How to Make People Your #1 Priority in 2016

How do you attract the right people, provide opportunities for growth, and identify future business leaders? Workday CHRO Ashley Goldsmith shares tips on tools that are helping her meet these goals.

Ashley Goldsmith February 15, 2016
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Most of my time is spent thinking about people. How do we keep attracting the right people? What more should we be doing to provide people with growth opportunities? Who will be our business leaders in the future?

We have a lot of conversations across our management team about these things, and our discussions get richer and more productive all the time because of one thing: data-driven insights. Our people data keeps getting better, and we’re using it to inform us on next steps to take as we continue to grow as a global company.

Here are some things I’m most interested in:

Recruitment of people. We won’t reach our growth goals without the right people. Our hiring teams need visibility into the backgrounds of people who are successful at Workday, such as their experience and skillsets, to better understand what to look for in candidates. I want to know how many hiring requisitions we have open, and if there are enough to meet our hiring goals. I also want to see how many offers we have out, who has accepted, and the stage of each candidate in the pipeline. If someone has declined an offer, why? We get reports in Workday that help us answer these questions. If there are problems with our hiring efforts in any area of the company, we must identify them before we can make progress.

Diversity of people. Diversity is very topical right now in the world of human resources, particularly in the technology industry where the number of minorities and women in leadership roles is lower than in some other industries. Data insights are helping us here, and we’re going to get more insights in the future with a dashboard we’ve recently configured in Workday that will allow us to track detailed diversity numbers in real time and identify trends around hiring, promotions, departures, and more.

Knowing our people. There is an amazing array of talents and skillsets across our organization, and we may miss out on knowing about them unless that information is captured in employee profiles in Workday. We encourage everyone to upload their LinkedIn profiles to Workday and add any other relevant skills and experience. There could be a salesperson in Minneapolis who is fluent in several languages and is looking for a new adventure at the same time we’re looking to staff a new sales office overseas.

Enablement of people. At Workday, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to pursue their professional passions and grow amazing careers. Our employees can use the Job Interests feature in Workday to find jobs they may be interested in. Based on an employee’s interests, jobs will update in the career section of her or his profile as they become available.  We looked at the data on people in new roles, and compared the percent of those who had expressed job interests with those who had not. Nearly twice as many of the people in new roles had expressed interest.

Making the commitment to becoming a data-driven organization will dramatically change how you see your people

Movement of people. Movement includes promotions, lateral moves, and departures, and we want to see what that looks like both within specific areas and across the company. Our leadership team uses a Workday scorecard that keeps us aligned on workforce metrics and gives us great insight into understanding how and why people move. It helps us identify things that look out of the norm, such as teams that have higher than average departures in a given timeframe, so we can dig in a little deeper to determine if the pattern points to a problem or is merely a coincidence.

How to start? I would encourage all of our customers to dig in and make use of tools and capabilities that are included as part of their current Workday applications—including dashboards, reports, and scorecards—so they, too, can gain more insights into people.

One way to start is by talking with your executive team about specifically what you want to know about your workforce, and then look at how your data can help answer those questions. Don’t try to boil the ocean: Spend the time to hone in on three or four things that would help you achieve your goals. Even simple things—like getting an accurate headcount and hiring plan for each business unit—are a great start for better insights.

Another benefit to collaboratively developing the questions you want to answer with data is everyone gets on the same page. It’s a huge benefit that all of our HR and financials data is in Workday. It allows the discussion to focus on leveraging the data to drive business outcomes, rather than on getting, sorting, and validating different versions of the numbers between the HR and finance teams.

You’ll find that making the commitment to becoming a data-driven organization will dramatically change how you see your people, and will help you zero in on what you need to do to keep attracting and retaining the very best people.

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