Here’s a common scenario: At the beginning of a project, the team is asked to deliver on an implementation with little or no exposure to the solution that is being implemented. In my experience over the years, this is especially true with the implementation of the SAP® SuccessFactors® Career Development and Planning module as it is not often clear the role that this module plays within the overall SAP SuccessFactors product suite.
In general, this module consists of four key features that enable organizations to empower employees to own and further their career advancement. This works through specific development plans and actions whether it’s for their current role, future role, or general skillset.
While these features are available within the Career Development and Planning module, it is not required to implement all four features at once. Additionally, the module does integrate with other SAP SuccessFactors modules including Performance and Goals Management, 360 Reviews, Employee Profile, Learning Management, and Succession Management (which is integrated from a process perspective).
The key features include:
- The Development Plan works as an online worksheet where short-term and long-term goals can be captured leveraging the SMART methodology. Development goals can be tied to competencies or behaviors, helping employees create relevant development plans focused on gaps they may wish to develop.
- Tied to development goals, is the ability to create specific Learning Activities or actions as supporting tasks for development goals. Learning activities can be in the form of different activity types such as mentoring assignments, on the job training, or actual courses tied directly to your Learning Management System.
- Mentoring functionality that helps drive employee engagement and retention by enabling organizations to take a comprehensive, automated approach to mentoring programs by easing the burden on matching the proper mentors to an employee.
- The Career Worksheet allows employees to gain an understanding of the development effort required to move into a future role that they may be considering. Based on current performance, employees can critically consider where they are in their current career, where they’d like to be, and see how ready they are to take on future roles they may be considering. It answers the question: “Where can they go next?”
How Does Career Worksheet Work?
Out of these four features, the Career Worksheet is one of the most interesting, but can also be one of the most challenging for customers to implement.
In general, the Career Worksheet allows users to view and save job roles to gain an understanding of the development effort required to move into a future role. Each job role on the Career Worksheet shows the Job Role Description, and the associated competencies required for that job role as defined in the Job Families & Job Roles administration of SAP SuccessFactors.
The Career Worksheet can also display a gap analysis for each competency comparing the last rating of record for the employee with the expected rating for the potential job role. This feature relies heavily on Job Role definitions used in other SuccessFactors modules such as Performance Management, Succession Management, and Recruiting Management. Below is a sample screenshot of what the Career Worksheet looks like.
The need to have a refined competency structure in place within the organization makes Career Worksheet challenging to implement for many customers. For organizations who do not have a refined structure, the Career Worksheet loses its key value if customers are not able to set up the following:
- Granular Job Roles – It is not enough to only have high level Job Roles (e.g. Executive, Manager, Individual Contributor, Sales). This tool requires setting up granular Job Roles which can simply mean defining one Job Title per Job Role.
- Assign Expected Ratings – In order for the Career Worksheet to show the employee’s “readiness” for taking on future job roles, it is required that expected ratings be assigned to each competency within each Job Role.
The Five Questions to Consider Before Implementing Career Worksheet Functionality
- Are competencies defined in your organization?
As mentioned above, the overall Career Development and Planning solution can rely heavily on the existence of a defined competency structure. The more refined your competency structure is, the better it is to take advantage of some key features of the solution including the Career Worksheet.
- How granular is your job role structure?
This consideration can help determine how granular you desire for your job role structure to be, ultimately leading to the possibility of needing to define job-specific competencies with the assignment of expected ratings by competency by job role.
- What is the level of maturity you have within your organization with regards to employees truly taking ownership of their career development?
The Career Worksheet is a tool that really puts the ownership on employees to take responsibility of their own career development. Through the tool, they have the option to identify job roles that they are considering in the future.
- Are you ready for employees to assess themselves against potential future roles?
The Readiness Assessment feature of Career Worksheet allows for a configuration of a role-readiness form in which employees can assess competencies for the future role in which they are interested. In return, the tool calculates a readiness for a given future job role.While in principle this would be a great feature, organizations should think through the possible implications as to how employees would perceive being 100% ready for a future role and its relation to how promotions are handled. For example, my readiness assessment for a future role I’m considering may calculate to being 100% ready, therefore, in my mind, I may think that I should be immediately promoted.
- How important is it for employees to have access to and visualize Career Paths?
Another great feature of the Career Worksheet is the inclusion of Career Paths which allows employees to understand where their next career track can be and answers for them “Where can I go next”? It’s important to note that the Career Path feature also requires the need to have a granular job role structure in which job roles are then connected to define where a job role leads. For many customers, defining robust career paths can be challenging and can take time to develop.
In summary, the Career Worksheet has many great features that have been developed over the years. As an organization looking at implementing such a tool, it is recommended that you consider the five key questions posed above to assess your overall readiness for taking on the Career Worksheet functionality.