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Author's profile photo Nicole Ramirez

SuccessFactors Q1 2014 Release: Employee retention is about more than money

By Nicole Saunders, Product Marketing Manager and Dipesh Bhattacharya, Senior Product Manager

The problem many organizations face today is not a shortage of people—it is a shortage of skills.1

According to a recent survey by PwC, 50% of CEOs see this lack of skills as a threat to the business.  Technology advancements are increasing job complexity and the demand for a highly-skilled workforce.  Specialized skills are becoming increasingly more important across all industries and geographies.  Meanwhile, the competition for talent is growing fierce with the aging of the global population and the changing nature of work.  Bottom line – talent supply is not meeting the demand for talent. 

Employee engagement is the key driver to employee retention

To address the skills shortage and secure the highly-skilled workforce they will need in the future, organizations are shifting their talent strategies to focus on retaining talent and developing the critical skills they need organically.

In an attempt to retain key employees during disruptive periods of organizational change, many companies are using financial incentives to secure talent. Although financial incentives play an important role in employee retention, money alone won’t do the trick.   But there’s good news – there is a less costly and more effective approach to employee retention.  Activities that increase employee engagement, such as praise from one’s manager, attention from leaders, frequent promotions, opportunities to lead projects, and chances to join fast-track management programs, are often more effective than cash.2 A 2009 McKinsey Quarterly survey found that executives, managers, and employees rate these five non-financial incentives among the six most effective motivators when trying to increase employee retention.  Employee engagement is key to an organizations ability to execute its business strategy and it drives measurable results, including reduced turnover, increased productivity and increased revenue.

The role of line managers in driving employee engagement

The immediate supervisor plays a critical role in driving employee engagement.  In fact, the personal relationship a manager has with his/her subordinates is the most influential factor affecting employee engagement.3  According to a study by Dale Carnegie, 49% of employees who were very satisfied with their direct manager were engaged, and an astonishing 80% of those who were very dissatisfied with their immediate supervisor were disengaged.  Good
supervisors know employees need to develop the right skills to work efficiently. Immediate managers should set clear goals, provide on the job training, recognize the employees’ contribution, and provide ongoing feedback and encouragement.  Open and honest communication allows for greater understanding of both expectations, and job performance. 

Engaged employees are happier and more productive employees.  A good, caring, engaged immediate supervisor understand the needs of the business and current skills and career aspirations of the employee, so it is their responsibility to mesh these together and help identify candidates for succession opportunities in critical roles throughout the organization, and to help guide and develop the employee so they can grow with the company.

What’s new in SuccessFactors Succession & Development?

Competitive pay and benefits are just the price of admission, but retaining the best talent today requires effective employee development, promise of career growth, and robust bench strength planning – placing Succession & Development processes at the center of today’s talent management strategies and in the hands of managers.  With the SuccessFactors February release, we’ve added several capabilities to support the role managers play in the execution of succession and development processes.

Succession planning is no longer a solely HR-owned process, it’s now moving into the hands of managers, and as such, traditional succession tools just don’t fit the bill anymore.  To support this shift, we’ve rolled out several enhancements to our metadata framework (MDF) position model to provide granular control and expanded functionality for HR leaders to empower managers to take a more active role in succession planning.  HR leaders can delegate control to line managers so that they can manage the positions within their team and perform tasks such as create succession plans, add employees to talent pools, and update position information such as job criticality and job level.  With granular permission controls, HR is able to give managers access to pertinent information, while hiding sensitive information that managers do not have permission to view.

With the February release, we’ve also added a new option to leverage position-based job roles.  There is now an option to choose an incumbent or position-based job role when executing succession processes, such as viewing position requirements, creating job requisitions, comparing successors, and associating talent pools. 

We also continue to leverage the MDF position model to provide more flexibility, introducing position-level job role mapping which allows the definition of skill and competency requirements that are specific to the position, independent of who is in the position at that time. For example, if your SVP of Accounting temporarily occupies the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) position, the position requirements are not altered to skills of the interim incumbent. The Position will still retain skills and competency requirements aligned with the CFO and allow succession planners to search and plan for candidates based on these requirements.

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Image 1: Position-level job role mapping allows you to define skills and competencies for a position

Furthermore, you can take advantage of this feature to map your talent pools to position-level job roles instead of the incumbent’s role. Continuing with the CFO example, you can map the “Chief Finance Officer” role to “Finance Talent Pool”, giving you the confidence that the right pool will always be associated with the position as opposed to the “person” that occupies the position.  Once this featureis enabled, competency assessments for successors also respect the position-level job role.

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Image 2:  Map talent pools to position-level job roles

If your succession strategy includes extensive pool-based planning, you’ll be happy to learn about some key enhancements to talent pools. The talent pools UI has gotten even better – we’ve added thumbnail images of talent pool members so you can see who the employees are, not just a list of names. 

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Image 3: The new look of succession talent pools

Drive manager adoption of talent pools with increased visibility and ease of use via the Employee Profile.  If you rely on the Employee Profile for succession transactions, you’ll be happy to learn that with the February release, you can  now nominate employees to talent pools directly from the nomination portlet in the Employee Profile. 

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Image 4: Nominate successors from the nomination portlet in the Employee Profile

And last, but definitely not least, we’ve introduced SuccessFactors Presentations, a new tool that makes it easier than ever to create talent review presentations that are both accurate and engaging.  Once you have a robust succession plan in place, you can use Presentations to communicate and review those plans with your management and executive teams without the use of clunky PowerPoint slides. Presentations gives you the ability to access key succession and employee profile information easily to make more informed succession decisions.

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You can learn more about Presentations on the SuccessFactors Customer Community (login required).

1The Corporate Learning Factbook 2014: Benchmarks, Trends, and Analysis of the U.S. Training Market, Karen O’Leonard, January 2014.

2 “Retaining key employees in time of change”.  McKinsey, August 2010.

3 “Enhancing Employee Engagement:  The role of the immediate supervisor”, Dale Carnegie Training, 2012. 

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      Former Member

      Many are posting about Sucess Factors For example: Luke  Posted too many threads That is really confusing

      The forum includes issues and config documents I see too many posting regarding their experience and advertisement.

      I request SAP SCN to have seperate section for Sucess Factor inwhich peers can share information