Implementation Advice for SuccessFactors Onboarding 2.0

Unlock Success with Onboarding 2.0: Expert tips for efficient HR processes & enhanced employee experience

Advice for Implementing SuccessFactors Onboarding 2.0 From a Professionally Certified Onboarding Expert

Nearly 3 years have elapsed since I wrote my last article on Onboarding 2.0: SuccessFactors: All aboard with ONB 2018 – a simplified HR Onboarding experience! It covers solution capabilities and provides a comparison with the legacy version and the presumptive roadmap. Since then, a lot has happened to the Onboarding module: SAP came out with an official roadmap, selected pilot customers to implement the module, and made the solution generally available (Q4 2019). As for me, I have successfully implemented the Onboarding 2.0 (ONB 2.0) solution for one of my customers who happened to be an early adopter. Once it was available, we immediately started off on the big bang implementation, giving me the opportunity to work on the solution design and configuration with detailed insights into Onboarding 2.0.

Having worked on this version for an early adopter and having done several implementations of the legacy version of Onboarding, I write this article to share some of my learning and advice for those considering implementing ONB 2.0.

What is Onboarding 2.0?

In a nutshell, ONB 2.0 is the new version of the SuccessFactors Onboarding solution, which was built to utilize existing SuccessFactors tools, including Role-Based Permissions, Business Rules, and the Employee Central (EC) data model. This design avoids redundancy in the implementation and maintenance, thus simplifying usability and allowing a seamless, unified experience for users across the SuccessFactors suite.

To learn more about the new Onboarding 2.0 features and a comparison with legacy Onboarding 1.0 read one of my previous blogs, SuccessFactors: All aboard with ONB 2018 – a simplified HR Onboarding experience, or check out this article by my colleagues at Effective People.

Highlights of Onboarding 2.0

Some of the major improvements over the legacy Onboarding 1.0 (ONB 1.0):

    Provides better tracking of onboarding status, helping hiring managers and HR administrators get a better overview of the in-process and overdue tasks they are responsible for.

    Supports mass processing of onboarding tasks and assists in completing the onboarding tasks for multiple onboardees at once, saving more time.

    Allows different onboarding tasks to be assigned to different responsible groups. This means IT tasks can be assigned to the responsible IT person/group and the Buddy assignment can be done by the manager.

    Comes with an improved mobile-responsive user interface (UI).

Experience From My Recent Implementation

Because it is a new solution and this implementation was among the first, the solution posed several challenges, including a high number of “bugs” or defects and outdated documentation. The team reported a number of these defects, and SAP was keen on understanding and code fixing, as needed. Our great partnership with SAP played an important role in addressing these hindrances, making sure the project timelines were intact.
As often expected from a new solution in the market, Onboarding 2.0 does come with some limitations. There were challenges in meeting some requirements, which are specified later in this article. Despite the limitations, we were still able to meet most of the critical requirements, build a satisfying solution that was easy to use, and effectively automated some of their manual processes.

I would not say the configuration is simpler than the older version, as some parts of the configuration include more steps than earlier. For example, one of the main tasks was creating fields/objects and presenting them in custom UI involving several steps, which is more time-consuming than creating fields and UI planes in the legacy version. ONB 2.0 has, however, simplified the need for double maintenance of user records, permissions, corporate structure, and its data.
If you have implemented ONB 1.0 previously, the experience will help you in designing the processes, but the steps and tools involved in configuring the ONB 2.0 solution are completely different from ONB 1.0. There is no doubt that Onboarding 2.0 is a better investment and user experience than the legacy version. It is more appealing and easy to use and maintain.

Implementation Advice

Onboarding 2.0 presents an opportunity to give the first impression about your processes and systems to new hires. Hence, it is important to, as needed, reimagine your processes with the above in mind.

  • A golden rule is to keep it simple and use standard features and processes wherever possible.

  • Because ONB 2.0 heavily uses the Employee Central data model and tools, it is especially important that customers have the right people from their EC/Master Data team to participate in ONB 2.0 implementation. Data models and business rules must be updated, and special care must be taken to ensure that these changes in EC do not impact downstream systems.
    Note: Consultants working in ONB 2.0 are required to have EC knowledge. SAP has recently also made it mandatory for consultants working on an ONB 2.0 project to be certified in EC, effective 14 September 2020.

    EC must be configured first.
    Note: Since the 2020 1H release, EC is no longer a prerequisite for ONB 2.0, but a miniature version of the EC system must be set up.

  • If EC is live and hire/rehire criteria are defined in Manage Data, then the rehire process in onboarding must be configured. If not, you risk losing the hiring record in the Onboarding module.

  • Creative and attractive homepage tiles for posting company policy documents or sharing information and videos can go a long way in marketing company culture and making that good first impression.

  • The new Email Services feature gives an excellent opportunity to change the default layout of system emails. With the help of HTML tags, you can create appealing and branded emails.

  • Prior to implementing ONB 2.0, we advise customers to take an inventory of all onboarding forms across locations and languages. Invest time to update, simplify, and combine company forms as needed.

  • Keep an eye out for the biannual releases , or have your technology partner manage them for you , as they bring some great enhancements that you can take advantage of during the implementation.

  • Go beyond the onboarding experience, and explore cross-boarding for internal hires and offboarding to make that last impression.

    For customers considering an upgrade from ONB 1.0 to ONB 2.0, go in with an open mind and consider this a fresh implementation project and not just a release upgrade. ONB 2.0 is in fact an entirely new product with near complete process mapping and enhancements over ONB 1.0.

Limitations in 2.0: What needs to improve?

While Onboarding 2.0 is a quite robust solution, it does come with its limitations, bringing our role as experienced consultants to the forefront. A few limitations that I have experienced are listed below.

    Onboarding processes come with predefined steps that you can use but do not allow custom additional steps. For example, if you want a step for a hiring manager to review the data and another step for a recruiter to add further information, then it is currently not supported.

    While the Schedule Meeting feature allows managers to schedule some important onboarding meetings, there is no direct integration with a calendar tool like Outlook.

    No approval workflow can be associated with equipment tasks, unlike in ONB 1.0.

    No support is available for delegating tasks to someone other than the preconfigured responsible participants. Even when the Checklist tasks allow you to specify a delegate, the task does not actually notify the delegated user or appear in their To-do task list.

    Email services do not support the flexibility and customization that existed in ONB 1.0. ONB 2.0 has preconfigured email templates, with limited standard tokens and triggers. While we can personalize the texts and create custom email notifications, we cannot create custom tokens and triggers, limiting our choices on when in the process they are triggered. An example is generating notifications for IT equipment.

  • ONB 2.0 reporting is with Workforce Analytics , which is much more mature and advanced compared to the basic reporting in ONB 1.0, but standard reports are not yet available. These are some of the limitations that I found within the solution, but they are all possibilities for SAP to enhance later.

Need to migrate from ONB 1.0 to ONB 2.0?

SAP has not yet rolled out an automated migration tool for the transition from the legacy to the new solution. In their roadmap, SAP has stated that selected migration tools for customers who would like to move from ONB 1.0 to ONB 2.0 will be available in Q4 2021. This means customers will either have to wait or start implementing a new build to replace it. Documentation available from SAP suggests that when it’s available, the tool might not be able to transfer 100% of the configuration depending on the complexity of the current solution. The legacy version is not expected to see many developments as in ONB 2.0. For these reasons, it is an opportunity to start a fresh implementation and revisit and improve the current processes.
Functionality parity is currently not provided on U.S. and Canadian forms. A workaround for this, as suggested by SAP, is to use a hybrid deployment of both ONB 1.0 and ONB 2.0 until the time that this is supported by the new solution. However, I do not suggest this approach, as it adds complexity and compromises user experience to a partial set of users.

If you are currently trying to decide if or how to migrate to ONB 2.0, Effective People offers a gap analysis for ONB 2.0 to investigate and discuss your options. We will assess your current solution design and post our best advice to you. Having an updated Onboarding 1.0 implementation workbook is essential to this exercise.

Looking to implement Onboarding 2.0?

If you are considering implementing or upgrading to Onboarding 2.0, feel free to contact us. We, at Effective People, are a team of expert professionals ready to support your transformation journey. We have experience performing multiple Onboarding 2.0 implementations, and this experience makes us best suited to assist you with your onboarding technology. I hope you enjoyed reading and found this informative.

Harsha Vernekar

About the author

Harsha Vernekar is an SAP SuccessFactors Consultant at Effective People.

Harsha has a wide range of consulting experience across multiple modules within the SuccessFactors HCM portfolio. Her core area of expertise includes Onboarding, Recruiting Management, and Recruiting Marketing. In addition to Recruiting and Onboarding, Harsha is also certified in Employee Central and Performance and Goal Management and has helped Danish customers in solution building and handling changes post-go-live.

Harsha writes about topics on and around recruiting, onboarding, and master data.

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