These days, it’s relatively simple for human resources teams to set up automated notifications signaling an employee status change in email or voicemail, alerting others to an extended leave of absence, job transition, or transfer from one location to another.
What happens next, however, is often quite unpredictable. Every promotion, relocation or reassignment can affect dozens of day-to-day processes: everything from payroll or expense report sign-offs to travel approvals to on-the-job training. It often takes days to sort through which ones are affected and reroute them accordingly.
“You throw the rock in the water, and there are hundreds of ripples that happen,” said Dmitri Krakovsky, senior vice president of global product management for SuccessFactors, an SAP company.
Addressing that disconnect became a personal priority for Krakovsky after he took his own two-and-a-half-month leave to handle a family crisis. This week, SuccessFactors is introducing its proposed solution: intelligent agents in its core human capital management application that “cascade” changes to someone’s status throughout the processes they touch.
When someone is promoted, for example, the update would trigger changes to his or her organizational relationships and even start scheduling classes required for that position. Conversely, if a job leave forces someone to miss training, the system could automatically reschedule the person for a session after he or she returns to work.
Another set of automated processes might be set in motion if someone transfers to another office location in a foreign country, Krakovsky said. For example, the system might suggest the best language tutors near his or her new home. Usually, the “support” provided in such situations is a lengthy brochure that’s outdated almost as soon as it’s printed.
“Often these sort of thing starts from scratch every time a new person arrives,” Krakovsky said.
SuccessFactors will include templates for 16 different workforce changes in the mid-August release of its software, including processes for handling leave of absences, first-time managers, terminations, job transitions, and new employee onboarding.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. SuccessFactors is developing links to other software applications. While Krakovsky wasn’t specific about which ones, you might imagine a scenario in which important operational information—such as constrained product supply or critical sales contract updates—is automatically forwarded in someone’s absence.
SAP bought SuccessFactors three years ago for $3.4 billion. Today, the company has roughly 4,400 customers, with approximately 31 million users across those accounts, Krakovsky said.
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