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Workday Change Management: Boost ROI

Workday Change Management

The Workday ecosystem is full of great people highly skilled in configuring Workday to create business value in HR and Finance. Complex and hard work goes into defining a strategy, processes, requirements, integrations, conversions and more. All this work is necessary for a successful launch and to realize the benefits of the platform.

All of these benefits will be undermined without an equally sophisticated approach to Change Management when implementing Workday.

Change Management is one of those terms that can seem nebulous, easy or a second priority. Yet, truly successful technology implementations always include Change Management strategies in the very first conversation. Change Management (CM) significantly increases end user adoption. And end user adoption maximizes the value of a software investment.

In fact, CM has a multiplier effect on the investment ROI.

What are the goals of a solid CM program? The reality is that every business is different and may have slightly different goals. It all depends on the existing culture, communication channels and perception of the opportunity. However, some key goals are common:

  • Prepare your people (all of them) for the change well in advance

  • Maximize the adoption of Workday once launched

  • Create excitement and positive energy

  • Develop open two-way lines of communication

  • Limit resistance and shine a spotlight on successes

  • Drive commitment and ownership at all levels

  • Elevate the quality of your implementation and empower people

Another way of thinking about it is to realize that every major initiative develops a “reputation”. Reputations are very short. Think about people and their reputations: Smart. Always late. Funny. Hard working. Disorganized. Very nice. And so on.

Technology initiatives also develop reputations and once they exist they are almost impossible to change. Hard to use. Late. Awesome. Very well done. Intuitive.

The question is: What do you want your Workday implementation internal reputation to be? Decide the answer to that question and then build that reputation with CM as a core lever.

CM is made up of a few different building blocks. All of them must be delivered in high quality fashion. It is true that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Your outbound communication can be excellent but if the inbound listening channels are poor – you will not succeed.

The key building blocks of excellent CM are:

  • Sponsorship & Leadership. Workday must be sponsored at the C-level and ideally by more than just one person. The CHRO or CFO may “own” the implementation and send communications about the benefits – but boost that visibility with messaging from the COO, CMO, CTO and/or CEO as well. Workday is cross-functional and requires broad sponsorship.

  • Stakeholder Management. A careful process must be conducted to identify all stakeholder groups. And then to determine the best way to communicate, engage and excite each individual group. Planning is critical. Execution drives success.

  • Communication Planning. Once all the stakeholder groups are identified a proactive and detailed communication plan must be developed covering the entire journey. This plan may cover two years of communication in advance! This plan is critical and must be completed in advance – covering outgoing and incoming communication. If not, you will certainly end up with ad-hoc and reactive communications which are simply painful.

  • Training and Support. Training equals adoption. Well run training equals excitement and success. Some companies try to tighten budgets by cutting some scope from training or reducing the timeline. If a company is not willing to deliver the full package of excellent training – it should expect lower ROI from the implementation. Or put another way, cutting training doesn’t actually save any money.

  • Measurement and Reaction. Workday implementation is a dynamic process and while planning should be as detailed as possible – flexibility and response is also required. If measurement quickly points to confusion from a particular stakeholder group on a particular topic – you can react fast and turn this confusion into satisfaction with response time.

  • Risk Mitigation Planning. Our favorite game is called “Devil’s Advocate”. Just for an exercise have your core implementation team brainstorm the worst things that could go wrong. Proactively develop plans to minimize the chance of those events occurring and develop a rapid response plan if they do happen.

All of these activities, done in coordination together, create a powerful environment for success. Large firms such as Accenture typically bring senior level change management experts to Workday implementations. However, middle market companies often do not create budget or have the internal resource skills to drive CM efforts properly.

Our goal with this article is to create a roadmap for success and provide financial justification to invest in CM programs when implementing Workday. What will your Workday implementation reputation be once launched?

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