Thursday, 27 February 2014

Is Workday more complex that it appears? Or is the software not strong enough?

I've had a quiet week as my US HR colleagues are currently on an emergency trip to the HR Shared Service Center to try and sort out some Workday operational issues.  As you may recall, we had a soft launch in the US in December.  Now that everyone is back from their holidays and the first monthly payroll of January has run, it appears that post-implementation issues are larger than expected.  So a swat team of HR project members are planted in the SSC office to try and train them again and work through some issues.  A few key points:

1. It appears that some end-to-end processes really are not end to end.  So the processes work in the system, you can hire someone, transfer them, but at the end of the day, all of the dots are not connected on the process side, so they have orphaned tasks or recognizing that the WD process is a certain system data entry piece piece of a bigger functional process, such as a hire which requires non-system activity such as background checking.

2. Robustness of manager processes or lack of manager training?  My boss has been trying promote an employee using the manager self-service and it's required multiple HR people to help him to do this task.  Noticing online, there's not a lot of opportunity to provide dynamic help text, especially along the way.  You can enter help text into a transaction, but it's not smart enough to recognize what is wrong necessarily, which is the issue.  As well, the system is a little bit loosey goosey.  It's not as locked down as it should be for less knowledgeable or astute managers.

3. Change management/staffing.  In the sales cycle, it is insinuated that you can run the software with only trained monkeys, it's that easy.  Our SSC (who are bright data entry people, btw) are new to Workday as well as to the company.  The software is not so intrinsically easy that they can just pick it up and use it.  Further, similar to the above loosey goosey comment, it lets them do things online that they should not.  Not that WD is not an easy software, just that it's not so easy like looking at a web page, it's a software application like any other, so it requires training.  Further, with WD's updates, the pages change up to three times a year which does not help the people who are just learning it.

So I remain undecided whether the issue is:
  • Workday isn't as easy as it is suggested to be.
  • HR's training efforts were not good enough.
  • The software is too flexible and open, so you actually need highly talented people to utilize it.
  • Our implementation of the software is the issue, not the software itself.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Workday European data conversion & thoughts

So we're in the phase of reviewing our Europe PeopleSoft data and test loading it to Workday.  We have up to 10 years of history in some locations, and data integrity is not always the best.  Some thoughts so far:

-emergency contact data in Workday requires 1 piece of contact data (phone, email or address).  PeopleSoft does not.  Phone is a freeform in PeopleSoft, in Workday there are validation edits.  So we have a lot of issues of either missing or non-standard formatted data.

-phone overall is a bit of an issue, such as employee personal phone, emergency contacts, etc.  Workday breaks out the phone number with country code, area code, rest of phone, and applies some validation edits such as 'must be between length 4-8' for rest of phone if country = X.  As this has always been a free form field in PeopleSoft, it has depended upon the skills of the data entry professionals to type in the data cleanly, according to our standards.

-Workday is still letting me down with name formatting.  For whatever reason, Workday does not offer the option to configure names.  So in the case of Portugal, middle name is not delivered, nor can you 'turn it on', even though it exists for other countries.  Portuguese names tend to be very long, so we'll need to combine it somehow into the first name field, but it will get shortened then in downstream systems, or we'll need to break it apart in the integrations, based on spacing, etc.  Messy.

-Action reasons are configurable per country.  On one hand, I like this, so that you can have the specialised leave reasons for European countries, per country, which the other countries would not see.  On the other hand, where there are common ones across the region, it's a bit of data entry to have to add it each time for 18+ countries.  From that perspective, having the one global set in PeopleSoft is nicer.

-Marital status is based on work location.  I'm still undecided on this one.  So it's a setup of each value, again per country.  So if you have 50 countries in use in your database, you're setting up the code of 'Single' 50 times.  Where I struggle with this one, is that, let's say you're an employee in a European country with a marital status of X, but you're working in another country which does not have the status of X.  So now you're having a status assigned to you that is not necessarily correct.  Understanding that for tax reasons you can only have the status available in your working country, however, I'm waiting to see how this plays out as we have a lot of cross-border workers.