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Whitaker-Taylor Insights

The Importance of a Translated Competency Library

Jul 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM / by Naga Tangirala

The Importance of Translated Competency LibraryCompetencies are the abilities an employee in an organization must have to perform their roles correctly and successfully. In SuccessFactors, competencies span various modules. In other words, SuccessFactors is a competency-based talent management system.

Employers link competencies to the requirements of new candidates being recruited. Competencies also are one of the most important mediating factors during performance reviews. Generally, organizations directly relate, or rather link, an employee’s performance and development goals and their learning activities to competencies. Competencies are also used to recognize successors for a position in an organization. 

Most customers struggle to maintain a single active competency library with all the competencies and their translations in various locales mapped. And why is it that having a mapped, translated, competency library is so important? As competencies link with most modules in SuccessFactors, they become the base through which we can assess gaps in an organization and proactively focus on issues that need to be addressed. Thus, it plays a critical role in business profitability, performance and overall employee engagement. 

A single, active, accurate library translated in various languages requires correct mapping in terms of Global Unified Identifier (GUID). This GUID is either generated by the system during the very first import or provided by the administrators manually in the import file itself. At a minimum, the GUID, the locale and the category must be mapped for multilingual competency imports. The other recurring issue is mapping the right translations of teasers (teaser levels and teasers) for that particular competency and updating the values and performance descriptions.

Two steps are required to ensure that the competencies, teasers and performance descriptions are imported properly.


Step 1: Creating the competency import. csv file and formatting

As shown below, the import file should be formatted based on the headers highlighted for every competency and teaser in various languages.

The Importance of Translated Competency Library


It is critical that customers and partners work collaboratively to chart the right mappings for the competencies and teasers. If not, after import, the file can get disordered and re-import for the same GUID, which may result in duplicating competencies. Another best practice is to always export the existing library (if it has to be updated) or create a new library and export it to get the right format for the .csv to be imported.

NOTE: Competencies are mapped among various locales based on GUID, so imported competencies and teasers must have the same GUID for the same competency (translated) to appear in different locales.

Step 2: Execution

While importing the file into the system, you can the existing library name or create a new library for this file. Once the file has been successfully imported, the competency in various locales with the same GUID should be mapped and all the teasers and performance descriptions matched accordingly.

The below screen shot shows how to import the file and the library name used while importing.

 The Importance of Translated Competency Library


In addition to the two main steps explained above, consider these four important factors for a successful import of competencies in all the locales:

  1. 1. Is the correct GUID mapped?
  2. 2. Did you test post-import to ensure the characters are displayed correctly in various languages?
  3. 3. Do the translated competencies appear in the respective performance management or 360 form(s) that are linked to a particular job code?
  4. 4. Have you checked for the languages that support translations for libraries such as SuccessFactors, Korn Ferry and Lominger etc? 

Follow the steps I’ve outlined here, and you will create a robust competency library that can work effectively across various modules and functionalities. With this foundation in place, your organization can recruit candidates and conduct succession planning with greater efficiency.


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Topics: SuccessFactors

Naga Tangirala
Written by: Naga Tangirala

Naga Tangirala serves as Consultant, SuccessFactors Practice at Whitaker-Taylor Inc., and has more than 5 Years of SAP Industry experience. He specializes in Talent Management solutions and his particular expertise is in SuccessFactors Performance & Goals Management and Compensation Management, Development and Succession Management. Naga has successfully implemented global projects for fortune 500 Clients in the pharmaceutical, retail, banking and insurance industries. Naga comes with a strong Information Systems background and graduated from Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business with a Master’s degree in Computer Information Systems.