SAP SuccessFactors Platform Components – Part 2: Using Competencies in the HCM Suite

In my last blog post I covered the SAP SuccessFactors Platform components and mentioned that one of the Platform components was Family, Roles, Competencies and Job Codes. I also indicated that Platform features are often overlooked in an implementation even though their configuration impacts many of the modules and the benefits that can be derived from the SAP SuccessFactors application. In this blog, I’ll look specifically at competencies and how they can be used across the SAP SuccessFactors HCM suite.

Competencies are used across multiple modules within SAP SuccessFactors because they are extremely important when it comes to maximizing the benefits of the system. Competencies can be used to drive organizational values and are often included in a performance review. They can be used to assess an employee for a different position or to look for areas of improvement in their current position. They are also used as a standard benchmark so organizations can align, discuss, and measure talent consistently across all talent management processes and across various departments. Since competencies can be used in multiple ways, the ways they are applied differ based on the respective module.

Competency Structure in SAP SuccessFactors

Competencies exist within a defined structure in SAP SuccessFactors. Each competency is assigned to a category, and then each category is associated with a library. You can have multiple competency libraries in the system. SAP SuccessFactors provides an excellent competency library with behaviors and a writing assistant that most clients use. However, if a client has developed their own competency library or is using a library from a third party, it can be imported into the system.

SAP SuccessFactors Platform Components - Part 2: Using Competencies in the HCM Suite

The competency category is used to filter competencies. If there is a specific set of competencies that need to appear in a performance review form, they can be assigned to a category which gets included in the review form. This is a more dynamic approach since you are not hard coding individual competencies each time in each form.

The competency itself has multiple attributes which are defined in the above diagram. Behaviors can be a more granular definition of the competency and there can be multiple behaviors assigned to one competency.

The writing assistant provides summary descriptions of what a behavior might look like at different levels of performance (Needs Improvement, Meets Expectations, Exceeds Expectations). The coaching advisor includes a range of coaching advice for each competency. The writing assistant and coaching advisor make it easy for managers and employees to provide ratings and provide constructive feedback since it provides example content and more detailed definitions.

Competency use by Module

In the SAP SuccessFactors HCM suite, there are seven modules that can be directly impacted by the setup and use of competencies (see below). Most consultants and clients are aware that competencies can be used in a performance review form and 360/Multi-rater. In addition, competencies can also be used in Recruiting as part of the interview assessment feature and in Learning to link learning activities to specific competencies. They can also be used in the Workforce Analytics Module and in Succession when searching for and comparing successors.

SAP SuccessFactors Platform Components - Part 2: Using Competencies in the HCM Suite