Getting to Know Workday's New Chief Customer Officer Sheri Rhodes

At Workday, we're continuously focused on meeting the needs of our customer community. Since the inception of Workday, customer service has always been one of our core values. We're pleased to announce Sheri Rhodes will transition from the role of chief information officer to chief customer officer. To get to know her and what excites her about the new role, we sat down with Sheri.

Customer Service has been a core value at Workday since day one, which is why we’re relentlessly focused on meeting the needs of our customer community. In fact, we took our focus on customer success to the next level a couple of years ago when we created our Customer Experience (CX) organization with Emily McEvilly as our first-ever chief customer officer (CCO). With Emily embarking on a new opportunity, we are happy to announce Sheri Rhodes will transition from the role of chief information officer (CIO) to CCO, effective February 1. 

We sat down with Sheri to hear what excites her about leading the Customer Experience (CX) organization, how she’ll apply her passion for driving transformations and deep knowledge of deploying Workday—both as our CIO and at other organizations—to this new role, and how she thinks about continually elevating the Workday customer experience. 

As you prepare to step into the role of chief customer officer, what excites you most?

What most excites me about this new role is the opportunity to work with such an amazing team. Their work ethic, spirit of innovation, and ability to have fun while addressing some of our customers' most complex needs are qualities I value and share. I've been impressed watching over the past two years as the team quickly pivoted and rallied to support customers on the frontlines, all while balancing their own personal situations.

I think my career path shows I love technology and its power to meet people’s diverse needs. Leading the Customer Experience organization is a rare opportunity and one I couldn’t turn down. What could be better than the prospect of being able to bring my passion for technology into the Workday experience in a way that will directly deliver value to our customers and partners as we navigate the changing world of work?

“From our employees to our customers, I can’t wait to take the next step with you all on the road ahead to build a brighter work day for all.”

Sheri Rhodes

I'm optimistic about our growth and the opportunity we have to deliver value to some of the world's largest organizations. The past two years have taught us how to support our workforces through large-scale changes and how important it is that we have the tools and insights we need to do so. Our technology—combined with the talented and committed customer experience team—help enable us, and our customers, to navigate the evolving complexities of today's environment. I feel extremely lucky and privileged to be here, and I can’t wait to get started! 

How has your time as CIO of Workday—and your previous roles—prepared you for this new role?

In my role as CIO, I’ve been responsible for leading business technology innovation across the organization. This included driving our own digital transformation efforts, international growth, and a focus on growing high performing teams. It’s important for any CIO to work cross-functionally and at Workday, I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with our teams across sales, customer experience, HR, and finance. So I have a good understanding of the needs of each organization and the collaboration that’s needed to successfully execute on company goals and vision.

I’ve also been fortunate to be a Workday customer on several occasions—first during my time at Western Union and Symantec and now overseeing the Workday on Workday team, which is the internal team that leads the deployment of our own products across the company. 

These combined perspectives will enhance how we approach the customer experience and I’m looking forward to engaging with the team, our customers, and partners to understand their needs and see how we can continue to build a brighter work day for all. 

As you step into this role, what’s top of mind for you?

As I previously mentioned, I have huge appreciation for our Customer Experience organization and how they exemplify our core values of customer service, integrity, and innovation. The team has worked tirelessly on behalf of our customers, including successfully completing over 1,800 deployments in fiscal year 2021, most of them virtual. And our industry-leading customer satisfaction score of 97% is a testament to their great work. This year we’ll build on this strong foundation while focusing on efforts that can take our overall customer experience to the next level. 

Having said that, I’ve always believed that when you step into a new role you must first listen and learn. These are real relationships with real impact, and I look forward to spending time with the team, our partners, and our customers, understanding their needs and responding to them so we can continue to do what we do best. 

Let’s wrap up by getting a little insight into what motivates you. What are your guiding principles as a leader?

From my early days in professional services as a consultant at KPMG to my most recent role as CIO of Workday, three key principles have served as my guide:

  • Start by listening and understanding. I’ve always felt that we achieve the most when we listen and understand, and it’s that need to connect and relate that moves me forward in everything I do. I try to think/walk in my customer’s shoes—this helps brainstorm solutions I may never have considered. 

  • Bring people along for the ride. I love to build things at scale, but I’ve always maintained that you can’t do it alone and you must bring others along for the journey. From our employees to our customers, I can’t wait to take the first step with you all on the road ahead to build a brighter work day for all. 

  • If you’re not having fun you’re doing it wrong. Some days can be challenging, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Whether it’s dressing up as Mario Kart characters on a Zoom call or just grabbing a virtual coffee with a colleague, make the time to unplug, laugh, and unwind. That’s when greatness happens. 

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