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Culture Renovation Spotlight: Workday

Few companies put as much thought and energy into employee listening as Workday.

Ashley Goldsmith, Chief People Officer at Workday, joined our weekly HR Strategy call recently, and shared that the pandemic reinforced the importance of a strong listening strategy.  For several years, the company has conducted a weekly pulse survey known as the Best Workday Survey every Friday (what Workday calls “Feedback Fridays”) which uses Workday’s own software to ask all employees two to three questions. Workday has rotated through over 30 questions each quarter and, like many organizations, added timely questions this past year related to COVID-19, remote work, and other changes the pandemic created.  The habit of weekly pulses has allowed the company to take quick action during the pandemic, such as providing improved mental/emotional support for employees.

But 100% remote working disrupts certain aspects of our work life that we may have taken for granted, like the random encounters that often spark creative ideas or grow an internal network. So, we asked Ashley, “How can you recreate moments of social serendipity while working remotely?” Ashley suspects this is a question that many organizations are struggling with.  While not a cure-all, at Workday, she noted that they are encouraging leaders to have skip-level calls instead of only meeting with their direct reports, and organize several different types of online get togethers, among other tactics.  

We polled participants on the call and the number one response was similar: 76% indicated they have key leaders make random ‘check-in’ calls to employees.  61% said they promote small-group forums for employees, such as channels on platforms like Teams or Slack, and 48% said they use breakout room functionality in Zoom or other meeting platforms.  One participant noted that they have virtual coffee hours for their different location-centric cohorts, and another said they have optional ‘virtual water cooler’ meetings that are open forums for chit-chat.

Improving employee experience should always be a goal, no matter the environmental conditions. “A positive employee experience ultimately improves performance and retention.  This impacts the customer experience and helps increase a company’s bottom line.  We know that, but you can’t assume your culture will always be great,” reminded Goldsmith.  “In order to maintain what you started and to keep improving, you need to always be intentional, and keep focusing on talent practices.  While I think we’ve done a great job, you have to always keep in mind that culture renovation is an ongoing effort. It never stops.”

You can hear more from Ashley in this recorded interview.

This article was originally published on Culture Visit the website for additional resources, solutions, and information about the bestselling book.

Kevin Oakes
Kevin is the CEO and co-founder of i4cp. He is a world-recognized thought leader on the topics of corporate culture, the future of work, and learning, and is the author of the bestselling book Culture Renovation: 18 Leadership Actions to Build an Unshakeable Company.