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This week was Workday Rising, the annual confab of 14,000+ Workday customers, partners, and fans. And as always, it met expectations. Not only did Jerry Seinfeld remind us that “we’ve lost interest in life, now we’re only interested in battery life,” but Workday unleashed a torrent of new talent applications, many of which are going to really change the market.
Don’t get me wrong: I”m quite familiar with the challenges companies have with Workday. It’s complex, sometimes hard to use, and the company keeps expanding its capabilities and can’t always keep up with innovative features. But this time I think Workday has hit a home run, and they’ve done it by thinking ahead and building what companies really want next, albeit not everything is quite finished yet.
To start with the basics, let me simply say that two existential people issues have become central to businesses.
First, companies are desperately worried about their skills, so they’re focused on reskilling, upskilling and reinvention of their people. Most companies don’t know what skills their people have, so the whole conversation is confusing and gives reign to lots of vendors, consultants, and cool ideas about what to do.
The second big issue today is what we now call the employee experience. While the term is hard to define, to me it represents a whole range of issues at work: we’re working too many hours, our jobs are too complex, we feel overwhelmed with too many digital disruptions, and we need more focus, simplicity, and clarity about what to do.