How do you manage the amount of change that comes with a digital transformation like this, such as getting buy-in and making cultural changes?
LeBar: There previously had been less-than-pleasant system implementations at Pioneers that left a sour taste in people’s mouths. I wanted to be sure we overcame that bad experience before we got started and that people understood the level of effort it was going to require, because it is a huge level of effort.
I spent—and it was well worth the time—six to eight months building a consensus, hearing the frustration with existing systems. Even though our teams didn’t like the existing systems, there was still angst about moving to a different platform. I communicated and built consensus over months, instead of overwhelming everyone with one big program, so people understood that the project team was going to hear and be responsive to them. That was essential to getting the buy-in we needed to have a successful implementation.
Baggett: From a user perspective, the employees, the bar was incredibly low, and the change management was probably the easiest I’ve ever been through! It’s been a year and people still comment on the Workday systems and how much they like them.
From our support teams, HR and finance, it was a massive change-management effort because they had been in the same systems for so long. Some of the people had been here for 30-plus years. That’s the group you may want to focus on as they may have the greatest heartburn in swallowing the change. Once they got on board and realized what the system was capable of, there was no issue.
What was it like to get your data to be accurate and consistent during implementation?
LeBar: One word answer: painful! We had multiple data sources, and data was our major obstacle in the course of implementation. Having discrepancies in data held up our data loads, delayed our testing, and proved an obstacle. We did substantial cleanup as we went. My recommendation would be to get started on the data cleanup and reconciliation process even before you begin your Workday project, so you can focus on the process instead of trying to get your data accurate.
Baggett: I consider having consistent data all in place one of the biggest benefits of the implementation.
I’ll give you a quick example from today. We require people to provide proof of vaccination. We built a workflow super quickly, literally overnight, to upload vaccination cards, track them, and create a report. We’re returning to the office on Monday and I needed to make sure we had 100% compliance. And all I had to do was push one button, pull a report. That would’ve never happened before. Just that efficiency gain has been tremendous. And I know it’s all coming from one place, so I don’t worry that I’m comparing apples and oranges. It’s all a bucket of apples.
We also did an inventory assessment with all of our leaders and heavy users of data, asking them what reports they needed regularly. And we made sure to build those reports on the front end so they could access that data themselves, which to them is mind-boggling because it’s instantaneous and accessible.
What are your growth plans and how do you see Workday supporting those plans?
Baggett: We’re looking at opportunities for improving processes and long-term planning. Anytime I see someone doing something manual, I ask, “How do we get that in Workday?” And 99.9% of the time there’s a solution. Succession planning is on the horizon, as well as using the nine-block methodology within Workday for identifying high performers.
LeBar: We’re implementing Workday Prism Analytics, which allows you to bring in data from non-Workday data sources and report on it, so you can still have a single reporting repository. We can build models for key metrics that our executive leadership needs so they can more quickly make strategic calls. They don’t even have to ask for it anymore. They just go to a dashboard and pull up the report themselves with a single click.
What are some of your key learnings that people should consider?
LeBar: Don’t reinvent the wheel. There’s a broad spectrum of Workday customers who have already experienced the challenges you’re facing—and resolved them. The Workday Community is a platform for information sharing. From my experience, it is unsurpassed. It is a fabulous community in which to learn, participate, and take advantage of early in your Workday experience.
You also need to be thinking of the next six months so you can always try to be out in front of your team and thinking about the challenges you might face. And after your go-live date, be prepared to answer questions from your implementation team who have been focused on the business process and haven’t had to live in the systems day to day.
Baggett: We hired a Workday administrator to go through the implementation with us. They were part of the build and really educated our entire team on the system. We have two new roles on our teams, but it was not an addition to head count. We gained efficiencies with so many other places that we have less head count needs with certain functions now and were able to apply those to Workday administration.
One of our guiding principles for our implementation was to use what the system provided and not create workarounds to meet our internal processes. We would first see if the internal processes could be changed. And again, 99% of the time they could.
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