3 Tips for Building a Great Workforce in a Competitive Market

We're honored to be ranked #1 among Bay Area workplaces. Chief People Officer Ashley Goldsmith shares what we've learned about hiring to build a phenomenal workforce in the Bay Area and beyond.

The Bay Area is ground zero for technology companies, and it’s thrilling to be a global company with headquarters in Pleasanton and a significant employee presence in San Francisco. But as any Bay Area-based business will attest, the competition for talent is fierce.

The most important thing we focus on at Workday is being a great company to work for. In April, the San Francisco Business Times ranked us as one of the best places to work in the Bay Area and on June 23, we were recognized by the Bay Area News Group as #1 on its list of the top workplaces in the Bay Area in the large companies category. This recognition is really special to us. It lets us know we continue to do many things right as we grow, even as we’re still learning how to be an even better company to work for.

Yet there are a number of other things we do to draw the best and brightest to Workday. Here are three things we’ve learned about building a great workforce in a competitive market.

Stay Engaged and Move Quickly

The noise in the talent marketplace is excessive, making every interaction with a candidate critical. If you lose a candidate’s interest at some point, it’s extremely difficult to get it back, so we work hard to keep in regular touch with potential future hires, including both experienced talent and interns. (We pride ourselves with the fact that a considerable number of summer interns return after they graduate to start building their careers at Workday in the Generation Workday program.)

To be a good company to work for, and attract the right people, you should always be genuine about who you are and what you stand for.

Our recruiters also strive to establish credibility with candidates by trying to learn as much as they can about them before they reach out, making that first interaction much more meaningful than a cold call. We want to be respectful of candidates’ time, and move rapidly to make a decision if they are considering other offers. In recent months we’ve made a concerted effort to greatly increase the speed at which we can pull together an offer package, often times within hours.

In addition, several of our organizations have moved to a results-based selection (RBS) process, which means we work with hiring managers to determine the competencies and skills a person needs to be successful in a given role at Workday. This approach is helping us more quickly identify high quality candidates while decreasing interview times. We’re 18 months into RBS and very encouraged by the results.

Connect Candidates with Employees

When looking to attract great hires, employees are often your best salespeople. As one example of how Workday fosters this connection, we host open houses with potential candidates where employees and managers talk about the technologies and the projects they are working on. Candidates witness firsthand a team’s excitement and can get a stronger sense of Workday when they are able to talk to peers in an informal setting. At some of our workplaces, we invite candidates to spend a few hours talking to employees and observe what it’s like to work here before they sit down for the actual interviews. Candidates come to interviews more relaxed and with a better understanding of Workday, helping them ask more educated questions.

Two of our biggest strengths are our culture, and that employees get to work on some of the most interesting technologies available.

Play to Your Strengths

To be a good company to work for, and attract the right people, you should always be genuine about who you are and what you stand for. That’s why it’s essential to play to your strengths in a competitive talent market.

At Workday, two of our biggest strengths are our culture, and that our employees get to work on some of the most interesting technologies available as we continually develop our enterprise applications. We attract candidates who value these strengths. Whatever your strengths are, focus on them and make them work for you.

To keep maintaining our special culture, we look for candidates that are strong communicators and collaborators, and more focused on the “we” than the “me.” We want those who instinctively understand our obsession with customer success, and want to work hard while having fun at the same time. We’ve found the happiest and most successful employees—and the ones that stay with us the longest—are those that synch to our values.

Attracting, hiring, engaging, and retaining top talent is something we talk about constantly at Workday, and think about every day as we advance our own applications. We know talented, smart people have lots of options, and we’re grateful so many of them have chosen to join our team.

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