Over several years I’ve been involved in implementing Workday in many different environments and had to rescue a few poorly executed programmes too. I’ve learned a lot over that time.

Here are ten things, blindingly obvious now as a Workday consultant, that I wish I’d been aware of when I started.

1)  Consider HR processes before you implement Workday

Too many Workday implementations result in bad processes being executed well. Introducing Workday now and updating processes after is certainly possible and can help you hit a hard implementation deadline (see below). But a bit of short-term pain is worth it. The introduction of Workday, or any other HRIS, is an ideal time to revisit HR processes and ensure that they are fit for purpose.

2)  You can’t start data cleansing and migration into Workday early enough

Data migration is often the most neglected part of a Workday implementation. For some, it’s an administrative task and a necessary evil. But get it wrong or leave it too late and it will scupper an otherwise meticulously planned implementation plan. The process of migration can be made much easier when data is thoroughly cleansed to ensure it is consistent, complete and accurate.

3)  Your team do not need to be Workday experts

Workday is a tool designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. Your internal team need good HR knowledge, common sense, and a willingness to learn, work hard, and deliver to plan. Any specialised Workday knowledge can be provided by your systems integrator.

4)  Resource the Workday implementation adequately

You will almost certainly need more people, money and time than you think; much better to plan for it now and run the risk of over resourcing than find yourself scrabbling around for more people or budget when you realise you are falling behind plan. Over-optimism may produce short term wins, such as getting the business case approved, but it’s always expensive in the long run. No one ever got sacked for delivering before the deadline or under budget with fewer people than expected.

5)  Pay attention to the details

Small details can get lost in big programmes. Don’t let this happen. Consider the data, the processes, and other systems with which Workday needs to interface, and how they work together.

6)  Resist excessive Workday configuration

In our report Delivering on the HRIS Promise we advocated configuration over customisation, and I stand by that advice. But unlike SAP Hana and Oracle EBS, Workday does not allow for customisation. When it comes to Workday, therefore, I simply say do all the configuration you need and no more. Excessive configuration makes maintenance, training and troubleshooting more difficult than they need to be.

7)  Have a realistic deadline that works for the business

Don’t let the tail wag the dog. An arbitrary early deadline that results in a rushed project and bodged implementation is no better than a meandering project plan with unclear timescales. Link the timing of Go Live with the business calendar, so it does not clash with peak periods of activity.

8)  Delivery doesn’t stop at Workday Go Live

The beauty (and sometimes the pain) of Cloud solutions such as Workday is that they can be continually enhanced, with new features being developed, and existing functionality enhanced. It’s worthwhile preparing for this ongoing maintenance and improvement.

9)  Workday adoption doesn’t just happen

Workday is intuitive, but that does not mean it will be enthusiastically embraced by all staff. Well-designed processes help, but leadership support and carefully crafted communications that describe the benefits of Workday are essential. The best time to drive adoption is when the system is first launched and when new features are added. Give people a good reason to keep visiting the system.

10)  Celebrate success

Delivering a Workday programme is hard work and can take a long time, but there are many opportunities to celebrate success along the way. Make time to recognise collective and individual achievements; it creates more cohesive teams, builds resilience and makes the process much more fun!


Good luck with your Workday implementation. If you think we can help get in touch at info@changeassociates.com.

Case study: helping reduce hris costs by 24%
David Cruise