A Customer’s View: How We Influenced Workday 18

I was at a professional conference a few weeks ago when a group gathered for a demo of what was coming in Workday 18. When the presenter zeroed in on the new calibration capability in Workday, I wanted to jump up and clap. We had worked on calibration with Workday in the previous months, and I believe it’ll really enhance our talent management goals at Kimberly-Clark Corp. What a delight to see it shown off in Workday 18 before a larger group.

Among the insights I can share with my peers is that the Workday customer collaboration process is unique to the enterprise software industry. Today, many of us will be arriving in Las Vegas to attend Workday Rising, which will serve as an introduction for new customers to the Workday community. I attended Workday Rising as a customer for the first time last year, blogged at Rising, and now have a year of experience as a member of this community.

Kimberly-Clark hasn’t hesitated to leverage Workday’s willingness to collaborate with customers. In addition to calibration, we have served on design groups focused on compensation and on security. We contribute to Workday’s Global Advisory Council and the Talent Advisory Council, and have participated in the CIO Council. We also participate in Workday Brainstorm, where customers vote on what they want to see in the next Workday update. It’s been great to help drive product direction at Workday, an opportunity that stems from Workday’s three-times-a-year update model. Because Workday is in the cloud, customers can directly influence what new capabilities become available in Workday and be using them within a matter of months.

Specific to Workday 18, calibration in Workday Human Capital Management will allow managers to better collaborate during the performance assessment and talent review processes. In HR parlance, a calibration meeting is where a group of managers come together after rating their employees against a standard rating scale, to ensure employees are evaluated based on the same relative contribution to the organization from a performance assessment perspective, or have similar potential from a potential assessment perspective. For example, if managers have different understandings of how to apply the rating scale to their employees, they can have a deeper discussion that results in a “calibrated” understanding and may result in adjusted ratings to one or more employees. The new calibration feature lets us do this through a drag-and-drop process, so that decisions made in these meetings can be easily executed within our HCM system. Previously, a manager may have had to export talent information into a spreadsheet, participate in the calibration process, and then later assign a new rating within the system. It’s critical to have an accurate and effective talent review process. By understanding each individual’s potential, Kimberly-Clark managers can start planning for placements into new positions within the next one to three years.  We can also see where we have gaps in talent and act on it, and better ensure high-potential employees have opportunities to keep them fulfilled in their jobs.

This is just one example of how the Workday customer becomes part of the update process. As part of our Global Advisory Council participation, we were able to influence Workday’s decision to add Arabic to the languages it supports, an understandably big task as Arabic reads right to left. Enhancements such as Arabic language support become part of Workday for all customers to use, with no need to customize software on their premises.

Prior to the release of Workday 18, we were invited to Workday’s Pleasanton headquarters as part of a representative group of  the customer base to learn about what’s new and provide feedback, a gathering Workday hosts for every one of its updates. We were also given a “sandbox” copy of our production system, including all of our data, to experience some of the new look-and-feel changes in Workday 18. Workday talked us through changes, and explained the reasons for them.  We got to hear from product teams on product direction.

It’s important that software providers gather knowledge and expertise from their customers. Most traditional enterprise software vendors have user groups, but I’ve not had a similar experience to the Workday community when working with the on-premise software industry. To see fairly immediately how our team has influenced the design of a product is a unique experience–enough to make me want to stand up and clap.

For those attending Rising, I hope you have a great time. For new customers, it’s the beginning of learning what it’s like to become part of the Workday community.