By Angela Colantuono, Senior Vice President, SAP SuccessFactors Asia Pacific & Japan 

Like many burgeoning markets in the Asia Pacific & Japan region, Korea is faced with increasing competition for talent, productivity, and digital solutions that will enable further growth. The country is in the midst of some challenging macro conditions including low economic growth rates, an aging population, and a declining quality of employment compounded by a lack of high-tech experts that can help fuel digitalization efforts nationally. 

In this increasingly digitalized and interconnected environment, businesses need intelligent tech solutions to remain agile and innovative. However, they also require skilled talent and leadership to leverage those technologies, filling skill gaps and handling different functions that cannot be automated.  

Managing investments in digital solutions and talent can be a delicate balancing act, but SAP is here to help more organizations get the most value from their digital solutions while providing resources that widen talent pools, providing more comprehensive and customizable skill development to help future proof their business.  

Our Approach to Talent 

At SAP TechEd 2022, we announced an ambitious goal to upskill two million professionals by 2025. In pursuit of this vision, we’ve partnered with Coursera to launch an entry-level professional certificate designed for learners of all backgrounds, with no university degree or industry experience required. To measure progress, we look to ‘active learners’ (people who have engaged with and undertaken courses on our learning platform). Currently 51% of our global active learners are from Asia Pacific & Japan, with Korea seeing a 405% increase in the growth of active learners from Q1 2023. 

With our diverse range of digital solutions and increasing focus on talent development, we’re working closely with other brands to innovate within this space, providing solutions that help streamline training and learning processes, delivering development content and courses that are better aligned with organizational needs for a digitally interconnected future. 

A key theme from our SAP HR Connect Seoul 2023 event, which took place this week, was focused on unlocking employee potential through intelligent technologies like generative AI. While AI solutions have been an important component of our solutions for years its function has mostly been confined to backend processes, using advanced analytics and machine learning to deliver real-time insights and suggestions based on comprehensive data. 

Today, generative AI has taken intelligent technology from backend functions to front-end creativity and efficiency. For example, our recently announced solution, Joule is a natural-language, generative AI copilot that helps make it easier and faster for employees to navigate complex processes and for HR teams to respond to requests.  

Within SAP SuccessFactors solutions, Joule is improving the employee experience by making it easier and faster for employees to find information, get answers to questions, and complete HR-related tasks, such as approving or rejecting time-off requests; changing names, locations; and more. More functionalities will be available such as clocking in and out, viewing pay statements, and writing unbiased job descriptions. We continue looking at new ways to leverage gen AI to support HR teams in recruiting, managing, and developing talent. 

Redefining Skill Needs and Development 

SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite has integrated various features and capabilities to help organizations address the skills gap, ignite employees’ potential, elevate the employee experience, and inform every people decision – from talent recruitment and internal mobility to learning and performance management. 

Considering how quickly technology evolves and new job titles emerge – organizations must shift force from role-based hiring to skill-based. This ensures skills are embedded into all HR functions from evaluating skill levels of employees through to reskilling, upskilling, and skill-based evaluation, compensation, and recruitment. For businesses to become more skills based, they need the resources to accurately assess their workforce’s current skills and capabilities, identify skills that are needed for the future, and implement a learning and talent strategy that can effectively address the gaps. 

We’re enabling customers to make this shift in mindset and approach through our talent intelligence hub, an AI-powered skills framework built into SAP SuccessFactors that can drive an organization’s learning and talent strategy. By providing a holistic view of the workforce based on skills data from multiple sources, our customers can make data-driven talent decisions across the employee lifecycle, including recruitment, onboarding, training and development, performance, and succession. 

Putting People First 

Our talent intelligence hub allows employees to build and manage their individual growth portfolio, which includes their skills, competencies, goals, motivations, and work styles to better guide career development and progression. Leveraging data insights, they can receive personalized talent development recommendations, which can include assignments available on SAP SuccessFactors Opportunity Marketplace, mentors, and dynamic teams.  

By focusing on upskilling and reskilling talent, organizations can establish a more equitable and sustainable work environment. This also enables more autonomy and ownership of people’s learning paths and styles. For example, through AI, a neurodivergent employee’s preferences and behaviors can be used to create a learning experience that optimizes their engagement and comprehension through content, structure, and pacing that best meets their specific needs.  

AI-powered learning platforms can also pave the way for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), creating a workplace where individuals feel valued and supported. Talent development is tailored to meet people’s unique needs and goals while ensuring everyone has access to relevant and engaging learning and progression opportunities. As the ongoing competition for talent intensifies, AI is enabling businesses to extend their talent-pool reach, connecting with talent who’ve been traditionally excluded or underrepresented.  

SAP Supporting Korean Innovation 

At our recent SAP HR Connect Seoul 2023 event, attendees heard from GC Biopharma, who’s leveraging solutions like SAP SuccessFactors to implement ‘ORG Insight’ a software that provides specialized functions for domestic organization management.  

Using SAP’s cloud system, GC Biopharma built its own future-proof HR system, GON, which is enabling the company to utilize AI for HR functions. And as one of the first organizations in APJ to integrate SAP SuccessFactors WorkZone as an HR portal, GC Biopharma is seeing marked improvements in how it engages with talent, leveraging gen AI solutions to better recruit, develop, and upskill their workforce. 

As we continue building our presence and capabilities in Korea, we want to enable more businesses to build future ready workforces with the right skills to push innovation and become a global powerhouse in productivity and leading-edge digital transformation.  

From the latest AI technologies to the way businesses upskill their teams, we’re continually innovating in the HR space and want to help more businesses create personalized, people-centric workplaces, ensuring they have the necessary skills and solutions to remain agile, scalable, and efficient. 

Korea remains a key focus for us in supporting the APJ region. Our SAP Cloud portfolio services over 200 million users across 13,000 customers worldwide. With our expansive expertise and wide range of solutions, we aim to enable Korean enterprises, transforming their employee experience offering while helping them reimagine how they connect with talent and develop their people – no matter the business size or industry.