Workday offers a number of benefits to companies in a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, media, insurance, and everything in between. And no matter what category your business fits in, it’s a near-universal truth that you can’t improve what you can’t measure.

Luckily, Workday offers a variety of ways to create reports that will help you better understand your company’s performance. Workday HCM reporting allows active employees, managers, and administrators to make custom reports that help generate useful data outputs to help answer questions and provide insight for your organization.

This expert guide to building reports in Workday should provide you with an inside look into the different types of reports available in the solution and the steps to take to maximize your organization’s reports.

What is Workday Reporting?

Workday is an object-based application, meaning that real-time data is captured in business objects and all objects hold relationships with each other across the entire enterprise system.

Reporting in Workday involves the selection of a Primary Business Object(PBO) for each report and the Report Data Source needed to run and analyze the report correctly and leverage workday business objects in the most efficient way possible.

With a quicker, easier way to keep up with changes in the workforce, analyze data sources and analytics, and bring all your core people data together in one place, Workday Reporting provides the tools and resources needed to improve accessibility, visibility, performance, and satisfaction across employee teams and areas of the organization.

Workday Reporting capabilities enable users in any organization to…

  • Improve visibility and report performance through automated data analysis tools
  • Leverage configurable drag and drop features for better navigation through functional areas within the Workday environment
  • Build custom reports to meet specific business requirements across business units
  • Use report data to identify opportunities to improve recruiting, talent acquisition, and hiring processes to hire the right people for your needs
  • Measure equity across organizations to ensure workforce diversity and foster relationships between employees and teams

Different Types of Reporting in Workday

Workday offers three main types of reporting capabilities, and we’re here to help you understand where each could have a place in your organization. Let’s dive in!

1) Basic Reports

While Workday does offer basic reporting, its features are very simple with limited design options, making it less useful than many of the other types of reporting. At this level, you’ll be able to summarize information related to Time Off, Pay, and more.

You’re also able to create basic reports as needed or on a recurring basis, and export them to Excel or as a PDF if needed. The functionality of this option only allows you to view, filter, and sort your data at the most basic level.

2) Advanced Reports

Workday advanced reporting is your workhorse, your bread-and-butter, the feature that will serve the supermajority (think 90%) of your reporting needs. This type of reporting will allow you to do fairly complex, multi-data business object reporting (joins on tables) and allows for complex record selection (filtering) and multi-level sorting.

Advanced reports allow the user access to custom report design options, including, but not limited to, sub-filtering and report sharing. With this added functionality, users can gain better insight from report results and use that to better optimize their business processes.

Built-in Functionality

Some built-in functions exist in Advanced reporting, including totals/subtotals, simple graphing (bar, pie, column), and security on data access that’s automatically applied—which means report developers don’t really have to consider security as it’s built into the system. Other useful features of Advanced reporting include outputs can be fed into an EIB, making integrations between systems a little easier.

Advanced reporting also allows the person running the report to easily display and view the data generated by the report (so long as they have access to all the data for all the employees called by the report, of course).

3) Composite Reports

Composite reporting is most often used in edge cases (the 10% of situations that Advanced reporting can’t handle). This type of reporting supports more complex calculations and is used a lot on the Finance side of Workday to monitor financial data, but is only occasionally necessary on the HCM side.

Composite reports have the ability to compile data from multiple different time periods and types of reports into a singular, comprehensive report. This feature allows users to combine report results from Advanced, Trending and Matrix Reports, offering more specified results from different data sources.

Along with its increased functionality, composite reporting also eliminates the need for intervention from other systems like Excel by offering custom design and formatting options within the Workday system. This allows you to get into the nitty gritty of your report data while keeping everything organized and in the same place.

4) Matrix Reports

Matrix reports function similarly to pivot tables and cross tables because they can sort tables together for reoccurring values. Matrix reporting enables users to delve further into the data to perform interactive reporting and customized analytics cross-dimensionally.

Multiple matrix reports can also function as sub-reports in this reporting style. For example, an organization can leverage matrix reporting to assist them in their recruitment process. With matrix reports, users can produce a headcount and open positions report, add profile pictures for employees, and summarize other data.

5) Trending Reports

As its name suggests, trending reports allow users to sort data by period to analyze trends. Trending reports make it easy for users to sort, summarize, and drill further into data over a specific period of time. Trend reporting makes it easy for users to report on annual trends in factors such as compensation, headcount, and more.

This reporting style enables users in an organization to analyze trends in Workday without having to bring in any third-party tools. Trending reports assist organizations in comparing data from different periods to understand trends over time and create accurate projections and approximations.

6) Transposed Reports

Transposed reporting enables companies to compare and analyze data by exchanging rows for columns. Transposed reports simplify side-by-side comparisons for Workday users. These reports can be used to create employee timeline reports and gain insights into how employees perform over time.

7) Search Reports

Search reports allow users to display different instances of a business object and narrow them down with search terms and facet filters. These reports are typically employed as web services in outbound EIBs. For example, search reporting can be used to display candidates’ reports and locate worker reports based on the requirements for a specific position.

8) nBox Reports

nBox reports are able to display counts of various business object instances in a two-dimensional matrix. These reports enable the user to compare both business objects across two fields at a time. For example, the Performance by Potential talent matrix is an example of this type of reporting.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Workday Report

Whether you need to run a compensation analysis report, assess performance and productivity with a current employee detail report, or view printable employee review material to understand workforce trends, Workday Reporting has you covered.

Here are the main steps involved in creating any kind of report in Workday…

Step 1: Find Your Primary Source of Data

There are over 2,300 different sources of data in the Workday system (seems overwhelming to think about, we know). But, before you start running the other way, let us explain just how simple it is to navigate through all the sources and find the right one for you and your needs.

There’s a specific filtering function intended to help you access the right data sources you need to build a custom report based on whatever criteria you choose. Once you decide on the most appropriate data source for your report, you can also use the “category” function to further specify your search results, making specialized reporting easier and more efficient.

Data is at the heart of your Workday custom reports, so having strong primary sources of data from the start is important. Choosing your data sources wisely will set your report up for success by creating a strong foundation for you to build off of.

Step 2: Decide What Type of Report You Need

Once you’ve decided on the data source you need, you need to figure out what kind of report you want to build.

First, you have the option to use an existing report by navigating to the “Workday Standard Reports” section in your Workday system. Using an old report that already contains some of the necessary data you need and making a copy of it to fit each report’s outline can help save you time and give you the same benefits with less work on your end.

Although it sounds a lot easier to recycle old reports by editing and updating their copies, this isn’t always possible. Some Workday reports require more customized functionality from the start to generate the correct type and quantity of data needed. This is where having the option to start a report from scratch comes in handy.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or using a copy of a previous report, it’s also important that you determine the specific reporting capability you need. Choose from basic, advanced and composite reports to help generate the data you need in your tenant.

Step 3: Determine the Data You Really Need

As soon as you start trying to include every category, field, and type of data in your report, things start to get a little messy. Keeping things simple is the name of the game with Workday, so sticking to only the information needed is your key to success in building professional, cohesive, easy-to-understand report data.

It’s no secret that quality is better than quantity in most situations, and data stored in Workday reports is no exception. Instead of focusing on how much data you can include in one report, try narrowing your focus a little more to get more detailed report filters and results.

Before even beginning the process of determining output fields and filters for your report, it would be beneficial to map out a plan of what data you really need. That way, once the time comes to construct and use the chosen fields, you aren’t left with any gray area and extra headaches from trying to sift through too much unnecessary data.

Step 4: Use Filters to Customize Your Output

Although filtering your data to get the kind of output you need is an important step in reporting, it’s equally as important to be careful to only add these filters once you know exactly what want included in your report.

You might find it helpful to include a few more fields than you think you might need at first and then narrow the results down a little more once you have a better idea about the specific data you want to include. This way, you don’t unintentionally include “bad data” or exclude important information in your report.

As an added bonus to general report functionality, you also have the ability to build and use filters for other related business objects beyond the primary business object of your report. These related business objects have their own set of fields that returns the information needed to the primary business object output, giving you an even closer look at the data in your report.

Step 5: Share Your Report Data

The whole point of running a report is to be able to share the data with stakeholders, right?

Whether you’re running Workday reports to keep track of business process transactions, update employees on the status of their information in the system, or combine multiple different fields to find specific groups of data, being able to share them with others in your organization is an important step in the process.

Workday not only makes it easy to build the report according to your specific reporting criteria, but it also makes getting that information into the right hands a little simpler. After you’ve built the report, you are then able to go into your Workday system and select individual users or whole security groups to share the report with.

Note: You’ll still need to ensure your employees and other stakeholders have the correct security clearance to be able to access the information included in the reports. Sharing the report only means they’ll be able to access the report. If they’re not in the right security group, they still won’t be able to access the actual data found within the report.

What is the Workday Report Writer Tool?

Report Writer is a built-in Workday application that allows users to access real-time data and deliver standard reports that can be customized and copied by authorized users throughout the Workday environment.

The Report Writer offers a formatted document that helps Workday users expand report functionality by using graphs and charts to offer support for day-to-day reporting activities and performance across business units.

The reports generated, delivered, and analyzed with the Workday Report Writer help users in any area of the software or organization understand how Workday organizes report data and use Reporting-as-a-Service (RaaS) functionality and outbound integrations to access important data from the Workday Report Writer wherever and whenever it’s needed.

Key Capabilities of Workday Report Writer

  • Report Column Modifications: Report Writer users can modify fields that will be displayed in the report under the “Columns” tab by using +/- icons to add or remove rows, reorder rows using up and down arrows, selecting fields to display, and more.
  • Prompt Filters: When editing a custom report, Workday customers can leverage Report Writer functionality to enable “Save Parameters” under the “Advanced” tab, enabling themselves to save and reuse these prompt filters every time a report is run.
  • Standard Report Copies: On one hand, you can copy a report by taking related actions from a Standard Report and copying the related action, but, on the other, you can also use the “Copy Standard Report to Custom Report” task in Workday. (Note: Only reports generated with the Workday Report Writer are eligible for copying to a custom report)
  • Report Tags: Report tags are used to categorize and find reports in the Workday system. When a user searches for a report tag name, all reports with associated data will be displayed, and when new reports are needed, Workday users can create new report tags by selecting “Create Report Tag” from the “Report Tags” field.

How Can We Help?

Our senior-level Workday consultants know Workday reporting like nobody’s business and are here to help you move beyond the out-of-the-box solutions.

Whether you need help running Business Process Tracker reports, an extra hand leveraging a detailed compensation summary to improve quality of work, or additional support managing Workday reports across your organization, our team at Surety Systems is here to help.

Check out this example consultant profile to get a better idea of what it’s like to partner with client-side, third-party Workday consultants, like the ones at Surety Systems

Surety Workday Reporting Consultant

  • 8+ years of overall Workday experience, all 8 years engrossed in Reporting as well
  • Extensive experience building Workday custom reports and utilizing Advanced Reporting in PATT work streams
  • Designed and delivered custom composite reports and calculated fields development
  • Experience coming in mid-implementation and building out necessary reports
  • Technical and functional oversight for global Workday HCM system, including Security, Payroll, Benefits, Expenses, HR, and Finance

Interested in learning more about our Workday reporting consultant or other reporting needs?

Contact us today to find out how we can help you.