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Set Up Your Next Job Architecture Project for Success

Set Up Your Next Job Architecture Project for Success

Whether you’re in the midst of your first implementation or have been working in the ecosystem for years, the importance of job profiles in Workday is likely no secret to you. A job profile catalog is the infrastructure of jobs within a tenant and is foundational to core HCM, compensation, recruiting, talent, and succession planning. It is not often that organizations kick off their Workday tenure with a perfect, well-rounded job catalog that serves all their needs. While important, the competing priorities of an implementation often mean that organizations start out with a job catalog that is “good enough” to get them off the ground and operational. Over time, as they gain a better understanding of how job profiles work in Workday, companies will decide that it is time to revamp their job architecture. This is where consultants like me come in.

During my time at Kognitiv I have assisted several clients with job architecture updates. These projects have varied in scope but have followed the same basic pattern:

  • Creating the new job catalog
  • Auditing the tenant for impacts of updating the job catalog
  • Uploading the new data
  • Conversion of workers, positions, and job requisitions to the new job profiles
  • Post-data conversion cleanup activities

In this blog post I will discuss these processes in more detail, as well as lessons I have learned from my involvement in these projects. It is important to execute a job architecture project with care due to the system-wide impacts of job profiles, but such projects need not intimidate you. Read on to tackle your project with confidence!

Create Your Job Catalog

Whether you are doing a minor refresh of a handful of job profiles or overhauling your entire job architecture, you’ll be coming up with new values. Depending on your role and the size and structure of your organization, this is where you will likely pull in other stakeholders to help you create, edit, and approve your new job catalog. Outside of the HRIS team I typically see HR leadership, compensation, and talent acquisition involved in the job catalog creation process. As mentioned previously, job profiles touch many parts of the system, so it is important that they work for everyone involved in those areas. Getting other teams involved early in the process also helps create buy-in and makes the change management process easier once you go live.

As a consultant, this is the stage at which I take a step back and serve in an advisory capacity while the client works together internally to build their new job architecture. However, there are some key points I bring up during every project to help guide clients as they craft new job profiles and other job catalog elements:

  • In its simplest form, a job profile is one-to-one with a job description. If two roles have different job descriptions, they should have different job profiles. Management level and compensation are the other most important unique components of a job profile. Again, if two roles have different management levels or compensation elements, they should have different job profiles.
    • Example: If an organization has both exempt and non-exempt workers in the same role, they should create both an exempt and a non-exempt version of that job profile. This will make downstream items like time tracking and payroll work more smoothly.
  • Organizations are not static – they change and grow. Your job catalog needs to be able to change and grow with it. The structure of a job catalog should balance consistency and conformity with adequate flexibility for future changes.
  • Job family groups can be exposed on your external career site as a job search facet filter, making it easier for applicants to find jobs in a particular area in which they are interested. If clients are interested in this use case, I advise them to make their job family groups broad and generalizable across most organizations (e.g., finance, sales, administration, etc.). If desired, they can then make their job families more granular and better suited to their organizational needs.
  • Keep it simple! Job profiles can house quite a bit of information, and it may feel like you’re not taking full advantage of your job profiles if you don’t fill out every available field. However, unless you have a practical use for a field (e.g., job level, job classification, or qualifications like education and languages) somewhere in the system now or in the very near future, you and your team may find yourselves dumping unnecessary amounts of time and energy into creating values that won’t end up being used for anything.

Audit Your Tenant

Once the new job architecture has been designed, you’ll need to identify the system-wide impacts of your changes. Different elements of job profiles are used and referenced throughout a Workday tenant – e.g., job category in compensation plan eligibility, management level in benefit groups, compensation grade in a calculated field, etc. If you change any of these elements as a part of your project, you’ll need to review and potentially update their usage elsewhere in the tenant. Here are the items I always check as a part of my tenant audit:

  • Calculated fields
  • Condition rules (including compensation rules and benefit eligibility rules)
  • Custom reports (for usage of impacted values in filters and prompts)
  • Integration systems
  • Security groups (job-based security groups use membership criteria such as job profile, job category, job family, or management level)

Note: Kognitiv has standard tenant audit report offerings we are happy to leverage to help you identify these instances!

Once you have identified all the impacted instances you will need to review them all and determine which ones require updates once your new architecture is live. For example: you may find that you have custom reports where a handful of job profiles are hardcoded into the filter. You will need to replace those job profiles with their updated equivalents or find a new way to filter the report. This exercise can be tedious, but identifying what needs to be changed and creating a game plan to make the updates immediately post-go-live will save you the headache of any integrations, processes, or security failing.

Upload the New Data

You are now at the point where you are ready to begin creating the new values in your tenant. For testing and validation purposes I always do my first build in an implementation tenant such as Preview. Job profiles and most of their components can be added via EIB (with the exception of management levels, which must be created or edited manually). The order in which you add these elements matters: all the new components of a job profile must be in the tenant before the job profile using them can be created. Here is a list of the EIBs I would use to create new job profiles with new job families, job family groups, and compensation grades in the order in which I would upload them:

  1. Put Job Family
  2. Put Job Family Group
  3. Put Compensation Grade
  4. Put Job Profile

If you are editing any existing values (say you are adding to your existing job family/job family group structure rather than replacing it entirely) you can use EIBs to do so as well; just be conscientious of the effective dates that you use. In those instances, the cutover date to the new architecture is usually the same as the effective date of the data conversions I’ll discuss in the next section.

Once the new values have been uploaded to the implementation tenant, I recommend conducting data validation to ensure that the new values and structures were loaded correctly. I also encourage clients to run some basic tests to ensure that the new job profiles and their values work appropriately in HCM processes such as hiring, job changes, and creating job requisitions. When you are ready to upload the new data to Production, I strongly recommend doing so at least two weeks before your go-live date. This will allow you to upload your data conversion EIBs (discussed next) in Sandbox the following week, which will mirror the conditions of Production much more closely than your original implementation tenant. It also saves you from the squeeze of uploading all your EIBs at one time right before go-live. Breathing room in these projects, regardless of scope, is always appreciated!

Data Conversion

Next, you will need to plan for the conversion of workers, positions, and job requisitions (if applicable) from their old job profiles to their new ones. This can also be accomplished via EIBs. This phase is usually the most time-consuming part of the project as it requires you to map old job profiles to the new ones, create the EIBs, load and validate the EIBs, then validate the data changes. Most of these tasks will be performed iteratively until you have resolved all EIB errors and the data is clean. Prior to the go-live date and loading the data conversion EIBs I strongly recommend that clients enact a blackout period in their Production tenant to prevent in-progress or future-dated transactions from interfering with the data loads. This also reduces the number of exceptions and true-up transactions that must be performed later.

Here is a list of the EIBs I would use to convert requisitions, workers, and filled and unfilled positions to their new job profiles and compensation grades:

  1. Edit Evergreen Requisition
  2. Edit Job Requisition
  3. Edit Position
  4. Request Compensation Change
  5. Edit Position Restrictions

Note that, if your job profile updates will impact the content of your requisition job postings, you will also need to use the Unpost Job and Post Job EIBs to remove and then update your job postings.

If a client doesn’t have an existing event reason that makes sense for the job architecture changes, we will create a specific “Job Architecture” event reason for them via the Maintain Event Categories and Reasons task (e.g., Edit Job Requisition > Administrative > Job Architecture Updates). Note that this must be done for each type of transaction.

Post-Data Conversion

Once you have converted your job requisitions, workers, and positions to their new job profiles there are several post-data conversion activities you will want to complete at go-live. The first thing you will want to do if you are implementing a new management level hierarchy is to go to Edit Tenant Setup – HCM and switch to your new hierarchy. I also recommend changing the names of your old management levels to indicate that they are no longer in use, such as adding an “OLD_” or “DNU_” prefix.

Next you will want to make the necessary tenant updates that you identified in your audit reports. To stay organized and ensure that all necessary changes are made I like to create a change log spreadsheet that identifies the value to be updated, what change needs to be made, the priority of the change, and the method of change (e.g., manual versus OX migration). For example, security group and condition rule updates will be higher priority than custom report updates and should be handled first.

The last step is to inactivate your old job architecture values, which can be done via the same “put” EIBs you used earlier to create and edit your new values. Be conscientious of the effective dates you select: while you can inactivate most values as of your go-live date, you may have some instances that you need to future-date due to transaction conflicts. For example: you may have an employee whose future-dated termination was entered prior to the transaction blackout period. Unless their termination date is very far in the future, you will most likely not want to rescind their termination event, change them to a new job profile, and redo their termination. Therefore, they will be in an old job profile until their termination date, and you will not want to inactivate that job profile until after that date, unless you are okay with them showing up in an “(inactive)” job profile. When inactivating old values, I often suggest that clients add a “ZZ_” prefix to the names and reference IDs of the old values. This will drop these items to the bottom of any dropdown list in which they appear, decreasing the likelihood that anyone will inadvertently select them.


The key to successfully executing a job architecture update, regardless of size, is organization. Keeping your communication, documentation, files, and timeline organized and up to date will save you and your team from headaches and missteps throughout the process. Pay special attention to any files that are being shared or updated by multiple parties to make sure you are using the latest version. If you have access to one, a project manager is an invaluable resource to keep your team organized, on schedule, and in constant communication.

When you craft the timeline for your project, be sure to give yourself plenty of time at each phase. There will be many edits and mapping exercises that take time and require careful validation, especially during your initial build and data conversions. The more stakeholders that are involved in your project, the more time you should give yourself for review activities as well. The shortest project that I have completed to date happened over a tight three months, while the longest (with a much larger scope) took over a year. If you are working in an implementation tenant such as Preview, be cognizant of tenant refreshes (such as Workday’s biannual updates) that may occur during your project.

The final piece to consider is change management. The scope of and parties involved in your change management process will depend on the types of updates you are making, who touches the impacted values in the system, and the visibility of the changes. For example: will employees see changes to their job titles, job descriptions, or compensation structure? Or will the changes only be seen by HR? Change management communication will need to be tailored to each level of user impacted. Job aids, FAQs, and a point of contact for questions are all great resources that I have seen used. As mentioned previously, involving stakeholders such as your compensation and talent acquisition teams will help create buy-in for your updates and make the cutover go more smoothly for all parties involved.

I hope these tips will help your next job catalog update feel less daunting! As always, Kognitiv is here to help with these and any of your other Workday enhancements.


  • Emma Christie

    As of this blog post date, Emma has been in the Workday ecosystem for over five years, making the switch from HR to HRIS after a client-side Workday implementation. She moved into consulting when she joined Kognitiv in August of 2021 and has since focused on supporting clients in multiple Workday modules.

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