Saturday, 16 April 2016

Workday and divestitures

A few months back I asked for contacts who had divested a part of their employee population from a Workday instance into a spin-off company who would also be using Workday.  I am pleased that a large US multi-national responded and was able to share their insight on a call with me. I thought their experience was helpful, so here are my notes.


A large US headquartered manufacturing company in over 150 countries with 55,000 employees spinning off 15k of those into a new company. The 15k belonged to a line of business that was a niche specialization and employees were located at sites in 12 countries.

The parent company (let's call them company X for now) had freshly implemented Workday before the spin-off decision (let's call that one company S) was taken.

The direction was to maximize the speed of the work, there was no time for a fresh implementation from scratch.

How did it work? 

Company X worked with Workday to create a cloned instance which copied the configuration (BPs, security, setup data, etc.) without employee data and then extracted and loaded Company S employee data under a 1 week HR data freeze.

Employee data was loaded in S as “History from previous system” for comp and performance data rather than bringing over the job data as it exists at X

What took a lot of time?

It was big work to re-establish the supervisory orgs.  S chose not to clone as their organizational structure was brand new rather than a carry over from X.  For the other orgs S cloned location, cost center, etc. but then had X locations in the location hierarchy, for example, which were never S locations.

It took 6 months to get Workday to acknowledge S as its own company then 4 months to get an account manager and even further time to get one in its own region.

Staffing the team

While S brought over 15k of employees, most of the HR function was built up from scratch from new outside hires.   While there was a TSA (transitional service agreement) on the systems side to administer Workday for a time after the spin-off, S ‘tribal knowledge’ was lacking, understanding *why* WD was configured why it was.

There were 20-25 people supporting Workday at X prior to the spin (HRIS, IT etc.), but these jobs didn't go away post-spin as the support organization still had the same number of integrations to support, etc.  S began with 6 staff members and the TSA with the assumption that more would be hired post-TSA.    

Any call-outs that would be worth mentioning?

Post go-live there was 6-8 weeks of data stabilization just to make sure that the right employees were in the S instance.  Then  there was a longer project to get the X data de-activated in the S instance, such as those non-S locations, job profiles, etc.  This is a trade-off of the 'quick clone' method, that non-S setup data will always be in the S instance.

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