Our Commitments to Support Equity: An Update on Workday's Progress

Our Chief Diversity Officer Carin Taylor reflects on the movement for equity and social justice, and provides an update on Workday’s progress to increase hiring and development of diverse talent, further cultivate a culture of belonging, build inclusive products and technologies, and strengthen our communities.

Image placeholder

November 2021

At the end of summer 2020, we announced our company-wide commitments to equity for all led by a dedicated cross-functional VIBETM (Value Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity) team. 

More than a year has passed, and we’re taking this opportunity to check in on the progress we’ve made. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done, and yet we’re also acutely aware of how much more work there is to do. We won’t stop here—the work continues, and we’ll continue to strive to do better and be better.

Overall Progress

One-Year Commitments 

  • Building inclusive products and technology. This year we met all our VIBE product commitments, including Workday VIBE CentralTM customer workshop attendance (300+) and adoption (700+) and going live with three early adopters on the Workday VIBE IndexTM, in addition to rolling this out in our own workplace. And we’re proud to announce that Workday VIBE Index has been named one of HR Executive’s Top HR Products of the Year (here’s why, in their words). We also published our Belonging & Diversity (B&D) product roadmap on our customer community site. It outlines upcoming product innovations and solutions to help our customers increase equity in the workplace, including our significant progress in building our data foundation and enabling analytics surrounding that data, and investments to integrate belonging and diversity into core Workday Human Capital Management.

  • Investing in social justice. This past year, in addition to our ongoing partnerships focused on closing the opportunity gap, we invested $10 million in social justice organizations—the first phase of a plan to donate $45 million over three years. We also recently announced more than 25 recipients of the Workday VIBE Scholarship, which is helping provide more Black and Latinx students with the means to attend college.

  • Strengthening our culture of belonging. Workday is committed to fostering a culture of belonging for all of our employees. While we ended the year short on some of these goals (more on that below), we made movement in the right direction and remain committed to an inclusive culture.

    • VIBE education, development, and inclusive hiring training. It took a tremendous effort for our internal team to plan, develop, and launch (earlier this year) our Workday Growth Journey, which is a dedicated learning journey focused on VIBE. The required courses for all employees, plus additional training for people leaders, all achieved high completion rates—95% of Workmates completed our “Talking VIBE at Workday” course; 89% completed “Inclusive Language”—and received positive feedback. We intentionally fell short of our originally planned eight hours of training per employee because we were able to reduce the number of hours by designing the courses to have a much greater impact, including driving new behaviors and increasing accountability, in less time.

    • Belonging sentiment. Our goal is to have high belonging sentiment for all and to ensure there’s not a large disparity between different groups. We measure belonging based on responses to certain questions in our weekly surveys and strive to have less than a 3% differential between the groups. We were proud to meet some of our goals, but we still have work to do in this area, and belonging will continue to be a key focus and priority for Workday. Going forward, we’re using the power of Peakon Workday Employee Voice and a new set of questions to gain insight into this sentiment. I’m excited about how Peakon will help us gain even more insights into how we can improve our belonging sentiment.

    • VIBE and our core values. This commitment is about helping Workmates and others understand how integral VIBE is to our business, core values, and purpose as a company. To illustrate this, we integrated this message into our required training course on how to talk about VIBE at Workday and will continue to reiterate this internally. Externally, we also incorporate VIBE from the moment a candidate engages with Workday, and throughout the employee experience, so that all prospective and current Workmates know how foundational it is to our company and culture.

Ongoing 2023 Commitments 

Looking ahead, we remain focused on our three-year commitments. We’ve made progress in each area and are currently on track to achieve these goals, and we recognize the important role all of our Workmates play in helping us create lasting progress. 

  • Hiring and developing diverse talent. Thanks to efforts across Workday, we continue to increase our Black and Latinx representation and leadership in the U.S. each quarter.

    • Representation. At the end of our second quarter,* our total Black and Latinx representation in the U.S. was 8.83% (3.4% Black; 5.4% Latinx), up from our baseline of 7.56% a year ago.

    • Leadership representation. Our Black and Latinx leadership representation in the U.S. has also increased. At the end of our second quarter, we were at 59% of our goal to double the number of Black and Latinx leaders at Workday.

  • Strengthening our communities. In alignment with our belief that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not, a key part of creating equity in our communities is helping create economic opportunity for all.

    • Opportunity OnrampsTM hiring. We continue to grow Opportunity Onramps to fulfill our commitment to hire 20% of our early to mid-career roles with talent from untapped communities by 2023. This year, we have expanded existing programs like our Sales Training program and launched new ones, like our first international apprenticeship cohort in Dublin, Ireland. 

    • Opportunity in Action volunteering. We’re creating equity by partnering with organizations committed to creating opportunity for all. We’re working hard to reach our ambitious goal of 250,000 volunteer hours by 2023. 

All told, we made substantial progress together in a short time, and it truly took a village. In addition to the Accelerator Team, it was critical for this to be a collective and collaborative effort across all levels of the organization. From our committed co-CEOs and senior leaders to frontline managers and individual contributors, the power of the collective enabled us to make even greater progress.

Perseverance is the word that comes to mind for me as I look ahead. This journey of creating long-term, lasting systemic change will take many years, so our VIBE efforts must remain a priority. We’ve learned a lot, and we will continue to learn and do our part in valuing inclusion, belonging, and equity for our employees, our customers, and the communities we serve.

*End of second quarter as of July 31, 2021.

May 2021

This last year has shined an even brighter spotlight on the challenges we face, such as global health, social justice, immigration, an increasingly divided political climate, and acts of violence and racism, pushing us to address these hard issues with grace and mutual support, all while balancing our own personal struggles and searching for understanding.

The end of May marks one year since the killing of George Floyd, and also a time for deep reflection. The fight for social justice didn’t start or end with the events of that day, but it marked a turning point, as pain and anger turned into activism in cities globally, and more intentional efforts for equity from companies worldwide.  

At Workday, while we had made some progress, we dug deeper to rethink, reevaluate, and in some instances rebuild our efforts for positive, substantive change. We came together to tackle this important work, assembling a dedicated team to address four key areas—hiring and developing diverse talent, cultivating a culture of belonging, building inclusive products and technologies, and strengthening our communities—with specific goals for each. As we drive together toward these commitments, and infuse VIBE™ (Value Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity) in how we think and act, we’ve all learned that the road to change isn’t always a quick or linear journey, but I’m hopeful about the progress we’re making. And while there are some areas that may take longer to see results, we’ll continue to lay the groundwork, revise our processes, develop new programs, and learn as we go. 

Here is a scorecard with the latest highlights on some of our progress, with more insights and details below:

Hiring and Developing Diverse Talent

Increasing our Black and Latinx representation in the U.S. is a core focus of our work, and while change takes time, we’re starting to see positive results, as noted above. A couple examples include our overall Black representation at Workday, which has increased from 2.5% when we announced our commitments to 3.1% as of the end of April. In the same timeframe, Latinx leadership representation has increased from 3.5% to 4.6%. With our hiring expected to increase this year, we anticipate the opportunity to make a bigger impact toward our three-years goals

As part of our efforts to attract and retain diverse talent, we are revamping our talent acquisition strategy to include expansion of our diversity recruiting programs and partnerships. We’ve also launched required training for all people leaders to better attract, recruit, hire, and advance employees of all backgrounds. 

Cultivating a Culture of Belonging

In support of our goal to invest in career development programs and education that increase visibility and opportunity for Black and Latinx talent, we recently launched The VIBE Way Workday growth journey to all Workmates. The first two required learning courses share important lessons about belonging and diversity in the workplace. A new series on inclusive hiring also supports our goal of ensuring an equitable sense of belonging across all our demographics.

Additional efforts include the recent launch of two career development programs, which offer curated experiences that help increase visibility and opportunities, including leadership opportunities, for underrepresented minority (URM) talent.

A critical ingredient for change is understanding each of our own relationships with race and how that impacts the ways we navigate the world.

Building Inclusive Products and Technologies

We’re gratified that customers are adopting our VIBE solutions, VIBE IndexTM and VIBE CentralTM, which contribute to our goal of empowering our customers through our innovations to measure and benchmark diversity and belonging in the workplace. 

Since we launched these solutions last September:

  • More than 700 customers have participated in free workshops offered by Workday and partners (including Alight, Collaborative Solutions, Deloitte, Huron, and Kainos) to support adoption of VIBE tools such as VIBE Central.

  • Three early adopters are live with VIBE Index, and two new customers have recently signed on.

  • VIBE Index was recognized as part of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards, highlighting businesses and organizations that are driving change in the world.

Strengthening Our Communities

We fulfilled our commitment to donate $10 million toward social justice initiatives, and we donated an additional $2 million to support organizations assisting the Asian American Pacific Islander community. Beyond our financial investment, we’ll continue to partner with the more than 30 organizations that help expand on our workforce development efforts to provide training, internships, and opportunities to job seekers from nontraditional backgrounds, and our internal volunteering initiative, Opportunity in Action. 

Highlights of our activities include the following:

  • A new sales training program in March, in partnership with nonprofit partner Dream Corps. Nearly 90% of the training cohort received offers to join Workday Sales. 

  • Our first apprenticeship cohort in Dublin, Ireland in partnership with Fasttrack into IT (FIT).

  • A pre-internship program with CodePath, with 25 college interns starting at Workday in early June. Students in the program will be eligible for a traditional internship in summer 2022.

  • The Workday VIBE Scholarship, providing up to $15,000 awards to students from historically underserved backgrounds who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees.  

I’m encouraged by the level of activism—across communities, generations, races, ethnicities, geographies, and organizations—but we need more of it.

Self-Reflection and Solidarity

As I reflect on the strides Workday has made in the last year, I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve and know that looking forward, we’ll need to work together to build on this great momentum. I’m encouraged by the level of activism—across communities, generations, races, ethnicities, geographies, and organizations—but we need more of it. At the corporate level, we’re more powerful together, collaborating, and sharing. 

At the individual level, a critical ingredient for change is understanding each of our own relationships with race and how that impacts the ways we navigate the world. We have to be comfortable with uncomfortable feedback that might open our eyes to behaviors we have been taught that may need to change or evolve. That honest self-evaluation is a critical part of the process of healing and moving forward.

Solidarity, compassion, empathy, and support for one another are the key ingredients needed to move in the right direction. As we come together and recognize the strides we’ve made, we also acknowledge the challenges we have to solve, the healing we need to do, and the long but important path ahead. At Workday, we remain committed to this journey.

More Reading