I was thrilled to spend the week in Orlando, Florida, at Workday’s annual user conference. It was my first experience at Workday Rising, and sure not to be my last. As expected, Workday’s meteoric rise has spawned a whole partner ecosystem, of which Safeguard Global is a proud member.
Perhaps most valuable to my experience were the numerous conversations I had with various Workday customers. Of course, most of my discussions were filtered through the lens of what we do at Safeguard Global, but they were incredibly insightful nonetheless.
I also noticed some interesting trends. Here are my top five insights from Workday Rising 2019:
1. Anxiety about getting payroll right extends around the globe
This is a shameless plug for part of our value proposition, I know, but I was struck by how present this still is for payroll executives. Every new country a payroll executive is forced to contend with comes months of distracting and anxiety-filled issues. Some payroll execs had earlier line of sight than others, but every single one cited a consistent conveyor belt of issues from one country or another. This is so clearly an anchor that restricts them from evolving their function.
I was thrilled to hear how we had solved for these very issues for clients, but was surprised by just how pervasive and never-yielding the issues are across companies.
2. HR and payroll execs spend more time distributing data to stakeholders than they do analyzing it
There is clearly a high demand for data in any organization, and the desire to get employee-related data is no exception. One payroll executive I talked to estimated that she spends 95% of her time on insight No. 1 above, plus pulling and distributing data to internal stakeholders. 95%! She is a highly driven, dynamic and intelligent executive who spends her days firefighting payroll issues per country and pulling reports.
In our conversations, I heard so many compelling ideas from these executives—ideas that would make real metric-based impacts on the business, like reducing voluntary attrition or reducing operational cost. If only they had the time.
3. Workday customers are using global payroll consolidation to drive value realization
Implementing Workday is an enormous decision and a significant undertaking. Obviously, projects of such magnitude require a stated return and there was plenty of chatter about ROI. I can simply state that the consistent path to ROI that I heard about over and over was:
- Employees want everything in one place, no matter where in the world they reside
- HR wants everything in Workday
- Workday wants everything in Workday
- If everything is in Workday, employee adoption and satisfaction goes up
- When adoption and satisfaction with Workday increases, so goes ROI
This is true of every employee around the globe.
4. Intelligence-based applications are working their way into HR processes
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have officially arrived in the HR space. Whether the related ROI is in efficiency, employee satisfaction or candidate recruitment intelligent, programmatic applications are making their way in.
There is still due diligence to be done. While effective and intelligent design of self-learning is expanding every day, it’s important to understand the relative value.
AI is certainly at the top of the tech trend pyramid, but the same principles of solution evaluation apply:
- Is it really what it says it is? (There are a lot of liberal uses of the terms “AI” and “machine learning.”)
- Does it do what it says it does?
- Is it valuable to me?
5. Employee experience is an increasing focus
For the first time in the modern workforce we have five employable generations, and our own Amber Merideth recently led a very interesting webinar on this very subject. The demands and needs of workers across these generations range from similar to wildly different. And the expectations of emerging and increasingly more influential generations are unlike what we’ve seen before.
There is more and more focus on the satisfaction and resulting experience of the global employee: from as simple as a single system of use, to location flexibility, to the benefits they value. Delivering a great employee experience is becoming more complex globally and will continue over time.
I loved my first experience and Workday Rising, and I look forward to many more. Workday and Workday customers are a special breed that we at Safeguard Global are thrilled and honored to work with every day!
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