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The Power of Integrations Within the SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting Platform

In this article, we’ll take a deep-dive on the possibility presented by integration of various systems within the SuccessFactors platform. We start by first exploring the benefits achieved via meaningful integration of the three recruiting-focused modules and multimodule integration with the HRIS system of record, whether that be SAP or Employee Central (EC). This will include an outline of the impacts of integrating the position creation, approval, and management solution with the Recruiting Management (RCM) module.

Next, we will focus on integrations between the RCM, Recruiting Marketing (RMK)/Career Site Builder (CSB), and Onboarding (ONB) modules. Finally, this piece covers the movement of data back into the Employee Central or the SAP Human Resource Information System (HRIS) solution from both the Recruiting Management and Onboarding modules.

Throughout, we will highlight the benefits that can be realized exclusively via these integrations. Note, however, that this won’t be a discussion of those benefits associated more simply with a successful, well-thought-out implementation of any of the relevant modules in a standalone manner.

Integrating SuccessFactors’ Recruiting-Focused Modules With Your HRIS System of Record

Our teams have been fortunate enough to have worked on many client projects spanning multiple modules in the SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) suite. This has involved significant and meaningful integration between both the modules and either Employee Central or SAP HRIS solutions. Despite the vast differences in client profiles, geographies, business areas, and other variables, the definition of success for the implemented solution is usually quite similar.

Clients undertaking these initiatives are typically looking to move the needle in three main areas: efficiency, data integrity, and process/workflow compliance. Implementation of the modules, when done correctly, can lead to advances in efficiency. Now, let’s look at how the integration portion of the solution can significantly increase those advances in efficiency and facilitate a meaningful positive impact on the other two areas: data integrity and process/workflow compliance.

Managing Positions via Employee Central or Mana

Complex organizations of all types need robust tools to help them manage headcount, recruiting and hiring activity, and position structure. This assists them in ensuring they’re effectively providing the required resources within the mandates of the overall corporate strategy, budget, and approved relevant processes. When a hiring need arises, managers need to know what positions they’ve currently approved for hire and/or how to create and request approval for a position to meet their current needs.

Employee Central Position Management supports these efforts for companies by allowing positions to be easily and accurately created. Data can be pulled into the position object from various other objects in the BizX data structure. Rules logic can then be used, where appropriate, to auto-populate fields based on other field values previously associated with the position. Positions can also be copied and modified as needed to support position creation based on previous openings. Access to both data and functionality is controlled via permissions, providing a proper level of protection for the sensitive data associated with a position.

A robust workflow to support both ad hoc and rules/logic-based approval paths is also included and used to ensure that the proper process of headcount approval is applied to each potential opening. For clients without Employee Central but rather a more traditional SAP HRIS solution environment, Effective People offers its own proprietary solution: Mana. Mana provides the same functionality as Employee Central Position Management, supporting the entire position request, creation, approval, and management lifecycle.

Whether the client uses Employee Central Position Management, a blend of SAP HRIS system data and Mana or a similar solution, thoughtful and meaningful integration with the downstream SuccessFactors RCM module can provide significant benefits that are otherwise impossible to achieve.

By working to align and map the fields on the various requisition form versions to fields within the position structure and then leveraging position data to create and populate requisitions via integration, clients can realize several significant benefits. This is especially true if the integration between the position management tool and RCM is the only mechanism by which requisitions can be created. Next, let’s look at the specific benefits of the three categories of success criteria.

Success Criteria 1: Efficiency

This solution architecture is rooted in leveraging existing approved data throughout the process lifecycle. Positions are created, and structural data is leveraged along with rules logic to populate other position fields to make the creation process less burdensome and ensure that positions conform to all corporate policies and standardizations. That data is then leveraged to support dynamic approval paths based on rules logic and values in specific position fields (for example, “if field “Grade” > 14, add the CFO approval step”).

Once approved, that same position data is reused to populate the vast majority of the fields on the requisition form and all fields that require organizational approval. This leads to not only a much more accurate and efficient requisition completion process but more importantly, a significantly compressed requisition approval process, an area of challenge for many organizations. As the data has been previously approved in the position-focused solution and used to populate the requisition form in a read-only manner, one can consider it approved.

Most clients have a simple, single route map step for the recruiter to create or modify the posting content and strategy documentation prior to approval and posting.

The elimination of a lengthy, multiuser approval process for the requisition allows for open positions to be brought to market faster, hopefully leading to shorter wait times for new productive employees to fill them. These benefits can be realized without giving up any control over position structure or the mandated approval process.

Success Criteria 2: Data Integrity

By reusing our foundational approved position data throughout the recruiting and onboarding processes, clients can ensure, through thoughtful integration configuration, that data is kept in alignment between the approved position, and any related requisitions, applications, and offers. Furthermore, this can be done before being used to satisfy the vacant position post-hire in either Employee Central or SAP.

Therefore, when foundational approved data is sent to the requisition, it will have already had all of your HRIS validation checks performed on the fields. This eliminates the burden of the recruiting system requiring mirrored validations on the data to facilitate the new-hire process. Not only does this decrease the amount of configuration required in recruiting, but it also ensures that the data going back to your HR database is consistent with your existing rules and dependencies.

Clients can decide which, if any, fields should be modified on the requisition if changed on the corresponding position and vice versa. This ensures that data stays in alignment were needed to support organizational standards while still supporting the individual recruiting needs of each open position to ensure the proper resource is employed.

Success Criteria 3: Process/Workflow Compliance

When requisitions can only be created from approved positions via integration, overall process controls over headcount, budget, and recruiting/hiring activity can be better supported. While supporting dynamic approval roles is difficult and manual in the recruiting module alone, by leveraging your HRIS, you can traverse your organizational structure much more easily to dynamically determine approvers and route requests to them as appropriate.

By leveraging data-based rules logic to mandate approval paths based on attributes of the position and by only allowing requisitions to be created once these approval workflows have been successfully completed, the solution ensures that recruiting resources and budget are only expended on openings the organization feels are critical to be filled at any given time. By requiring changes to the requisition to depend on changes to approved data in the position, controls on hiring parameters can be maintained throughout the recruiting process, ensuring that no issues arise at the offer or hire steps of the process.

Integrating Recruiting Management, Recruiting Marketing/Career Site Builder, and Onboarding

Another key integration opportunity can be found in extending the integration path between the Recruiting Management (RCM) module and your Onboarding (ONB) module. Just as we saw above, this integration will facilitate gains in efficiency, data integrity, policy, and process compliance. It will also provide a more optimal experience for recruiting users and applicants/new hires alike.

Also as with the HRIS to RCM integration, meaningful data connections between the RCM and ONB modules allow for data captured in previous processes and other modules to be used downstream. This can then be used to prepopulate fields, support conditions, and rules, and ensure data is captured in the proper format. All these impacts in turn create a more accurate, efficient, and customized process for all people involved in the process of onboarding new employees to the organization.

Fields used in RCM, whether coming from the requisition, application, or approved offer, can be mapped to relevant fields in ONB. Therefore, if data is entered in RCM, it doesn’t need to be entered in ONB, lessening the burden on recruiting users and hired applicants alike. Mapped data, which we know should and will not change, can be mapped as read-only, while those fields that need to be updated during onboarding can be configured as editable. The most common example is the start date of a new hire.

Further Accuracy and Process Benefits

In addition to lessening the data entry effort across the board, mapping RCM field values to ONB fields also ensures that all required data carries over properly. The ONB field will be populated in the correct format, allowing it to be passed as is to the downstream HRIS environment without issues. This greatly reduces the time and effort spent chasing down the information required to process new-hire records as well as that expended on data corrections.

Finally, by mapping data from RCM to ONB, those values captured in RCM can be leveraged in ONB to support the exact, specific onboarding process for each new hire across the enterprise. Field values such as country of hire, position number, job code, and employment type can be set against rules that control what overall onboarding process the hired applicant is placed into.

Further, within that specific process, these and other data points coming from RCM (and in many cases, the vacant position in HRIS) can be used to control what specific panels, fields, and forms are presented. In this manner, we can ensure that only drivers are asked for their license and accident history information, or that the forms regarding workplace security that are required by our secure location are active.

Moving Data Back Into Employee Central or Your SAP (HRIS) Solution

Finally, we must focus on the benefits offered by the final integration back to Employee Central (EC) or the SAP on-premise HRIS environment. Here again, a tremendous positive impact results from a well-thought-out and meaningful integration between Onboarding (ONB) and the master data system of record.

As with the first two upstream integrations, this connection facilitates gains in efficiency, data integrity, policy, and process compliance and enhances the new hire/employee experience.

Mastering Your Master HRIS System

In an integrated recruiting environment, the process begins and ends with the master data system of record, whether that be Employee Central or SAP. Vacant positions are approved and used to create requisitions, and in turn, once the applicant has been selected and onboarded, the vacant position must be updated to reflect the information associated with the newly hired employee.

The master system must be satisfied in order for benefits to be processed, equipment provisioned, and the employee paid. Issues with missing or poorly formatted data can be a tremendous drain on HR and HRIS resources and can slow the processing of the newly hired worker, leading to frustration with the organization.

In order to avoid this, it’s important to recognize that the master system is exactly that—a master—in terms of its relation to the Recruiting Management (RCM) and Onboarding (ONB) modules. and plan from the start and throughout the implementation of the Recruiting Management (RCM) module and ONB that the master system is exactly that, master! Data collected in both RCM and ONB should be based on what master system’s end-of-process data requirement, which is required by the master system at the end of the process and you must factor in how that data must be formatted to be accepted into that system.

All data required to successfully process a new hire must be collected during the recruiting and onboarding processes. This will help you avoid dealing with incomplete records, wasting time tracking down required information, entering manual updates, and handling the associated consequences for the organization and employee.

In addition, it’s important to strive to implement consistent validation parameters across RCM, ONB, and your master system. The goal is to avoid allowing inputs in RCM and ONB that are invalid in the master system. However, we should always strive to configure the fields in RCM and ONB that will eventually be consumed in the master system to accept only data in the required format. This is not always possible. There are circumstances where the mapping process must include adjusting the format or routing multiple responses from upstream systems to a single selection in Employee Central or SAP.

However, sharp, detailed planning for the final integration reduces overall solution complexity and increases the stability of the data connections. When data is collected in the proper format, it will be accepted by the master system without errors that slow the process and again have negative consequences for the organization and the newly- hired worker.

Conclusion: The Benefits of Integration

Overall, the integrations we have discussed between the various recruiting-focused modules, your HRIS system of record, and Employee Central work to significantly reduce the effort required by all involved in the process of onboarding new employees to the organization. These benefits range across the three most common categories of success criteria: efficiency, data integrity, and process/workflow compliance.

By limiting data entry to only new fields introduced as part of this process, eliminating incomplete and improperly formatted data records, and customizing the process for each new hire, the integration creates a much more efficient, accurate, and compliant workflow for this critical process within the organization.

This all adds up to a better overall experience for both the organization and the newly hired employee. With less focus and effort associated with the administrative aspect of hiring an employee and more on the strategic elements, new employees will be able to quickly and successfully assimilate into the organization and make a meaningful contribution.

Erik Ebert

About the author

Erik Ebert is the People Analytics & Business Development Director at Effective People.

Erik joined Effective People in 2005 and has supported organizations across industries for many years implementing digital transformation strategies to improve performance. He has a track record of building lasting relationships through a consultative approach resulting in happy, effective processes, successful engagements, effective teams, and a positive bottom line.

Erik holds an M.Sc. in Business Administration and Information Technology for Copenhagen Business School.

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