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Whitaker-Taylor Insights

SAP SuccessFactors: Getting the Most out of Your Upcoming Performance Review

Feb 1, 2019 7:21:00 AM / by Sean Flores

Have you ever wondered where the configuration takes place on a performance template, how to maximize the effectiveness of a rating scale, or even how to maximize the functionality of the feedback features? For some, this is a time to finalize merit reviews; for others, it’s a time to begin the performance process. As we bring in Q1 2019, we want to be mindful and aware of the full scope of the Performance Management Module, and what it can do for us. So, what can it do for us and what do we need to be mindful of?
The Management of a Template

Throughout the tenure of SuccessFactors’ Performance Management, “Manage Templates” has been the staple for configuration of a Performance Review Form. Within each template, you have what are known as “Sections”.

SuccessFactors manage templatesFig. 1: SuccessFactors Templates Edit

Sections are the elements that provide the layout of the form and are comprised of fields. Fields are the items that expand the effectiveness of the sections. A few examples of fields, as shown in the image below, are ratings and comments. These are standard fields, that enhance the effectiveness of the form.

SuccessFactors Section Editor

Fig. 2: Edit Section Fields

What are ratings? Well, ratings are the defining element to be reviewed. The real question is, how does SuccessFactors utilize ratings? This is a slightly more complex question but gives way to showcasing the importance of this field. From a “look-and-feel” stance, ratings can be configured to display one of two ways: as stars or as circles. Please reference the images below:

success factors star ratings

Fig. 3: Star Ratings

success factors circle ratings

Fig. 4: Circle Ratings

Of course, this is based on discretion, and placement of the rating scale on the form can be manipulated as needed.

From a functionality stance, ratings have far more impact. First and foremost, they are a reportable item, which allows for more control in assessing individuals, as well as teams, by the managers, HR personnel, and/or system administrators. Ratings also give weight to the form and can be displayed on the People Profile page for easy accessibility. Although you may just click an empty star (or circle) to give a rating and not think twice about why the rating looks the way it does, what do these ratings mean, how are the scores assessed, this does not diminish the value of a rating item.

The same can be said for comments. There are item level comments, as well as section level comments, or overall comments. On the surface, these are used to either expound on a given item (goal, competency), or even provide description to the rating; this is a discretionary item. Some of the many features accessible by permissioning, is the ability to add them to the form, placement of the boxes on the form, character limitations, even changing the label of the overall comment box. In fact, to take it a step further, when dealing with competencies, or behavioral attributes, you can even attach a writing assistant to help develop a meaningful, relevant comment, which will be expounded by attaching teasers to the comments.

PRxFig. 5: Comments

While defining these items highlight a few of the more known features, there are other, lesser known items that could provide some complication as you progress throughout the year.

What Matters Most to YOU, the Customer(s)?

After defining the fields and sections of a Performance Template, you then give shape to the buttons and action items on the form via “Form Template Settings”. Within this feature, you can enable/configure a wide array of settings from changing the rating configuration (e.g. circle ratings, star ratings), adding feedback features, to enabling a writing assistant (competencies) and much more. Once these items are defined, we can begin to see the finalized actions/buttons take shape.

SuccessFactors Performance Template Form Settings

Fig. 6: Form Template Settings

Although these items are configured prior to an active review cycle, the best part of “Form Template Settings” is that there are configurations which will affect live forms. Let us run through a scenario: John is the employee, the subject of the form, and Jane is his manager. Jane takes an indefinite leave period for unforeseen reasons, and her status is changed from ‘active’ to ‘inactive’. What typically would happen is the form would be stuck if with Jane, otherwise, when John sends the form through the process workflow, the manager (Jane) steps would be skipped. SuccessFactors provides a few options to ensure a smooth manager transition.

After the appropriate fields have been populated in the user data file, and a transfer manager has been identified, you will be able to update the live form. By utilizing the “automatic manager transfer” options within “Form Template Settings”, we are able to send the form throughout the normal process workflow, and the new manager will have the same functionality as the original manager upon form launch.

sap successfactors automatic manager transfer

Fig. 7: Automatic Manager Transfer

By selecting these options, you can ensure a smooth transition between workflow steps.

Route Map: The Silent Bug

Another important phase in setting up the Performance Process is creating the route map. Not only are you defining the stages of the route map, also known as the workflow, but you are also defining the button text, as well as form routing options. This phase is crucial in understanding the smaller nuances and configuration, more specifically, the defined dates for step routing. With these dates defined, you ensure maximum control in the workflow. These ‘step’ dates allow for your organization to remain on a strict timeline, but without them defined, you allow freedom of movement of the form.

Within the route map, there are configurations which will ensure the transition is seamless. You can of course define the ‘start date’, ‘due date’, and ‘exit date’, but there are some configurations that will enhance the security of the route map. One option is ‘enforce start date’.

success factors enforce start date

Fig. 8: Defining Start Date

When this option is selected, the form will stay in a read-only format, until the start date has passed. Essentially, you can edit the form if in a modify state, but cannot progress the form further. The other option is ‘automatic send on due date’.

success factors due dateFig. 9: Automatic Send on Due Date

With this option selected, the form will progress at the actual due date. There are two options to progressing the form:

success factorsFig. 10: Form Progression Options

If you choose to send forms that only pass validation, the form will not progress if data is not entered according to the form configurations. Contrarily, if you choose to send regardless of validation, the form will progress once that date is reached.

In a nutshell, the Route Map, based on date definitions and routing configurations, could greatly aid in the simplicity of a SuccessFactors Performance Process, for end users and administrators alike, so long as they are properly mapped.

PR4Fig. 11: Route Map End User View

PR5Fig. 12: Route Map Administrator View

Gear Up

As demonstrated, there are many features, functions, and options available to ensure your Performance Process not only runs smoothly, but also enhances the look, feel, and actions of the form. By paying extra attention to the configuration options in the above stated features, your organizational performance review will be successful.

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Topics: SuccessFactors, SAP, HR, Performance and Goals

Sean Flores
Written by: Sean Flores