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How to Configure the SAP SuccessFactors Calibration Module for Setting Fair Compensation

by Malle Alam, Senior Consultant

April 2, 2018

Follow the steps to integrate the calibration and compensation modules in SAP SuccessFactors. These steps enable you to calibrate ratings and pay across your organization and to view, compare, and adjust all ratings and pay.

The SAP SuccessFactors calibration module allows managers to allocate ratings that are fair and objectively distributed across the organization. It provides one system that gathers performance, compensation, succession, and talent profile data. The module ties employee performance with rewards and uses calibration to help ensure decisions that align performance goal achievement with bonus payouts to instill a true pay-for-performance culture. It also highlights where bias exists. Calibration can be a standalone activity or it can be embedded in talent management cycles. You can select from four different data sources to calibrate ratings and configure sessions with dynamic groups of individuals:

  1. Performance: Performance calibration includes the evaluation of performance, goals, potential, or other customer-defined elements
  2. Compensation: Compensation calibration allows you to calibrate employees' compensation ratios
  3. Employee Profile: Allows access and modification to a subject’s Employee Profile and/or custom ratings (if any) during the session
  4. Talent Flag: Allows access and modification to a subject’s Talent Flag during the session

(Calibration is the process organizations use to compare and potentially adjust the ratings of their team members to ensure that performance levels are standardized across the organization. Calibration can be part of a performance review process, a talent review process, or a compensation review process.)

I show how to integrate the calibration and compensation modules in SAP SuccessFactors to ensure ratings and pay are standardized across your organization. Here are the prerequisites:

  • Calibration is enabled and calibration settings are set up in provisioning (refer to the Calibration Implementation Guide)
  • A performance template is configured for capturing performance ratings to be used for calibration
  • The compensation template is configured for capturing merit increases, final compa-ratios, or range penetration to be used for calibration
  • Employees must have both performance forms (with a calculated performance rating) and compensation forms (with recommended increases) launched and that are in modify/in-progress status (not completed)
  • A calibration route map step is identified in the performance form and compensation form where calibration begins. You need to associate the calibration template to the calibration step in your performance/compensation management workflow

Set Up Calibration Templates

The calibration template defines two main things for end users (managers, HR managers, and directors): what data to calibrate and how to visualize the data to make the adjustments. A template is necessary to maintain the calibration sessions.

Follow menu path Admin Center > Calibration > Manage Calibration Templates and click the Create New button to go to Figure 1.

Figure 1
Name the template in the Basic Info tab

Figure 1 has five tabs:

  • Basic Info
  • Data
  • Views
  • Advanced
  • Executive Review
The Basic Info Tab

Click the Basic Info tab and enter a name for your template as well as a review period, which is used in the calibration sessions to read data. Click the Save button. The name of the template in this example is 2017 Pay x Performance and it displays the relationship between the compensation actually paid to an employee and the employee’s performance in comparison with peers. This template helps managers ensure fairness with compensation and promotions.


From Figure 1, click the Data tab to go to Figure 2.

Figure 2
Select the data in the Data tab

Determine what data will be used for the calibration. Select the Compensation template that will be used in the calibration session by using the template drop-down options. Select the ratio and set up range groups. Select Merit Percent or Amount and set up range groups as shown in Figure 2. Click the Save button.

(Note: Select the ratio and set up range groups: Select the rating to be calibrated. The list of ratings or ratios displayed is picked up from the Compensation template you selected (for example, a compa-ratio below 98 percent or a compa-ratio between 98 and 102 percent, or merit increase percentages below 2 percent, or between 2.0 and 3.5 percent.

Range groups: Specify the different ranges for the compa-ratio and/or merit increases)


From the same screen (Figure 2), click the Views tab to go to Figure 3. Determine how users will interact with the data. They can visualize and interact with calibration through different user interface (UI) views: Bin, Matrix Grid, List, Dashboard, and Executive Review. You can add a custom view by clicking the Add View button. Select the calibration elements from the drop-down options on the X and Y axes for a two-dimensional view. You can provide a view name such as Pay x Performance or Merit x Pay. Select a language in which the view will be displayed and pre-set the colors. Click the Save button to save your calibration template.

Figure 3
Select a view in the View tab

Advanced Options

Several features are available for each calibration template, including automatically routing the form to the next step, enabling comments, stack ranking employees, a quick card display, and enabling a multi-select drag and drop option that allows users to drag and drop in the bin view and grid view (9-box) as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4
Advanced settings in the Advanced tab

(Note: Quick card display provides a quick overview of the employee’s job title and departments. The quick card appears like a business card icon next to an employee’s name. 9-box is an employee assessment tool that evaluates an employee’s performance and potential. If a 3x3 matrix grid is used, then it is called a 9-box. This 9-box is frequently used in succession planning to identify high-performing and high-potential employees.)

Follow menu path Admin Center > Manage Calibration Templates > Advanced page to go to Figure 4. Here you can select the features that are available and required. Selections can vary by calibration template and should be configured appropriately for the purpose of the template and calibration sessions. These selections apply to all sessions created with the same template.

(Note: A calibration session is a calibration team discussion to evaluate employees included in the session. You can invite senior managers/HR to take part in the session.)

You can also enable photo-less calibration, which hides photos and enables gender indicator options in the list, bin, and matrix views. However, photo-less calibration and gender indicators are available only after you enable the SAP Fiori option for calibration. This is part of an SAP project to eliminate any bias in hiring. For more information on this anti-bias project go here or here.

Calibration Roles

Calibration roles describe who does what during a calibration session. These are different role-based permissions (RBP) as shown in Table 1.

Session facilitator

Typically, this is an HR person who facilitates the calibration. This person may be able to read, edit, and finalize a calibration session. Only a facilitator and co-facilitator can delete the session.


Typically, this is also an HR person who co-facilitates the calibration. Only a facilitator and co-facilitator can delete the session.

Session owner

An owner is usually a head of a group of employees (participants and subjects).

Session participants

Manager of the employees being calibrated

Calibration subject

An employee whose data is being calibrated

Executive reviewer

A business or HR executive who needs blanket access to all session data for a template

Table 1 Role-based permissions

All permissions, including executive reviewer permissions, are done via the Admin Center > Calibration > Manage Calibration Settings (Figure 5). The check boxes indicate what permissions each role has. Click the Save button to save your changes.

Figure 5
Permissions for calibration roles

Executive Review

Executive Review (Figure 6) is a feature that only permissioned users can use to access graphs and sensitive data, without needing to be involved directly in each session’s approval workflow.

Figure 6
Executive review

Calibration Sessions

Calibration sessions define the set of people who will be calibrated and the people who will participate in the session.

A calibration session provides a specific holding place for managers and HR business partners (HRBPs) to navigate to for making changes to ratings, adding comments, and reviewing the outcomes of a given calibration cycle. Sessions are the combination of the how (template), the when (dates), and the who (calibration roles).

Roles in a calibration session are:

  • Who is running the session (facilitator)
  • Who is the backup (co-facilitator)
  • Who owns the overall session (owner)
  • Who will provide input to the subjects (participants)
  • Who is being calibrated (subjects)
  • Which HR or business executives should have access to all session data for a given template (executive reviewer)

Follow these steps to create a calibration session.


Step 1. Create a calibration session and define the session details. Follow menu path Admin Center > Calibration > Manage Calibration Sessions to go to Figure 7. Click the create new icon to create a new session. Add details such as the calibration template on which the calibration session will be based and the name of the calibration session. Enter a plan activation date for when the session will start, the session owners, and the facilitators.


Figure 7
Create a calibration session in the Basic Info tab

Step 2. Select the participants and subjects that will be part of the calibration session. Click the People tab in Figure 7 go to Figure 8. Search for participants and subjects using the Search By Filter.


Figure 8
Select the participants and subjects


Step 3. Validate the calibration session.


Note: Prerequisites include ensuring that performance forms are launched for the subjects and the forms are in the route map step identified in the calibration template. Refer to the SAP SuccessFactors Performance Management IMG for the steps to launch performance forms. The compensation forms need to be launched and be in the route map step identified in the calibration template. Figure 9 is an example of an error message.


Figure 9
Error messages


Once all errors are cleared, validation is successful. Click the Activate button to activate the session. A pop-up message window named Session Activated appears (Figure 10). In this window you also have the option to notify session owners and facilitators that the session is activated.


Figure 10
Pop-up window indicating the session is activated


Access a Calibration Session

Once the calibration session is created based on the calibration template by the session owner (calibration admin), the HR (facilitator) invites managers, such as senior-level managers (participants) to calibration meetings, where they evaluate and discuss pay versus performance or rating versus merit increases of all employees (subjects). They meet to ensure that a fair and objective review of performance and pay is made and that they are applying similar standards across all employees.


The facilitator (HR) can access the calibration session by following menu path Home > Calibration (Figure 11).


Figure 11
Access the calibration


The facilitator (HR) can now review the calibration session that is available as shown in Figure 12. The facilitator can select the relevant session for calibration.


Figure 12
Calibration sessions


The facilitator can choose from any of the views available. Figure 13 is a dashboard view of pay versus performance or merit versus rating matrices as well as the ratings of all employees.


Figure 13
The dashboard view


Figure 14 is a list view of pay versus performance or merit versus rating matrices as well as the ratings of all employees.


Figure 14
The list view


Figure 15 is a pay versus performance matrix view.


Figure 15
Pay versus performance matrix view


Figure 16 is a merit versus rating matrix view.



Figure 16
Merit versus rating matrix view

Integration of the Calibration, Performance, and Compensation Modules

The calibration module is tightly integrated with the Performance Management and Compensation modules. All performance and compensation data can be viewed in the calibration module. Performance and compensation adjustments can be directly made in the calibration module and the changes are written back to the source forms (compensation and/or performance).

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Malle Alam

Malle Alam ( is a senior consultant at a Global Professional Services firm in the SAP/SuccessFactors practice. She has more than 16 years of experience working on SAP ERP HCM/SuccessFactors implementations. Malle has a strong passion for technology and the HCM domain.

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