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Overview

With large SAP SuccessFactors projects implemented across the globe, there has been an urge for the core human capital system to accommodate the global assignment process. Here comes the complexity within the product and solution that is used within the business to manage the budgeted positions in Employee Central, run performance related transactions, manage learning items/courses & manage compensation of employees at home and host assignments.

This blog  is aimed at anyone who wants to initiate discussion with customer about SuccessFactors global assignment functionality and need guidance on defining a consistent process for various SuccessFactors modules.

What We Will Cover in This Blog

Part I.   Let’s understand a common Global Assignment business Scenario

Part II.  Let’s get familiar with some challenges while Global Assignment is implemented

Part III. Let’s focus on some key facts from Performance and Goals with Global Assignments

Part IV. Let’s look at some common checkpoints and more scenarios to help you define your process

Assumptions about You

  • Yes, I assume you are familiar with basics of SuccessFactors modules like Performance and goals, Succession, Learning Management & Employee Central.
  • No, you do not need to be an expert in all SuccessFactors modules.
  • No, you do not need to spend long hours to muster all the necessary documentation scattered through the internet universe; I assume you want to benefit from experience of someone else – like me – to ease the burden of the journey

Part I. Let’s understand a common Global Assignment business Scenario (Employee Central)

Here is an example of an employee at procurement lead position in Australia, who has been identified to go on a short-term assignment to the US. To back fill employees current budgeted position i.e. “Procurement Lead Australia” a new un-budgeted position is created, which is a copy of the original position that employee occupied. The employee is then transferred to an un-budgeted position before being sent on global assignment.

(Note: Your customer may or may not have a similar model of un-budgeted position, the diagram shown above may vary for each customer)

Impacts Of Employee Central Decisions

It’s important to keep the parameters defined in the new un-budgeted position and original position of the employee in sync, as the parameters play a key role in talent modules.

For instance, if we change the reporting hierarchy for the new position created, the performance forms and approvals in flight that are sitting in managers inbox will get impacted. To build an efficient end to end process you would need to analyse what will be the impact of changing parameters here, based on the business need.

Thinking of a business scenario where you would need to change the manager in the new un-budgeted position. Customer may have a central global mobility team to manage the performance forms and approvals, in this case you may change the hierarchy and set the Central Global Mobility team as the new reporting line for the un-budgeted position.

Considering the two options above the former option to keep same reporting line has some advantages, such as managers having the ownership of the complete talent cycle for the home record and is more efficient process in terms of turnaround time that will be far less than having a central team in place, which also adds an additional effort by the global mobility team to co-ordinate with the managers and run transactions for them in the system.

Part II. Let’s understand some challenges behind

Moving on to the technical challenge, SuccessFactors creates an additional account for the employee while they are sent on global assignments. This account will have a separate User ID and Username for employee to login to the system. At the end of global assignment employee can only access the home account.

The above image shows that the employee will have two different accounts while on global assignment which will have different objectives, performance forms, Manager, HR, feedback providers, pay components in the compensation, learning courses that needs to be assigned and many more. Imagine, what will happen if managers, employees, HR’s etc. do not have clear guidelines around home and host records of employee. This blog will help you to setup the guidelines and to initiate the discussion with the customer in order to streamline this complex process.

 

Part III. Let’s focus on some key facts from Performance and Goals with Global Assignments

Employee can switch between home assignment (Procurement Head U.S) and Host Assignment (Procurement Lead Australia), using a switch account option on the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Performance Admins can launch the performance forms for employees at host or home account or even both accounts. The point to remember here is that, forms on home assignments can only be launched by upload method using the admin tools.

If the form is launched by selecting any other option than “Upload CSV File”, it will be launched for host assignment.

The objectives created in the home account will flow to the home performance form of the employee and similarly objectives created at host record will flow to the host performance form of the employee.

Also, if you have manager or HR role associated in the route map for performance form approval, the forms launched at home record will be approved by Home manager/HR and the form launched at host record will be approved by Host Manager/HR.

As a consultant we may need to understand the existing business model of the customer, for e.g. would they prefer performance & goals, compensation to run at home assignment or host assignment for the employees on global assignments. We must inform the customer about the pro’s and con’s for keeping the talent & compensation at home and host.

Part IV. Let’s look at some common checkpoints and more scenarios to help you define your process

Here are some of the scenarios and checkpoints that you can discuss with your customer that will help you to manage your client requirements around Global Assignment:

  • Check with your customer about any legal requirement to maintain the employee records for talent at home or host, they may or may not have a policy that forces them to perform employee transactions on home or host assignment for performance, rewards, Learning, recruiting etc.
  • Explain and compare the benefits of keeping the talent process at home or Host assignment to your customer. I am always in favor of keeping everything at home, one  advantage of keeping the performance cycle at home account is when global assignment ends the employee will still have the access to the performance form, objectives & feedbacks provided during the performance cycle. Home manager can request for the feedback from host manager using either continues performance management or ask for feedback functionality provided by SuccessFactors .            (Above screenshot is from Continues Performance Management)                                     If the customer still has a desire to maintain the performance forms and objectives at host assignment, there may be an additional effort required to extract and load the host performance ratings, comments and feedbacks back to the home assignment for future reference of the employee. The reason behind executing this extra load is that, once the global assignment ends employee does not have access to host account at all, although using reporting the history of performance and feedbacks can be extracted for employees host record.
  • The user journey during global assignment should also be kept in mind while designing the global assignment process. If the business agrees to keep the talent related information at home assignment you can restrict the employee to access Performance and Objectives module completely on the host record. This will help them to only create the objectives on the home record and they will have an unobstructed vision of the performance cycle being handled entirely at home account. This can be achieved by maintaining “Employee Class” field on the job information section whenever global assignment transaction is initiated. Using the employee class field permissions  can be defined, which can restrict employees to see host account objectives and performance tab.(The above screenshot is from Job information section, which shows the Employee class field)
  • Taking example from SuccessFactors Succession module, customer should be aware about the limitations like home record of the global assignees cannot be nominated for succession. Having said that, when global assignees are nominated as successor using Succession org chart functionality, always their host record gets added as the successor for the identified position. So, if customer desires the home assignment of employee to be nominated as a successor, a central team would have to manage this by re-nominating the employee after return from global assignment. To make this process smoother, one can report on global assignees and successors nominated for a specific period and manage to re-nominate the employees as successors upon their return to the home country. If we talk about the second situation here, lets say there are three successors of an employee before going on global assignment. Now when this employee is sent on global assignment these three successors will not be impacted because they are tied to the position of the employee and the position is still intact.
  • Learning is another interesting area where the global assignment has a significant impact, as with the two accounts employee may have to complete certain trainings at host assignment, but the learning history of previous completions is sitting on the home record. Again, this is not a very cool employee experience, having history on one account and starting on a new assignment with a clean slate. There are several ways to make this process smooth depending upon what is the number of employees that are expected to go on global assignment. If there are only a handful of employees that are identified per year for this and the user connector is running every day to create the account from BizX to LMS one could merge the home and host record. After the merge will be complete, there would be only one account which will have history as well as new learning assignments which employee needs to complete.(Above screenshot shows the merge option in SuccessFactors Learning Management System, using this option LMS admin can merge two different accounts)                                     User connector running every week/day/month will create a fresh home record from BizX into the LMS, which can be merged again with host account upon the end of employee’s global assignment. This is to ensure, all the learning completed at host is also brought back to employee after the return. This same solution may not be efficient, if you may have to merge an enormous number of employees each year as it creates an additional load on the global mobility team or a group of individuals that manages the transitions. In this case you may consider automating the process by either using some integration tool or some Extract transformation tool to manage the global assignment in a much smoother way. One such example, I have seen consultants being creative enough to build a BIRT report for LMS history extraction from home account and importing learning history back to host account via LMS connector job with minimal import file changes, which made the customer a bit satisfied for learning  history being available at host assignment with minimal human intervention.
  • Access issues should be analysed based on business architecture. For e.g. if a customer has single sign on enabled from Active directory(ADFS) and customer does not have a global and central active directory system. Employee will not be able to login to the SuccessFactors system while on global assignment if the ADFS is not updated in the host country. This issue is generally for customers who do not maintain a central ADFS system and try to run on Single-Sign-On. There could be various solutions which could be provided here, but one such solution could be using a third party tool to update the ADFS at the host before employee is sent on global assignment. Another access issue example is employee having building access/laptop access denied because different systems were not updated on time which may lead to bad employee experience as well.

 

Summary

Consultants may need to look at building a robust process here rather than giving technical solutions, thinking about end to end process to handle some scenarios outside the system as well, as any system could be built to handle only eighty percent of the requirement. I suggest to start your conversation with customer for global assignments, keeping the talent process at home assignment. At the same time may need to be flexible in the approach if there is any legal requirement.

You may have more creative ideas to handle the global assignment cases in different modules, but the things to consider here are the population for which regular changes may have to be made to the system. If it’s an extra effort who is going to manage with clear set of guidelines and responsibilities to govern the end to end process.

 

SAP Documents that might be helpful

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments

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  1. Sara Johnson

    Useful content on navigating the process as I’m new to Success Factors. Good use of visuals and outlining the challenges and process-oriented steps towards an enterprise approach.

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  2. Sudarsan Sampathkumar

    Very informative…. Thanks for sharing !! Also, I’m curious to know more about, “what is/are the best practice(s) to implement concurrent employment in SF RCM ? (Assuming, the clients have not implemented SF EC).

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    1. Abhishek Gupta Post author

      Thanks Sudarshan, Concurrent Employment is another complex area similar to global assignments where different accounts are created as primary and non-primary. Setting some ground rules is important even if you don’t have Employee Central in place.

      To your question customers may have a custom portlet for recording history of concurrent employment if they have not opted for Employee central, we should not be promising more in this area unless there is EC in place. Apart from that could you please also check with your customer how their current process works so a more definitive answer can be achieved.

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  3. Jane Behenna

    Thanks for sharing this Abhishek. This can be a very complex area, and the impact of turning on global assignment functionality on the talent & learning processes needs to be fully explored during the implementation to ensure the employee experience is not compromised and important talent and learning data not lost when the employee returns home. Thanks for sharing some pointers on what is possible.

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