Workday Unveils HR-Focused Generative AI Features To Streamline Business Processes


Workday, the enterprise management platform vendor, has recently announced a suite of new generative AI features aimed at increasing productivity and streamlining business processes. These announcements were made at Workday Rising, the company’s annual customer conference held in San Francisco.

Key Takeaway

Workday has introduced a suite of generative AI features focused on HR processes at their recent customer conference. While AI-generated employee work plans raise concerns about potential biases and misinterpretations, Workday emphasizes transparency and the importance of user review and finalization. The other generative AI features, such as AI-generated job descriptions, automated notices, contract analysis, and knowledge article generation, offer more straightforward applications to streamline business processes. Workday is also expanding into generative coding and piloting conversational AI experiences to enhance users’ productivity.

AI-Generated Employee Work Plans Raise Concerns

One of the notable additions to Workday’s generative AI features is the ability to generate employee work plans using AI. Managers will be able to quickly create a summary of employees’ strengths and areas of growth by pulling data from various sources such as performance reviews, employee feedback, contribution goals, skills, and employee sentiment.

However, there are concerns regarding potential biases and misinterpretations that AI models may exhibit. Studies have shown that text-analyzing AI can display biases against expressions and vernacular that fall outside the norm. For example, AI models trained to detect toxicity may view phrases in African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) as disproportionately toxic. These biases can extend to other minority groups as well, leading to unfair assessments and conclusions.

Workday acknowledges these concerns and states that its AI models are transparently designed. The company encourages users to view the generated work plans as a strong first draft and emphasizes the importance of user review, editing, iteration, and finalization.

Less Problematic Generative AI Features

Workday’s other generative AI features offer more straightforward applications. AI-generated job descriptions leverage existing information stored in the platform to simplify the process of writing job listings. This feature does not involve training on dedicated job description data, and Workday customers have control over how their data is used for AI and machine learning purposes.

Additionally, Workday will soon be able to automatically generate “past due” notices with tone recommendations based on customer lateness, benefiting finance teams by automating bulk letters. Procurement leaders will also receive suggestions for relevant clauses to include in procurement contracts based on project type, location, and deliverables.

The contract analysis feature powered by generative AI will alert Workday customers to potential errors in contracts and provide proposed corrections. The knowledge article generation feature allows users to draft articles with suggestions on tone and length, serving as talking points for managers and takeaways from company videos. Users, however, have the freedom to ignore these suggestions.

Workday Expands into Generative Coding and Conversational AI

Workday is venturing into generative coding with its developer tool, Copilot. This new addition to Workday Extent, the platform for creating custom apps, offers text-to-code capabilities and provides contextually aware code suggestions. The feature aims to enhance the app-building experience for Workday users, similar to code-generating services like GitHub Copilot and Amazon CodeWhisperer.

Furthermore, Workday is piloting conversational AI experiences, taking advantage of generative AI capabilities such as summarization, search, and context maintenance. These conversational AI experiences will enhance users’ ability to interact with information and tasks in a natural way.

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