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Workday debuts learning management software

At Workday Rising 2015, the HCM vendor says Workday Learning can suggest content for employees, and its retention tool can preserve talent at risk of quitting.

Workday Inc. is rolling out a new learning management system today, along with software that provides recommendations to hold on to employees at risk of quitting.

The provider of human resources and financial management software is launching Workday Learning, which uses machine learning to pinpoint training and education for individual employees. The learning management software also allows employees to create and share content with other workers in PowerPoint slides, video or PDF files.

Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri is scheduled to help introduce the products on Tuesday during the keynote at Workday Rising in Las Vegas, the company's annual conference for customers and sponsoring partners.

Learning software gets personal

In an interview, Leighanne Levensaler, senior vice president responsible for direction and strategy of applications at Workday, said the learning management software will recognize employees and provide a personalized learning experience. The learning software will know an individual's job, applications for positions, location and career interests, as well as note people working on the same project, for example, she said.

"What we are doing is a different kind of learning experience," she said.

Learning is a hot area now in human capital management. Yvette Cameron, research director at Gartner Inc., based in Stamford, Conn., said learning is the "next battleground" in talent management.

Oracle, for example, bought Taleo partly for learning in 2012 and unveiled new enterprise learning management software in March. SAP bought SuccessFactors in 2012 partly for learning. This year, LinkedIn bought online learning website

Levensaler said the learning management software will be mobile, making it possible for employees to capture and share their knowledge via their phone or desktop computer.

"Everyone is an expert in something," she said. "Everyone is a teacher of something in the organization. We are using technology to facilitate that natural behavior."

If you were to change your job, your content recommendations will change.
Leighanne Levensalersenior vice president, Workday

The Workday learning management software will be available in the second half of 2016 for Workday HCM customers and will be sold via a subscription fee, she said.

The company is hopeful the software's ability to make instant recommendations will help set it apart in the market, she said.

"If you were to change your job, your content recommendations will change," she said. "If you were to express interest in a new job or perhaps a new project, you will get new content recommendations instantly. That is very powerful."

Application will recommend ways to retain top performers

Workday, based in Pleasanton, Calif., is also set to announce the availability of "retention recommendations" as part of its Talent Insights application.

The application currently analyzes flight risk of top performers. However, now, it also will include a "prescriptive component," which will suggest promotions, coaching or other moves for employees who are predicted to possibly leave the company.

The recommendations will be based partly on a company's prior decisions for workers who might have stayed after considering leaving their jobs, Levensaler said.

The software is similar to Netflix, which makes recommendations on movies and TV shows that a viewer might enjoy, she said.

A company might also decide to use the software to help employees considering a move up in the organization, she said.

It won't be the first prescriptive software offered by Workday, she said. As part of its recruiting software, Workday makes recommendations of candidates for jobs. The candidate could be anyone being tracked by a company, including applicants, prospects or internal employees, she said.

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How do you use technology to stop top employees from quitting?
I'm not entirely sure that "technology" could stop top employees from leaving, unless that technology actually increased their engagement and involvement. The notion of "suggested" ideas being modeled on Netflix treats the problem as though it's just "oh, you worked on this and enjoyed it, so maybe you'd like to do this" misses the point a bit. The technical challenges we face is one component, but just as important are the people we work with and interact with. If the work environment is frustrating from a people level, it's unlikely that the technology will have much of an effect on that.
Michael - Thanks for the comment. You're right - you must first be happy with your co-workers and supervisors. That being said, it's one thing to predict flight with software but the "gold standard" of predictive software is making a recommendation to act on the prediction. Nothing wrong with that.