the pinyin and English translation of the character or composite characters will be given. I am 21% into the book after just one day and I consulted this word list twice so far  and basically it was only to check if I had grasped the meaning already of the new characters while I was reading the sentence. I haven’t yet red the other Level 1 graded readers book of the series but I would assume this to be a similar experience. You can a look inside the book here or download a sample in the kindle store. It is my first book that I can just read without consulting a dictionary and it feels very similar like reading any book in a language that I am totally familiar with: No big effort, no headache, no drag of energy, just fun.

What is the first book I am reading? A very good start to practice your new reading skills after your memrise course is by Marina Chan: First Chinese Reader for Beginners Bilingual for Speakers of English (Graded Chinese Reader Book 1). I am reading it on the Kindle. You can download a sample version first before you buy. The sample version convinced me to buy it and practice my reading skills. You can also take a look inside the book.

There are very few characters in the text that haven’t made it in the 1000 most frequently used words in Chinese. The 1000 words are based on the analysis of Chinese Film Subtitles. Researcher have confirmed that these subtitles match the actual most common words used by the population in China. I think this is no surprise as the film reflects the current vocabulary and in return as film and TV is the most consumed media in China influences back on the use of vacabulary in daily life. If you want to know about the research follow this link.

I can read between 90%-95% of the text in the book immediately. Some of the words I can guess through the context. But of course there are a few that are new. As an example the words for the different colors or words regarding touristic items. I guess in daily life they do not talk a lot about colours or hotels.

At the beginning of each chapter Marina Chan provides a list of characters, the pronounciation in pinyin and the English word for it. Additionally below every sentence in Chinese Characters there is also the pinyin. The translation of each of the sentences is provided at the end of the chapter.

Let’s take the first chapter of the book. From the 90 characters used only 9 were new. So most of the new words you would already be able to read all or at least a part of it. So some of them you could guess out of the context of the sentence. Being at this level it is so much easier to read than if you need to stop every second word to consult the dictioniary.

New words in chapter 1 that are not in the 1000 frequent word list in memrise are:
公园  gong1 yuan2   park – the second character yuan2 is not in the 1000.
商店 shang1 dian4  shop – the first character shang1 did not make in the top 1000, dian4 did
星級 xing1 ji2 – means star – used to say how many stars a hotel has. The second character ji2 is not in the 1000.
酒店 jiu3 dian4  hotel – both characters are in the top 1000, only the combination for the word hotel is not. So you can read the characters but might miss the meaning when combined.
文本 wen2 ben3 text – the first character wen2 is not in the 1000.
桌子 zhuo1 zi5 table – the first character zhuo1 is not part of the top 1000.
窗口 chuang1 kou3 window – the first character chuang1 did not make it into the 1000.
笔记本 bi3 ji4 ben3 notebook – all characters are in the top 1000, only the combination for the word notebook is not – one could guess the word out of the meaning of the individual characters
绿 lv4 green
自行車 zi4 xing2 che1 bike – all characters are known, only the combination to form the word bike is not – also here one could almost guess it from the individual characters used
蓝 lan2 blue
鼻子 bi2 zi2 nose – the first character bi2 is not in the 1000 words list.

I have found a newspaper for the intermediate level in Chinese. It is a dedicated section in the online edition of Global Times called Target Chinese. So far I can understand between 70-80% of it. I still need a dictionary to look up missing words.

To read your first book of the mandarin companion series – vocabulary:

On Skritter you can find the vocabulary of the series:

The Fastest And Easiest Way To Learn Chinese Characters – How to Really Use Mnemonics For Learning Chinese

October 30, 2014
Chinese Radicals

100 Frequently Most Used Chinese Radicals related to Human Subcategory

For any novice learner of Chinese Characters the first time he or she will see a page of Chinese Characters this will be overwhelming. It looks nice but for the brain it is pure chaos. At this stage we do not know what patterns to look for in these characters. It is the same for a child who sees a page of text before they know any type of letter. What do children usually do in these cases ? They will look at the pictures instead if there are any.

Our brains are made to recognize pictures and our brains are geniuses when it comes to store images. Our visiual memory is the fastest and the biggest storage system we have. With the help of the mnemonic system below you will be able to tap into this powerful learning system.

This way you will accelerate your learning and also retain the memorized characters much longer.

The best way to start is with the most important patterns called radicals. These radicals will also help you to identify the characters in the chinese dictionary.
There are 214 radicals. Yet it would be best to first learn the 100 most frequently radicals first and not learn the more exotic radicals that will hardly come across you when you start to read your first chinese texts.  See Kickstart your character learning with the 100 most common radicals by Olle Line.

I have categorized these 100 radicals into subgroups. With the help of the subgroups you will be able to build the memory palace that will hold all these images that will remind you of the characters in the future.

There are the following sub categories that you can choose a sub locations for: (The full list of these characters and sub categories is here)
1. Related to human
2. Related to human activity
3. Related to human appearance and situations
4. Related to house or household
5. Related to space/area/nature etc
6. Plants
7. Related to animals
8. Related to numbers
9. Related to colours

The Method
I have chosen a three step approach:

First step is to find a vivid image for each of the characters connected to the meaning in English.
In the second step you will associate for each of the syllables a memorable person (celebrity or people that you remember well)
In the third step you remember the tone of the syllable by association of the connected memorable person performing a task which is related to the meaning of the word and the tone.

I give you an example for remembering the syllable and the tone:
The word sickness has the chinese syllable ni4. Ni I have associated with Nikita Chruschtschow.
To remember the fourth tone of ni I see Nickita Chruschtschow falling down on the floor because he suddenly became utterly sick.

The Art of Memory - Giordano Bruno Mnemonic

The Art of Memory – Giordano Bruno Mnemonic

First Step – Create Images and a Place in Your Memory Palace:
Let’s build our memory palace and images for all the 100 most used Chinese Radicals together.
We start with the subcategory 1. related to humans.
It includes the following characters:

or human
or heart (Radical 61)
orhand (Radical 64)
right hand
thumb or inch
human legs

In total these are 18 Characters. Just to put those in memory without mnemonics would take quite a number of repeats. Usually we can hold maximum 7 plus or minus two items in our short time memory at once. With mnemonics you will overcome this barrier.

I have created the following images and path to store these characters one by one.
My memory palace is a house in China, yet it is build in an European Style. I live under the roof in the second floor.

One day I was sleeping on my huge silk white bed with my legs open . (I see myself as a human.)
I wake up and stand straight up in my bed. Unfortunately it is just under the roof so I hit my head against the roof and this hurts a lot.
I see myself as a human with the roof above.
I need to sit down in my bed straigth with my legs stretched in front of me, when I realize that I have eaten a baby cradle and I now look
like a woman 女.
When I stand up from the bed I suddenly feel enourmous pressure in my stomach because the child feels squashed by the cradle I have swolled and it stretches out his arms while having to pull in his head because of the cradle. .

I am shocked and just before I fall I get hold of my bookshelf opposite of my bed. The pain is so big that I open my mouth to scream. My mouth has been replaced by a artifical square roboter like mouth piece. .
Terrified I jump a way into the middle of the room. This is when I realize that my heart starts to pump heaviliy out of all three venes and spill blood all over me. . Some of the blood springles into my mouth so I have that sweet tast of blood on my tongue.
I feel panic and I want to go downstairs to get dressed. When I reach out with my hand to hold on to the wall I see that it was turned in an artifical antenna with three lines. .
No I think, I cannot go downstairs with this type of hand, so I screw off my right hand and put it in a nice chest   that stands on this two nicely shaped feet just before the stairs.

I walk down to the toilet. When I enter the toilet I see my eye in the mirror was also turned into an articficial triangle with rectangular lids around  it. . When I want to take a leak into the toilet I suddenly realise that I can hardly sit down because I am totally wobbly on my feet. They are mounted on a large woman stilleto with a spring. .
It is a nice idea to be able to take very large steps like with the seven miles boots and thus be much faster than walking in normal shoes, but it is not a good idea for going to the toilet and trying to sit down.  Only after many fruitless tries and holding to the bathroom tub I finally manage to sit down.  But to my dismay my corpse falls over because it is more heavier above and very thin below. .
I had enough. I wash my left hand. While washing it I realize that my thumb was also turned into antenna which is one inch wide and when I do a finger print of it it will only leave a dot on the paper. .

Damm I think I need to have a bath to relax from all this stress. Once I come out of the bath tub my legs become strangely flexible. I had forgetten that they also very now artificial. So they look like this .
I walk over to the mirror and put my tongue out which I regret badly. The tongue that comes out of my square mouth also has an antenna on it with two lines  and it has a bitter taste.

I am very annoyed and hungry and go downstairs into the kitchen. Unfortunately when I entered the kitchen I fall and a needle sticks through my skin in my stomach and scratches the baby cradle. . This is so painful.
I leave the kitchen and go to the living room to make an emergency telephone call. When I put the phone to my ear I realize that it was also exchanged with a rectangular antenna objects with two inside stripes and two longer ones on the outside. .
What a strange day to start with.

The mnemonic stories work the best when you create your own images and memory palace. Instead of using a house it could be any place that you are very familiar with. It could be your way to work, or if you walk through your favourite zoo, museeum, etc. The key is to have one image that is very memorable and preferrably animated and it has a unique place for storage.

Second Step Associate Memorable People to the  Syllables:
I make the following associations. The number indicate the tones. In Brackets the intuitive English Pronounciation. For all Pinyin Syllables look here.
cun4 Carl Gustav Jung   (tswnn)
er2 Erdogan President of Turkey (urr)
er3 Erdogan President of Turkey (urr)
kou3 Cowboy John Wayne (koh)
mu4 Muhammed Ali (moo)
nv3 Oliver Neuville (former German Soccer Player) (nyoo)
pi2 Pia Zadorra (pee)
ren2 Rene Descartes (rnn)
she2  Sheela Indian Film Actress (sher)
shi1 Shia LaBoeuf (shrr)
shou3 Schubert the composer (shoh)
xin1 Xindi are peole from the planet Xindus in Start Treck (sshin)
you4 Neil Young (yoh)
zi3  Zig Ziglar (dzrr)
zu2 Peter Zumtobel Swiss Architect (dzoo)

Again the same as above choose the association of people for each of the syllables that work best for you.
Tone 1 means to have a steady straight pronounciation when you speak the syllable. In Tone 2 you go up with your voice when you say the syllable. For tone 3 you are up and go down and up again when you pronounce the syllable. And tone 4 means you start high and go down when you speak the syllable.

For the next step I have associated the tones with actions such as for tone 1 the action performed by the memorable person will be a straight line. Example would be laying me on the back on the floor. For tone 2 it has an action that puts me somehow up. Tone 3 is represented by any action that is somehow connected to up and down and up movments and for tone 4 it is something that will put me down. It will become clearer when you read the following story.

Third Step – bring it all together into one final story:
One day I was sleeping on my huge white silk bed when Rene Descardes came and lifted up my two legs and spread them across my bed because he wanted to examine how people sleep when their legs are laid out in a perfect triangle 人 ren2. I see myself as a human.
I wake up and I am pritty annoyed with Rene Descartes. Instead of leaving me alone  Rene Descartes put me straight up in my bed . Unfortunately my bed is just under the roof so I hit my head against the roof and this hurts a lot. I am now very angry with Rene Descartes.
I see myself as a human with the roof above 亻ren2.

Oliver Neuville comes to my rescue and takes me in his arms and shakes me like a baby to calm me then helps me to sit down in my bed straigth with my legs stretched in front of me, when I realize that I have eaten a baby cradle and I now look
like a woman 女 nv3.
I start to cry. Zig Ziglar hears it and tries to lift me up and down to get me overthrow in the hope that the cradle comes. I feel an enourmouse pressure in my stomach because the child feels squashed by the cradle I have swolled and it stretches out his arms while
having to pull in his head because of the cradle. . zi3.
I am shocked and just before I fall I get hold of my bookshelf opposite of my bed. Suddenly I hear Cowboy John Wayne approaching with his horse. He jumps right behind me and starts pushing my stomach in and out. The pain is so big that I open my mouth to scream. My mouth has been replaced by a artifical square roboter like mouth piece. kou3.

I let you finish the story by yourself.

Mnemonics works best if you find the associations that work best for you.
There is a great guideline on creating memorable images for mnemonics on the Hacking Chinese Blog: Memory aids and mnemonic to enhance learning by Olle Linge.

Once you are able to walk through the 16 Characters forward and backwards I would recommend you the first exercise. Read a Chinese Text printed out on paper and mark each of the learned radicals in the characters.
Here an example text based on the the first 100 most frequently used Chinese Characters and Words in Film Subtitles:


And this is the result of the above text analysis based on the 16 Radicals you have mastered by now:


Quite a number of characters that will include one of the radicals you have just learned.
You will notice there are already a few characters that are only made up of the radicals you know by now.
Example: 好, 如,从

And if you have mastered all the 100 Radicals this would be the result:

100 Most Frequently Used Words in Film Subtitles containing Elements of the 100 Most Used Radicals

100 Most Frequently Used Words in Film Subtitles containing Elements of the 100 Most Used Radicals

Planned updates:
I will add further exercises and examples
More on learning the most used words and characters in Chinese

Frequency List of Chinese Characters based on Film Subtitles



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