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March 11, 2024

Creating an employee-first culture with Workday

Learn how Workday can be used to help organizations create an employee-first culture that attracts top talent and drives results.

There is an adage from the author Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” While having a solid strategy is important, an organization united under a shared set of principles is going to be more agile and able to repeat successful outcomes more consistently. The world has seen unprecedented change over the course of the past few years and oftentimes it is those organizations with the strongest culture that has the easiest time adapting to change.

As more organizations look to develop an employee-first culture, the question becomes, how do we change and develop our internal culture? Let’s consider what an employee-first culture looks like, then explore how organizations can use Workday to help develop and maintain this culture.

What is an employee-first culture?

While the idea of an employee-first culture has been around for some time, the concept has slowly been building steam and is now being considered by far more organizations. While just the term “employee-first culture” may seem self-explanatory, in practice, an employee-first culture is more nuanced than simply “prioritizing your employees.”

For your organization to have a strong employee-first culture, it needs the following:

  • A set of well-defined values

  • Strong, established systems for collecting and responding to employee feedback

  • Empowered employees

  • Leaders who value transparency and honesty and consistently take feedback from employees

  • Avenues for employees to connect, share their thoughts and build relationships, even if they work remotely

  • Technology and processes in place to allow employees to succeed, no matter where they are

  • To demonstrate that it cares about its employees’ well-being by encouraging work-life balance and investing in initiatives for physical and mental health

Why organizations are looking to develop employee-first cultures

Perhaps the biggest benefit of having an employee-first culture is that it leads to improved employee engagement, which a growing body of evidence suggests can have a big impact in terms of delivering positive business outcomes. According to the book “Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace” by Kris Boesch, having a strong culture leads to 26% fewer mistakes while increasing productivity by 22% and reducing absenteeism by 41%.

Retaining employees also has become a top priority for organizations, due in no small part to workers quitting their jobs in record numbers, a trend commonly referred to as the Great Resignation. As a result of the Great Resignation, organizations are scrambling to find ways to hold on to their existing workers and attract new employees in an extremely competitive environment. By increasing employee engagement, organizations can reduce their turnover rates and better retain their top talent.

It is also probably not a coincidence that the Great Resignation also comes at a time when employee engagement in the US is on the downswing for the first time in nearly a decade. According to Gallup, only 34% of US employees polled said that they were engaged, as compared to 36% the year prior. Workers are realizing that they have options, especially with more organizations offering remote positions, and compensation is not the sole factor deciding where they will apply. Organizations with a strong employee-first culture are more appealing to job seekers and thus have an advantage in the war for talent.

How Workday helps organizations develop an employee-first culture

Three factors play a part in developing a strong company culture: people, processes and technology. While technology may not seem like it has the most critical role to play in developing an employee-first culture, it is incredibly important. By modernizing HR and financial management systems with Workday, organizations can not only improve the employee experience but also track and measure the metrics that indicate how well the organization is adapting to an employee-first culture.

Here are just a few ways Workday can help your organization develop an employee-first culture:

Make the employee experience as seamless as possible: One way that Workday helps to do this is by creating opportunities for employees to self-service. Workday Human Capital Management allows employees to access important information, like benefits details and W-2s, or perform basic HR-related tasks, like filling out a form, themselves. With Workday Learning, workers can take necessary training on their own time. Because Workday is cloud-based and designed to be mobile-friendly, it’s possible for workers to perform these tasks anywhere from their preferred devices.

Adjust to changing work conditions more quickly and more seamlessly: In a time where the only constant is change, it is important to quickly roll out new policies or initiatives to ensure that employees are taken care of. For example, Workday Human Capital Management made it easy for organizations to quickly launch programs relating to mental health at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as offering workers mental health days or extending them a technology allowance to help establish their new work-from-home setups.

Monitor and improve employee engagement: Workday Peakon Employee Voice allows organizations to survey employees and collect valuable feedback. The tool also provides a hub for employee engagement metrics, allowing companies to track and build upon their success.

It’s also important to note that Workday itself has an employee-first culture and has built its solutions with this in mind.

Cognizant Workday Practice
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