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What's different about Workday change

change practitioner workday Oct 23, 2022

I have led the change management support for eight Workday deployments (HCM, Financials, Learning and Adaptive). One particularly challenging project included global audiences in nearly 20 countries. Along the way, I worked alongside four different system implementation partners.

I have also deployed several other technologies: PeopleSoft (way back when!), SAP, Salesforce, benefits platforms, OneStream, and several custom-designed health behavior applications. 

There's differences in size and scope in every project. New people to collaborate with to get the work done. New technology to learn.

But when it comes to Workday change management, there are some behind-the-scenes factors that have made planning for and implementing change in these deployments easier:

  1. The Workday deployment methodology. It doesn't matter who the system implementation partner is, they will consistently follow the Workday deployment methodology (including the streamlined launch version with less custom configuration). This is a significant "win" for a change manager who can align change deliverables to the set methodology. It also ensures adequate governance and customer assurance through built-in project structures and QA reviews. This removes noise from the role of the change manager in helping teams be effective and efficient quickly. The use of individual workstream leads and process for reviewing design decisions during the Configure & Prototype phase also eliminates confusion within project teams, which can lead to overall stakeholder resistance.
  2. The Workday Adoption Toolkit. Clients will have access to standard communication and training templates through the Workday Adoption Toolkit. This is standard amongst most platforms/applications, but the Workday Adoption Toolkit has a level of professionalism higher than most. It greatly accelerates the training development tasks. HOWEVER, clients should expect they will need to customize templates and supplement communications before, during and after the deployment phase. 
  3. Workday support and release rhythms. Following go-live, Workday is more involved in customer support than many applications. I've observed how early the conversations start about maintenance and support needs (pre-deployment) so that clients can budget appropriately. The semi-annual release rhythms also help clients get into a rinse-and-repeat mindset about continual updates of the technology. For many who are making the leap from paper, this is important to establish the expectation of ongoing improvement. This supports sustaining the change and continuing forward progress.

After deploying many other types of technology, these factors make Workday change much easier. That allows the change manager to focus on the uniqueness of the client organization and the specific change impacts. 


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