Inside SAP’s performance management overhaul

by Miklos Bolza22 Sep 2016
As the nature of business and the future of work continue to shift, it is important to offer goals and feedback to employees which are dynamic, said Lisa Christy, director of HR at SAP Australia and New Zealand.
 
Thus, SAP has decided to move away from a compliance-driven annual performance review and onto a more continuous process, one which is more value-driven, she told HC.
 
A key part of this new strategy is something called SAP Talk.
 
SAP Talk is our re-imagined performance management process. It was introduced to 8,000 select employees (approximately 10% of our global workforce) in May this year. This includes employees in our Australia business,” Christy said.
 
Instead of looking at annual appraisals and ratings, SAP Talk focuses on ongoing development and performance conversations, she said.
 
“Goals and accomplishments are discussed throughout the year, rather than at an annual event, to ensure clarity of direction and expectations, while providing regular feedback and recognition.”
 
The platform is also an opportunity to identify and discuss development areas, she said, as well as working with employees to optimise their performance and also develop and plan for their next career step.
 
“It is about simplification and capturing real-time conversations. SAP Talk is easy, less formal, and allows both manager and employee to capture feedback and achievements in real-time – not in a formal review six months afterwards.”
 
The early results have been promising with SAP measuring outlook through its quarterly Upward Feedback Survey.
 
“In six questions we assess if conversations are happening, if they reflect the desired high quality, and if our employees are experiencing value through our new philosophy,” Christy said.
 
In the four months after the launch of SAP Talk, close to 90% of early adopters were having continuous dialogues with their managers, she added. On average, the quality of these conversations scored four out of five.
 
With the first move successfully taken and the program showing positive results, Christy said the firm is now focused on scaling this tenfold to the entire employee base. The global launch is hoped to be held in early 2017.
 
“What started as a conversation by a few, has quickly become a mantra and focus for a global team. This will ultimately lead to a culture shift in our organisation,” she said.
 
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