Workday Rising Daily

Thursday, October 12

Shawn Achor Brings Up the House

In the keynote that capped Workday Rising 2017, Shawn Achor, a leading expert on the connection between happiness and success, gave attendees a key insight: “If you define happiness as success, you’ll never be happy. This is because each time you achieve ‘success’ your brain moves the goal post further away.”

Happiness researcher Shawn Achor delivering the closing keynote on Thursday.

He’s worked with celebrities and accomplished sports figures, and said that the biggest predictor of long-term happiness is social connection, not wealth or status.

“Small potential is what happens when we’re alone, big potential is what happens when we work together,” Achor said. “Change is radically possible if we work together.”

Christine Cefalo, Workday’s chief marketing officer, closed the keynote and the conference with: “We learned, we celebrated, and we connected. That brings us to the end of the most successful Rising to date. Let’s go forward together.”

Wednesday, October 11

Supporting and Leveraging the Ever-Changing Workforce

Leighanne Levensaler, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Workday, and Sheila Marcelo, founder and CEO of, discussed changes to the workforce and what that means for the future of our society in a Business Leader Forum session today.

Marcelo said one of the biggest workforce changes taking place today has to do with the care of people. It’s a significant issue because care is the driver of all work: We all need great care in order to do our jobs, but we also need to be able to work in order to get good care. As a country, we should be investing in care as we would any other necessity or infrastructure, Marcelo argued, and the lack of emphasis on care will continue to directly affect productivity everywhere.

Sheila Marcelo Quote

Levensaler and Marcelo also talked about how the emergence of artificial intelligence will continue to impact the job market. Both agreed that as technology innovation replaces traditionally people-driven tasks with automated systems, such as self-driving cars and electronic ordering, as a society we need to ensure such progress doesn’t eliminate human experiences that are so important both inside and outside the office. For example, even if you want the convenience of ordering your coffee online, you may still want the personal touch of a barista.

Taking the discussion on innovation one step further, Marcelo said business leaders should be thinking more creatively about how to leverage technology to unleash untapped workforce potential. Marcelo provided examples of how has hired women part-time who serve as the primary caregivers in their households and would not be able to take on full-time jobs. She said has had a lot of success in retention and referrals from this demographic group, while other companies might overlook the potential to hire moms on a part-time basis.

Tuesday, October 10

Workday Financial Management Customers Talk About Workday’s Impact on Their Business

Dominic Kellermann, director of financial product strategy at Workday, opened up the Workday Financial Management Strategy and Vision Keynote by talking about three challenges facing finance leaders today: the pressure for greater analysis and distribution of data, the need for guidance and insight to support decision-making, and the ability to keep pace with rapid change.

Many finance organizations are investing in new technologies to support these increasing business demands, and in the session, we heard from three customers on some of the challenges they face, why they made the decision to move to Workday, and the impact it is having on finance and the business.

Workday Financial Management

Paul Wright, CIO at Accuride, highlighted the ability to provide anywhere, anytime access to the right data as an important issue on his mind. “That ability for anyone to get to the right data when they need it, wherever they are in the world is huge,” said Wright. He also discussed the selection of one of Workday’s newest offerings, Financial Performance Management (FPM), and how it helps improve planning for the company’s global growth, including integrating with the manufacturing ERP solution.

Chanda Pepping, vice president of finance technology at Unum, highlighted how Workday Financial Management has made it easier to comply with ongoing regulatory changes, such as the new lease accounting standards. “The other big change we have is the regulatory environment,” said Pepping. “We will be implementing lease accounting and it’s nice just to sit back and relax and know it’s coming from Workday” she said.

Mark FitzPatrick, Deputy CFO at WeWork, described Workday’s ease of use of for employees across the company to access the data they need. “Workday is a system for the people and something the people can use,” said FitzPatrick. “We have 170 locations and about a thousand community managers who run buildings for us and they use Workday everyday to manage their books, figure out what’s going on, and they can go down and figure out where my expenses are and get down to the invoices level.”

Workday Human Capital Management Strategy and Vision Keynote

Cristina Goldt, vice president of HCM products at Workday, kicked off the Workday Human Capital Management Strategy and Vision Keynote by discussing how change is the only constant—in business, in the workforce, and in technology—and people strive for simplicity to drive agility. Workday is keeping pace with these changes by creating enabling, engaging, and differentiated experiences that reflect the changing nature of work and teams, to empower employees to reach their highest potential.

Then, Goldt invited Sarah St. Clair, vice president of people services at Booz Allen Hamilton, and Pat Leckman, vice president of human resources at Illumina, on stage to share how Workday has enabled their organizations to build a culture of connection.


Workday enabled Booz Allen Hamilton to engage their global workforce with easy, on-demand access. And as they shift to a “radical candor” model in January to encourage their leadership to engage more with staff, Workday Surveys will play a big role in facilitating feedback.

Illumina went live with Workday in 2008, and Leckman shared how Workday has matched their pace of innovation. Their talent strategy centers around Workday Recruiting to promote internal mobility, Workday HCM for onboarding to engage employees and get them up and running quickly, and Workday Learning to proactively provide the content and training employees need to succeed. This trifecta allows them to offer their employees experiences, not HR tasks.

Workday Payroll Strategy and Vision Keynote

New at Workday Rising this year was a dedicated strategy and vision session for Workday Payroll and Workforce Management.

Workday Payroll

Mariana Santiago, vice president of product management for payroll and workforce management, began the session by sitting down with one of our veteran customers. Nadia Camarena, senior manager for global payroll operations at Netflix, described how far the company has come since they first launched Workday Payroll. Before Workday, the biggest challenge Netflix faced was long processing windows that took up to four or five days. Manual processes like time entry would monopolize valuable time, and integrations would often break. Because Netflix has been able to automate most of their payroll processes, minimizing processing time to one or two days, Camarena’s domestic payroll team has been able to become more strategic and take on global work. For even more insights, Netflix enlisted the help of Workday Financial Management to extend business benefits across the enterprise.

With new automation functionality and smart calculations, Workday is helping to increase payroll visibility at every level. Workday’s team is working hard to deliver additional features to address ever-changing global compliance requirements , including new mapping technology that will help customers visualize tax and payroll changes taking place around the world.

Workday Technology and Analytics Strategy and Vision Keynote

People lined the walls and sat on the floor to catch the latest updates on Workday’s technology and analytics strategy. Erin Yang, vice president of technology product management, opened the keynote by sharing Workday’s technology philosophy. Workday’s focus on the Power of One, consumer-friendly applications, and customer-driven innovation allows us to quickly innovate so our applications can grow with our customers as their needs change. This includes offering our customers the option of running Workday in the public cloud in the future.

Public Cloud Option
To help customers battle complexity, Yang explained how opening the Workday Cloud Platform will allow organizations to expand what they’re able to accomplish with Workday. Early adopters are streamlining and automating new workflows within Workday for badge lifecycle management, creating bespoke experiences for their employees through a talent mobility app, and tailoring Workday to their unique business needs through private peer-to-peer feedback.

One of the biggest complexities businesses face is around their data, and Yang introduced Pete Schlampp, vice president of Workday Analytics, to explain this further. Schlampp described how analytics impact many people throughout the organization—IT, analysts, managers, executives, and workers—with different needs, skills, and technical abilities. While each user may operate in a different environment, these environments should be integrated in a workflow to increase efficiency. Schlampp shared that Workday’s vision is to deliver this stack in a way that allows users to forget about it. “This is all about making it so you can focus on your business, and not the technology,” said Schlampp.

Analytics Environment
To make better business decisions augmented with data, Schlampp revealed how Workday Prism Analytics will bring together Workday and non-Workday data to provide executives and managers with a holistic view of the business and enrich their financial and people analytics. And with Workday Benchmarking, organizations can compare themselves against their peers to understand their strengths and weaknesses—within and across industries. 

Denise Hemke, senior director of product management, and Josh Lannin, senior director of design and product management, join Pete Schlampp (left) on stage to demo how Workday’s reporting and analytics tools come together.

Workday Student Strategy and Vision Keynote

Liz Dietz, vice president of student strategy at Workday, began the keynote by talking about the value of customer brainstorms to evolving Workday Student. In addition to the 13 existing active feature design groups, Dietz announced that Workday will be adding two additional groups focused on admissions committees and College Board Institutional Methodology.

Workday Student PSV
Liz Dietz, vice president of student strategy at Workday, began the keynote by talking about the value of customer brainstorms to evolving Workday Student.

The Workday Student roadmap was influenced by three factors: customer success, completeness of vision, and product depth. Some of the key features available in Workday 29 include a redesign of the student profile, the addition of several compliance-related features including the return of Title IV funds worksheets, and a highly requested email analytics function. In Workday 30 and 31, customers can expect a brand new online admissions application, additional financial aid action items, and more.

Dietz discussed the three key investment themes for the next year: driving efficiency on campuses, developing more analytic capabilities and insights to help schools make better decisions, and providing more engaging experiences for students that will leave a lasting positive impression. Dietz also acknowledged that student success is a paramount priority for our customers, and Workday will continue to focus on developing additional features and functionality that support the mission to help all students be successful, with a particular emphasis on mobile.

Leading in Purpose-Driven Companies

How do HR leaders at purpose-driven companies lead with mission in mind? Senior HR executives attending Workday Rising got a view into these practices courtesy of a panel discussion featuring Ashley Goldsmith, chief people officer at Workday; Dean Carter, vice president of shared services at Patagonia; and Nancy Vitale, senior vice president of human resources at Genentech. Moderated by Chinwe Onyeagoro, president of Great Places to Work, the three discussed purpose, mission, and what happens to corporate culture when the company starts to scale.

Onyeagoro kicked off the discussion by asking how each of these leaders make their purpose real on a day-to-day basis. All agreed that hiring employees that understand and respect the culture is key to ensuring they live and perpetuate that mission, as well as offering employees the opportunity to experience company values firsthand outside the office.

When it comes to inevitable change, the panelists discussed the importance of knowing how to listen to employee feedback, whether it’s on social media or with continuous first-hand conversations, and how using data to track and monitor subtle changes over time can help prevent declining morale.

Rethinking Work and Workers

John Boudreau, research director and professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Center for Effective Organizations, and a room full of CIOs discussed the changing nature of work and automation. Bottom line: In a conversation that would have seemed like science fiction ten years ago, everyone seemed to agree that automation will lead to a reimagining of the workforce, and Boudreau said that now is the right time to start thinking about the effects to the workplace—and society.

What Should Finance Leaders Do About Public Policy? Engage

Stewart Verdery, chief executive officer and founder of Monument Policy Group, spoke with a group of CFOs and senior finance executives about the importance of engaging on public policy and with lawmakers. In a wide-ranging discussion that touched on topics from tax policy to immigration reform to next year’s election cycle, Verdery impressed upon the attendees the value of joining the conversation. “There’s never been a more important time to be engaged,” Verdery said.

Stewart Verdery of Monument Policy Group

Tuesday, October 10

Executive Keynote Takes Attendees to the Moon

At the the Executive Keynote this morning at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Co-Founder and CEO Aneel Bhusri and Co-Founder and Chairman Dave Duffield welcomed more than 8,500 customers to Workday Rising. Bhusri emphasized Workday’s relentless focus on customer satisfaction, and revealed that this year, Workday achieved a 98 percent customer satisfaction rating in our annual executive sponsor survey. (Watch a consolidated, 14-minute version of the keynote below.)

“We’re very proud of that number, but we know we’re not perfect,” Bhusri said. He added that the company is very focused on that remaining two percent. “When we figure out who that two percent is, we start calling them to make sure there’s a path to make them happy as well. So thank you our customers, for your great support of us, and thank you to all of our employees for taking care of our customers.”

Bhusri also discussed the Power of One, which includes one version of Workday, one data model, one security model, one interface, and more. “We’re the only vendor in the world that follows the Power of One blueprint,” Bhusri said.

Workday Rising
More than 8,500 attendees packed the Wintrust Arena for the Workday Rising Executive Keynote.

Other members of Workday’s leadership team then took attendees on a voyage with a fictional company called Galactic Moon Services. They demonstrated how finance, HR, and business leaders can plan, execute, and analyze using Workday applications. That includes two newly available offerings that enable customers to gain greater insights into their internal data, and to better understand how their companies compare with others: Workday Prism Analytics and Workday Benchmarking.

The keynote ended with Dan Beck, senior vice president of Workday platform technology, and Jon Ruggiero, Workday’s chief technology architect, sharing the latest on how Workday is opening up the Workday Cloud Platform to our entire customer and partner ecosystem. They also shared examples of applications that our early adopter customers have already built.

“You just heard Aneel talk about the Cloud Platform as a new chapter in Workday,” Beck said. “I can’t wait to see what you build.”

Workday Cloud Platform
Workday Cloud Platform

Monday, October 9

Peyton and Archie Manning on Leadership, Teamwork, and Giving Back

Workday Rising attendees quickly got into the team spirit at the Kickoff Keynote on Monday night with Peyton Manning, two-time Super Bowl champion and five-time NFL MVP, and his father Archie Manning, also a former NFL quarterback. The Mannings spoke to attendees about the power of teamwork, collaboration, preparation, and giving back both on the field and in business. Moderated by ESPN on-air personality Hannah Storm, this session made for a dynamic discussion about football and what it can teach us about life.

“The most valuable player is the one that makes the most players valuable.”—Peyton Manning

The Mannings discussed how they believe accountability and respect are two of the fundamental pillars that define great leadership. Peyton called himself a fair yet demanding teammate because of the high standards he holds himself to, as well as everyone around him. With that approach, everyone pushes each other to be the best they can be. “The most valuable player is the one that makes the most players valuable,” said Peyton Manning.

Archie Manning emphasized the importance of leading by example. When raising his sons, he said the number one value he tried to instill in them was the importance of earning respect. He knew that if they ever became professional athletes, they could be starting in team huddles as 22-year-olds alongside 30-something veteran players. The only way to convince those players, as well as coaches and opponents, that they deserved respect was to lead by example.

Whether it’s on or off the field, the Mannings said they believe many of the lessons learned in their careers as professional athletes resonate with leaders in any industry. Understanding what it takes to be a good leader, responsible contributor, and prepared individual are the building blocks that make up a solid, successful team.