Workday's Talent Insights available, aims to make HR predictive

Workday has delivered the first installment of what will be a series of analytics tools dubbed Insight Applications.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Workday on Thursday made the first of its analytics tools, known as Insight Applications, available for its human resources suite as well as a professional services automation (PSA) package that blends the company's financial and human resources cloud services.

Last year, Workday outlined plans to launch a series of Insight apps to give its core human capital management and finance cloud services a big data spin. The company launched Workday Talent Insights as the first application under its Insights banner. Talent Insights is generally available and implemented at Workday's design partners.

Workday Talent Insights, which rides shotgun with Workday 24 released last month, takes machine learning and enables executives and managers to identify top performers and flight risks. Dan Beck, senior vice president of technology products, said Talent Insights can examine everything from turnover to profiles of workers likely to leave. Talent Insights also can be configured, but the base package includes predictive analytics, machine learning and scorecards.

Talent Insights looks at retention risks based on 45 variables, but Beck said additional factors will be added to the predictive model to examine equity compensation variables and engagement. Indicators such as confidence in management can be added to a predictive score at a group level. Workday has run its retention models at 20 companies so far and has improved its precision as a result.

Workday Insight Application customers include Dell, 3M and Broward College.

Here's a look at two Talent Insights screenshots.


Beck added customers are giving Workday feedback on factors they want to see and have clean data, but stumble at the machine learning. Workday is focusing on making machine learning easier to become part of the enterprise mix. "It will be difficult to do machine learning on premise," said Beck. "Customers can do a lot until they get to the machine learning part."

Workday Talent Insights will improve its machine learning over time via its SYMAN intelligent information engine. Some customers want to know what factors make a good leader. Others want to know how a reorg or acquisition impacts the mix, added Beck, who noted that aggregate data indicates that Workday's largest customers (40,000 employees or more) will create 600 organizational changes in a year. These changes range from adding two new people to a team to starting a new brand and business unit. Fifteen thousand people will move within these organizations each year.

"We update our retention models every 24 hours," said Beck. The reason is to keep up with organizational change and ensure that a diamond-in-the-rough performer doesn't slip through the cracks. Workday also has scorecards to track and collaborate on org changes with prescriptive modeling.

Along with the general availability of Talent Insights, Workday also launched its PSA suite to look at things like what makes a good team within an organization. PSA blends Workday's HCM and financial packages to manage people, project, resources, time and expense tracking. PSA creates a foundation for what is likely to be a predictive Insights app in the future, said Beck.

Here's a look at a PSA screenshot.


PSA includes:

  • People management;
  • Project planning and resource forecasting;
  • Financial aspects of the projects;
  • Mobile project management.
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