openSAP An Introduction to SuccessFactors Solutions MOOC – my key learnings

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, Lynda.com 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.

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