- Workday is a best-in-class solution.
- You can kick off the project and go live in less than 12 months.
- The product is so great, you won’t need to invest in change management.
- Off the shelf, generic training will suffice for your users.
- Maintaining your investment in Workday is simple and easy.
Can you spot the truth? OK, good.
1. Workday is a best-in-class solution.
Yes, it is true.
So are the other statements lies? Well, perhaps “lie” is a strong word. Let’s say they are statements that need to be heavily caveat-ed in order to be true, especially in large, complex organizations. Let me explain.
2. You can kick off the project and go live in less than 12 months.
- The definition of project success is limited to factors like project was delivered on time, in scope, and the gold tenant works as designed in the blueprint documents. When you start adding success criteria about people feeling ready for go live, that they were quickly and proficiently using Workday on Day 1, and that the Go Live was not disruptive to normal operations and business, you might need more time.
- Workday’s recommended best-in-class configuration for HR processes mirrors exactly what you already do today and what your organization has already adopted. By this, I mean, if your organization, for example, already gives managers the ability to set and adjust employee compensation, or write and deliver a performance review, or start a job requisition for an opening, AND the business process you configure in Workday matches what you already do today, AND managers are already compliant with how you currently do things, there is very little change other than the platform and technology. If, however, part of your Workday implementation means changes to these core talent acquisition and development processes, and it means managers now need to know how to lead and make different types of decisions, you might need more time. Workday itself is not a transformation, but it enables transformation in how people care and feed for their teams from an HR and administrative perspective.
3. The product is so great, you won’t need to invest in change management.
4. Off the shelf, generic training will suffice for your users.
Let’s take these two statements together, shall we? They would be true, if…
- The only reason people struggle to adapt to change is because they don’t like the change. Come on. Liking a solution helps with change adoption but is not the only factor affecting how quickly, proficiently, and completely someone starts using a new tool. People need to know what is expected of them (provided job expectations have changed), they need to have the information, tools, resources necessary to perform, they need to have the time (capacity) to follow the new processes without competing demands getting in the way, they need the appropriate knowledge and skills, and they need to be rewarded and reinforced for adopting the new approach.
- The more changes that are bundled with the implementation of a Workday platform, the more custom training will be needed. Changing jobs and roles of people along with using the software? People will need training. Changing what associates need to do to ensure their information is accurate with HR, and changing what a manager is now accountable for when leading a team? People will need training. Changing business processes and how work flows between associates, managers, HR and other administrators with Workday being the underlying support system? People will need training. Changing company policies to comply with how Workday is configured? People will need, at a minimum, information and perhaps training. Asking people to perform administrative tasks in Workday that someone else used to do on their behalf before? People will need training. I think you get my point. Generic demo videos that show basic flow and functionality of different Workday modules are helpful. However, they are not substitutes for more in-depth, role-based or process-based job aids, videos and learning guides your team will need to create and that your users will need.
5. Maintaining your investment in Workday is simple and easy.
This statement is true, if…
- Well before go live, you have agreed on decision rights and governance for maintaining your Workday investment. Changing a configuration or business process in Workday is fast and can happen in real time. What is hard is deciding who gets to decide what changes can be made, when, and by whom. Is it the purview of an HR system administrator to make a role-based security change, or does that need to flow through management? How do you decide whether and how to make a change that could affect two or more business processes, and thus, two or more organizational functions or departments that exist outside of Workday? All of these decisions need to be identified and mapped out.
- You’ve agreed on the appropriate roles for HR and IT in maintaining Workday well before go live. Unlike a piece of software that sits on a server, Workday is a SAAS solution. Anyone with the right access and training can make a configuration change and push it live immediately. It requires knowledge and skill, but not necessarily the kind of technical skills that has traditionally been housed in the IT area alone. Team members who don’t consider themselves IT professionals very competently and quickly can learn what it takes to maintain the investment. In fact, the closer those individuals are to the business, the designed work flows, and every day users, the better. That’s because a functional system administrator that sits in the business will likely have more context of how the business operates and the implications of ongoing Workday releases that happen multiple times a year. In addition, traditional HRIS and HR Service Center departments that previously processed more associate-transactions prior to a Workday investment now need a new role, as they should be processing less and analyzing more.
Workday is a fantastic platform and a very intuitive system to learn and use. However, choosing to implement it, or any other piece of technology, should not be done lightly. These are never “just” IT projects, or “just” IT solutions. Forty years of ERP implementations around the globe have taught us this lesson. The process of getting ready for a Workday implementation, ensuring that everyone is able to proficiently and quickly use the solution on Day 1, and setting up the new operating model to manage the application is critical. This work is the result of careful planning, analysis, and change enablement support that considers the holistic people, process, and technology change that come with this type of investment.