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Workday Rising '23 - sharing is caring as Workday's 'secret agents' leverage one another's experience in Community

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan October 4, 2023
Tabi Lavigne of Sun Life explains why Workday Community is a powerful community resource for customers.


I feel like we are like the secret agents within Workday.

So says Tabi Lavigne, HR Technology Innovation Analyst at Canadian financial services giant Sun Life, an enthusiastic user of Workday’s Community offering. Community is pitched by the cloud vendor as “an inspiring, interactive space designed to help our customers deepen their knowledge of Workday applications and maximize their investment”. 

It’s certainly a force to be reckoned with in terms of customer resources. Workday Community currently has 334,000 active users, about 83% of which are customers and ten percent are partners. It has just over 6 million page views per month and over 340,000 pieces of user-generated content, ranging from group posts through contributed solutions to articles and Q&As. . 

For its part, Sun Life has over 50,000 employees, almost half of which have visited Workday Community over the past three months. They’ve generated over 20,000 page views in 2023 so far, and they are members of over 15 Design Partner Groups and early adopter programs. 

So what’s the appeal for customers in Community? For Lavigne, a large part lies in the ability to learn how different organizations use Workday in their respective sectors, as well making connections with other customers: 

Other customers are the key to your success. Understanding other people's pain points can help show holes or solutions in your own processes. What I think people talk about often, but maybe don't emphasize enough, is owning your success. So, being open minded, always innovating, constantly improving. Connecting with others allows you to see their best practices and what you can do differently within your systems and your company.

This is something that Lavigne sees as vitally important:  

I'm super-passionate about leveraging each other. We can help each other's pain points. I had a colleague who connected with Workday and [said], 'At Sun Life we've gotten some feedback that the word 'case' is cold. Have you had other people deal with this, because we don't know what to do?'. And Workday was super-great. They facilitated a larger group meeting and said, 'Does anyone have this concern too?’.

There were some other people who were like, 'Yeah, our company has dealt with that or dealt with something similar’, and they gave solutions and they went through the waves of what they had to deal with, commiserating with each other. And then there were obviously some people who were like, 'Our company's never had that'. And then there are those people that are like, 'That's never happened', but lean in all nervous, listening.

It circles back to, learning things you didn't know you needed, but saving it for later. It helps us feel validated, sticking within your community and relying on each other. It shows you that it's not just the technology we struggle with. We struggle with managers, we struggle with policies, all of those things, and it's great to lean on each other.

Sun Life is very connected with other customers, she says. Lavigne herself is one of the leads in the Workday User Group of Ontario and this complements what Community offers online:  

With creating the Workday User Group of Ontario, we've been able to create our own little local ecosystem of users to help pool our resources. We've created a one-stop-shop to staying connected essentially. So we'll put polls out, we'll put surveys out to gauge interest in topics and features that people would like to touch on. Then we can use that information and do it as a in-person event or as an online event and try to keep it annual, keep it going so people know what to expect, kind of like a little tiny, weeny Rising [Workday’s annual conference] of local people talking about things. It helps you feel validated and heard and seen within your community and it's all facilitated within the user group.

Where to start?

So, if you’re new to Workday, where should you start in terms of getting the most out of this resource? Lavigne offers some tips: 

Whether you've been in Community one or one hundred times, I think the Administration Guide is a great place to start. If you don't understand what something is, they have concept pages.

If you're not sure how to set up Workday Docs, they literally will walk you through it step-by-step. Once you've gotten accustomed to the Administration Guide, a great place to go is the discussion forums. When you're in the forums, you can feel like you don't have something to talk about for a particular issue, but reading what other people do, and the problems that they solve, can help give you information to use later on. And as the name says, community. Community is a community within itself. You start to recognize names, you start to recognize personas. It's definitely a safe place to go and understand what other people are doing.

Other high value spots include the 'What's New?' posts. Lavigne says: 

If you're not looking at the What's New posts, [do] - it could possibly change the way you use Workday, maybe your life if you're really invested.

But the pièce de résistance, according to Lavigne, is the Release Preparation Center: 

[As customers] we have this twice-a-year situation where we have to go through [new] features. They have videos, they have timelines, basically everything you need in order to be prepared for release. A fun little tip about that one too is the comments section. You watch a video, and you're like, 'OK, something about this doesn't make sense'. So you go into the comments section and you ask your question there, ask for clarification. It's not just Workday answers [you get]. It's also customers like yourselves, so you get the two viewpoints - the user and the provider. 

And it’s a two way street, she adds - Workday is also getting feedback about its product direction and customer needs/wants. Lavigne says: 

I think one thing that Workday has done successfully is given their customers a voice and let them be seen. They're very transparent, like, 'OK, our product isn't perfect. We want to hear why you think it's not perfect and what we can do to be better'. I think that's what makes this whole ecosystem a great place. 

She cites a personal example of this in play: 

I was digging through Community looking for help with a job profile. And I came across a brainstorm on Extend. And of course, I had to detour and upvote that, but that little deep dive I took brought me into a place where I could see that Workday Docs is going to be used in Extend possibly in the future and my voice is going to be heard to help get that somewhere. I'm kind of a nerd, so I thought it was super-cool.

As for what might be useful additions/enhancements to Community, she suggests: 

It would be really nice if we, as a user, had more thought leadership tools to facilitate our success as users of the system, something that guided next actions, journeys, prompts with tips, like a digital way to keep track of what we're doing within Community, not just for ourselves, but also to provide valuable feedback to our businesses.

Overall, the bottom line advice she’d give to other Workday customers is simple: 

Share, share, share, share - we are each other's best resources.

My take

As diginomica always says, customers are the single best validation for any vendor’s products and roadmap. Workday Community taps into that idea, enabling customers to share their stories with one another to mutual benefit as well as providing a valuable feedback loop for the vendor itself. Lavigne says Community users are secret agents, but it’s clearly not a case of mission impossible here. 

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