Tips for using SuccessFactors Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor with Job Profile Builder

You have enabled SuccessFactors Job Profile Builder (JPB) and would like to utilize the attributes stored on the job profiles across the SuccessFactors suite.  Your job profiles contain competencies that you would like to be used in performance forms and to tie to development goals.  You would also like to use Writing Assistant and Give Advice for competencies within a performance form and Coaching Advisor for development objectives but you have heard that JPB does not support their set up. With Job Profile Builder enabled, it is not possible to create writing assistant content outside of Provisioning. Rather than throw in the towel and disable Job Profile Builder, you may update the competency library to use these features.

Job Profile Builder Limitations

When Job Profile Builder is enabled, you no longer have access to “Manage Competencies” in the UI where you would create the teasers and tunings used with Writing Assistant. Also with JPB, the Competency Library Import feature within the instance is not available. Since you cannot manage the competencies within the UI, you must make updates directly in the competency library in Provisioning.

What are Teasers and Tunings?

Before you can understand the competency library file, it helps to familiarize yourself with the Writing Assistant components.

Writing Assistant can be used as a guide for employees and managers when they are writing comments while evaluating competencies on the PM form. Writing Assistant provides suggested sentences which are specific to each competency.  Writing Assistant adds the exact sentence in the comments section for a competency and the user may modify the suggested text or leave as-is. When the competency section of a PM form has item comments configured and Writing Assistant enabled, the Writing Assistant button would display near each comment text area.

View of competency with Writing Assistant on PM form

When Writing Assistant is selected, the competency details display. You will see the competency name, description and suggested phrases to use to describe the employee’s behavior.

View of competency using Writing Assistant

Each competency has Teasers. Teasers are short statements that describe actions, attitudes, or skills that demonstrate proficiency in the competency. Teasers break down the definition of the competency into tangible performance levels such as Improve, Meets, or Exceeds.  You will also see tabs for Describe Behavior and Give Advice.

The suggested phrases associated with a teaser are called Tunings.  Tunings are complete sentences that describe the teaser in terms that are more or less positive, or more or less personal. The tunings make up the Writing Assistant content and allow users to choose the tone they want to use to provide feedback during an evaluation.    

The suggested sentences that would be placed in the comments section for a competency on a PM form.  Clicking on one of the topics would cause the statement to display in the quote area.

Selected teaser appears in the behavior description section

Tunings can be in the first, second or third person narrative. The narrative options displayed are dependent who is accessing the form.

The Give Advice tab provides sentences of developmental suggestions and concepts that address a defined problem area or encourage an employee strength. These are used by the manager to provide some guidance and direction for a competency.

Select a topic to populate advice statements
Using the SuccessFactors 2.1 Competency Library

Now that you are familiar with the terminology, let’s look at the competency library in Provisioning.  Start by downloading the standard SuccessFactors 2.1 Competency library.  This is the most current library and contains 86 competencies with their associated behavior and advice suggestions that are used for Writing Assistant and Coaching Advice.

You may tweak the library to add or hide competencies, add teasers for a competency, change the tunings for a competency’s teaser or add some additional behavioral suggestions. You may also copy the library to use as a template to create your own custom competency library. Each can be done in Provisioning manually or via a competency library import. 

Understanding the Competency Library File

To understand the contents of the Competency Library file, it is helpful to know which fields correspond to the Writing Assistant and Coaching Advice components of a competency. 

There are two methods to extract the file.

  • Schedule export job
  • Export via Managing Competencies and Skills>Competency Libraries
Schedule Background Job

A one-time job may be created to run the standard Competency Library Export. Go to Manage Job Scheduler>Create New Job.

Set up the export using job type Competency Library Export.

Job set up screen
Export Competency Library File

The competency library file may also be exported via Managing Competencies and Skills>Competency Libraries.

Before downloading, be sure to select all competencies and use Unicode (UTF-8) for the character encoding using CSV format and include Export GUID.

Opening the CSV file

To retain the correct formatting of the file, open a new Excel workbook. Next go to the Data tab and select From Text.

Select the file to open.

After selecting the file, the Get Data button is active.

Walk through the text import wizard to get data in formatted columns.  Be sure to select Delimited as your Data Type.

Include comma as a delimiter.

Complete the wizard.

When prompted, import the data into the spreadsheet.

The downloaded competency library file contains each a row for each competency followed by teaser records which contain the tunings and behavioral suggestions used with Writing Assistant.

View of competency record followed by it teaser records
Competency File Layout

The file contains no header records. The first competency in the library starts the file followed by its teaser records. There will be multiple teaser records for each competency and each teaser record will contain the associated tunings.

Competency Record Fields

The first column of the competency records contains COMPETENCY followed by the competency library name in the next column.  The only other fields on the competency record are competency name, GUID and default language.

Column A contains COMPETENCY. This identifies the row as a competency record.

Column B identifies the name of competency library.

It corresponds to the name of the competency library that was exported.

Competency Library in Provisioning

Column C contains the competency name.

It corresponds to the competency name shown in Provisioning in the Competency Library.

And matches the name of the competency on the PM form.

Column D contains the competency’s description.


Competency description within a competency




Competency with its description on the PM form

Column E contains the competency GUID.

This corresponds to the GUID for the competency as seen on the Competency Library screen.

Column F contains the default language.  

All of the associated teaser records will follow the competency record.

Teaser Record

There is a separate record for each competency’s teasers. The teaser records will immediately follow the competency that it is related to. Each teaser record will contain the columns for teaser, category, tunings and behavioral/development suggestions (coaching advice).

Column A contains TEASER.  This identifies the row as a teaser record.

Columns B and C contain the same competency library and competency name as the found on the competency record.

  • Column B identifies the competency library.
  • Column C contains the competency name.

Column D contains the teaser for the competency.


Tuning as seen as in Provisioning and within the competency on the performance form.

Column E for the teaser record will contain the category or level of the competency. The standard categories are Improve, Meets, and Exceeds. There will be multiple teaser record in each category.

Tuning with category within teaser record
View of category within the competency within the library in Provisioning and within Writing Assistant for the competency on the PM form.

Column F contains TONE0.  If there are multiple tunings for a teaser, the next tuning is TONE1, followed by TONE2, TONE3, etc.

Column G contains the tuning for the teaser. The cell contents include the first person, second person and third person phrases to be used for the tuning.

  • The first-person tuning phrase starts with [-FIRST-] and ends with [-FIRST-].
  • The second-person tuning phrase starts with [-SECOND] and ends with [-SECOND-].
  • The third-person tuning phrase starts with [-THIRD-] and ends with [-THIRD-].
Select a topic to populate the behavioral section

It is possible to have multiple tunings for teaser.   This allows for a positivity meter when giving advice by the manager. 

To use, create a new column containing TONE1 after the last tuning description followed by the new tuning statements.

A third level would have TONE2 column followed by the associated tuning statements. There are no blank columns between the tunings.


The number of tunings for a teaser are shown.    

When there is more than one tuning for a teaser, the positivity meter will be available for the manager to use when giving advice.

View of Positivity Meter when multiple tunings exist
Least positive phrase
Most positive phrase

The column following the last tuning description is blank. If using Coaching Advice, Column I contains the phrase Behavioral and Development Suggestions and Resource.

Behavioral suggestion on the file corresponds to the list of resources within the teaser

Column J contains the actual suggestion/resources for the tuning. 

As seen on the competency within the library in Provisioning

You can create multiple suggestions/resources for the teaser, just be sure to leave a blank column between each.

Now that you are familiar with the competency library and the file layout, you may make additions, subtractions and updates to its content.

To make any updates, keep the columns intact and simply change the data within a record.  You may add teaser records for existing competencies or add new competencies.

You may also use the standard library as a template to build competencies specific to your client’s needs.  Once all the changes are made, you are ready to upload the competency library.

Import Competency Library

Within Managing Competencies and Skills you will find Import New Competency Libraries which is used to import a new competency library or to update the existing standard library.

If you add competencies or update any component of a competency on the file, you will need to re-import the entire library.

If you wish to remove a teaser from a competency, omit the teaser from the file when you import and do not check any of the override options.

Be sure to have Unicode (UTF-8) as the character encoding option.

Manual Updates to the Competency Library

If you only need a few minor updates such as adding a teaser or modifying a competency description, Provisioning is the place that these updates need to be done as well. Go into the competency library and select the competency to update.

Just go into the library, select the competency to update. The competency and its description may be renamed and updates to the teasers and associated tunings can be made as well.

Within a competency you may update teasers and behaviors.

Click on Teasers to view the associated teasers for the competency

To make changes to a competency’s teasers–you can add levels or rename levels, move, add or delete teasers

Teasers for a Competency

Within a teaser, the associated tunings may be modified.

View of tuning to be edited

Coaching advisor suggestions may be updated as well. Suggestions may be moved, edited, added or deleted.

Suggestion to Edit
In Conclusion

Once you understand the record layout, updating the file is easy and allows you to make mass changes without having to manually update competencies. Using the import tool in Provisioning enables you to take advantage of the benefits of Job Profile Builder without losing the ability to use Writing Assistant. Until Job Profile Builder can maintain the teasers and tunings associated with Writing Assistant, this is a viable method for updates.

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