H2 2020 SAP SucessFactors Calibration Release Updates

As of October 9, 2020, SAP has released their documentation for the H2 2020 release.  You can view the full set of documentation in the What’s New Viewer here.  As a reminder, preview release will be October 16 and production will be released November 20th.  For full details on the release cycle, check out the SAP SuccessFactors official product updates blog here.  For tips on how to manage a release, check out or blog here.  For your convenience, we’ve summarized the highlights of what’s new for 2020 within Calibration below!

With the H2 2020 release, there are additional features introduced for the latest version of Calibration. There are new universal and admin opt-in features along with five universal updates. We will review the updates starting with what’s new.

New Admin Opt-in Features

There are three admin opt-in features that provide additional access to employee information to make better decisions when calibrating ratings along with some enhanced admin functionality.

Access to Comments from Other Calibration Sessions

Currently within a calibration session, reviewers have access to subject’s comments on the session detail page. Based on the calibration role permissions, the reviewers may add, edit, delete or view comments. An example of the current functionality is shown below.

Current Subject Comment

With the new release, it is possible to reference comments from prior sessions.  Seeing comments from prior sessions gives the session reviewers a more complete picture of subjects in order to make more objectively.

This option is set in the Advanced tab of “Manage Calibration Templates” as seen in the example below. Enabling “Roll up comments from the other sessions based on the same template” will give calibration reviewers access to comments from prior sessions.

Roll up Comments Setting

As seen in the example below, when adding or viewing subject comments during a session, the comment dialog box will now contain two tabs: “From This Session” and “From Other Sessions“. Comments for the current session may be added, edited, deleted or viewed. Other session comments are view only.

.

Prior Sessions Comments

However, comments from prior sessions will only display in the new tab if the other sessions use the same calibration template.

Replace Facilitator that becomes Inactive

There is a new setting that will be available in “Manage Calibration Settings”. Enabling “Choose a user to replace a calibration session’s only facilitator who has been inactive” will allow a new facilitator to replace the sole facilitator of a session who becomes inactive. Once a replacement facilitator is identified and the inactive user is purged, the facilitator is automatically replaced for the session.

Omit “Too New to Rate” from Rating Options using Employee Profile

On the Global Settings tab within “Manage Calibration Settings“, there is a new option that may be enabled. “Remove ‘Too New to Rate’ from rating options for the rating types from People Profile data” will omit “Too New to Rate” as an rating option when selecting Employee Profile as the data source for ratings. This will be apparent on the Data tab within “Manage Calibration Templates” when Employee Profile is selected as the data source for ratings to be calibrated. With this setting, “Too New to Rate” will not be displayed as a rating option.

New Admin Opt-in Feature

Odata API for Session Comments

A new OData API entity called “CalibrationSubjectComment”  is now available so comments are exposed for interfacing. A query can be used to get a single comment made for a calibration subject using comment ID or to get all comments made in a calibration session. An example of the URI for getting all session comments is shown below.

https://<API-Server>/odata/v2/CalibrationSubjectComment?$format=json

Universal Update Features

We will now review the four universal features found in the latest release.

Access to Subject Comments

Currently, there is a comments column in the List View of a calibration session as seen below. If a comments icon appears for a subject, the reviewer would click on the icon and would be able to see existing comments. If the session reviewer also has “Write” permission, they could also add a comment. The vertical dots menu for each subject would be used to get to the link to add a comment as shown below.

Current Comment Column in List View

The comments column appears in the Subjects List for Executive Review as seen below.

Current Comment Column in Subjects List View

In both views, the column would contain a comment icon if there was a comment for the subject.

In the latest release, it will be easier to view and add comments. The comments column which houses a comment bubble will no longer be used in the List view of a calibration session or in the Subjects List within Executive Review. An example of the new comment feature is shown below.

New Comments

In the new release, the comment icon will appear with the subject name along with the comment count regardless of a user having any comments.  If comments exist for a subject there will be a number count next to the icon.  To add or view a comment, click the comment icon.

The Calibration History block on People Profile will display the comment icon with the comment count for each subject as well.

Autocomplete Search of Universal People Search

The Calibration module has adopted autocomplete search. This allows the admin in the “Manage Calibration Sessions” page and calibration users in the session list page and session details page to use the autocomplete search of the Universal People Search.

The current calibration sessions list page search options are seen below.

Current Calibration Session List Search Options

With the new release, there will be an “Add People” icon which enables the autocomplete search of Universal People Search. An example is shown below.

Search Options

Start typing to search for a name in the module search box. The system predicts names you are searching for.  All matches will display as separate entries to choose from.

Enhanced Experience using Matrix Grid Views

The current matrix grid view within a calibration session is shown below. To see the talent card of a subject in a zoomed out cell, the “more” icon for a subject would need to be clicked and then “Open Talent Card” selected.

Current Zoomed Out Matrix Grid View

Available in full-screen and normal modes in the new release, the cards will be visible in zoomed out cells. There will be a scroll bar when a cell is too small to see all of the people cards. This feature makes it easier to compare subjects in zoomed in and out cells. An example of the new functionality is shown below.

New Zoomed Out Matrix View

Select Permission Model Obsolete

Within provisioning, in the “Enable Calibration” section of Company Settings, the option to select the permission model will no longer exist. 

Current Permission Model Options

Now that all customers are using role-based permissions, the default permission model option is no longer viable so this selection will no longer appear.

Calculated Rating from Customized Weighted Rating Section in Bin View

There is a another feature available when a calibration template is based on a performance form template that contains a Customized Weighted Rating section. Currently, when the data source for a calibration template is a performance form template with this summary section, either the manual or the calculated rating can be calibrated.  However, the calculated rating cannot be displayed in the Bin view of a calibration session.

With the latest release, the calculated rating from the Customized Weighted Rating section may display in the Bin view if this calculated rating comes form a PM form and the “Show calculated rating in addition to manual rating (only applicable to Bin view)” setting is enabled. An example is displayed below.

Show Calculated Rating in Bin View

Wrap Up

The latest release improves managing calibration sessions for the admin and improves the calibration reviewer experience.

Do you need help managing your SuccessFactors Release cycles?  Email info@worklogix.com to see how we can help!

H2 2020 SAP SuccessFactors Continuous Performance Management Release Updates

As of October 9, 2020, SAP has released their documentation for the H2 2020 release.  You can view the full set of documentation in the What’s New Viewer here.  As a reminder, preview release will be October 16 and production will be released November 20th.  For full details on the release cycle, check out the SAP SuccessFactors official product updates blog here.  For tips on how to manage a release, check out or blog here.  For your convenience, we’ve summarized the highlights of what’s new for 2020 within Continuous Performance Management below!

The latest version of Continuous Performance Management (CPM) was restricted in the H1 2020 release and now will be generally available. The H2 2020 release builds on the redesign of the user interface for CPM that began this year.

There are four new admin opt-ins, two universal updates and one admin opt-in update available when using the latest version of CPM. We will start by reviewing what’s new.

New Admin Opt-ins

Latest Version of Continuous Performance Management using Upgrade Center

The upgrade to the latest version of CPM must be done as an admin opt-in using Upgrade Center. There are some features are automatically applied when upgrading:

  • Activities View- which uses a Kanban board for activity management.
  • Meeting View – to manage conversations.
  • Achievements View – with a new layout that shows activities linked to achievements.
  • Ability to link activities to development goals as well performance goals.
  • Activities must be used to create achievements.

When upgrading to the latest version, all current CPM users are impacted. It is worth noting if you are contemplating the move to the latest version of CPM, once the latest version is enabled, you can’t go back.

Once the upgrade to the latest version of CPM is completed, there are some additional admin opt-in features that may be enabled.

  • Discussion Topics” replaces “Other Topics“. Any existing content within “Other Topics” gets converted to “Discussion Topics“.
  • There is also a new feature called “Meeting Notes“.
  • Multiple roles is a new permission based feature which allows users to have 1:1 meetings with anyone in their organization.
  • Enable Activity-Feedback Linking ” to link activities and activities tagged as achievements to feedback.
  • Use of the latest version of Continuous Feedback.
  • Disable Deleting Feedback” is a carryover from the prior version that is now available in the latest release which prevents a user from deleting any existing feedback.

Several features are no longer available with the latest version of CPM:

  • Achievement Feedback
  • Achievement Linking to Goals
  • Achievement Linking to Development Goals
  • Coaching

Link Activities to Development Goals in Continuous Performance Management

Another new admin opt-in available for CPM is the ability to link an activity to a development goal. In the H1 2020 release of the latest version of CPM, only performance goals could be linked to activities. An example of creating an activity and linking to a development goal is shown below.

Link Activity to Development Goal

Some additional functionality is available as well:

  • In addition to viewing activities by status and by goal, the Activities view will now have a tab for development goals.
  • When viewing an activity in the Activity Details view, the development goal linked to the activity will display.
  • Linked development goals will display in the Meeting view and in the Meeting History page.
  • Linked development goals in the Activities Kanban board may have name and details edited.
  • Goal linkage may be changed in the Activities Details page.
  • Integration with the Career Development Plan and the Development Goals section of a Performance Management form when an activity is tagged as an achievement to a development goal.

Goal Management

If you are using the latest version of Goal Management, Development will no appear in the navigation menu. Instead, performance goals and development goals are housed together within Goals with a tab for each. An example is shown below.

Access to Development Goals via Goals

The integration between Goals and CPM allows users to create and view activities within Goal Management. As it already functions for goals, it will now be possible to create and view activities in the Development Goal view.

Multiple Role Support for Continuous Performance Management

The final new admin opt-in feature allows roles beyond the manager/employee hierarchical relationship to use CPM. Currently CPM is limited to the view between a manager and their direct reports. The new Multiple Roles feature allows a user to invite someone else to share a CPM view which contains access to the Achievement, Activity, and Discussion Topic views.

This feature involves a concept called “Channels”. A user invites another user to a channel which contains the CPM Activity view and a Meeting view. An example is shown below.

CPM Channels

This feature enables users to have ongoing conversations with those they work with but are outside the traditional employee/manager roles. Users can view achievements and drilldown into individual activities. The Multiple Roles option needs to be enabled in CPM configuration view to use this.

Admin Opt-in Updates

Latest Version of Continuous Feedback for Continuous Performance Management

There is an improved process to request and provide feedback when using the latest version of CPM. Continuous Feedback is not housed within CPM but instead is found in the navigation menu. An example is shown below.

Continuous Feedback

There are tabs for feedback received, feedback given, and feedback requests sent. There are also buttons to ask for feedback and to give feedback.

New is the use of a topic and questions when requesting and giving feedback. Feedback is more targeted and based on questions asked of the feedback provider. Users could select from standard provided questions, admin created questions or allows users to write their own questions.

An example is requesting feedback is shown below.

Crafting Feedback Questions

This flexibility enables users to get constructive feedback on specific topics rather than receiving generic feedback.

Feedback details may also be viewed. An example is shown below.

Feedback Details

Filtering of feedback has also been enhanced. Feedback may be filtered by linked activities, shared feedback or feedback by date range. An example is seen below.

Filter Feedback

Universal Updates

There is two universal updates for latest version of CPM that relates to feedback.

CPM Feedback Data in Goal Plans

Feedback from CPM is now available to display in the performance and development goals plans. The CPM achievements column for a goal currently shows the count of achievements tied to a goal. With the latest version of CPM, achievement related feedback will also display. In the CPM achievements column, clicking on the count will now display the feedback topic title along the topic title and three sets of questions/answers from the Achievements tab.

CPM Feedback Data in Performance Management Forms

The CPM achievements column in the performance and development goal sections of a PM form currently shows the count of achievements tied to a goal. With the latest version of CPM, achievement related feedback will also display. In the CPM achievements column for a goal, clicking on the count will now display the feedback topic title along with the three related feedback question/answers.

Wrap Up

We have now seen what new features you can look forward to utilizing with the latest version of CPM.

Do you need help managing your SuccessFactors Release cycles?  Email info@worklogix.com to see how we can help!

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.

“Ask for Feedback” vs.”Get Feedback” in the SAP SuccessFactors Performance Management Form

You may wonder if these are just different terms for the same thing.  But these features on the SuccessFactors Performance form serve different purposes and impact the form in different ways. 

So what’s the difference?

“Get Feedback”  is a feature allows the manager to send the performance form to someone that is not part of the performance process. This enables the manager to route the form to a specific user to get edits and/or comments directly on the form.

Ask for Feedback” is a feature that enables the manager to send an email to solicit feedback. The performance form is not sent to the feedback provider, they will just reply to the email with their comments.

How do they work?

Both required permissions based on role and route step. A later blog post will detail the configuration needed for both.

Both require permissions based on role and route step.

How does the manager “Get Feedback”?
There are two ways for the manager to “Get Feedback”:

  • Click on the “Get Feedback” button on the bottom of the performance form as shown below to initiate the request.
  • Click on Actions for the current step on the Route Map on the performance form to see the options. Select “Get Feedback” as shown below.

In either case, a popup like the one below will display and the manager may search for a user.

Once the designated feedback provider is selected, the manager may decide to request edits or comments. Additionally, the manager may opt to add comments to the email that is sent with the request as shown below.

How does the “Get Feedback” provider get notified? As long as the routing document email notification is enabled, the feedback provider will receive an email similar to the email shown below.

If the email notification is not enabled, the feedback provider will still see at To Do item in their performance tile on their Home page. Based on the configuration decisions made, once the form is in their inbox, the feedback provider may add ratings and comments to the goals, competency and overall performance sections of the form. Upon completion, the feedback provider submits the form and it goes back into the manager’s inbox to complete the step.

Can the form be recalled? Yes, it may. While the form is with the feedback provider, the manager may recall the form. On the Team Overview page, the manager may click on the Review button to recall the form.

A read-only version of the form will then display and at the bottom of the form, the manager will see just one button: Recall Feedback

After clicking the “Recall Feedback” button, the editable version of the form will display and the manager may send the form to someone else for feedback or complete the form and submit to the next step.

How does the manager “Ask for Feedback”? The manager asks for feedback via the Team Overview page within Performance. The manager will see all of the launched forms and may opt to ask for feedback for any or all of their team.

As shown below, the manager may request feedback for any launched forms by clicking “Ask for Feedback”.

“Ask for Feedback” is initiated within Team Overview

A popup will display and the manager may select any internal or external feedback provider as long as they have a valid email address. The manager may also modify the default email text before submitting the request as shown below.

How does the “Ask for Feedback” provider respond?  The feedback  provider will receive an email like the sample shown and will just need to reply back with their comments.

Which email notification is used for “Ask for Feedback”? In order to ask for feedback, the Feedback Request Notification must be enabled as shown below.

Where do the “Ask for Feedback” comments go? The “Ask for Feedback” comments are available to view in two locations.

  • Stored within the Supporting Information pod on the performance form.
Pod has indicator to show the number of feedback responses received
This pod also may be configured to hold attachments

Clicking within the pod, the manager will be able to see feedback date, the author and the comments as shown below.

  • Team Overview. The manager may also track the status of the “Ask for Feedback” requests on the Team Overview page and view the responses as shown below.
The manager may track number of request sent and their status

So now what?

Now that you are familiar with the differences, which type of feedback is best for your organization?

When to use “Get Feedback”?  

  • Use “Get Feedback” in cases where an employee transferred to a new manager but you would like the prior manager to provide input to the year-end evaluation.
  • When you would like someone outside of the roles on the route map to provide ratings and comments.
  • When you would like ratings and comments on objectives, competencies and the overall performance of an employee and not just general feedback.

Disadvantages of “Get Feedback”

  • When a form is sent for feedback, it is not available to the manager for edit. The manager would have to recall the form or wait for the feedback provider to complete the form.
  • Form can only be sent to one feedback provider at a time. Once it it out for feedback, it cannot be sent to another feedback provider until they complete the review or the manager recalls the form.
  • “Get Feedback” cannot be used in a collaborative step.
  • The feedback provider would get an email notification if the document routing notification is turned on, otherwise they would only see a To Do item on their Home page.
  • When the feedback provider submits the form, it goes back to the step where the request was made. The form cannot be routed on to a different step.

When to use “Ask for Feedback”

  • When you would like to have feedback from several individuals. Up to 30 requests are permitted.
  • When you would like the manager to be able to edit the form while the feedback responses are pending.
  • When you do not want the feedback providers to have any visibility to the performance form.
  • When you would like to have feedback on the employee that may not be specific to the goals and competencies found of the performance form.
  • When you would like to have the option for external feedback.
  • When you would like to allow feedback over a specific period of time which may span several steps of the review process.

Disadvantages of “Ask for Feedback”

  • Once the feedback email request is sent, it cannot be recalled.
  • Feedback provider has no visibility into what the employee is being evaluated on so the comments may not necessarily be relevant.
  • Once comments are provided, they cannot be deleted. The comments will appear in the Supporting Information pod as well as in Team Overview.

Can a form use both types of feedback?

Absolutely! You may decide that you like the benefits of each type of feedback and may configure the form to handle both. Either way, the manager is getting a more comprehensive view of the employee which will make the performance evaluation more meaningful.

Things to Consider Before Enabling “Ask for Feedback” on an SAP SuccessFactors Performance Review Form

Is “Ask for Feedback” right for your organization?

It is if you need a fast, flexible method for gathering performance feedback from those outside of the formal evaluation process. This feature enables a manager to get a more comprehensive view of their employees which adds greater perspective and objectivity into the assessments.  With a click of a button, a manager may solicit feedback from anyone that has a valid email address, both within the organization and externally. As soon as the recipient replies, the feedback is available for the manager to use within the performance appraisal in the Supporting Information pod.

Things to consider before enabling “Ask for Feedback”   

Does your route map have “Start of Review” enabled on the first step? This checkbox makes Team Overview available for managers and is where “Ask for Feedback”  is initiated.

Ask for Feedback on Team Overview

Team Overview is also where the manager tracks the feedback requests: the number of requests sent, the request recipients and the status of each request.


Do the majority of the organization’s employees have email addresses?  Email is the vehicle used to request and provide feedback so only those with a valid email address may participate.

View of “Ask for Feedback” email to be sent

The feedback provider will not have access to the performance form. Without visibility to the objectives and competencies that an employee is being evaluated on, the feedback provider may be providing comments that are not relevant to the evaluation.

“Asking for Feedback” is not limited to the manager role. Any role contained in the route map with access to Team Overview may be request feedback. Matrix managers, HR managers, and next level managers that are part of the review process may request feedback from others as well.

“Asking for Feedback” does not slow down the review process. When configuring the form, the feedback period is set to determine the timeframe for sending and receiving feedback requests. This means feedback may be requested in steps before the form lands in the manager’s inbox. In addition, the manager may make multiple requests and the form does not get “stuck” in a step until the feedback is received.  

Up to 30 internal and/or external feedback requests may be initiated.  Each non-employee role from the route map may send out 30 requests. In addition,  feedback may be requested from the same user multiple times as long as it occurs on separate days. This is helpful later in the year if the manager would like additional comments from someone that replied earlier in the process.

Once the feedback request is sent, if cannot be recalled. The email goes out instantly, so exercise caution when selecting feedback providers. If the email request is sent to someone in error, it can’t be retrieved.

It is not possible to delete any feedback that has been received. Upon submission, all comments are immediately available on the Team Overview page and within the Supporting Information pod within the performance form.  

View of feedback within Supporting Information pod on performance form

If feedback is not received, it will not stop the performance form from moving forward.  There simply won’t be any feedback in the Supporting Info pod.

You may decide to allow employees to view the feedback.  Based on your organization, transparency to the feedback may be encouraged. Typically if employees have access to the feedback, it is during the one-on-one meeting and signature steps.

Feedback is not anonymous. All feedback includes a date stamp and the feedback provider’s name. If you enable employees to view the feedback on their form, be aware that they will know who provided the comments.

 As you can see, there are not a lot of downsides to configuring this option. “Ask for Feedback” provides a manager with an additional avenue to gather information in order to conduct a more thorough performance review without adding complexity to the process.

At a later date, I will illustrate how to configure this feature, so please check back.

Performance Reviews: Can’t Live with ’em, Can’t Operate a Productive Workspace Without ’em

Performance reviews give feedback

Companies large and small are recently being asked to forgo employee evaluations. When industry giants like Adobe, Cigna, Microsoft, and GE give up on performance reviews, it’s easy to assume that it’s all for the good of the organization, but the evidence is mixed. Why, suddenly, are organizations passing up performance reviews and what good is it really doing?

Why ditch the performance review process?

According to the Harvard Business Review, by 2015 thirty large companies had either altered and reduced their performance reviews or had thrown them out altogether for their combined 1.5 million employees. These companies claimed that performance reviews were failing. Failing how, though? The four major reasons employers say they have replaced or removed their performance review process are:

  1. Numbers lie: Reviewers are increasingly finding it difficult to quantify work done by employees, especially when an emphasis is put on team projects – where does one person’s effort end and where does another person’s effort begin?
  2. Cohesion and collaboration: Performance reviews aren’t like grading a test, only a certain amount of As, Bs, and Cs can be given out. This hurts team cohesion when employees feel they did more work but received a poorer rating than a coworker.
  3. Limiting engagement: Annual performance reviews mean that, often, managers only meet with employees and discuss their progress and performance once a year. Removing performance reviews, apparently, encourages employers to speak to employees more often.
  4. Honesty and Openness: Both reviewers and reviewees report that they can have a more open and honest dialogue about tasks and workload when they don’t have to justify a rating come performance review time.

So, how do ratingless performance reviews work? 

If performance reviews don’t work, then what does?

Consulting firm ETS tracked the performance review changes from 6 major corporations; Accenture, Adobe, Amazon, Deloitte, Google, and Netflix. Each of these organizations has a specific replacement for traditional performance reviews. In 2015, Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme traded performance reviews with a process of “selecting [and] hiring the best people” and “[to] get people to their very best.”

At Adobe, they’ve replaced performance reviews with “check-ins,” where managers are given a budget, salary range and where each employee’s compensation sits within that range. Based on this information, managers make recommendations in a “pay-for-performance” philosophy.

Deloitte utilizes a performance snapshot which asks four yes or no questions about an employee’s performance at the completion of every project (around 4 times every year).  According to the firm, this process saves over two million hours that would have been spent on rating performance.  Where Deloitte’s goal is efficiency, Amazon focuses on data-driven results. Amazon has faced criticism for both its Anytime Feedback Tool and its Organization Level Reviews which created an environment of negativity and where one poor performance review could lead to firing.

Google and Netflix have championed the 360 peer review process. Google asks its employees to evaluate their coworkers semi-annually. These reviews ask employees to tell their coworkers “…one thing the reviewee should do more of and one thing that they could do in a different way.” These reports go anonymously to the reviewee and their manager.

Netflix however, has no guidelines as to how to review the employee, nor has anonymity to the reviews. Netflix utilizes a “keeper test” wherein they ask their management, if a member of their team were leaving, would the manager try hard to keep the employee? If the answer is no, the employee is cut.

What is the global perspective of performance reviews?

While American companies have thrown the metaphorical baby out with the bathwater in ditching performance reviews, abroad, companies have yet to adopt these radical changes. While each organization has their own evaluation system, most European-based companies are sticking to the traditional approach. One exception, SAP, comes at the cross-hairs of European and American influence. Since 2014, the German-based HR giant has been under the guidance of American CEO Bill McDermott. In 2016, McDermott announced that SAP would be scrapping their annual performance reviews. SAP’s shift is not just internal, however. Senior Vice President of Human Resources for SAP Wolfgang Fassnacht announced in February of 2016 that SAP would continue to market their traditional performance assessment software as well as a new “continuous performance management” software for those companies seeking to modernize their performance review process.

Are performance reviews here to stay?

Overhauling the performance appraisal process may aid in improving efficiency, team cohesion or even employee satisfaction, but these replacements have their own issues, including, in many cases, how to award compensation. Other cases, like the Netflix and the Accenture models, are unsustainable in their philosophies: just hire the right people or just remove employees who in any way underperform. 

It’s easy to forget, too, that as much employers and managers rely on performance reviews, employees also benefit from these processes. In a case study of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, HR.com host Edie Goldberg found that employees who received high marks on their performance assessment felt, on average 70% more engaged with the company over the next year than employees who received low marks on their performance assessment. And in a survey conducted by CEB, now Gartner, found that:

“…employee performance drops by around 10% when ratings are removed, and less than 5% of managers can effectively manage employees without them.”

Performance review ratings will always be tricky, no matter how they are approached, but managers, employees, and companies rely on the ability to track performance and progress. Determining how to best go about designing an approach to performance assessment requires introspection, not only on what information is expected to come from evaluating the individuals, but also from evaluating the organization, as a whole. In the end it all comes down to the simple fact that employees are incapable of meeting, or exceeding, expectations, if management does not themselves know what those goals are.


Worklogix

 

Worklogix partners with clients to plan, configure, develop and integrate HR products and custom applications. We have assembled a global team with years of experience implementing HCM solutions. Our team is dedicated to understanding your business challenges, helping you leverage your technology and implement solutions that deliver results.


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Adobe. (n.d.) Adobe Check-In. Accessed August 16 2018. http://www.adobe.com/check-in.html. [Accessed 15 Aug 2018]
“Culture At Netflix | Netflix Jobs”. 2018. Jobs.Netflix.Com. Accessed August 16 2018. jobs.netflix.com/culture.
Cunningham, L. (2015). Accenture CEO explains why he’s overhauling performance reviews. Accenture.com. Available at: http://www.accenture.com/us-en/company-accenture-ceo-performance-review [Accessed 15 Aug. 2018].
de Mello, F. (2016). Case Study: How Google does Performance Reviews. Squarespace.com. Available at: https://worklogixblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/b3318-google.pdf [Accessed 16 Aug. 2018].
ETS. (n.d.). Replacing performance ratings… How Amazon, Deloitte and Google do it. Available at: http://www.etsplc.com/replacing-performance-ratings-how-amazon-deloitte-and-google-do-it/ [Accessed 15 Aug. 2018].
“Employee Performance Reviews In 23 Countries”. 2016. Slideshare.Net. Accessed August 17 2018. http://www.slideshare.net/ForeignStaffing/employee-performance-reviews-in-23-countries.
Fortune. (2016). SAP, Maker of Performance Review Software, Ditches Performance Reviews. Available at: http://fortune.com/2016/08/12/sap-ends-performance-reviews/ [Accessed 16 Aug. 2018].
Goldberg, E. (n.d.). Continuous Employee Performance Management. HR.com. Available at: http://www.hr.com/en?t=/network/event/attachment.supply&fileID=1464633654696 [Accessed 17 Aug. 2018].
Rock, D. and Jones, B. (2015). Why More and More Companies Are Ditching Performance Ratings. Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2015/09/why-more-and-more-companies-are-ditching-performance-ratings [Accessed 15 Aug. 2018].
Sloan, N. (n.d.). Performance management: Does your process serve your strategy?. Deloitte United States. Available at: http://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/finance/articles/cfo-insights-performance-management-process-strategy.html [Accessed 16 Aug. 2018]
Soper, Taylor. 2016. Amazon To ‘Radically’ Simplify Employee Reviews, Changing Controversial Program Amid Huge Growth. Geekwire. Accessed August 16 2018. http://www.geekwire.com/2016/amazon-radically-simplify-employee-reviews-changing-controversial-program-amid-huge-growth/.
Stone, M. (2015). Amazon employees reportedly slam each other through this internal review tool. Business Insider. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-employees-reportedly-slam-each-other-through-this-internal-review-tool-2015-8 [Accessed 15 Aug. 2018].
Wiles, Jackie. 2018. “The Real Impact On Employees Of Removing Performance Ratings”. Gartner.Com. Accessed August 17 2018. http://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/corporate-hr-removing-performance-ratings-is-unlikely-to-improve-performance/.