On January 4, the College will launch Workday, a new payroll, human resources and timekeeping system. It will replace their current provider, Ceridian.

“The ease and look and feel of the system is just so much better than what we currently have today,” said Vice President of Human Resources Tama Spoerri. 

Human Resources (HR) decided to switch systems in February of 2014, when Ceridian announced it would undergo a full upgrade, requiring all customers to transfer over their own data. Prior to the announcement, the College had already begun to review management systems that offered a module for higher education, which Ceridian did not. The upgrade announcement along with the need for a system with an education platform ultimately triggered HR to leave Ceridian and sign with Workday, which is among the few human resources management systems that does offer such a platform. 

Ceridian, which the College has used for over 10 years, manages two subsystems: TimePro, for time-tracking and payroll, and HR’s employee-benefits system. The current version of Ceridian requires some self-service management to be done on paper.

Workday is an entirely web-based and single-sign-on system. Employees and employers alike will simply enter their Bowdoin username and password to gain access to their entire experience as Bowdoin employees: pay, benefits, time-tracking, personal information, requesting time-off and so on. Workday may also be accessed via their mobile app. 

Spoerri praised Workday for being “incredibly user friendly.”

Workday has over 1,000 customers, ranging from academic institutions, to tech companies, to nonprofit organizations. Among those are larger, research-based universities such as Brown, Colgate and Stanford. In the past year, Workday has worked to make their services more affordable for small-scale institutions such as Bowdoin. Bowdoin is the first of the NESCACs to transfer systems, though according to Spoerri, “several of our peer colleges are in the process of reviewing it and actually may be in a position to move to Workday within the next year.”

“[Workday] want[s] to try, for small institutions, a fast, lower-cost implementation to see how it would work,” said Director of Enterprise Systems and Project Management Abbie Brown. “In the end, they are going to extend [implementation time] back out a little bit, by maybe two months because it was a very rapid implementation.” 

The College submitted an RFP (Request For Proposal) to Workday in the summer of 2014. 
“We went through the evaluation process in the fall and then signed the contract at the end of January of 2015—this year,” said Brown. 

She attributes the fast pace of the project to the members of the team. The executive sponsors—people who endorse the project and aid the labor-intensive process of switching systems—are Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Katy Longley and Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of IT Mitch Davis.

The rest of the Project Team includes another sub-group of sponsors, a Core Team and a Focus Team of members from various departments throughout campus, who HR consulted from the beginning of the process in order to gather inclusive perspectives on the system changeover. Among those departments are Facilities, Dining, Library, Safety and Security and Academic Affairs.

Students employed by the College will all receive their own Workday account. For students who already record their hours online, they will continue to do so in Workday. Otherwise, employers such as Dining Services will keep the Accutime swiping system to record hours. Every clock used on campus to track work hours will be replaced with a Bowdoin-customized one from Workday, with a built in “B” button for entering student IDs. 

In preparing students, faculty and staff for Workday, the Workday Implementation Team is hosting a series of open lab demos to walk people through the website. The first of the series, the Workday Overview session, was yesterday. The next overview session will be Wednesday, December 16 in Moulton Union’s Lancaster Lounge from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. The Implementation Team is also offering more specialized open lab demos for the many different functions of Workday. The schedule for the demos is available at bowdoin.edu/workday. HR will also offer training for employees as they return from Winter Break.