Workday’s Continued Diligence to Ethical AI and ML Trust

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to modernize, so do our ethical principles. Kelly Trindel, head of machine learning (ML) trust at Workday, shares how we’re building trustworthy AI for our customers and their employees.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a major shift in the evolution of organizations’ understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) and the benefits it can provide. With that more mature understanding, organizations have also evolved their thinking around balancing these benefits with the potential risks associated with AI.  

Harnessing the power of AI can lead to significant improvements in applications many of us use every day. Just think of your own experiences with your favorite navigation service, streaming service, or online shopping site. AI greatly improves results and provides you with a more meaningful, personalized experience.   

More broadly, organizations that choose to leverage AI have the potential to experience exponential benefits to their business. However, in doing so, it’s of paramount importance that these businesses develop rigorous policies and safeguards to manage the associated risks of unintended consequences. That’s why Workday has put in place a machine learning (ML) trust program that specifically addresses how Workday delivers ML and AI technologies with a laser focus on ethics and customer trust, and an eye toward global emerging AI regulation. 

In 2019 we committed to an ethical AI approach. As the market and our customers’ understanding of AI has matured, so too have the details of our approach. Our commitment to ethical AI is a reflection of our core values, including a focus on our employees, customer service, innovation, and integrity. In our effort to develop responsible and trustworthy AI, we aspire to achieve the following goals.

Amplify Human Potential  

At Workday, we put people at the center of everything we do and always respect fundamental human rights. We design AI to help our customers and their employees unlock opportunities and focus on meaningful work. Our solutions support human decision-making, improve experiences, and put users in control to decide whether to accept the recommendations provided by our AI-based solutions. 

Our technologies are designed to help reduce error and tedious work while improving user productivity and decision-making. We focus on improving and developing people’s capabilities and experiences, and leverage a “human-in-the-loop” approach to enable end-user control over ultimate decisions.

Positively Impact Society

AI has the potential to empower people to work smarter and more efficiently, and even change the nature of work itself. We care about the impact of our AI solutions and work to maximize their potential to do good. We focus on delivering AI solutions that tackle real-world challenges and drive positive outcomes for our customers, their employees, and our shared communities.

We’re thoughtful and deliberate in our approach at Workday, and we only develop AI solutions that align with our values. In the human capital management space, for example, we avoid the development of technologies that enable intrusive productivity monitoring. We choose instead to focus on job-relevant skills solutions that enable more personalized experiences, nurture career development and growth, and promote internal mobility. We apply a comprehensive governance program to facilitate the delivery of innovative and trustworthy AI solutions that are secure, robust, and reliable.

Champion Transparency and Fairness

Workday values inclusion, belonging, and equity, as well as open communication and honesty. We act responsibly and ethically in our design and delivery of AI solutions to support equitable recommendations. Because we understand the multitude of ways that bias can be introduced into the AI life cycle, we leverage a risk-based review process to evaluate whether our AI solutions are susceptible to unintended consequences and how any such risks can be managed.

Our commitment to ethical AI is a reflection of our core values, including a focus on our employees, customer service, innovation, and integrity.

We provide transparency into our AI models through clear documentation to customers that describes how our AI solutions are built, how they work, how they are trained and tested, and how they are monitored through our ongoing testing and evaluation practices. We continue to learn and improve by exploring innovative research in algorithmic fairness and explainability. 

Deliver on Our Commitment to Data Privacy and Protection

Data privacy and protection is foundational to trustworthy AI. Workday’s Privacy Principles apply to all of our products and services, including our AI technologies. We embrace good data stewardship, governance processes, and privacy-by-design principles. We respect user agency and give our customers control over whether their data is used in our AI solutions. Data access to build our AI solutions is controlled and audited. We remain focused on our customers and the evolving privacy needs of their employees as we work to determine how we can best serve them.

We continue to work with diverse and cross-functional experts to fully operationalize these principles through clear policies and documented practices. In alignment with our core value of integrity, we say what we mean, mean what we say, and stick to our commitments. These ethical AI principles guide us as we address our customers’ evolving needs through innovating the business of enterprise cloud applications in the face of a rapidly changing and complex regulatory environment. 

We engage U.S. federal, state, and local governments, the European Union, and other governments around the world to advocate for workable, risk-based regulatory approaches that build trust in AI technology and enable innovation. As our development process continues to evolve to account for new best practices and emerging regulatory frameworks, we remain committed to supporting the delivery of trustworthy AI solutions that provide value to our customers, the workforce, and society. 

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