For starters, people are multidimensional and many aspects contribute to their performance, all of which should be taken into account. This presents an IT challenge – how to collect all of this data, which is contributed from various sources, and present it to the manager in a usable and timely way?
Secondly, performance assessment – whether executed in an online system or an offline form, is always captured in individual appraisals. This is necessary due to the confidentiality of the data, but an individualized document isolates each person’s performance criteria and results – and doesn’t support a comparative analysis of the employee.
Third, managers often exhibit a positive bias towards their own team members and want to reward them to the greatest degree possible. HR professionals are always on guard against this kind of ‘grade inflation’, which skews performance ratings and stretches compensation budgets beyond reasonable limits.
Finally, a manager’s perspective is mostly limited to their own span of control. They lack detailed firsthand knowledge of the performance of employees from other teams. As a result, one manager’s ‘Excellent’ may equal another manager’s ‘Average’. Appraisals are inherently confidential, so overcoming this hurdle requires upfront training and intervention by HR business partners to ensure consistency in the process. But how to do this in an organized way during a planning cycle that is often brief? This presents not only an IT challenge but a time management challenge as well. All the relevant data needs to be collected for managers of disparate teams, and presented in a way that allows for accurate talent ranking decisions. As with any kind of business decision, what’s needed most is very good data.
SAP introduces two new capabilities for helping managers make more accurate and equitable performance and compensation decisions in Enhancement Package 4. The first of these is a new Calibration screen that is part of the predefined Performance Management process UI. A screen shot of this is below:
This calibration screen allows managers assessing their direct reports to step outside the boundaries of individual appraisal documents and judge the relative performance of each person in the team. By presenting a (configurable) performance rating histogram in the background, the system suggests a consistent distribution of performance ratings for the manager’s own team. This makes it very clear to the manager if a grade inflation problem may be present in their currently proposed ratings. The main area of the screen is an island of Adobe Flash UI technology embedded in the SAP Web Dynpro. It allows manager to drag and drop employees from one rating category to another and provides a satisfying, user-friendly experience.
This screen also provides another critical dimension of data to the manager: a Compensation simulation showing the probable impact on employees’ pay if the current performance ratings are used as a basis. Managers receive valuable insight into the equity of pay in their team, and can use this information to judge whether their compensation budgets are being fairly distributed. This can help prepare the manager for employee and HR discussions that take place during the performance cycle.
The second new capability is a new Talent Review Meeting process now supported in EHP4. It allows HR professionals to define the agenda and group together all the managers who will be brought together to calibrate talents. Again, the main body of the screen (seen below) is another Adobe Flash island within the SAP Web Dynpro, providing a very usable experience for all the participants in the meeting. This grid layout allows for a clear discussion of the relative strengths and potentials of employees who are nominated for specific talent groups. It provides easy drag and drop compare tools to provide a side-by-side view of talents. Meeting participants can quickly access the new Talent Profiles (also Flash-enabled) that include all aspects of data about an employee: Competencies, Performance ratings, Potential ratings, Career history, Education, Mobility preferences and more. This gives managers and HR all the information they need to make accurate calibration decisions about top talents. It provides an excellent filter for the Succession Planning activities carried out in SAP Talent Visualization by Nakisa.
In summary, managers require access to many dimensions of information when assessing human performance – but it must be the right data, presented in a usable, actionable way. In Enhancement Package 4, the tools are in place for HR to help managers make the best possible decisions for all stakeholders in the process.