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Workday Systems & Programs Lead

At Northwestern Mutual, we are strong, innovative and growing. We invest in our people. We care and make a positive difference.

The  Workday Systems & Programs Lead  plays an integral role connecting HR COEs with our Workday Systems team to lead enhancements, configuration, projects, and testing. A vital link between these two parties, the Systems Strategist will lead prioritization, requirements-gathering, change management, and the translation of functional needs to technical requirements. The person in this role will also review configuration and business processes to identify gaps and provide consultation on optimization. This role uses business acuity, user experience data, customer feedback, and technological expertise to drive the optimized performance of Workday.

On the HR Systems team, we love all things data, tools, and processes. We prioritize the user and customer experience. We use data to guide and inform our business decisions while remaining open to experimentation and iteration. Unsatisfied with what is, we are continuously questioning if something could be better, embracing diverse and entrepreneurial thought processes. We believe in encouraging a positive working environment of empowerment, inclusion, and engagement while coaching and mentoring new leaders within the organization.

Outcomes driven by this role:

  • Optimized configuration and smooth operation of Workday, within assigned modules. Analyzes configuration and compares to desired functionality to diagnose gaps, roadblocks, and inefficiencies; acts as design lead.
  • Successful prioritization of large-scale COE-Workday projects, both within the COE and across COEs, aligned to overall HR strategy. Effective prioritization of work on ad hoc requests, logged defects, needed reports, and security/access tickets.
  • Clear and detailed documentation of functional requirements, creation of project plans, management of testing plans, organizational change and socialization initiatives.
  • Nurtured relationships with key HR partners to understand strategic roadmaps as well as emergent needs; management of both expectations and work to deliver solutions on time and within resource constraints.
  • Pre- and post-launch end-user support, creation of job aids and training materials, maintenance of reference documentation for configuration and enhancements.
  • Close links with business partners. Understands the key business drivers as they relate to the projects. Works in tandem with business partners, remaining flexible on internal processes, and ensuring that the key issues of cost, time, scope and above all, client satisfaction, can be realized.
  • Clarity on definition of success. Explains information and persuades others; optimally interacts, negotiates and influences project teams and business partners towards solutions and results.
  • Partner alignment. Acts as a liaison to facilitate an understanding and partnership between business clients. Owns the resources and vendors assigned to their projects by verifying progress and removing obstacles.

Our most successful candidates will have:

  • Experience in one or more HR disciplines (e.g. Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Compensation, Time and Attendance, Core HR, etc.) to provide expertise and context on functional standard methodologies
  • Experience in Workday system configuration, at least at a Functional Admin level, in order to advise partners on Workday capabilities, limitations, and delivered functionality
  • Ability to translate functional requirements to technical language and vice versa. Experience facilitating discussions to bring technical and functional groups to consensus and common understanding.
  • Experience solving configuration and integration issues through root-cause analysis, deep understanding of cross-stream and down-stream impacts, and independent testing
  • A need to get things done, a proven drive, ownership, and accountability; organization and project management skills
  • Strong “storytelling” skills with ability to demonstrate, influence and negotiate.
  • Resourcefulness and a knack for navigating challenges independently; the ability to handle conflict and difficult partners, strong prioritization skills, and excellent customer-service orientation



This job is not covered by the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Required Certifications:

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We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.


We’re excited about the potential people bring to Northwestern Mutual. You can grow your career here while enjoying first-class perks, benefits, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.