There are five main activities that need to be done in Workday at year end / beginning of the year to ensure the smooth running of a business. These simple tasks are often overlooked – particularly by those new to Workday – but can have a negative impact if not done.
There are five critical tasks that Workday companies should undertake around the year-end / new year time frame. Individually, these are simple tasks but can significantly impact your HR operations if not completed in time.
Year-end activities come thick and fast, and it is easy in the last month of the year to forget to undertake some essential tasks. FinServ Consulting has identified five essential tasks that every HR department must complete to guarantee a smooth kick-off to the new year. Lack of action on these tasks could create unnecessary errors or preventable breaks in your operations, causing a lot of unneeded January headaches.
These five areas are:
- Scheduled Processes – (integration, reports, alerts) and Period Schedules (payroll, time off, time tracking) must be reviewed and set up / extended manually. Scheduled processes can be set up in advance up to five instances in a new year. Period schedules can be set up for up to two years in advance.
- Delegation Review – A review of delegation assignments ensures that they are correct and that expiration dates are extended. This will avoid the Workday inboxes of executives filling up with tasks that generally would be delegated.
- Compliance Activities – Review what compliance requirements are pending for the new year, including mandated data purging and verifying employee compliance with company policies.
- Corporate Document Updates – A review of employee documents like the corporate handbook, benefit plan documents, and company policies will ensure that they are updated and properly linked to in Workday.
- Time Off Calendar and Balances – Update the upcoming holiday calendar to ensure that employees can successfully request time off. In addition, review time-off balances that are carrying over to ensure accuracy.
#1 – Scheduled Processes and Period Schedules
Scheduled processes allow you to automate processes on a schedule (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly), such as an integration with your medical benefits provider or payroll processor. These schedules are typically set up in advance but must be maintained annually. They cannot be scheduled indefinitely and can usually be set for up to five scheduled instances in the following year.
Suppose your payroll file is not sent to your payroll provider because it is no longer automatically scheduled in Workday. In that case, the HR team risks a highly visible and potentially catastrophic mistake.
Period Schedules standardize the sequential periods you use to track absence or payroll. These period schedules also need to be entered and maintained manually and can be entered up to two years in advance.
Not setting your future period schedules can prevent employees from requesting time off or prevent you from processing the next pay run. Like the Scheduled Processes, not maintaining Period Schedules is an easily preventable error.
#2 – Delegation Review
Tasks are often delegated in Workday, usually to assistants of senior executives. Senior executives are generally crucial control points to granting approvals for time off requests from their subordinates or approving high-value expenses and invoices. Executives usually do not have the time or inclination to go into Workday consistently and approve these requests.
Delegating these tasks to assistants allow the tasks to be completed in a timely and consistent manner. These delegations do have expiration dates and need to be reviewed annually. Letting delegation settings expire can result in a senior executive’s Workday inbox being flooded rather than the tasks going to the correct delegated employee for processing. If the executive is not looking at their Workday inbox, critical invoice payments may not be approved, leading to unnecessary late payment penalties. For example, Market Data vendors’ unpaid invoices may lead to unnecessary late fees or, even worse, denial of critical data that the business requires.
As administrative permissions have time limits, it is easy to set them and forget them until something goes horribly wrong.
#3 – Compliance Activities
Data purging and employee compliance are two of the essential resets needed at year-end / beginning of the year. This means verifying that everyone has signed the required employee and corporate policy documents such as the employee handbook, Covid / return to work attestations, restricted trading policy attestations, and other necessary documents.
As these documents are disseminated throughout the year, it is easy to lose track of whether they have been reviewed and signed off on by all employees.
The time surrounding the new year is a natural time to conduct a holistic overview of the status of the firm’s overall policy attestations. For example, employees may be required to attest to understanding the code of ethics or conflicts of interest policies. Ensuring that these policies are enforced and that enforcement is tangible is key to assuaging any concerns of regulators or potential investors.
This time is also an excellent time to review how well the firm is in compliance with data retention and purging regulations. For example, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stipulates that personal data is collected for legitimate reasons and is only kept if needed. Because of these regulations, companies will need to place greater scrutiny on terminated employees and their personal data. The HR or compliance departments must be vigilant in reviewing this data and determining if there is a legitimate reason to continue storing it in Workday.
#4 – Corporate Document Updates
Corporate documents such as employee handbooks, benefit plan documents, and policies can get out of date quickly as policies evolve, such as Diversity and Inclusion and Remote Work policies. In addition, the companies’ benefit providers often change, or the company changes the plan offerings themselves. The document file itself can change from content updates to file name changes or file location changes. Once this happens, the reference link in Workday may no longer work and inevitably lead to errors during any attestation process or during an employee onboarding.
Checking that the latest document versions are set up in the system should be part of any end of year to new year process. Multiple or outdated versions of documents can cause problems; ensuring that only one version – the latest – exists is essential.
Performance review templates are another area to double-check along with offer letters and other templates used throughout the year. These templates can change. Since they impact all employees and prospective hires, it is critical to be consistent and accurate in what is shown. If these templates link to external documents or are set to send information to vendors, it is vital to make sure that the links still work.
#5 – Time Off Calendar and Balances
A simple task that can cause many headaches is ensuring that next year’s calendar includes the correct dates for holidays. Different localities and regions may have special holidays, and observed holidays change from year to year. These are not automatically loaded into Workday; they need to be set up every year manually. This is particularly important for companies with international offices where the holiday dates may differ.
The time around year-end is also a good time to get ahead of nuances in the calendar for the upcoming year to give you more time to be prepared to address any employee concerns. For example, most financial services firms follow the stock market’s holiday schedule. At the end of 2021, the stock market is not observing New Year’s Day 2022 as a holiday since it falls on a Saturday. Usually, the holiday would be observed on the preceding Friday. But, because Friday is a key accounting period (year-end / quarter-end / month-end), the stock market will be open. Try explaining that on New Year’s Eve when this calendar quirk dawns on your employees.
Another critical activity for year-end is to check your employee’s time off balances due to carry over. Carry-over balances should be checked for accuracy; this will ensure that your time off eligibility and carry-over rules are correct and that an unexpected employee type / setup is not breaking the time-off rules. Unused time off that can be paid out will need to be appropriately reviewed and loaded into payroll.
Overall, it is best never to assume that these essential tasks have been completed. Much of what needs to be done annually is common sense, but HR and Operations teams often overlook these additional inputs / actions in the crunch of a busy fourth quarter.
FinServ Consulting has found that many clients outsource support for these activities after they have experienced one of these painful events.
Whether you choose to seek our support or not, we hope these top tips help you avoid any adverse effects on your company’s operations. Getting to grips with these tasks early and on an annual basis will save a lot of time, energy and headaches in the coming year.
To learn more about FinServ Consulting’s services: firstname.lastname@example.org or (646) 603-3799.
About FinServ Consulting
FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.