In this release, we saw a wide range of enhancements across the Talent modules – some specific to Succession and others that lay across the modules but help out succession planners. Let’s take a look at what’s new in the Succession module below!
Succession Management Specific Changes
Let’s start with what’s new just for Succession Management before we take a look at some general talent improvements that are relevant to Succession.
The main new feature exclusive to Succession Management is the ability to view nomination history in the talent card and in the people profile. Users will with Succession Planning permission can click a history icon on these screens to see a list of positions for which the employee has been nominated and information about the nomination history for each including the date, nominator, readiness level, status, change type, and notes. The information includes deleted nominations as well.
Hide Pending Nominations for Talent Pools
Succession configurators have had the ability to hide pending nominations from succession planners for some time now, but the ability was only extended to position nominations. Now, this feature works for talent pool nominations as well. This configuration setting remains in the same in Admin Center -> Nomination Setup.
Form-Based Nomination Deleted
Another update specific to succession with this release is that form-based succession nomination will be completely deleted as of May 21,2021. This was a legacy method of approving nominations – if you never used it, then don’t worry because no action is required. If you are still using forms to approve nominations, you have little time left to switch to the newer permission-based method!
General Talent Management Updates Relevant to Succession
There are also numerous updates across the talent modules in general that affect not only Succession, but also Performance, Goals, Development, and/or Calibration. Let’s take a look at these briefly below.
Editing Talent Info Directly on a Talent Card
It seems like every customer for whom I’ve implemented Succession has asked why they need to switch between the employee profile view and other views to edit talent information. Why can’t customers just change the information right on the talent card that shows up across the different views that contain the talent card? This way data like impact of loss or risk of loss can be updated when the user has the contextual information they need to make the decision. Well now, customers can!
Users can now click the icon shown below to open a popup that allows these fields to be changed.
My Jobs Downloads
Previously Succession (and other talent reports) could be downloaded from the Scheduled Reports page in Classic View. Reports may now be downloaded from My Jobs page within Report Center. This eliminates the need to switch to Classic View prior to downloading.
A report with multiple files can be downloaded in a compressed .zip file or downloaded individually.
Numerous Calibration Session Improvements
There are a variety of calibration session feature that have been added/updated as well. For example specifying default facilitators or allowing managers to more easily create calibration sessions for their teams. For more information on these improvements, check out our blog on What’s in in H1 2021 SAP SuccessFactors Calibration Release.
That’s a Wrap!
That’s all of the updates for H1 2021! We hope you found this blog informative!
With so many jobs lost, we all need to hunker down and concentrate on keeping our current jobs until things get better right? Nothing could be further from the truth!
Realizing the Need
Just last week, I had a call with a customer who wanted to re-examine their Succession Management process. They had the system set up. They didn’t really use it. Then COVID hit. Like many companies, the organization underwent a lot of changes and left a lot of resource gaps. Now they are realizing they could have been better prepared and are looking to quickly ramp back up their succession process. They are not alone.
Throughout this year, I’ve had the pleasure of serving on HR.com‘s advisory board for Internal Mobility, Succession, and Career Development. The organization just recently published the results of the cross-industry study we board members helped create. From what I see, the survey results are consistent with what I am seeing in the example I described above. Let’s take a closer look at the facts!
First off, most organizations recognize they don’t have an effective succession management and/or planning process in place. In addition to only 40% of companies agreeing or strongly agreeing that their process is effective as shown below, another survey question revealed that only 26% have a succession management system in place.
Furthermore, the survey also found that only about 1 in 5 companies have considerable job mobility within the organization.
At the same time, companies realize that business continuity (e.g. keeping the lights on!) is the most important reason to promote succession management and internal mobility.
Recognizing The Gap
So let’s get this straight, companies recognize that Succession and Internal Mobility are important, but they don’t currently have good systems and processes in place to support them. So why don’t more companies get their Succession Management systems and processes up and running? The problem is, most organizations don’t consider Succession Management important to the organization.
The gap here is that the process really is important for the reasons these companies have already realize and just not acted up (remember what we said about keeping the lights on?). And many companies right now are starting to realize this the hard way during COVID as employees leave both voluntarily and involuntarily and large resource gaps are being felt because of this process gap. I can only attribute this trend to “perception” since the facts point to a real need here. I think it is time to end this perception!
Is It Worth The Investment?
If I invest in a Succession and Development Management strategy, is it really going to work? The answer is “Yes!” The survey found overwhelmingly that those organizations who are internal mobility leaders, it is easier for employees to move to new positions. Making it easy for employees to move from one position to another makes it easier to fill critical roles with people your organization already knows and trusts rather than going through the expense and risk of recruiting externally (which many companies are still unable to do at all at the moment with some still experiencing hiring freezes).
OK, I get it, I need Succession and Internal Mobility! How do I get started?
There’s a ton of ways! We’ve talked a lot about Succession Management – which involves tagging which roles are critical to the organization and identifying how to fill those roles. This can help you define who to develop and what they need to develop. But of course, that means investing in employee development itself! Not surprisingly, the survey found a similar trend here. Almost half of companies reported they did not have a development process or program!
What’s more frightening, is that during the Pandemic, when the concentration should be on developing the fewer employees many companies are trying to make more effective, the opposite seems to be happening. 47% of companies saw decreases in employee development.
At the same time, employee demand for development opportunities has increased! 75% of companies saw that employees are looking for development opportunities!
Once again, there is a huge disconnect which helps explain further why many company strategies are out of alignment with the needs. Only once employees are able to develop their skills and competencies in order to meet the needs of critical roles will they will be ready to start filling those critical roles.
There are a lot of specific strategies companies are using the promote internal mobility and fill their succession management strategies. To find out more information about the different approaches companies are taking to implement their Succession and Development Strategies, you can download the full survey at HR.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to talk more about your strategy!
For more information about Succession Management and other talent management modules in SAP SuccessFactors, check out our book here!
Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor for Job Profile Builder
The biggest news for these modules we’ve seen is that the Job Profile builder now supports the Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor (see below). This was a big gap that is finally being closed. We had some customers who wanted to use both the Job profile builder and the Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor. This required creating all of the content for the Coaching Advisor and Writing Assistant in the legacy competency library config screens and then switching on the Job Profile builder and hoping everything got converted OK. If there was a mistake somewhere or something you wanted to add to the Coaching Advisor or Writing assistant…well then there wasn’t a way to fix it without turning off the Job Profile builder. Now this gap is closed and a profile job profile builder compatible maintenance screen for the Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor exists. Woohoo!
Another significant enhancement we’ve seen is to the talent search. Now at the top of the screen there’s a checkbox to toggle between AND/OR logic when searching for background information (see below). We are wondering how this compliments / replaces the “Make All Criteria Optional” button that already existed under the settings menu. You can also add up to 6 criteria within each background element. There’s also a new competency picker in the talent search. The export feature was also enhanced to allow you to reorder and choose which fields can be exported. More fields can also be exported now under Advanced Information and Ratings & Competencies.
Calibration sessions got a neat enhancement where you can now view comments from other calibration sessions so long as they use the same template (see below)! We can see this becoming very useful to organizations that manage multiple sessions across large organizations. This was also enhanced in the Odata API where a new object, “CaibrationSubjectComment”, is available so that these comments are exposed for interfacing.
In addition, you can also use autocomplete when searching for people in calibration. Also, if you are attempting to purge a user who happens to be the only facilitator for a session you can now replace the user with an active user and then continue with the purge.
Career Worksheets and Career Explorer
Within Career Worksheets and the Career explorer we’ve seen some nice usability improvements. For example, the ability to remove recommended roles in the career explorer. Users can now remove a recommendation if they no longer wish to see it. This is a nice feature that can help encourage employees to keep looking for other roles instead of just constantly throwing something irrelevant at them. Aside from this, the career worksheet also got a security enhancement where the worksheet is only viewable if the employee is in the user’s target population. The progress bar also swapped colors as shown below. The bars will also show up now for not applicable / too new to rate competencies (they were hidden before).
But that’s not all!
Development templates and Continuous Performance Management also got another integration point. Now when a user
Matrix views (9-box) also got visual /usability updates. For example, you can now remove the “Too New to Rate” option. You can also view the people cards for employees even when you are zoomed out of their box. You can also select reporting levels in the Matrix Grid Report.
You can now also hide contingent workers in the Succession Org Chart. The “Add Successor” icon also appears now even when there is no successor exists.
Talent pool nominations can also now be approved or rejected. Nomination history for talent pools is also available via the Odata API and People Analytics Stories.
All in all, there’s over 25 items being changed/enhanced in this release and we didn’t cover every detail here. For more information, check out the What’s New Viewer here.
With the SAP SuccessFactors First Half 2020 release there are six updates in Succession. There are four new features and two enhancements. Let’s start with Talent Pools.
There are two new features and some minor enhancements for Talent Pools.
The two new features are:
View Nomination History for Talent Pools
View Talent Pool Nominations in People Profile and Talent Cards without Talent Pool Object Level Permission
The Talent Pool enhancements involve filter fields and the Nomination Table.
Now let’s look closer at each starting with what’s new for Talent Pools.
View Nomination History for Talent Pools
This new universal feature permits those with Talent Pool permission to see nomination changes for nominees within a Talent Pool.
In prior releases, there was no nomination history available to view within a talent pool. Now users with Talent Pool role-based permissions with assigned target populations may see the nomination history for employees in a talent pool.
Within a talent pool, there is new icon used to view nomination history for each nominee. The example shown below identifies the icon which displays on the top right side of the talent pool table.
Talent pool nominees that have nomination change history for this pool will display in the “Nominees” section that displays on the left side of the page. Click on any nominee name from this column and their nomination change history for this talent pool will display.
An example is displayed below.
The name of the user that made the change will display along with the change date. The readiness, status, nomination source and notes for each change are displayed as well.
Approved and Removed nominees will display their nomination history. You must click the checkbox for “Show Removed” in the nominees section to see any employees removed from the talent pool. Both Approved and Removed nominees will display as seen below. The default view is approved nominees.
To see the nominee’s talent pool history for another date range, click the “Date Range” calendar icon that is available on this screen. An example is shown below.
The default date range is one year from the current date. The date range may be modified and then the nomination history will display for the new date range
We will now look at the other new feature for Talent Pools.
View Talent Pool Nominations in People Profile and Talent Cards without Talent Pool Object Level Permission
It is now possible to enable users without Talent Pool object level permission to view Talent Pool nominations of employees in People Profile and Talent Card.
This new feature may be used to enable managers to see this information for their direct reports in People Profile and Talent Card.
This is a provisioning opt-in. The setting to enable is “View Talent Pool nominations in People Profile and Talent Card without having the Talent Pool object level permission“.
When enabled, users without Talent Pool object level permission may view Talent Pool nominations for employees within:
Nomination Block in People Profile
Nominations section of Talent Card
In addition to these two new features, there is also an enhancement for Talent Pools that we will look at next.
Talent Pool Enhancements
There are a few enhancements to talent pools. Let’s open a talent pool to see what’s changed.
Talent Pool Nomination Table View
First, there are more lines available in a talent pool nomination table view as seen below. This update also includes making the line width consistent with tables in other modules.
Notes Column Placement
There is an additional display field option as well. Users may modify the position of the Notes column. Let’s see how it’s done.
Within the talent pool, click on the “Define Column Properties” icon as noted below.
A pop up displays the available fields that may be included in the talent pool view. When the cursor is place on “Notes“, the upward and downward arrows may be used to change placement of this field.
Clicking “OK” and the nominations in the Talent Pool will now reflect the changed column order as seen in the figure below.
The final enhancement to Talent Pools involves selected filters.
Talent Pool Filters
First, the selected filters can now be automatically cleared after all nominees are deleted from a Talent Pool. Looking at the example below, the filters were defined by clicking “Adapt Filters“.
Here is where the filters are defined. The fields to use as filters are selected and will appear on the filter bar within a talent pool.
In the example shown below, there is a filter to display nominees with a readiness of 1 to 2 years.
After the final nominee is deleted from the talent pool, the readiness filter is cleared as seen below.
We have now seen all of the updates for Talent Pools. Let’s see what else is new in Succession.
Exclude Nominees from Seeing Themselves within a Succession Plan
This is an admin opt-in setting that when enabled, prevents users nominated as successors to see themselves in a succession plan. This will also prevent them from nominating themselves. This means that users with permission to do Succession Planning for certain positions won’t see themselves within the succession plans of those positions.
Let’s see how to enable this feature. Go to “Nominations Set Up”. Scroll to the very bottom of the screen and enable “Exclude nominees from seeing themselves within a succession plan”. The “Nomination Set Up” page is shown below.
This exclusion prevents nominees from nominating themselves. Additionally, the nominees would not see themselves in Succession Org Chart, Position Tiles, Lineage Chart, Talent card, People Profile, Presentation and Nomination History from position card. A Talent Search would not display them or a list that they are a part of.
There is one additional feature that we will now explore.
New OData API Function Imports for Succession
There are two new OData API Function Imports for Succession:
These function imports may be used to approve or reject nominees that are in a pending status.
In prior releases, third-party applications could only read the Succession nominations in Pending Approval status.
The two new function imports allows third-party applications to write the approval steps of the nomination workflow.
The role-based permissions needed for both function imports is: Succession Planners>Succession Approval Permission.
Approve Nominees in Pending Status
Pending status for approvals are:
Parameters for approval and rejection are nomineeIds (mandatory) and comment (optional).
Now we have seen what’s new in Succession, let’s see the final enhancement.
Picklist Label Enhancements for Matrix Grid Report and Talent Pools Overview Page
In previous releases, picklists used for filter fields in the Matrix Grid Reports and Talent Pool Nominations overview page showed option IDs rather than labels.
Matrix grid reports support custom filters and these filters may be associated with a picklist. If this is the case, the picklist labels will be displayed in the customizable fields. Picklists that are used for filter fields of the Matrix Grid Reports and Talent Pools nominations overview page will now show labels instead of option IDs. A custom picklist with values for a talent pool filter is shown below.
These fields also remember the picklist labels that were chosen the last time.
We have now seen the new features and functionality for the Succession module. Check out my blogs on Highlight of 1H 2020 Release Updates for Calibration and Career Development too.
I recently watched the The King on Netflix, a very well written (mostly borrowed from Shakespeare) movie which begins with the topic of Succession as a young King Henry V rises to the throne. As my work day progressed the next morning, this got me thinking more about the topic of Succession (although a much less intense version of it). I like to think of Succession Planning as the crowning achievement of a well-functioning Talent Management system. In my mind, the ultimate goal of a Talent Management system is to help people grow. This is really the core function of every component or module of Talent Management systems. Talent Acquisition systems empower people to find a new opportunity within the company and get their foot in the door. Goal Setting and Development plans give people a place to set the tangible targets they seek to obtain. Performance management systems help coach people on obtaining those goals. Learning systems give them the knowledge they need to get there. And finally, a good Succession Planning system helps people at the top use all of the information gathered during all of these activities to see who is ready to move on up!
A typical SAP SuccessFactors Succession Management module implementation covers the below processes:
A Talent Review process including 9-box placement
A Succession Org Chart
There are even more features in the module, but for the sake of brevity I won’t cover them all this article.
Talent Review Process
While a formal Talent Review process is not necessary for Succession, it can be a very helpful starting point. To me, it marks the difference between an organization that takes Succession seriously as an open part of its culture vs. one that keeps the topic of Succession completely behind closed doors. Formalizing the process forces managers to stop and take the time to think about their direct reports, identify who is ready for advancement, and how to cultivate them for the future.
To help with formalizing the Talent Review process, SAP SuccessFactors offer an out-of-box Talent Review form. The form consists of a 9-box placement and comments section where managers can place each of their direct reports for which a form is launched.
In addition to a talent review form, calibration sessions can also be utilized to gather the “big picture” of resources from different major areas of the company and decide on 9-box placement amongst larger groups of participants in the planning sessions. Calibration sessions can also be used to determine key flags for resources as well such as “Risk of Loss” and “Impact of Loss”.
Another way to search across the company for people flagged as for Risk of Loss or Impact of loss—or any other talent field for that matter, is the Talent Search. This is the one-stop-shop for all talent info on your employees! Things like past performance ratings, skills and languages and degrees pulled from the talent profile are all here as well. Talent pools can also be made with the search results to help you organize your talent! There are all sorts of practical applications for Talent Search – for example in the search query I have made below, the results would show me all of my Good to Excellent performers for this year who are also willing to relocate—great information to have on hand when you have a critical position that is empty in a hard to fill location!
In addition to adding resources to talent pools, from here you can also nominate them for positions and also compare how well they stack up against one another in your search (is it just me or do Francois and John look related?)
Succession Org Chart
The Succession Org Chart is where it all comes together! Here you can navigate by position or by resources along the reporting chain and nominate people for positions. Clicking on a position shows you details about what Successors are in queue for the position. Clicking on a resource shows their “Talent Card” which can be customized to show a variety of talent information stored in the system from the various modules. You can even nominate successors from the candidate pool in recruiting!
The linage chart can also help with scenario planning, showing how a potential move could affect the downstream positions.
Phew! I’ve had a full year from conducting all of those talent reviews, talent searches, talent pools, and succession nominations, how about you? Oh no, now the big boss wants a presentation with all of this new data tomorrow morning! Luckily with the presentations feature, I won’t have to dig through all that data, throw it into spreadsheets, and copy / paste it into a power point deck! The feature comes with several pre-build slides where you simple choose some selection criteria and you can build things like 9-boxes and team views and pull up talent cards for employees using live data in interactive slides!
I love it! When is the right time to deploy?
As you might imagine from the description given in the introduction, I typically see companies get the most benefit from their Succession Planning system after all or most other components of the system have been implemented. This is because decision making is all about having the right up-to-date relevant information to keep you well informed – and in this case it is all of the data from all of those other modules that helps tell you who your high-potentials are and when they will be ready for a move. For example, the talent search functionality works best when resources have filled out their talent profile with things like education and skills – and the talent profile is often easiest to maintain if it has already been pre-populated when the employee was hired from the recruiting system using their candidate profile. Logically it is also best to establish a performance/potential matrix after you have evaluated everyone’s performance in the system. Further indicating the “right time” to deploy SAP Succession Management, there comes a point in a company’s growth when the Talent Director and/or Managers have had enough of their paper or excel-based Succession planning processes. If a Director or Manager of Talent is growth themselves, they will need to focus on strategy and growth instead of spending all night re-arranging people on excel spreadsheets. At a certain number of employees working within the company, the process simply becomes too burdensome to do manually. If you are at that point now, I’m sure you are eager to get started with all of the features I’ve described here
For more information about Succession and other talent management modules in SAP SuccessFactors, check out our book here!
Do you need help with your SuccessFactors Succession Implementation? Contact us at: email@example.com
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