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SAP SuccessFactors Applies Qualtrics to EX, Oracle Netsuite Takes on Performance and More HR Tech News

October 14, 2020 Digital Workplace
Mark Feffer
By Mark Feffer

SAP SuccessFactors continues to hone its approach to human experience management (or HXM), the idea that experience is a central tenet of successful human capital management and recruiting strategies.

When it rolled out the concept at their 2019 SuccessConnect conference, the company said that HR’s then-priority on employee experience was the most meaningful trend in the industry. Now, SuccessFactors has indicated it doesn’t think that’s changed even in the midst of COVID-19.

During this year’s (virtual) SuccessConnect, SuccessFactors argued that putting workers at the center of business thinking leads to greater productivity, increased loyalty and a more effective workforce.

In a blog post, Senior Vice President of Products and Design Amy Wilson said HXM “continues to guide the entire product strategy” for SuccessFactors. It’s not surprising, then, that while the company didn’t announce major new products, its second-half release includes notable updates that build on the HXM concept. Among them:

  • A redesigned home page that offers users a more personalized experience: The page will emphasize dynamic content such as regularly performed tasks or time-sensitive matters and is organized according to each individual’s needs.
  • SuccessFactors Learning will present learning items more consistently and also recommend courses related to particular areas. The idea is to increase engagement and make the learning experience easier on both desktop and mobile platforms, Wilson said.
  • Embedding more Qualtrics capabilities into HXM: Besides presenting remote work surveys on the home page, email surveys will be available to gather feedback on mentoring programs, and employees can offer reactions to benefits programs.

During a media call, SuccessFactors President Jill Popelka said the planned IPO of Qualtrics, which SAP acquired for $8 billion in 2018, “will change nothing” in terms of SuccessFactors’ plans to integrate its services into the HXM platform. Meg Bear, the company's senior vice president of product, engineering and operations, said her team will continue to leverage Qualtrics “to give HR the tools they need to adapt to change.”

SuccessFactors has moved aggressively to take advantage of Qualtrics’ expertise in experience management ever since the company was acquired for SAP’s cloud portfolio in 2018. In a statement, SAP said it will remain a majority stakeholder in Qualtrics, and “has no intention of spinning off or otherwise divesting its majority ownership interest.”

Oracle Netsuite Builds Data Into Performance Management

Oracle NetSuite launched an approach to performance management that relies heavily on operational data.

The enhancement was one of a number of updates the company introduced to its organization-wide platform for small and mid-market companies. The HR-focused module, SuitePeople, added employee onboarding and payroll features in addition to the performance management capabilities.

Besides centralizing administration of the process, the new performance management tool ties into other areas of an organization’s NetSuite platform. From there, it gathers operational metrics and applies them to an employee’s goals, laying the groundwork for discussions between workers and managers.

“We’ve leveraged the power of the suite to connect the individual to the work they do across the suite,” Oracle NetSuite Vice President of HCM Product Management Hanif Ismail said in an interview. “A lot of the work that people do is recorded in the suite. Well, why not leverage that data to connect that individual to the work that they’ve done?”

NetSuite developed its approach after conversations with a number of customers, Ismail said. Multiple companies said engaging workers with the entire process of performance management is one of the key challenges they face. NetSuite’s product team decided the solution lay in NetSuite itself, specifically its ability to capture data from the systems employees used in their day-to-day work.

For example, Ismail explained, the CRM system captures a variety of data related to a salesperson’s work, such as opportunities and win rates. Incorporating that information into performance management “connects the individual to the actual work they’re doing within the suite,” Ismail said.

In addition, he noted, the system is “self-maintained,” allowing both managers and employees to access the same information ahead of performance discussions. As a result, he said, managers should be able to focus on coaching rather than data collection and review.

NetSuite plans to build out performance management with additional features, such as kudos and other expressions of feedback. Ultimately, the company sees the module as a performance review “cockpit,” with “all the insight they need to do this performance review right there,” Ismail said.

Onboarding enhancements focus on helping organize the process, NetSuite said. New checklists allow HR to tailor activities according to the role of a new employee, with the intention of making them more productive, more quickly. The checklists outline a process that runs from offer to equipment-ordering and setting up direct deposit.

Meanwhile, enhancements to SuitePeople Payroll help customers manage retirement plan deductions by facilitating action on compliance issues and automating both employer and employee matches.

Managers Struggle to Support Teams

It should surprise no one that managers, as well as employees, feel the weight of COVID-19. Like their team members, supervisors are pressured to juggle family responsibilities and working from home. At the same time, 84% of them feel at least some responsibility for the strain experienced by their direct reports.

According to the employee experience platform Limeade, more than half of managers work longer hours than they did before the pandemic (59%), and 72% feel at least some pressure to work even when they’re sick.

At the same time, 72% of workers are burned out to some degree, up from the 42% reported in the company’s 2019 Employee Care Report. Thirty-eight percent describe themselves as “struggling.”

Despite everyone’s effort, there’s a disconnect. While nearly three-quarters of managers believe their companies provide the resources necessary to support rank and file through the crisis, only 55% of employees feel their organization genuinely cares about their well-being, Limeade said. Misperceptions may be at play here: 71% of managers “somewhat agree” that their one-on-one meetings are focused on employee well-being nowadays, but only a third of workers say the same thing.

That jibes with research conducted by the customer experience provider TELUS International. In a survey of Americans working from home, the company found nearly everyone (97%) believe it’s important for companies to prioritize their employees’ mental health. However, only 20% felt they can let someone know when they’re feeling physically or mentally unwell. Nearly 80% would consider quitting their current job for one where employee mental health seemed more important.

People on the Move

Cornerstone OnDemand appointed Duane La Bom to become the company’s first chief diversity officer. He has nearly 20 years of experience in HR and diversity, equity and inclusion programs, most recently as executive director of global D&I at Texas Instruments. (Cornerstone OnDemand)

Kahoot! appointed Mads Rebsdorf to the new role of chief revenue officer, which the company said is part of an effort to build out and commercialize Kahoot!’s game-based learning platform and offerings. He begins work in January. He was previously managing director of Visma e-conomic, a cloud accounting software provider. (Kahoot!)

Online learning platform NovoEd hired Todd Moran to be its chief learning strategist. Previously, he was EdCast’s vice president of strategy and solutions. (NovoEd)

Dan Shoemaker became senior vice president of business development for Accurate Background, a provider of employment screening and background checks. Before joining Accurate, he was CEO of PeopleFacts/Universal Background Screening. (Accurate Background)


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