Putting our managers at the center of what we do

Over the past few years SAP completed most of the journey to implement a cloud-enabled HR business model. Since the go-live of SuccessFactors Employee Central (EC) back in 2018, we’re now running over 90% of our HR processes in the cloud, which means that they can be accessed from any device, anywhere and anytime. Meanwhile, we shifted our focus to establishing a consumer-centric end-to-end approach for superior HR consumer experiences. We consider the focus on consumer experiences as the next big phase of SAP’s HR evolution which can only be realized in a cloud-enabled environment.

Feedback Surveys

A few months after the go-live of EC at SAP, we collected feedback from managers and employees to verify how satisfied they were with the self-services. The self-services provided by EC were considered a huge step forward, but at the same time we learned about some challenges managers and employees experienced. Among those challenges, was the process to extend a limited contract, which managers found cumbersome and not very intuitive. A quick analysis revealed not only that the recording of a contract extension couldn’t be performed without a user guide at hand, but also that a lot of errors were being made while recording the extension. The latter led to a significant number of cases which required corrections by the data management team. In order to solve the challenges, we decided to design an SAP Cloud Platform (SCP) based Wizard as a user interface on top of Employee Central.

Designing Manager Self-Services with Managers

One of our goals of the SCP based Wizard was to ensure that what we designed answered the needs of the managers. So, we decided to include the managers as part of the design. Under the lead of an UX design team we organised digital workshops to create a working prototype which we called the “Limited Contract Wizard”. Because we had managers and experts participating from various locations, the UX design team supported us by running design sprints in a virtual way, with the help of Mural.

Over a period of not more than a week, we organised 2-hour working sessions each day. First, we started with an introduction session to get to know the approach, followed by a scope definition session where we defined the business problem we wanted to solve. Once the scope was clear, we held multiple design sessions, some individual, some in groups, followed by validation sessions where we brought the ideas together. Along the design process, two decision makers decided which pieces of the design we would use in the development of a first working prototype.

The picture shows an example of one of the outcomes of the design session. It's a drawing of a sequence of questions a user will get while using the prototype. The second picture shows screenshots of a working prototype where a manager sees an overview of the concerned team members and a screen to support the manager through the decision process

The prototype was a combination of multiple bright ideas which were either brought up by the participants after individual design sessions, or during group discussions where we validated and voted for the best ideas. By combining these ideas with the process flow we designed at the beginning of the design sprint, we came to a working prototype.

Virtual Manager Feedback Sessions

After having tested the prototype, we decided to broaden the audience to collect additional feedback on what we had designed. We organised a 90-minute virtual manager feedback session with our manager end-user community. This community consists of a group of managers who volunteered to be consulted from time to time to provide feedback on envisioned consumer experience improvements.

During the feedback sessions, we first showed what we designed, both from a process as well as from a solution perspective. After the introduction we collected feedback in a few iterations of 20 minutes each, where we asked the managers to first individually describe what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what we might have missed in our design. We asked them to give their opinion about the mail notifications they would receive when a contract expires, as well as all the screens used in the app that would guide them through the process.

The end-user community provided very valuable input to further enhance the app. At the same time, we received feedback that we were on the right track with respect to the design of the app.

The first picture shows an example of a notification sent by the app. It invites managers to provide input to extend or end a limited contract as planned. The second picture shows a screenshot on the final solution, which is close to the initial design of the prototype

What we learned

The most important learning from this journey was that the design of the app significantly changed from a “data-oriented app” (which we originally had in mind) to a type of “process-oriented wizard” which guides the managers through the decision-making process. By including managers in the design and continually seeking their feedback, we were much more confident that what we implemented effectively answered the needs of the managers. Shortly after the go-live we received spontaneous reactions from managers indicating that this solution is intuitive, well-structured and clear. Managers also expressed their hope to see much more of these “easy-to-apply” solutions.