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Every Minute Matters: Create the Best Employee Experiences

By Ashley Goldsmith


Every Friday, Workday employees across the globe get a notification on their mobile and desktop devices inviting them to respond to a quick survey. Survey prompts might include, “My manager genuinely seeks and responds to suggestions and ideas,” and, “I am offered training or development to further myself professionally.” If they choose to participate, they can answer on a scale of one to five ranging from “almost always true” to “almost always untrue.”

For organisations that survey employees once or twice a year, a weekly employee survey may seem excessive or even radical. But think about this: every minute matters when it comes to the employee experience, and successful organisations must be acutely in tune with those experiences if they want to attract and retain the best people. That means doing all we can to ensure every person feels valued, heard, and respected.

And in today’s environment, our work and personal lives are increasingly intertwined. This shift in workplace dynamics puts even more responsibility on organisations to take a holistic approach to the employee experience.

Here are some things we’re doing at Workday that specifically focus on creating great employee experiences.

Provide Plenty of Avenues for Feedback

You can’t have a great work experience unless you’re able to share your thoughts and concerns and know that your manager and the broader organisation are listening—and taking action—based on your feedback. One of my favourite initiatives is the Best Workday Survey. As mentioned above, every Friday employees receive a two-question survey through the Workday system developed in collaboration with Great Place to Work. Managers have a dashboard to review summary results to better understand the level of experiences they are creating for their teams. To ensure reliability and confidentiality, at least three members of a team must respond to a question for their manager to receive aggregate results.

Based on these insights, curated learning content on where a manager can improve or grow is sent to them through Workday Learning. Using Workday Prism Analytics, we also analyse the survey data by various categories including gender, age, office location, commute time, and more. These insights help our leadership team understand the pulse of the company in real time and meet employees where they are.

Empower Employees to Drive Their Careers

When people are enabled to do their best work and discover new opportunities, it positively affects overall performance and delivers the best results for our colleagues, customers, and company. At Workday, we shifted from the concept of performance management to performance enablement—focussing on what employees can do to increase their contributions in the future, instead of proving what they’ve done in the past. Leveraging the Workday system, we provide employees with the tools and resources they need to better understand what enables success, steps they can take to succeed in those areas, and the types of conversations they should be having with their managers.

We are committed to helping employees connect, grow, and feel supported.

We have replaced the annual performance review with career and progress check-ins, which are ongoing discussions between employees and their managers that help employees focus on their professional growth goals. Another tool is the Opportunity Graph, a capability within Workday that lets employees get a view of the moves people have made from a job role similar to their current ones.

Support the Agile Career

We recently rolled out personalised training through workshops called Career Sprints, which are modelled on agile software development. Through career sprints, employees can acquire the mindsets and skill sets needed to achieve their career and development goals. Across the globe, every individual contributor at Workday will have the opportunity to attend a two-day agile career workshop to learn how to utilise career sprints and more, with the ultimate goal of giving employees the opportunity to chart their own courses for growth.

Create an Inclusive Workplace

Employees can join any of dozens of employees belonging councils (EBCs), which are internal employee groups that support a more diverse population and advance the professional development of its members. The councils also provide an opportunity for employees to come together to share different perspectives and experiences. This year we held our first EBC Summit, where EBC leaders joined Workday executives to discuss workplace diversity and inclusion.

Support Wellbeing

We launched Team Wellbeing Experiences, where teams can gather for classes in cooking, fitness, and more, or participate in outdoor activities such as hiking. In addition, this past spring we ran a company-wide educational campaign about mental health, including symptoms of mental health conditions and available resources, and hosted a panel where employees shared their experiences, either personally or as an ally to a friend or family member. We’re setting up a Mental Health Network where any employee passionate about breaking down mental health stigma can connect with peers, help plan and host events in our offices, as well as work with our wellbeing staff to plan future company-wide programmes.

Creating a great place to work for all really means creating great experiences, and we are committed to helping employees connect, grow, and feel supported in both their careers and personal lives. I hope you’ll be inspired by some of these initiatives, as I look forward to gaining inspiration from other HR leaders in how to create the best employee experiences.