We spoke to David Somers, Workday’s group general manager of product for the office of the CHRO, and Phil Chambers, general manager for Peakon, to hear about Peakon’s new name, and why listening to your employees has become so critical.
To set the stage for our readers, let’s start with an overview of the product and what’s happened since Workday’s acquisition of Peakon.
Somers: To start with, we have a new name: Workday Peakon Employee Voice, which reflects both brands and immediately tells people what the product does.
Chambers: Workday Peakon Employee Voice is a platform that enables intelligent listening at scale by using machine learning to collect and analyse confidential feedback from employees in real time. Put simply, it lets organizations continuously collect employee feedback and provides a way to turn that feedback into dialog and action.
Somers: In this time of massive digital transformation, intelligent listening enables you to get a continuous view of what’s going on with your employees, and that’s a superpower for an organization. It helps you get ahead of challenges by identifying them early so you can reduce the risk they may create. It can also help you reduce attrition risks and attract new talent during this time of “Great Resignation.” You can truly listen to your employees, hear what they’re saying, benchmark that information, and respond in real time. It’s more important than ever.
“With Workday Peakon Employee Voice, you can listen to your employees, hear what they’re saying, benchmark that information, and respond in real time.” David Somers, Group General Manager, Product Office of the CHRO at Workday
Why is adding the ability to listen to employees a benefit to businesses?
Somers: According to a recent survey from KPMG, “Organizations that invest in employee experience outperform peers by 147% in earnings per share.” If you’re the CEO of any company right now, your biggest opportunity to execute on your strategy is people: retaining and training the people you have, helping them understand where your organization is going, recruiting new people to your company, and also encouraging and promoting belonging and diversity.
Companies build a lot of applications that allow you to push things down, but very few allow you to get information flowing back, providing a real-time feedback loop. I don’t know how you run an organization without having a product like this today—without this constant feedback.
And if you’re a manager, your team executes based on what you’re doing and your guidance. Now we can give managers a tool set that allows them to listen to their team, take that feedback, and get better at their job. Who wouldn’t want to put something like that in place? Who wouldn’t want that capability? Workday had a capability to survey employees, but it needed to be more sophisticated. So we decided to go out and get the best, and Peakon was it.
“The pandemic accelerated the need to make employees a first-class stakeholder in their own engagement.” Phil Chambers, General Manager, Workday Peakon Employee Voice
Chambers: Our platform allows customers to accurately and contextually merge both demographic information and what we call “perceptual data,” such as level of employee engagement, sentiment, and productivity. It provides a complete picture of your employees that nothing else can.
I understand that employee insights have already been helpful to people leaders at Workday. Do you have any examples to share?
Somers: Our preliminary data is exciting. We rolled out Workday Peakon Employee Voice to our more than 13,400 employees in about eight weeks, and engagement levels are high, as are the outcomes associated with engagement, such as loyalty, job satisfaction, and product advocacy. Workday employees have already left more than 81,000 comments, and 72% of people leaders have acknowledged employee comments within their dashboards, helping employees know they’ve been heard.
Chambers: In addition to this, we instituted “thank you Fridays” starting in May 2021. These are a few extra days off for the entire company to support mental health and work-life balance as we continue to navigate the pandemic’s effect on the way we work. Based on ongoing Workday Peakon Employee Voice feedback, we saw how valuable those days were—in fact, thank you Fridays were the most-commented topic in the platform, and we know that health and well-being concerns are the No. 1 predictor of turnover.
Any final thoughts?
Chambers: Workday Peakon Employee Voice helps create a dialogue between employees and people leaders that’s dramatically different from what’s come before, and it’s really powerful in terms of surfacing what’s on people’s minds and turning that into actions. Ultimately this is a continuous feedback loop that can help your company as a whole become much more agile.
Somers: Change has become the norm, and with that organizations must build resilience and adapt to constantly changing needs, especially as we think about future work models that work for everyone. To be and stay successful, organizations must be able to shift without friction. This is enabled by a workforce that feels engaged, safe, empowered—and heard.