Skip to Content

Fly High with your first SuccessFactors Onboarding Implementation

Sharing some of my lessons learned during a SuccessFactors Onboarding implementation that will help take notes on some of the most important aspects to cover before you embark your journey on your first Onboarding implementation. Going by the SAP Launch methodology terminology, I shall be covering how consultants can make most of the “Prepare” and “Realize” phases of the process.

The key note is to always remember to keep it simple as “Simple is beautiful” 🙂 !


Getting Ready – As Henry Ford once said “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success”, so get prepared to make a good first impression.

  • Standard Pre-Implementation checklist – Goes unsaid for any other SuccessFactors module implementation, best way to get started and to assess the as-is process is to simply follow the standard pre-implementation checklist, which provides good opportunity to get an understanding of their entire current process and identification of the customer’s pain areas with their current process.

The Onboarding pre-implementation checklist covers

  • Questions about their current forms and policies
  • Notifications they are currently sending
  • Information about their current Onboarding process etc.

For more information, check out the pre implementation checklist available here.

ℹ Lesson Learned – An informed customer is always a happy customer. Always guide your customers to sign up for the PTO before you commence workshops, which helps save some time off from product demonstrations and invest more time on discussing customer requirements and product capabilities.

Get Set – Discussions went great following the pre-implementation checklist and customers are excited to get all their processes captured and expect an optimized solution that eliminates the weaknesses in their current system. It’s now time to do a diligent analysis of the customer’s current process and come up with a robust design where recommendations can be offered for a solid To-Be process.

Information of their current process from the above will help you –

  • Draft the Processes required in SuccessFactors Onboarding
  • Identify the Roles involved in the end to end process
  • Design the Steps you require in the SuccessFactors Onboarding Process 
  • Get thinking about the Panel Design
  • Analyse the Custom Forms required
  • Evaluate the Notifications required

Also, keep referencing  the scope document to be on track.

Go for Gold The To-Be process draft is complete and is time to gear up for the configuration workshops. These are usually challenging and preferably conducted at the customer site. Before kick-off, one thing that cannot be taken for granted though is a thorough review of the workbooks.

  • For Onboarding, there are two separate workbooks, US and Non US. Depending on the requirement whether it’ s for a US or a non US process, a good look of the workbooks makes you be better prepared for the workshops.

During the SuccessFactors Onboarding Configuration workshop, taking note of the below topics and considering them to include in the discussions will help ensure a smooth take off –


Pre day 1 access – Do not shy away from recommending Pre day 1 access to new hire. I usually consider this an integral point of decision making for an Onboarding implementation as a lot can happen with this. Often customers are frazzled about letting out confidential data about their organization and granting access to platform but it is the responsibility of the consultant to lay out all the pros and cons that comes with this feature so the customers can make an informed decision.

To know more on the possibilities with pre day 1 access, check out the detailed blog.

ℹ Lesson Learned – A personal touch goes a long way 😉 ! Think about the time you joined a company and the expectations you had as a new hire and will help you make some interesting recommendations 😉 !

Lay the foundation – Designing the organizational structure in onboarding should be given due importance. The system supports configuring a structure which can be as simple as an independent level structure to a complex hierarchical level structure. The idea is to configure a corporate structure so roles and responsibilities of the onboarding process can be categorically distributed.

ℹ Lesson Learned – The use case of configuring is this when you would like to assign activities to a user who can execute activities for new hires belonging to only their location, department etc.

Internal hire process is equally important – While we are busy designing the process of external hires forget not about the internal hires Depending on the scope of the Onboarding implementation, designing a separate custom onboarding process for internal hire becomes a good discussion point. Also referred to as Crossboarding process.

  • Note – In Q1 2016, for customers integrating with Employee Central and intelligent services enabled, business rules can be built in EC to trigger the crossboarding activities of the internal hire using the Transfer event in EC. For customers with external HRIS and Recruitment Management the trigger happens through Recruitment management or external ATS.

Roles and Security –  One of the key activities is identifying the roles and the permission level that needs to be granted to each role. The users are synced from platform to Onboarding who are responsible owners of the activities of the process. Onboarding also supports a role for external resources to control sending downstream notifications.

ℹ Lesson Learned – This generally becomes too technical during the discussions with customer and so its best to ensure that only the required audience is included like IT admins.

Notifications – A good understanding of the trigger points of various downstream notifications, candidate notifications, hiring manger notifications, recruiter notifications is essential. Review the content that needs to go in the notifications and identify the recipients. Complex advanced conditions are supported on these notifications and a lot of options are available in terms of formatting also.

ℹ Lesson Learned – All data captured in the panels in the onboarding process are potential data keys that can be included in the notification content.

Compliance forms – Successfactors delivers standard legal compliance forms and the data collection points are the standard panels. Keep an eye on the successfactors quarterly releases as they are constantly including multiple countries in their bucket list with each release.

ℹ Lesson Learned – All legal related queries from customers should be redirected back and involve the payroll team who handle all these legal discussions as early as possible during the implementation so you know who all are required in the eSignature process (if required) of these forms.

Reporting – Altough Successfactors Onboarding delivers some set standard metrics reports for the Onboarding process and also few admin reports to capture the audit trail reports etc. Ad hoc reports are available for the hiring manager to report on the new hire activities etc.

ℹ Lesson Learned – We need to understand and make our customers understand that Onboarding process is a pass through system and any detailed reporting still should be done via either an ATS or an HRIS.

Integration points – Evaluation of all integration points is a fundamental aspect of an implementation. As Onboarding is a pass through system, start off by identification of the ATS and HRIS which form both ends of the process. For customers who have SuccessFactors Recruiting Management and Employee Central, the ideal implementation sequence would be Employee Central then Recruiting Management and finally Onboarding. The data flow in this case between all these three modules is seamless. Cross module integration is also supported with Learning management system, JAM and goal management. For hybrid deployments, the data transfer can occur through standard / custom exports/imports from Onboadring.

ℹ Lesson Learned – Do a thorough research of the supported entities for data flow from RCM to ONB to EC integration. More information can be found here. For customers with external HRIS and ATS as the API options are currently limited, avoid overpromising and the list can be found here.

Understanding some of these essential topics will assist better in the preparation to kick start an Onboarding implementation with confidence.

As I believe in what Einstein once said – “Learning is experience. Everything else is just information” !

What do you consider as the essentials? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below and share your experiences of your learnings and recommendations …Happy Implementing 🙂 !

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • Hey Ankita, That's really comprehensive..Great effort.. Couldn't agree more.. would like to add couple of more..

    1. While analyzing the custom forms, emphasize on reducing the number of forms required. You might find as lot of forms require same information. So talk to the client and see what's really required and if you can reduce the number of forms required. Key is to keep things simple.

    2. While integrating EC and ONB, start with few fields (mandatory ones on the EC side). And then gradually build mapping for complete set of fields.



  • Hi Ankita,

    Would like to check with you how many sub-module available in ONB? e.g.

    - Basic Onboarding

    - Pre-day 1

    - Cross Boarding

    - Off Boardidng

    - Orientation?

    - etc..

    Looking forward your input.


    • Hello Chingwa ,

      The three main processes or submodules that are available with SF ONB are -




      Each of the above processes include different steps like orientation and Post Hire Verification steps by the Hiring Manager in the case of Onbaording / Cross borading process or Exit interview step in the case of Offboarding process

      Rest all like pre day1, New Hire activities etc. are features available to support the processes .

      Hope this helps!



  • Hi! Excellent Blog!

    We are in the middle of an implementation, having ERP as the core plus SSFF RCM and OB. We have to decide when the employee creation will be triggered, looks like we have to decide between RCM or OB... Do you have any recommendation / Best practices / Lessons learned about this by chance?

    Thank you very much!

    • Thanks for your comment Federico.

      If you have RCM in SuccessFactors, then the general practice would be to trigger Onboarding from RCM. With this you get the ease of -

      • Maintaining seamless data flow from RCM to ONB which will not be the case incase of a manual trigger.
      • Having one operator (let's say the recruiter) to initiate onboarding and then notifications /reminder notifications are sent by system to the initiator of PHV to take up the Onboarding activity rather than the initiator having to do it manually .

      That is my recommendation. Let me know your thoughts on the same.

      Thanks & Regards,

      Ankita Roy Chowdhury

  • Awesome illustration of the SF ONB implementation scenario , i was overwhelmed  by your step by step explanations and recommendations which can help those implementing Onboarding. Thank you