A New Workday Is Rising around the Worker Experience

November 10, 2014 Ray Rivera


We’ve just concluded an amazing week at Workday Rising 2014 in San Francisco. The spirit of the Giants’ World Series victory was still very much in the air as discussions centered on the success of Workday Financials, and the unprecedented opportunities that integration with Workday HCM opens up to HR. For me, the highlight of the entire event was Workday’s Peter DeVries’ virtuoso demo of Workday Recruiting. A standing room audience was treated to a stunning preview of a worker experience shaped by design thinking, mobile-first product development, and deep knowledge of who the users really are.

Indeed, as 2015 approaches, we are seeing cloud technology changing not only business as usual in HR, but also the way we are thinking fundamentally about some old HR chestnuts like employee engagement, goal management, and employer branding.

Yet as the HR profession and HCM vendors strive to make sense of it all, we are hearing time and again that HR seriously needs to understand the notion of consumerization of the workplace, and get much more sophisticated about the worker experience.

Such discussions often begin with going down the list of what Millennials expect from the workplace (note: not employers, but workplace). Too often, the discussion also ends there, with HR feeling some urgency, but having only a vague idea of what to do next.

There is no doubt that the Millennial generation has exerted an enormous, and in my opinion very positive influence on the workplace in 2014. But all worker generations in 2014, not just Millennials, are participating in the workforce with expectations set by their behavior as consumers, which is much more pervasive than HR realizes.

Workers now expect that both collaboration and transactions take place on a mobile device, using simple, unobtrusive apps. They expect an environment that enhances their opportunities to connect with peers and develop their careers through formal and informal learning. Tech solutions aimed at policing employees now raise a red flag to all generations of talent that HR just doesn’t get it. Same with HR technology that creates more processes, or HR systems that come across as ham-fisted and obtrusive.

Wearables is another technology that we hear HR leaders talking about a lot in this context. As data science better understands spatial analytics, and cognitive science brings precision to affective responses to workplace activities, wearables can be used create richer collaborative experiences, even in virtual space. Wearables can help in team formation, and determining just how much proximity is needed to create effective collaboration.

The biggest thing we need to remember however is that workers are more likely to use their tech and tools to get things done, and not those supplied by their employers. The tech that workers will adopt will be a combination of mobile and portable devices full of apps that are highly configured and personalized, which together create an experience in which workers flourish, and indeed, one in which they become enchanted. It just isn’t enough engage workers anymore. That is the bare minimum. HR tech should be focused on enhancing this environment and enriching it through application development, rather than supplanting it with a shopworn ERP plus a bunch of add-ons.

A new Workday is Rising around the Worker Experience. Let’s engage our workforce. Let’s enchant them


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