In today's competitive business environment, Human Resources (HR) departments face unprecedented challenges. Efficiently managing a diverse, often global workforce requires more than just traditional methods and outdated systems. Enter Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), a leading cloud-based solution designed to transform HR processes through comprehensive data integration, user-friendly interfaces, and powerful analytics.

For HR managers, CHROs, and COOs considering an upgrade to their HR systems, understanding the benefits of Workday HCM is crucial. In this blog post, we explore how Workday HCM can revolutionize your HR operations, drawing on insights from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and their successful deployment of Workday.

Read in this blog post:

Why Workday HCM?

1. Comprehensive Integration

Workday HCM offers an integrated suite of applications designed to manage all aspects of HR, including talent acquisition, benefits administration, payroll, and performance management. This integration eliminates the need for disparate systems, streamlining data management and improving accuracy.

“Workday was a real key enabler to UNHCR. So as an organization, we had many strategic objectives that we wanted to achieve, inclusion and diversity being one of the key ones.”


Edna Sanclemente Head of Systems People Analytics , UNHCR

2. Data-Driven Decision Making

With Workday HCM, organizations gain access to real-time data and analytics. This capability allows HR leaders to make informed decisions, track workforce trends, and identify areas for improvement. For UNHCR, this meant better visibility into staffing and performance metrics, enabling more strategic HR planning.

3. User-Friendly Interface

Workday’s intuitive interface ensures that both HR professionals and employees can easily navigate the system. This ease of use reduces the learning curve and enhances user adoption, a critical factor in successful system implementation.


UNHCR’s Transformation Journey

The UNHCR’s journey with Workday HCM began in 2018, driven by the need to overhaul their complex, outdated HR systems. Prior to implementing Workday, UNHCR faced numerous challenges, including:

Complex Processes: Their HR processes were convoluted, combining UN staff rules with additional, organization-specific procedures.

Staffing Difficulties: Inefficiencies in staffing allocation and visibility hindered their ability to deploy personnel effectively.

Outdated IT Systems: Legacy systems like PeopleSoft were heavily customized, making them inefficient and difficult to update.


Key Initiatives and Solutions

1. Strategic Alignment and Sponsorship

Successful HR transformation requires strong leadership and clear objectives. At UNHCR, top-level sponsorship played a crucial role. Senior leaders were actively involved in the transformation, providing the necessary support and resources. This commitment from the top ensured alignment with broader organizational goals, particularly around modernizing and simplifying processes.


2. Comprehensive Change Management

Change management is vital when deploying new systems. UNHCR implemented a thorough change management strategy, which included:

  • Assessment of Change: Evaluating the impact of new processes and roles on different parts of the organization.

  • Stakeholder Engagement: Engaging senior stakeholders early and keeping them informed throughout the process.

  • Effective Communication: Creating clear, compelling messages about the benefits of Workday and how it would improve daily operations.

  • Training and Support: Developing tailored training programs for different user groups, from e-learning modules to face-to-face sessions for superusers.

“Change management was really key to the deployment of Workday in our organization. Change isn't easy for anybody. I mean, it took me a while to just move away from my Blackberry to the smartphone.”


Edna Sanclemente Head of Systems People Analytics , UNHCR

Practical Steps to Ensure Success

1. Build a Strong Change Network

Identify and leverage change agents within your organization. UNHCR’s approach included involving employee reference groups early in the process, ensuring they were knowledgeable advocates for the new system.


2. Utilize Adoption Metrics

Post-deployment, it’s crucial to measure adoption and engagement. Workday’s analytics capabilities allowed UNHCR to track user interactions, identify areas where additional support was needed, and celebrate milestones. For example, within eight weeks of going live, 92% of UNHCR staff had logged into Workday, demonstrating strong initial engagement.


3. Continuous Improvement

Adopting Workday is not a one-time event. UNHCR maintained engagement through regular updates and forums, integrating feedback and continuously improving their use of the system. This ongoing dialogue helped sustain momentum and address any emerging issues promptly.


Key Takeaways for HR Leaders

1. Make Change Management a Strategic Priority

Integrate change management from the outset. Your change management team should be involved in all phases, from architecture to testing, ensuring they understand the system’s impact and can prepare the organization effectively.


2. Leverage Data for Continuous Improvement

Use Workday’s robust analytics to monitor adoption, track performance, and make data-driven adjustments. Regular reporting to leadership keeps everyone informed and aligned on progress and areas needing attention.

“It’s important to measure readiness. Just to make sure that your different audiences that you’ve been engaging regularly are ready.”


Edna Sanclemente Head of Systems People Analytics , UNHCR

3. Engage and Empower Your Workforce

Effective communication and training are essential. Create a compelling case for change, involve stakeholders early, and provide comprehensive training to ensure everyone is ready and confident in using the new system.


Workday HCM has proven to be a game-changer for organizations like UNHCR, providing the tools needed to streamline HR processes, enhance data visibility, and support strategic decision-making. By following UNHCR’s example and focusing on strong leadership, comprehensive change management, and continuous improvement, your organization can also unlock the full potential of Workday HCM.

Ready to transform your HR operations with Workday? Schedule a demo or contact our sales team today to learn how we can help you achieve your HR goals.

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