In preparation for the deployment of Workday, Marshall was looking for a way to support its employees and managers in the use of the platform, ready for the go-live date. The implementation of Workday gave Marshall a People Hub which would allow them to manage their People Data, Recruitment, Performance, Salary Admin, Absence, Payroll and Benefits and Reporting all in one place. Aware of the potential pitfalls of not providing adequate training, the organisation was keen to get a programme in place well ahead of it going live.
Having worked with Underscore for the roll-out of Workday, Marshall engaged Underscore to develop and deliver the training programme to support its deployment. Working in collaboration with Marshall, the Underscore team spent time understanding the functionality of the system, the actions that employees and managers would need to carry out, and the processes that users would need to understand.
The training programme began three weeks before the scheduled GoLive date, to ensure that employees had adequate time to become familiar with the platform before needing to use it in a real-life scenario. The training programme that was developed focussed on two main stakeholder groups, employees and people managers.
Many of the sessions were run in collaboration with the HR team at Marshall, so that employees could have questions about the system and changes to policies and processes answered live during the training.
Training sessions were designed to be short, so that attendees could fit them around other work commitments and were also highly practical in nature to provide ample opportunity to explore the platform in a safe environment.
Apart from being in a pandemic during the implementation, one of the primary challenges Marshall discovered during the scoping for the training was that many of its employees were not using information technology on a regular basis. They therefore recognised that training needed to be very simple and practical, as not only would the platform be new to them, but also virtual training would be a new experience for a large proportion of the workforce.
Underscore worked closely with Marshall to understand the requirements and capabilities of the workforce and developed a training programme that would be accessible to as many people as possible. Additionally, a number of drop-in sessions were also run, so that any employees who had specific questions could ask and get direct support in real time.
Another challenge experienced by Marshall was a very busy work period, which meant that despite best efforts, not all employees were able to attend a live training session. To ensure that those employees could still develop their skills and become familiar with the system, Underscore utilised a blended learning approach. Alongside the live sessions with a trainer, a number of user guides and videos were also created. These were designed to support employees who could not attend, and also act as a refresher for anyone who needed it after the training.
This, as well as the training delivered to the HR team, ensured that help was always available for employees who had questions about the system.
Feedback and Outcomes
We spoke with Daney Wilkinson, HR Director at Marshall, who shared her experience of working with Underscore on this training programme:
Why did you choose Underscore as your training partner?
‘The HR team didn’t have the capability or capacity to deliver it ourselves, so it was a really pragmatic decision. We were working with Underscore to implement Workday, so it made perfect sense to work with them to deliver the training. I also knew Susan from her previous work at Thales Group, and she is really credible and very experienced, and that is what we needed. The HR team did front some of the training, and supported Susan, but we needed Underscore’s lead.’
Why was training such a critical part of the rollout for you?
‘I saw the training as an extension of communication and engagement, we put a lot of thought into it. However right or wrong we got it, we spent a lot of time talking about the level of training and how we needed to deliver it. Despite Workday being positioned as a fairly intuitive system, I wasn’t prepared to take the risk of not training as I wanted to make sure our workforce felt as comfortable as possible with the new platform. Many of our colleagues are not using IT equipment on a daily basis so weren’t necessarily confident with a new system.
How did Underscore support you in the development of the training programme?
‘We had the benefit of Underscore working with us for the rollout, and they have done several implementations, so it would have been silly not to tap into their experience. You can’t just outsource training, it’s got to be in partnership with people in the organisation. Susan started working with us at a really early stage so she was listening to us in terms of what we thought we needed and was then able to guide us on content and approach for the training requirement.
How did you decide what type of training approach to offer?
‘We offered both face to face and virtual training options and we offered enough of both for everyone, then we let people decide what would work for them. We also followed up with drop in sessions so if people just wanted to know how to do one thing, they could just drop in and someone would show them how to do it. Most of our colleagues completed the ‘employee training’ online and found it quite simple.’
What outcomes were you hoping to achieve, and do you think you achieved them?
‘Resetting expectations of what managers would do in Workday was critical. Also, as well as just introducing them to the system and making sure that they knew where support was, I think for quite a lot of them it was an opportunity to explore how they could be using the system in the future. And clearly a key requirement of the training was to facilitate a faster uptake once we went live because it was a big implementation for us.’
‘Overall, I do think that the training around launch achieved what we needed it to achieve. What we haven’t yet done, and need to consider, is refresher sessions for both the existing functionality and the updates that will soon be rolling out. This experience has reinforced to us how important ongoing training and support is to making change stick.’