Five Questions to Get Answered Before Implementing SAP SuccessFactors Continuous Performance Management

On June 14, 2017, I had the pleasure of participating in a Southern California customer luncheon meeting hosted by Aasonn in partnership with SAP SuccessFactors.  The meeting was hosted by our great customer Herbalife, which provided an opportunity for customers to meet with Talent users and subject matter experts for an interactive discussion, presentation, and demonstration related to SAP SuccessFactors Continuous Performance Management solution.

Several existing SAP SuccessFactors customers attended the event from a broad range of industries including Direct Selling, Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Financial Services, Software, Electronics, Hospitality, and Food Provider.  The common theme amongst these customers is that these are customers who are considering their own implementations of the Continuous Performance Management SAP SuccessFactors solution. This event was created as a forum to discuss product functionality, business problems for consideration, and to learn about experiences from the early adopters of SAP SuccessFactors Continuous Performance Management.

For those of you not familiar with the SAP SuccessFactors Continuous Performance Management solution, it is a solution that was first made available in the Q1 2016 release of SAP SuccessFactors.  The solution was introduced to help employees and their manager have meaningful and structured 1:1 discussions, connects those discussions to the SAP SuccessFactors suite, and allows employees to capture your most celebrated achievements in real-time.  In short, it’s a solution that is intended to create highly responsive workforces by creating a culture of Agile Performance Management.  An excellent white paper written and provided by SAP SuccessFactors is available on the SAP SuccessFactors Customer Community via this link for your reference.

At the event, it was highlighted that Continuous Performance Management is just a way of collecting feedback on employee’s performance and it is not necessarily a new performance process. Instead it is a tool in overall Performance Management with different deployment options available including:

  • Mobile and/or Desktop
  • Integrated into standard annual performance management
  • Implemented standalone to collect on-going employee feedback

During the meeting a lot of great dialogue and feedback was presented. From the conversations, I’ve compiled the top 5 questions you should ask yourself when considering an implementation of SAP SuccessFactors Continuous Performance Management:  

1) Does your company culture align with the use of Continuous Performance Management?

As presented by Joe Sherwood, HCM Researcher from SAP SuccessFactors, early adopters were careful to consider the organization’s culture that would affect the adaptability for Continuous Performance Management to be successful such as agile goal setting, relationship quality, feedback culture, supportive system and structure, training/enablement and motivation for buy-in.  Because of these careful considerations, one of the attendees at the event indicated that their use of this tool has dramatically eased the administrative burden of end of year review process due to the frequency in interaction between employees and managers that they have and it has helped drive employee development through regular coaching discussions

2) How effective is your current Performance Management process and will adding Continuous Performance Management enhance or detract from it?   

In response to the above question, it’s hard not to quote the old saying: “if it is not broken, don’t fix it”.  It was discussed at the meeting that since many customers continue to achieve success with their existing traditional Performance Management processes, really evaluating what introducing Continuous Performance Management means to such customers is worth considering.   A key consideration highlighted is how with Continuous Performance Management, the focus shifts from forward thinking instead of backward thinking.  Most traditional performance review processes do tend to focus on how well an individual is performing in their current role, however, Continuous Performance Management really centers around how well the individual may perform in future roles.  It can really enable organizations to shift from evaluating skill based competencies to evaluating soft skills such as personality attributes and values which are harder to develop in more traditional performance reviews.

3) Does the use of Continuous Performance Management make sense for all roles?

Another part of the dialogue during the meeting focused on how there is a strong possibility that such a process may not make sense to be utilized for all roles in an organization.  Perhaps there is opportunity to only have certain parts of the organization utilize Continuous Performance Management as it may simply be a better fit due to how those parts of the organization may function.  Since Continuous Performance Management can be implemented with or without Performance Management, there is a lot of flexibility on rolling out such a process to parts of the organization.   A strong consideration is to develop a ‘pilot’ program as a great way to gauge interest in such a process before rolling it out to a broader audience.

4) Do you have the time and resources to train the organization on the use of Continuous Performance Management?

Like any implementation of any new tool or process, the Change Management aspect of rolling out something new is critical to the success of the rollout.  Early adopters have highlighted the importance on ensuring that an effective communication and training plan is developed from the very beginning of the project.    Since rolling out such a solution does introduce a shift in culture, success will not be achieved if managers and employees aren’t trained on the process and how they will be held accountable.  Which leads to the final key question.

5) Do you have Executive Leadership buy-in?

Early adopters also indicated that understanding the Executive Leadership’s perspective on Performance Management and other Talent Processes is important in determining how successful this will be.  If there is no buy-in at the Executive Management level, any changes in the Talent Management process will not be successful.  The need to clearly understand how your organization aligns with the use of Continuous Performance Management ultimately will determine the level of success organizations will have in rolling out such a process.