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In my third year in college I was elected as the general secretary of the creative activities club. Once i was elected, I automatically was included in multiple student committees, invited to the director’s annual dinner, the deans monthly meetings and so on. I was instantly part of all the right groups, met the right people and had a clear idea what is expected of me. All this happened without any specific effort from my part and without any significant effort from the president of the student’s union. My university had a well oiled policy of introducing the new student secretaries to the right people and the right activities at the right time. I guess Universities have a lot of experience in welcoming new people and making them feel at home.


Unfortunately most business organizations today lack even the very basic policies and tools to on-board new employees, transferred employees and relocated employees. It is particularly pathetic when there is a merger or an acquisition.


SAP Jam has a seldom discussed feature called Auto Groups. This simple, yet powerful feature in the Enterprise edition of SAP Jam automatically adds employees old and new to select groups based on policies set by company administrators.

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The moment I say policy you may think that this is a cumbersome activity that will take a long time to implement and will cost a lot in consulting fees. That is not the case. I am one of the several company administrators of Jam at SAP. I have done this myself. It is a point and click activity that takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Administrators can test the waters with a few auto groups to check how it works for them before adding more groups.

For example a company administrator can create a group for people who were hired in the past 90 days in Palo Alto. Administrators can create any number of groups. The policies can be as open or as regulated as an organization wants it to be. I believe this is a very powerful feature that CIOs and HR leaders are going to love. It is going to empower people and make organizations more effective.

After I wrote this post, my colleague Jame Louis Kelley from UK, reached out to me and shared how the auto groups functionality helped him when he came on board.

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3 Comments

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  1. Luke Marson

    HI Prashanth,

    A nice short blog. I like this feature and it helps the onboarding process without the intervention of HR or managers. Managed right, this can be an extremely powerful tool to increase onboarding and engagement with minimal effort and enhanced efficiency. The only problem is whether new hires will engage with this type of platform – it goes back to the old days of the intranet where new hires could find all the information they needed. In my experience not many people actually looked.

    Best regards,

    Luke

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    1. Prashanth Padmanabhan Post author

      Thanks Luke, You bring up a good point. Auto groups is a starting point. The company and team culture needs to use it in a meaningful way. My colleagues Anke Doerzapf, Brenda Reid, Ruta Raju, Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd and Yvonne Bauer are designing the new onboarding solution. They are thinking about how to nudge administrators and managers to participate in the onboarding process and encourage them to use such tools for day to day work. We have a lot of work to do in this area. You will see some interesting work in this area in the near future.

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      1. Luke Marson

        That sounds very interesting. Providing workflow, (email) reminders and action lists will help management and individuals make best use of an on-boarding solution.

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