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In early 2013 SAP launched SuccessFactors Onboarding, the latest addition to the SuccessFactors talent suite. With a fresh, comprehensive approach focusing on the needs of the new hires and hiring managers, SuccessFactors takes onboarding beyond orientation and compliance and elevates it to be a strategic part of talent management.

And the news is just in: SuccessFactors is a leader in overall functionality according to Bersin’s Onboarding Software Solutions 2014: On-Ramp for Employee Success.
SuccessFactors’ leadership position is based on primary research and an unwavering focus the needs of  people and their managers. 

Starting with what matters most: the new hire

The hierarchy of new hire needs is a result of primary research conducted in the design phase of the SuccessFactors Onboarding solution.

Similar to Maslow’s needs pyramid at the lowest level are the most basic needs  – where paperwork is taken care of, equipment needs to be ordered and data needs to be entered in HR systems. Compliance and administration is important, but tactical. Employers can make significant improvements by automating this part and making it available before the start date.  Investments here result in a more efficient process.

But, every step up this pyramid gets more strategic and has a bigger impact on new hire engagement, attrition and time to productivity. The second level is dealing with the new hire’s first day anxieties and the need for information. Proactively providing new hires information about the company, its’ culture and what to expect on their first day helps them to get through this, makes them feel welcome and puts them at ease.

Once the basic needs are met, socialization is important. People want to be connected. They want to feel like they are part of the team and the organization – not an outsider. Formal and informal networks and access to content help new hires get oriented, feel comfortable and start getting their job done.

Finally, the ultimate value creation is achieved when onboarding enables development and contribution. While the employer has a big stake in ramping new hires up quickly, the new hires themselves also want to feel like they are contributing as quickly as possible. To do that they need to know what is expected of them, have individualized development activities lined up and have first short-term objectives.

If employers can take care of all of these new hire needs, then they are laying the foundation for a successful employee, and they can really start to have long term, strategic impact.

Making onboarding a strategic part of talent management

SuccessFactors Onboarding addresses the needs of the new hire, the hiring manager and the other constituents of the onboarding process in three unique ways:

Guide the team

SuccessFactors Onboarding efficiently guides all constituents through the onboarding process. Best practices help standardizing activities that lead to new hire success. Hiring managers are notified when they need to complete an activity such as selecting a buddy, inviting the new hire for lunch or setting up a meeting to talk about expectations and first milestones. They are guided through each step of the onboarding process. This is critical, as many hiring managers want to provide the support, information and resources new employees need, but often require guidance to do so accurately and effectively.

At the same time, new hires have access to everything that can ease their entry into their new jobs. This includes information and training tailored to their roles within the organization or selected by the hiring manager. They also have visibility into the necessary paperwork. As new hires complete forms, HR and other corporate users of the solution can turn to detailed process dashboards to monitor their progress and – when necessary – move things along. The SuccessFactors new hire process is device agnostic, enabling access from mobile devices as well as a desktop. This is key, given an increasingly mobile workforce.

Connect the players

SuccessFactors Onboarding links new employees with the onboarding team, their manager, coworkers and others, even before their start date, with tools such as a photo-rich interface, organizational chart and contact data. Hiring managers can use these features to initiate introductions between team members, peers and others in the organization, giving new hires a sense of community and culture prior to day one. Access to the knowledge of others in the organization helps new hires more quickly understand and acclimate to its operation and culture and more rapidly achieve their first milestones.

Develop the talent

SuccessFactors Onboarding is built on a robust talent management platform. It links new employees with relevant learning, development and social initiatives and starts the process of managing their progress toward first goals. For managers, the solution suggests learning topics for employees to explore, and helps them set initial objectives and milestones. At the same time, new employees gain easy access to assigned learning activities and additional development opportunities based on their jobs and individual needs.

Connecting the dots

SuccessFactors Onboarding’s ability to guide, connect and develop everyone involved in the onboarding process allows organizations to meet the hierarchy of new hire needs and addresses both the strategic and tactical aspects of the onboarding processes. Because of this, SuccessFactors Onboarding enhances employees’ engagement, development, satisfaction and productivity while ensuring a simplified, compliant, and measurable onboarding process for the organization.