2019 Global Impact Report
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Employee Development

At Workday, we’re committed to building an environment where all employees can continually learn and grow. With employees placed first among our core values, we continuously work to develop better, more innovative, and more targeted ways to enable each employee to succeed in their own career journey.

Empowering Our Employees

We know that the individual competencies and skills of each Workmate contribute to our business success, and that placing the right people in the right role is imperative. But it’s also crucial to provide career and development opportunities that fit each person. Our Workmates have a diverse set of career engagement needs, and we actively work to provide an assortment of development programs to support these unique perspectives. This includes:

and equipping employees

to take charge of their careers
Workday technology

to enable career and capability development
our people
Providing world-
class development opportunities

across Workday functions
highly engaging
and effective development opportunities

for early career and diverse talent

In today’s dynamic workplace environment, the way our people and our company succeed is through continual learning and growing.

Performance Enablement Photo

Performance Enablement

Buoyed by the opportunities offered by our own technology, we launched a new talent strategy called Performance Enablement that puts employees at the center of their own career and performance journey. A fundamental tenet of this approach is the belief that we should provide employees with the tools and framework to enable their careers with the employee in the driver’s seat.

We focus on five factors that fuel employee success: enable contribution, grow capabilities, empower career, deepen connections, and align compensation and recognition.

Workday Culture Infographic
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Research has shown that high performance happens when you have alignment between an employee’s career interests and what the company expects that employee’s contributions to be. If you can get those two things to line up, you’re going to get some fantastic performance, you’re going to get some high engagement.

Ashley Goldsmith—Chief People Officer, Workday

Talent and Performance Dashboard Screenshot

Measuring Performance with Our Product

We’ve built the talent and performance dashboard to help measure performance, which includes a summary of an employee’s five factors, valuable data, and a better understanding of where they stand in terms of performance. The dashboard also provides a snapshot view of performance-related tasks, with a visual summary of goals, connections, strengths, and growth opportunities.

Career and Progress Check-Ins

In most organizations, each employee sits at the receiving end of an annual performance review. At Workday, we wanted our employees to get more out of these conversations, and have the opportunity to initiate a conversation that covered both their contributions and their career. We shifted our annual performance review to a new, innovative approach called the career and progress check-in.

Launched within the Workday product using a conversation-starter tool, employees or their people leaders can choose to initiate a dialogue around the employee’s career interests, capabilities, connections, and contributions. We encourage the idea of “freedom within a framework” by being non-prescriptive about the cadence or content of the dialogue. We simply offer guidance on topics and timing, and we encourage Workmates to own this conversation, preparing their own thoughts on what they’d like to discuss, feedback to request, and support to solicit from their people leader. One-hundred percent of all full-time Workday employees are eligible and invited to receive a yearly career and performance review through our career and progress check-in conversation with their people leader, but we encourage them to aim for 2 to 4 conversations per year to ensure they’re receiving regular feedback and discussing ways to grow their contributions, capabilities, connections, and careers.

The Agile Career Workshop Photo

The Agile Career Workshop

Beyond career and progress check-ins, our employees wanted more opportunities for career growth. In response to employee feedback, we knew we needed to help our individual contributors look beyond outdated perspectives on growing their career, and take advantage of the many new opportunities for growth and development available at Workday.

Last year we launched the Agile Career Workshop, an innovative course that offers a new way of thinking about career growth, focused on developing capabilities and connections needed to help each person reach their career growth sweet spot through career sprints. Over the course of two days, employees learn how to apply performance enablement practices and tools, such as identifying their own career growth goals, holding productive career conversations, linking growth plans to their work, deepening capabilities, growing connections, asking for feedback, and learning to tell their own career growth story. These career sprints, modeled after the agile development methodology used in software development (and here at Workday), helps our Workmates better collaborate with cross-functional teams, self-organize, and continuously pursue new skills at a pace that fits the way they work.

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The whole format and all the exercises were very effective. Please keep up the great work—it is life changing.
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It felt like no matter where an individual was in their career, this workshop can still benefit them to take that next step.
registered attendees
for Agile Careers (2018)


Understand where you are today and identify your career interests and goals. Determine and prioritize the career accelerators that deliver the highest value in pursuing those goals.

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Meet with your people leader to gain input, brainstorm experiences to include in your sprint, and determine how to build these experiences into your work.

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Identify and execute growth strategies using career accelerators.

Deepen Capabilities IconDeepen
Grow Connections IconGrow
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Inspect and adapt to determine if you are on course. Self-reflect, gather feedback, and share your own story of career growth.

Prepare for Your Next Sprint

The Best Workday Survey

Employee feedback is important. To capture meaningful feedback, we partnered with Great Place to Work (GPTW) to create a Best Workday Survey for all Workday employees. We use 34 of the GPTW questions three times a year, with each employee receiving two questions in a quick pulse survey each “Feedback Friday.” Every people leader with at least three direct reports can see their anonymous results via a dashboard in Workday, giving them a real-time sense of their employees’ experience, helping to identify their individual focus areas for growth, and providing Workday with an ongoing assessment of its culture.

The Best Workday Survey lives within Workday technology, allowing us to take full advantage of our application’s data and analytics capabilities, as well as its user-friendly interface for sharing this information with our people leaders.

Once the 34 questions have been pulsed over 17 weeks (2 questions a week), people leaders receive a measure of their progress and areas where they have focused improvement, an indication of their employees’ experience level, and the top three focus areas that should improve their employees’ experience.

These results are shared with people leaders so they can gauge the progress they are making in leading their teams.

Our goal is to quickly and easily capture employee sentiment so our people leaders can calibrate their efforts, and we can do the same as a company to strengthen and protect our culture.

In our recent Best Workday Survey results, we saw a positive uptick of 3 percent relating to career development. We believe this is a direct result of our laser-sharp focus to provide our employees with the tools and resources that enhance their experience.

The Best Workday Survey Screenshot

On the left, people leaders see their own scores at the top, along with their focus areas and information about the Experience Level they create below. To the right, people leaders see the scores and information for all teams within their hierarchy.

The People Leadership Summit Photo

The People Leadership Summit

One of the most significant commitments we’ve initiated to invest in our culture is the People Leadership Summit, an event that brings new people leaders, senior executives, and external speakers together for a two-day intensive workshop on leading within the culture and values of Workday.

Each session of the People Leadership Summit is led by members of the senior management team. These leaders not only commit their time to the event, but they even work with the team in advance to ensure the quality of content in their sessions and facilitate the exchange of insights and ideas.

CEO Aneel Bhusri Explains the Workday Intention

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We’ve been investing heavily in the People Leadership Summit and a whole series of development efforts to create great managers. It’s all about sustaining our culture, and about our culture standing the test of time. We are a values-driven company and sometimes it’s more challenging in high-growth phases, so you have to double down on doing things the right way because so many people are coming onboard and bringing with them the way they used to manage and the way they used to work at other companies. Sometimes that’s a good fit, and sometimes it’s not.

CEO Aneel Bhusri Photo
people leaders have
attended the People
Leadership Summit
since its inception.
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This summit is a highlight of my professional career (20 years) and something I know will impact me in both my work and personal life.
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The summit was simply outstanding. In my entire career, I have never attended a meeting focused solely on culture and people. I left feeling inspired, energized, and very lucky to be part of this amazing company.