Training for 10,000: Learning how to use Workday begins in April

Really soon, Workday is going to get real.

The Professional and Scientific Council last week received a report on training plans for the enterprise software set to launch July 1, overhauling how business transactions are handled and impacting all of Iowa State's nearly 10,000 employees.

It's a sizable challenge to offer training methods and times that work across the university's varied workforce while still ensuring the appropriate amount of instruction based on job type, said Kristen Constant, interim vice president and chief information officer. Plans call for training 9,735 ISU employees, including about 1,700 student workers.

"What we have facing us is a very large number of people who need training," Constant said. "That's something our change management team has spent an enormous amount of time working through."

Training plans

Change management lead Pat Jones of Huron Consulting Group told the council the current plan includes 52 training courses, 36 of which are computer-based (three for general topics, 16 on human resources and 17 on finance). In-person instructors will teach 15 to 20 employees per session in an additional 16 courses, eight for finance and eight for HR. 

Jones said employees who aren't involved in finance or HR could need as few as two computer-based trainings: an introductory course and a session on employee self-service. Computer-based training is flexible, repeatable and accessible, she said. The courses will be available on Workday's Ready, Set, Learn! website and delivered via Learn@ISU, allowing project leaders to track training progress and adjust communications as needed.

The computer-based sessions will be interactive, simulating how Workday functions instead of merely showing it, Jones said.

"You're actually going to be seeing screens that look just like the Workday screens and act just like the Workday screens," she said.

The dozens of in-depth trainings on HR and finance will dovetail with the simultaneous reorganization shifting much of that work to centralized service teams, Jones said. PIT crews helping with local implementation of Workday and transition teams doing the same with improved service delivery will assist employees in identifying which training courses are recommended.

"What we are looking at for training is what are you going to be doing once we go live in the new system," she said. 

When it starts

The training sessions will be tested in March pilot runs with employees who haven't been involved in the Workday project, Jones said. Registration for training starts in early April, and sessions are expected to kick off mid-April and continue after Workday goes live.

Training won't be limited to courses. Starting in June and continuing after the July 1 launch, user labs at rotating locations across campus will give employees who need in-person help a chance to work one-on-one with trainers, Jones said. Written reference guides posted online will outline step-by-step instructions for specific tasks.

Showing employees how Workday works will be an ongoing, fluid process, Constant said. Training needs will be assessed continuously. Sessions could be added and will continue well after the platform goes live, she said. 

"It's not a one-shot, 'Oh you missed it,' kind of thing," she said.

Student survey in March

The council also received a report on Iowa State's participation in an upcoming nationwide student survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

Margo Foreman, assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion and equal opportunity, said the Association of American Universities is conducting the survey as a follow-up to a similar effort in 2015. All students will receive an email with a personalized link to the survey, which will be open March 1-31.

Information provided in the survey, which will take about 20 minutes to complete, will be confidentially collected by a third party. Identities of respondents won't be shared with participating institutions. The survey will include trigger warnings about potentially traumatic questions. Foreman said staff could be helpful by supporting student participation.

"They're not required to take the survey, but we certainly want to encourage them," she said.

Foreman said Iowa State will use data from the survey to consider changes in policies and procedures, as it did in 2015.