How to Use Workday Successfully: Key Tips & Insights for Users

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By Lisa Selah

Workday, a robust cloud-based Human Management System (HMS), acts as a job aid and central hub that seamlessly integrates various functional areas such as Core HCM, Talent Management, Reporting & Analytics, Learning Management, and Finance modules. Setting itself apart from traditional systems, Workday utilizes AI and ML technologies to deliver a personalized and engaging experience for users. Its workforce planning tools offer stakeholders valuable analytics to pinpoint trends, risks, and opportunities for informed decision-making. Workday's versatility allows for customization to suit companies of all sizes, industries, and global locations. With a focus on data security, auditing, and compliance, Workday ensures data integrity and adherence to labor laws and regulations. Through regular updates and enhancements, Workday is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of its users. Its comprehensive talent management module supports the entire career lifecycle, from recruitment and onboarding to performance management and succession planning, fostering talent retention and reducing turnover.

Workday Fundamentals:

Introducing Workday's user-friendly interface and seamless navigation features. The home page offers quick access to Applications, Action Tasks, and Timely Suggestions, neatly categorized for easy browsing. Customize your 'cards' display based on your security role, whether you're an employee or manager. Stay informed with company announcements showcased through branded or rotating banners, tailored for specific audiences or company-wide. Personalize your People Experience (PEX) Global Navigation Menu with up to 20 favorite apps and 10 handy shortcuts, all at your fingertips. Utilize the intelligent PEX search engine for efficient data retrieval, with search results previewed in a configurable category menu. Access the PEX global navigation menu and search bar seamlessly across the platform for a smooth user experience.

Accessing Workday and Navigating its Different Modules

Whether you prefer using a laptop, iPad, or the Workday app, Workday allows for convenient remote work. As a cloud-based system, logging in is seamless through Single Sign-On or the preferred Google Chrome browser using company credentials. Workday integration capabilities ensure that all your data, whether it's Workday Payroll, Workday Financials, or Human Resources information, is seamlessly connected and easily accessible. 

The home landing page is designed to be intuitive, utilizing AI to personalize the user experience. 'Cards' on the home page display a variety of functions and tasks organized by categories, including Workday essentials for everyday tasks, Workday learning for development opportunities, and Workday Studio for customized reports and integrations. Additionally, users can customize the PEX Global Navigation menu with commonly used apps, tasks, reports, and external links to suit their preferences.

Understanding the Dashboard

Dashboards serve as a powerful tool for consolidating tasks, reports, and team management onto a single page tailored to specific security roles. For instance, a Recruiter dashboard may include sections dedicated to open requisitions, time-to-fill metrics, action items, candidate pipelines, and more. These customizable dashboards can accommodate up to 8 worklets, catering to the unique needs of end users such as Managers, Compensation Partners, Benefits Administrators, and beyond, leveraging Workday reporting for real-time data and insights.

Efficient Workday Navigation Tips 

Tip #1

Workday offers a seamless global navigation feature that can be easily expanded or collapsed on the left-hand side of the screen. Customize this list with your preferred apps and shortcuts, tailored to your individual preferences. This includes Workday training modules, Workday certification paths, and quick access to the Workday community for peer advice and Workday help for support. 

Tip #2

On the home landing page, you'll find interactive 'cards' like 'Let’s Focus on You' for action tasks, 'Timely Suggestions' to ignite career growth, 'Quick Tasks' such as entering your time off, and 'Your Top Apps' for Workday learning resources. Additionally, the 'profile' link houses a wealth of personal data and actions, acting as a central place to manage your Workday benefits, Workday payroll details, or to request time off.

Tip #3

Utilize the PEX search engine for efficient searches, with helpful tips and the flexibility to personalize search categories for optimal results, ensuring you find the right Workday Resources.  

Managing Personal & Pay Information in Workday 

For a comprehensive guide on updating personal information, simply head over to the ‘Personal Information’ app, conveniently located in the PEX navigation menu or the ‘Your Top Apps’ section on the home page. You can also use the PEX search engine to quickly locate this task.

To access and comprehend pay information, navigate to the ‘Pay’ app, accessible from the ‘Your Top Apps’ section on the home page or the PEX global navigation menu if added. Once there, click on the ‘pay stubs’ menu tab (if set up) to view a detailed history of your pay stubs. You also have the option to download or print your pay stubs for your records.

Updating Contact and Legal Information 

Updating contact information is as easy as navigating to the ‘Personal Information’ app, which can be located on the home page in the ‘Your Top Apps’ section or the PEX Global navigation menu if added.  Click the ‘contact information’ tab from the ‘change’ selection list to edit an address, phone number, and email address.  

Follow the same prompts and select ‘legal name’ option for name change requests. Documentation needs to be attached supporting the name change and the request will route to the HR Administrator to validate the documents before the change is approved.

Viewing and Understanding Payslips

If payroll is processed via Workday, the ‘pay’ app provides a full listing of paycheck history, which can be located on the home page in the ‘your top apps’ section or the PEX Global navigation menu if added. Payslip history is listed by payment date for each pay period and lists all pay elections such as gross/net pay, deductions for taxes, benefits, misc deductions, and direct deposit details selected by the employee.

Technical Insights into Workday's Architecture

Object Management Services (OMS) serves as the brain behind Workday applications, residing in an in-memory database. Utilizing XpressO, Workday's proprietary programming language, the business logic is seamlessly integrated. The foundation of reporting and analytics lies in the Business Object (BO) logic within the platform.

Driving Workday's accessibility across mobile devices and web browsers is the User Interface (UI), powered by HTML and JavaScript widgets. Presentation services enhance the UI experience, enabling the seamless integration of large media files and video content. Persistence services manage data storage, utilizing an SQL database for business objects and a NoSQL database for document storage.

Integration services act as the pivotal mechanism for transferring data within and outside Workday, ensuring smooth communication with external vendors and internal systems.

Practical Tips for Employees Using Workday 

How can employees effectively manage their data and HR functions within the Workday platform? Workday simplifies this process by allowing users to customize apps based on their individual needs. With the ability to add up to 20 frequently used apps to the PEX global navigation bar, access becomes convenient from any screen the user is on. Furthermore, Workday's AI technology ensures a personalized experience by remembering and displaying the user's 'Your Top Apps' and 'Quick Tasks' list each time they log in, enhancing efficiency and productivity.

Looking for tools to enhance career development and networking opportunities within Workday? The platform offers a comprehensive performance and development functionality that enables employees to collaborate with managers in setting and tracking goal targets, especially during mid-year and year-end performance reviews. Additionally, employees can input their skills and career experiences, and create development plans with career progression in mind. The Career Hub serves as a centralized hub where employees can explore internal job opportunities within the organization and input their qualifications, education, certifications, and career interests to receive suggested career paths through Machine Learning (ML). This feature also facilitates connections with mentors and provides insights into potential job opportunities that align with their career aspirations, ultimately strengthening their skill set for future growth opportunities.

For those seeking mentorship and networking relationships, the 'mentorship' dashboard offers a platform for employees to establish mentor/mentee connections facilitated by leadership. Within this dashboard, employees can access the Mentorship Marketplace, mentor/mentee resources, and a listing of available mentors/mentees to foster networking opportunities and career growth.

Career Development Tools in Workday 

The Mentorship dashboard offers a unique opportunity for employees to connect with like-minded individuals in their chosen field, fostering valuable networking relationships. Leveraging the power of Machine Learning (ML), the Career Hub utilizes input from user profiles to recommend tailored skill-building courses for career growth. Within the Career Hub, users can access dedicated sections for strategic planning, progress tracking, and exploring job openings, complete with the essential skill sets required for success. Click into the 'Explore' section of the Career Hub to uncover insightful opportunity graphs showcasing career transitions of fellow employees and potential career pathways within the company based on job profiles. Engage with the interactive Career Path Builder in 'explore' to visualize and forecast your career trajectory based on the information stored in your career hub profile.

Leveraging Workday for Efficient HR Management 

Explore the myriad benefits of leveraging Workday for HR functions. By seamlessly automating recruiting, people management, and performance evaluations, Workday streamlines operations through tailored Business Processes (BPs). These BPs efficiently route tasks to the right stakeholders, ensuring real-time visibility and enhancing the proficiency of processes like hiring, compensation adjustments, and terminations. With robust reporting capabilities and user-friendly dashboards, Workday implementations offer a centralized hub for auditing processes and implementing necessary changes. Furthermore, Workday's organizational structure tools facilitate smooth reorganization by categorizing teams, cost centers, and job profiles, promoting efficiency and clarity within the workplace.

Year end processes (Performance, Merit, Bonus) work seamlessly together using performance review templates to document achievements set by management and reviewed throughout the year.  Ratings are assessed by the management team and finalized.  The performance cycle will transition directly into the merit cycle by creating a merit pool based on performance ratings which are calibrated by HR to determine increases for EEs. The merit cycle then flows into the bonus cycle combining ratings with company targets to determine bonus amounts for EEs. All cycles can be configured/distributed via business processes and integrations to work together in the platform with reporting capabilities to track each process lifecycle.  

The Recruitment process flows directly into the onboarding process by merging the hire BP with the Onboarding BP. Steps are configured throughout the candidate pool > interview > offer > hire > onboarding process, ensuring all approvals and supporting documents are maintained securely within the platform with an audit trail for compliance. 

Streamlining HR Processes 

To successfully build HR Business Processes (BPs) in Workday, it is crucial to understand the workflows and develop a robust process. For instance, let's consider the Hiring process - who should kickstart the process? What data elements are essential for a successful hire? Who is responsible for reviewing and approving these elements throughout the process? What instructions and verbiage should be included at each step? How many approvers or reviewers are required to ensure a seamless approval chain? What conditional rules should be implemented at each stage of the process? What reporting data is necessary for tracking progress? Thoroughly vetting the process is key to effectively streamline HR processes in Workday.

To boost employee engagement and productivity, HR/HRIS should create reference guides and job aids to support employees. Additionally, developing a communication plan encompassing emails, intranet announcements, and tailored learning courses for common Workday tasks is essential. This proactive approach ensures that employees are equipped with the necessary resources and information to excel in tasks such as Compliance Training, Performance Management, and Payroll Processes.

ALKU for Your Workday Consulting Service Needs

Workday Consultants are a niche skill set that can make a tremendous impact to your business. Finding the right fit is a challenge. Luckily, the experts at ALKU are here to help. 

The ALKU team prioritizes building strong relationships with our clients and providing tailored solutions to meet their specific needs. This ensures that the consultants you collaborate with will possess a deep understanding of your business and the challenges you face.

Our team members are constantly vetting and expanding their network of tenured Workday experts. We understand the importance of vetting candidates meticulously to ensure they possess the required skills and qualifications. By checking references, we can verify a consultant's past performance and determine if they are the right fit for your project. This means that the consultants we offer have a proven track record of success in similar projects. 



About Lisa Selah

Lisa Selah, SHRM-CP is an accomplished HR Business Analyst with 20 years of Human Resources experience spanning various industries from Electronics, Insurance, Pharmaceuticals, and Finance, to name a few. Her current role as a Workday Business Analyst with ALKU incorporates her vast knowledge of Workday disciplines in support of implementations, Operational Excellence, and Reporting & Analytics initiatives globallyShe has completed advanced training courses in Organization Management, Core HCM, Reporting & Analytics, and Performance Management via Workday Academy to keep up with Workday’s rapidly changing platformShe refers to Workday as the ‘Apple’ of Human Capital Management systems and is a strong advocate for adaptation.

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