Workday HR and payroll system implementation rescheduled for December

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In an effort to ensure the highest-quality product, the launch of the University’s new cloud-based human resources and payroll system, Workday, has been delayed from early this summer to Dec. 10, 2017.

Project sponsors Susan M. Basso, vice president and chief human resources officer, and Joe Doncsecz, associate vice president for Finance and Corporate Controller, along with Michael Büsges, the Enterprise Project Management Office director, told the project teams and stakeholders about the rescheduled launch last month, and informed the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning of the decision on May 4.

After reevaluating the project’s readiness for the planned go-live in early summer, the sponsors determined that a postponement was in the best interest of the University.

In an emailed statement to stakeholders, Basso, Doncsecz and Büsges explained that, after consultation with Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas Jones and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business David Gray, a decision was made to postpone the launch date for Workday to later in 2017.

"The Workday team has been making great progress and we are confident that this delay will ensure a higher-quality deliverable for Penn State,” Basso and the others noted.

The new launch date of Dec. 10 means the first paychecks issued through the new system – those for employees on the bi-weekly payroll schedule – will be delivered on Jan. 5, 2018, with paychecks issued to those on the monthly payroll schedule delivered on Jan. 31, 2018.

Basso said the rescheduled launch date was selected to give the project team more time to address concerns over integrations with other systems, as well as to allow for additional testing. It was also influenced by lessons learned from past technology roll-outs, and from the best practices of Workday launches at other universities and colleges.

“We’ve said from the beginning that if we weren’t ready, if we weren’t 100 percent confident of a smooth transition to the new system, that we would delay the launch,” Basso said. “Our goal has been, and remains, improving the delivery of HR and Payroll services to University employees, and this adjusted launch date gives us the time to ensure a high-quality deliverable and a seamless transition to Workday.”

Rescheduling will add months to the project. However, because the project budget has been well managed, it is not necessary to seek Board of Trustees approval for any additional spending authority.

“We are able to manage the delay within the budget that remains,” Basso said.

The Workday implementation is a significant technology upgrade and is an integral component of the Human Resources Business Process Transformation (HRBPT), an effort to create a more agile, self-service HR model. The transformation will include the creation of WorkLion, a single-online employee portal that will house tools such as a searchable HR knowledge base, access to the Learning Resource Network, and the Workday system.

Now that a new date has been determined, project teams will review the employee learning path and training schedules for Workday, and continue to communicate and educate University employees on Workday’s progress with the help of WorkLion Ambassadors.

The WorkLion project team will continue to focus on testing both the technological capabilities of the system, as well as user acceptance of the intuitive and user-friendly cloud-based software.

Workday will empower employees to view and manage personal data, as well as manage their benefits, performance, time off and payment elections, among other self-service actions.

Employees across the University will access Workday for tasks such as enrolling in and maintaining benefits, entering time worked, scheduling time off, updating contact information, maintaining pay elections (such as direct deposit accounts information) and setting performance management goals.

All Penn State employees will use elements of Workday, a replacement for the nearly 20-year-old ESSIC (Employee Self-service Information Center).

Workday is one of three new technologies that will enable the website WorkLion, a single, online resource for HR information and assistance, performance management and professional development, and select payroll functions.

While the launch of Workday has been pushed back, elements of the HRBPT are scheduled to move forward as planned, including the creation of an HR Shared Services team, specialized HR training and the relocation of specific HR service teams to a new building at 331 Innovation Park.

For more information about the Workday implementation, visit the Workday website at, the WorkLion Facebook page or Twitter site, @WorkLion. To learn more about HRBPT, visit the Transformation’s webpage.

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated May 11, 2017