The image may confuse you a bit till I tell you that for most of my life I have always thought that Change Management is more sizzle than bacon. I remember a decade ago being a visiting instructor for PeopleSoft in St. Charles, Illinois at the Anderson Campus (now Accenture) and seeing dozens of young people creating intricate Power Point presentation around how to 'manage change’. Change Management Services or CMS seemed to me to be much more about style than substance then. I've come around to a different way of thinking now. My involvement with Workday from the Workday side, the client side, and the partner side has given me a new found appreciation for the necessity of managing the incredible change when going through a Workday implementation.

It is a momentous change to go from Excel spreadsheets, emails, and phone calls to a system with powerful configurable security and business processes that support your business objectives.  Or maybe you’re on version X of PeopleSoft and have decided against yet another expensive and time consuming upgrade. Perhaps you are currently subscribing to a service where you pick up the phone and necessary changes are made for you. With Workday you are going to be the one making the configuration changes.

The architecture, the UX is all so different. Let's face it, Workday doesn't really look like ANYTHING else. It's lean and clean and constantly changing with semiannual updates. The object model architecture means less reliance on menus and tabs and often multiple ways of accomplishing a business objective.

So then, Workday is coming, you're making the jump from whatever you used before to Workday. How best can you prepare your folks for the ‘Workdaymaggedon’ so it doesn't feel like that to them?

My take on this is from a training perspective. I'm not myself a CMS expert though my team at WDPosts has folks on it whose expertise is change management. Since these are my views, you are going to see the emphasis I put on training and support through knowledge transfer.

Knowledge is key. Change is often discomfiting, we learn that early in life. It's hard to swap out your child's toy for one less battered and dirty. It's hard to throw away a beloved old pair of jeans sometimes even when they are no longer 'fitting the bill' in terms of appropriate dress. If you 'knew' that the new toy was going to be more fun, easier to play with that might make a difference in your reaction to the change. If you knew that the new pair of jeans would rapidly become as comfortable as your old pair of jeans and with the added advantage of allowing you to look presentable in public-wouldn't that make the change a little easier?

I'm not saying the change will be painless. Some folks are going to find it more difficult than others. But it will be less painful if we can drop some knowledge on people in advance of the change. How do we do that? Am I asking you to train all 13,000 workers? Do we need to train all the power users like HR? What about the Managers?

The answer is not really, yes, and maybe. It depends on what the delta is between what you used to do and what you do now. And where the support for transactions and processes is going to come from.

Are you moving to or from a Shared Services model.  Are Managers going to be asked to do things that they did not have to do before? Is Manager Self Service mostly or completely new to them? Did employees have self-service before, or did they use paper forms for direct deposit and benefit changes?

Examining the degree of change, the difference between what was and what will be with Workday is how you can decide what kind of effort you will need to make to alleviate the pain of change.

If the new focus is on Managers, who perhaps did not perform transactions in the system before but are going to have to do so now then you should provide training or support to those Managers. If you have too many Managers to provide formal training to them, you must train the Manager's support staff (HR Business Partners perhaps?) so that they can support the transactions that Managers need to complete in Workday. Creating Job Aids for Managers that can be referenced by the HRBP's is one example I have seen where we can indirectly knowledge transfer to Managers without having to put them all in a classroom.

I have also seen customers who need or want to train all their Managers. In a recent WDPosts project we trained 500 Managers at a Medical Center on the East Coast. Through one hour webinars for level setting and then a 4 hour classroom on-site instruction, my team trained 500 Managers on Basic Navigation and Search, HCM transactions, Performance, and Requisitions in Workday. It was a pretty large effort and it certainly helped reduce the stress inherent with such a large transformative change. This particular organization was putting the emphasis on their Managers and as a consequence recognized that they owed their Managers something more than a collection of job aids!

I cannot imagine NOT training all of the HR 'Power Users' since the burden of supporting change falls most heavily on these workers. Their role in business critical transactions and how they support workers, managers, and their peers is key to the perceived success of the Workday implementation. Sending only four of the 40 HR Specialists to Workday training doesn't help the other 36.

If you don't have a formal training program for the rest of your frequent users of Workday,  you are doing yourselves a disservice. Asking the folks who are at the tip of the spear to learn on the job, while they support all the other untrained users, is a recipe for a lot of bumps and bruises. You paid a lot of money for Workday, you paid a lot of money to have a Partner come and configure it with you, don't forget about managing the change associated with this important event for your organization.

‘What about my 26,000 employees? Surely you don't expect me to train them all do you?’

First of all my name is not Shirley ('Airplane' the movie reference/joke). Secondly, of course I don't expect you to ask 26,000 employees to attend a formal training-nor do I suspect you'd want to pay for it. I do think you can create a recording for All Workers though. Something that tells them about the Inbox and their View Profile and a couple of important worklets. A short Captivate or Camtasia or a WebEx recording that they can view. Put a 'call to action' in there that sends them to their Inbox to verify Emergency Contact and ‘presto’ you've just done something scalable and helpful to manage change!

At WDPosts we create customized training in your non Production tenant. We create training that reinforces your internal business policies and training that highlights the positive and becomes part of the marketing effort that you should be undertaking to make your Workday implementation a successful one. Contact us at and let's have a chat about where we may be able to assist you in managing the change. Remember, it really is bacon-not just sizzle. Implementing Workday is going to be a good thing, but let's not leave perceptions to chance-let's manage them with a generous application of knowledge, training, and support.