Training in the Workday Ecosystem

I started training for Workday many years ago when Workday was a small company based in Walnut Creek and not the gleefully disruptive behemoth it has grown into.  At that time, there were five of us in Workday training, and there were very few training offerings or even customers.

There was a terrific product though, and a bunch of motivated, bright, and passionate folks who were working overtime to make Workday the SaaS darling that it is today.

Workday training as offered by Workday has since grown by leaps and bounds. If you look at the Training Catalog there are dozens of courses and hundreds of online offerings. In fact if you look at it you would think there would never be a reason or a need to go anywhere else for additional Workday training.

If indeed you thought that, you'd probably be wrong. Workday training is terrific training. The cost is USD$600.00 per day (not discounted), it isn't always offered when you need it, and much of it is not available online-meaning flights, hotels, and a real interruption to your business. It is however, the very best of breed when it comes to classroom training on Workday set-up and configuration.

Why did I italicize those words? I did so to call attention to one of the two most important characteristics of most Workday training. Workday training is designed to assist your internal implementation team so that they can make the proper choices for configuration and set-up of the foundational processes and core concepts in a Workday implementation.

It is not designed to train users of the system on transactional use of Workday. It is not designed to train your support team on how to support users of Workday. It is focused generally on set-up and configuration and not day-to-day use of Workday or troubleshooting Workday processes or even optimizing Workday processes.

Now that's perfectly ok, in fact, that is what you more than likely need at that time. Prior to your 'go live' you will be consumed with configuration decisions such as how to configure your security, your business processes, your organizations, etc.

Now,  after many of those decisions have been made and before you 'flip the switch' and the power comes on and everyone is supposed to be using Workday for all of the countless transactions a business needs to manage its workforce, there are the needs of rest of the community of power users of Workday to consider.

How are you going to provide training to your HR Generalists, HR Business Partners, HR Coordinators, Recruiters, Talent acquisition Partners, HR Support staff? How are you going to help these folks support others in using Workday? What about your Managers, who supports them, and how have they been trained to offer support in Workday?

Unless you are a small company with a big budget you are not sending all those people to Workday training. Larger organizations might have hundreds of people engaged in working frequently within Workday who have received little or no training other than some job aids or recorded videos.

Am I suggesting that you need to train everyone who uses Workday? Absolutely not. That would be a real burden in terms of costs and an interruption to the business. In the years I worked at Workday as an employee I rarely signed into my own Workday to do anything in it at all. Most employees don't need training. What about Managers? Managers should be signing into Workday far more often but they don't necessarily need a formal training either. What they need is support by a group that understands how the processes have been designed to work, what to do when one of them fails or is 'stuck' and how to over a period of time 'empower' the managers they support to need less and less of that support.

These power users and support folks don't need to know how to configure Workday as that ship has already sailed. They need to know how to work with Workday, how to navigate, search, find transactions, review processes and conduct a little knowledge transfer of their own.

They need to learn this in their own tenant environment! Why did I italicize those words? I bet you can guess. This is the second of the two important characteristics of Workday training. The excellent training offered by Workday takes place in a generic tenant where attendees have super security powers using extremely basic business process defaults. This is ideal for both the Workday trainees and the trainers. For the trainees because at this stage of their Workday knowledge they are being introduced to something they likely have not seen before. A simplified configuration helps keep the focus on the basics. Perhaps more importantly is the convenience for the trainers. It would be next to impossible for them to train week after week in anything other than a generic tenant. But, take a guess as to what happens the week after training, once you return to your tenant, and use your real-life security configuration? The Workday training tenant and super user approach is acceptable for initial pre-implementation training, but it is just not applicable to the environment that you will be working in.

I believe based on my years of experience working with customers, consultants, and partners in the Workday ecosystem that the very best overall training results from supplementing the Workday training with additional customized training specific to your configuration. This additional training takes place in your own tenant with the security configuration that you will be using (or are already using) in your real world Workday system. This custom configured training can be used to reinforce your business processes and even policies. It can be designed in consultation with your subject matter experts and after conducting interviews with your staff.

This would be training that is customized to fit the needs of your employees and your business practices and policies. With my years of experience both as a Workday trainer and working directly with Workday customers as a consultant, I know that this tenant-specific approach is the best training possible for those who are actually going to be relying on the system the most. I’m not suggesting that all your workers need to take Workday training AND supplemental training, I’m not saying that they should not either. I’m suggesting that for the power users of Workday who won’t be attending the pre-implementation set-up courses offered by Workday that there are alternatives to a couple of job aids or learning from those who did attend those courses.

One of those alternatives could be offered to you by somebody with deep Workday experience both as a customer consultant and as a trainer, your humble author. My courses are designed to be delivered by a subject matter expert or by your own internal training resources in a collaborative effort. In keeping with my philosophy of ‘teaching a customer to fish’ as opposed to merely handing them fish, you will have the ability to have ‘train-the-trainer’ content and coursework delivered so you can do it yourself in the future. For those who enjoy my company, I could stick around and teach fly fishing or deep sea fishing or...