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Workday Bets on Employee Engagement With Peakon Acquisition & More HR Tech News

February 03, 2021 Digital Workplace
Mark Feffer
By Mark Feffer

Workday will acquire Peakon ApS, a Copenhagen-based platform that gathers employee feedback and generates insights for management.

As a result, the company said, Workday customers will be able to access a “continuous listening platform” that includes real-time data on employee experience, sentiment and productivity, as well as customized recommendations for actions organizations can take. The idea behind all of this is to drive engagement in a way that strengthens business performance.

By combining its technology with Peakon’s, Pleasanton, Calif.-based Workday said it can help businesses monitor and respond to employee feelings, needs and behaviors as they evolve over time. For example, by developing a better understanding of employee belonging, customers can better adjust their plans and approach to support an inclusive culture. The platform will determine and distribute “surveys and information to the right person at the right time,” Workday said.

“Bringing Peakon into the Workday family will be very compelling to our customers — especially following an extraordinary past year that has magnified the importance of having a constant pulse on employee sentiment in order to keep people engaged and productive,” said Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri.

Workday will acquire Peakon for about $700 million in cash. The transaction is set to close during the quarter ending April 2021, pending regulatory approvals.

Peakon, which was founded in Copenhagen in 2015, has roughly 1,000 customers and 260 employees. In a blog post, CEO Phil Chambers said the company’s approach is designed “around employees, not surveys.” That enables organizations to gather feedback in a less obtrusive manner, he said. Peakon’s approach also ties business outcomes to engagement and emphasizes taking proven actions to make the link work, he said.

The market for engagement and performance management tools has heated up of late. On Jan. 20, Learning Technologies Group announced an agreement to buy Reflektive, a performance management and employee engagement software platform, for $14 million and integrate it into its PeopleFluent talent management platform.

Pandemic Brings Street Cred to HR

HR organizations have gained notable visibility and influence since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. For example, 87% of senior executives say the function now has a greater voice than it did before, while 72% of HR leaders believe the crisis has increased their value and given others in the organization a better understanding of their role. About 59% say they now have a more influential role in their company.

The results were gathered by Sage, a UK-based business management solutions provider. The company examined HR’s performance during the pandemic, how perceptions of its work have changed and where technology and other priorities have shifted.

The pandemic increased HR’s focus on technology and digital transformation, the study found, but HR leaders still lack a certain amount of confidence that they can tap the skills they need to make transformation work. And while 67% said they want to invest more in HR technology in the future, a third said a lack of technology (31%) and investment (36%) are holding them back. Just more than half (53%) believe they have the right skills and tools available for the future of work.

One finding that’s clear: HR’s role in keeping a business going is more widely recognized now.

Nearly two-thirds of HR leaders (65%) said their teams have played a leading role in their organization’s response to COVID-19. That means driving change, enabling remote work and supporting employee well-being. At the same time, 60% saw an increase in both administrative and strategic responsibilities.
 
Those leaders were probably gratified to learn that C-suite executives recognized their work, with 58% saying they’ve developed a greater appreciation for HR because of the pandemic. Before the virus struck, 84% of HR leaders thought others in the organization were unclear on the value they offered.
 
Eighty-seven percent of senior executives believe the pandemic has accelerated changes in HR, although most recognize these changes reflect longer-term movements that may have started up to five years ago. Rank-and-file employees, too, have noticed a change in HR’s role, with 60% of them seeing HR as being more involved in driving change and people-related decisions. 
 
More than a third of employees recognized HR’s ability to adapt and become more responsive during the pandemic. Some 54% of employees now have better knowledge and understanding of HR’s role and value.

Ceridian, ADP Make International Payroll Moves   

Cloud human capital management software company Ceridian will acquire Ascender, a payroll and HR solutions provider with more than 1,200 customers in Asia Pacific. Ascender has industry expertise across all verticals, including higher education and government, as well as a solid partner ecosystem. With the acquisition, Ceridian will serve a combined 1,500 customers and 2.5 million employees across 30 countries in the region. 

ADP’s Next Gen Payroll platform has gone live with its first client in Mexico, expanding the service’s reach across all of North America. Built natively in the public cloud, the platform gives practitioners and employees transparency into how they’re paid, along with predictive insights with suggested actions. ADP said Next Gen Payroll helps employers address regulatory challenges and the complexities of global payroll while simplifying the overall process.

PeopleGoal, eLearning Brothers, Skillsoft Debut New Learning & Performance Tools

HR app business PeopleGoal released PeopleGoal Social Graph, a tool that captures team dynamics and relationships to provide a complete view of how teams and team members work together. Based on the company’s workflow app engine, the Social Graph captures forms as they move across processes, then identifies the network interactions within workflows. The result is a “holistic, multi-dimensional view of the relationship dynamics at play” within teams and between employees, the company said.

eLearning Brothers introduced the Rockstar Learning Platform, which combines LMS and LXP features to address needs in virtual onboarding, employee training, self-directed learning, upskilling, reskilling, cross-training and virtual instructor-led training. The platform also enables continuous learning through a combination of channels and user-generated content.

Enterprise learning giant Skillsoft launched stackable digital badges, new functionality from its partner Accredible that offers credentials to users as they complete paths on Skillsoft’s Percipio learning platform. Badges are awarded when users complete a Skillsoft course and assessment, complete a role-based Aspire Track, or complete an Aspire Journey, which includes about four tracks  and 40 hours of training.

News Briefs

Syndio released Pay Policy Analytics, an extension of its PayEQ product that allows companies to determine how pay policies actually impact compensation and identify the causes of unintended outcomes. The tool provides details on impact by pay policies or protected class status (such as gender or race), and can identify differences caused by random factors, or which aren't explainable at all. Syndio said few employers currently have the ability to see whether their policies motivate employees as they're meant to.

Help desk platform provider HappyFox released Assist AI, a new product that helps employers manage their HR and IT support efforts from within Slack. The tool’s compatibility with knowledge base tools like Confluence and ticketing systems such as Zendesk allow support teams and workers to remain within the Slack platform to resolve issues more efficiently, HappyFox said. Assist AI responds to routine requests by accessing a company’s knowledge base. When it can’t resolve an issue, it escalates tickets to an agent via Slack.  

Employers can reduce average turnover by 30% to 60% in high-churn industries such as retail, and 20% among organizations with salaried workers, according to Nucleus Research. On average, companies spend more than 30% of an employee’s salary per turnover, which can increase with costs required to train a replacement. Employers can reduce turnover and give recruiters more time to make strategic hiring decisions and develop more effective overall talent plans by leveraging talent acquisition solutions to recruit and retain more qualified employees, Nucleus said.

Lever’s winter release includes updates to its Candidates Opportunities and Reporting modules, along with a number of integrations. New features allow users to move candidates from one requisition to another, along with their relevant information. Meanwhile, Visual Insights tools have been integrated with four additional dashboards, providing users with more flexibility and new insights into how different aspects of the hiring process are performing. Lever's partner network was expanded with integrations with UKG UltiPro, TapRecruit and Unbiasify.

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