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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
The need for a successful skills transformation is even more pressing

The pace of technology transformation is accelerating, impacting businesses and their skills needs. We see it every day in news detailing the latest AI capabilities. I recently read an article about how PwC plans to train their entire US workforce of 65,000 employees on generative AI as part of a strategic upskilling initiative in their company. Organizations are on an ongoing journey of skills transformation, with studies highlighting the need for increased skills acceleration and transformation. The competition for talent is now a competition for skills, and organizations need to focus on upskilling their workforce to remain competitive.

The HR Meta-Trends in 2023 report developed by the SAP SuccessFactors research team clearly shows that there are common themes around skills, learning, and emerging technology. The number one trend is around the race for skilled talent, with employees and job seekers having more influence as employers continue to compete in this challenging environment. Despite economic uncertainty and the downsizing we’ve seen in 2022 and early 2023 across several industries, trends suggest that it will remain an employees’ market. To attract and retain talent, organizations need to offer flexible work policies, increased monetary rewards and non-monetary benefits, and redesigned HR and skills-based processes that better meet employees’ wants and needs. Hiring to close the skills gap is no longer a practical solution.

While Learning leads the way in transformation and skills building, L&D organizations are challenged with breaking down traditional silos to collaborate on a more holistic vision across HR. Many organizations have invested heavily in Learning Experience Platform (LXP) solutions to increase learner engagement, but this approach alone has not solved the challenge of increasing skills growth across the organization while aligning learning to strategic business goals.

Organizations need to shift their focus from filling short-term skills gaps to predicting long-term business needs and engaging in workforce planning to prepare resources for the future. To address this challenge, organizations need easy, real-time access to employee data to fill skills gaps as a critical business goal. At the same time, employees expect dynamic career opportunities that drive personal and professional growth and rewards. Developing unique, individualized career plans for employees will demonstrate their value today and for their future with the organization. Supporting that long-term career trajectory with a variety of shorter-term developmental activities helps employees feel re-engaged and organizations build the skills they need for the future.

Learning as part of SAP SuccessFactors's Future ready workforce strategy

SAP SuccessFactors Learning is a key part of our broader future-ready workforce strategy. Later this year, customers can expect an enhanced integrated learning experience for SAP SuccessFactors Learning, which includes a newly re-designed learning home page and much more. This integrated learning experience is based on extensive research that identifies the many learning options available to workers – the items that people “have to learn”, such as mandatory learning for safety and compliance; those that they “need to learn” to excel in their roles and achieve business objectives; and what they want to learn based on their own interests, aspirations, and motivations.

Prioritized and organized to meet the learner’s individual needs, the intuitive design of the integrated learning experience allows people to not only accomplish organizational goals, but also helps to drive an intrinsic culture of learning – tapping into each individual’s aspirations, motivations, skill targets, and learning preferences, in addition to their role and previous experiences. AI-driven talent intelligence, growth portfolio capabilities, and the SAP SuccessFactors Opportunity Marketplace for experiential learning supports an organization’s companywide integrated learning strategy for accelerated skills-building processes and fosters a culture of learning.

Core elements of the integrated learning experience

Let’s get a bit more concrete on how this unified end-to-end learning and development strategy enabled by our SAP SuccessFactors Learning and Talent solutions will help you to be more efficient in building up skills in your organization.

We start with the whole-self model at the core - it is important that organizations better understand and acknowledge the individual and enable them to share more about who they are now, who they are becoming, and who they want to be. When organizations can tap into this, it is easier to make better decisions around staffing projects or building teams and matching people with work that is meaningful to them. It’s not enough today to only have visibility into a person’s skills and competencies. When you take the person’s whole self into consideration, you can create incredible experiences for your workforce, and bring the right recommendations to meet those wants and needs, while aligning with business objectives. When an employee feels valued for their authentic self, their engagement, resilience, and creativity increase. This is an important foundational concept – the idea that an employee is much more than just what is in their job description. The whole self-model concept is about having people and companies capture and understand more about employees beyond just skills and competencies – to also consider their work styles, passions, aspirations, what motivates them, how they learn, and more. This can and will change and evolve over time.

The new integrated learning experience leverages the Talent Intelligence Hub framework of SAP SuccessFactors, which can be considered the talent intelligence “brain” and is comprised of three main components: the attributes library, skills ontology, and growth portfolio. This framework centralizes organizational and individual talent intelligence with data from third parties to build individualized talent development paths. Each component of the Talent Intelligence Hub serves a unique purpose. The attributes library includes different attribute types that you, as a customer, want to include for your people. You have control, but also AI support to minimize manual effort and increase adoption. And finally, the growth portfolio provides a centralized location for people to store their individual attributes in one place, including skills, aspirations, preferences, and competencies. AI-powered intelligence recommends skills for people to add to their profile, helping them continuously shape, define, and redefine a digital picture of their whole self to support their unique development path. The growth portfolio is the central repository for role-specific and person-specific attributes, capturing information from various touchpoints across the SAP SuccessFactors suite, such as ratings from performance forms, recommended learning based on aspirational goals, and capability gaps for target roles. All of this is aggregated together with SAP SuccessFactors Opportunity Marketplace to enable people to find relevant learning and development opportunities matching their work preferences and work styles.

Value drivers this new approach brings to you

This is the strength in our vision to empower individuals to do and be their best, supporting them on their development journey with Learning as the foundation of a future-ready workforce, bringing a connected experience across our entire solution by:

  • Providing a consistent, individualized learning experience across different talent data and processes to help employees stay compliant, remain relevant, and invest in their future with the newly redesigned Learning home page as an entry point.

  • Prioritizing learning opportunities that keep workers compliant and safe but also encourages collaboration, growth, discovery, and curiosity.

  • Accelerating skills-building processes through easier access, visibility, and navigation through “have to,” “need to,” and “want to” learning via the integrated learning experience.

  • Driving engagement through an experience that is prioritized and organized to meet the learner’s individual needs, skills, interest, and aspirations from the growth portfolio.

  • Surfacing individualized recommendations and new opportunities for learning activities, mentors, temporary assignments, and more to fuel always-on learning and development through the SAP SuccessFactors Opportunity Marketplace.

  • Making it easier for everyone to reach their career goals faster with visibility into gaps and tailored learning paths that align to individual career development plans leveraging Talent Intelligence Hub.

  • Enabling organizations to manage the attributes they expect in their people while also supporting their growth and development aspirations.

  • Keeping skills up to date with a central skills platform open to third-party skills integration.

  • Leveraging our strategy of an expanded partner ecosystem, such as with learning in the flow of work through MS Teams integrations to support learning everywhere.

Here’s a sneak peek of the new integrated learning experience:


What you should know

Please be aware that we are delivering the new integrated learning experience in a way that may be new to you. The new learning experience is currently in a closed beta phase, with around 30 customers actively testing the latest features in their preview instances. We plan to make it widely available to most learners in production in the 2H 2023 release in November, subject to environment pre-requisites being met (read also: Enabling your workforce for the future with the new integrated learning experience). This release will mark a shift to a new consumer-grade way of adopting product updates, as the experience will simply become available as a side-by-side new experience to learners, without any need for further configuration from the admin side. For the first time, we will be delivering our innovation directly to end-users.

While we bring these great innovations to you, please note that nothing is going away. Learners will be able to continue using the existing user interface, with a switch at the top of the page to toggle between the new experience. Your specific custom pages will continue to be available as well.

Nevertheless, we recommend that you prepare your end users, both learners and administrators, for this change. This is a mindset shift of how learning is delivered in your organization. To support you in preparing for this change, we have provided valuable information in this blog about prerequisites to leverage the new learning homepage, as well as the full scope of an integrated learning experience with growth portfolio, Talent Intelligence Hub, and SAP SuccessFactors Opportunity Marketplace. You can also find concrete guidance on the differences apparent in the new experience, and what may need to be set up from your side now.

We are super excited to bring this experience to your learners! Stay tuned for more information about this topic on the customer community and at events such as our upcoming SuccessConnect conference in Las Vegas.