Workday HCM vs. ADP Workforce Now: Compare Core HRMS Capabilities and More

Note: ADP sells a variety of payroll and HR solutions targeted to company sizes: ADP RUN (for small businesses), ADP Workforce Now (for mid-sized and large businesses) and ADP Vantage (for large, multinational U.S.-based companies). This comparison post will focus on ADP Workforce Now.

Workday HCM and ADP Workforce Now are two human resource management systems (HRMS) that are targeted to mid-sized and large organizations. Each software solution has a unified platform for handling all tasks within the employee lifecycle.

Here, we compare both solutions on several factors.

What is the Difference Between Workday HCM and ADP Workforce Now?

  • Workday offers HCM, financial and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, while ADP Workforce Now is primarily a HRMS software company that integrates with third-party ERP software.
  • Although both vendors require custom quotes, ADP Workforce Now displays general pricing information on its site.
  • Workday and ADP Workforce Now have similar features. But each vendor offers customers specific features that the other doesn’t (e.g., Workday has standard on-demand pay feature, ADP Workforce Now has native integration with ZipRecruiter).

Product Overviews

The following excerpts from our Workday HCM and ADP Workforce Now reviews summarize each software solution:

Workday HCM

Workday HCM is a cloud-based all-in-one package intended for mid-size and large organizations with global employees. It includes all of the essential HR functions in one system, so companies won’t need to purchase multiple software solutions. Workday HCM also streamlines manual tasks, so HR staff can focus on strategy and other initiatives.

ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now is a human capital management (HCM) system that’s specifically designed for mid-sized and large companies. As it’s a unified platform, administrators won’t need to worry about manual data entry, which allows them to focus on critical parts of their jobs. Workforce Now is also customizable to an organization’s specific needs.

One additional benefit of Workforce Now is that it has error-detection features and notifies the user of mistakes, ensuring data is accurate. It also integrates with many third-party applications.

Features Comparisons

Recruiting/Talent Acquisition

Workday HCM

Workday’s Recruiting solution has a personalized hub that lets recruiters access important tasks from a single screen. It streamlines hiring tasks with automated workflows, such as sending mass emails to applicants or moving candidates forward in the recruiting pipeline. Workday Recruiting integrates with social media platforms, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Outlook and Gmail for easier job posting, interview scheduling and collaboration.

Companies can set up a custom career site and allow applicants to submit resumes directly to them. The software’s machine learning capability captures specific data points (e.g., keywords on skills or experience) from an applicant’s resume and then provides recommendations of specific jobs the applicant can put in for. In addition, applicants can get real-time updates on their applications and pick from a schedule of times for interview slots. Other Workday Recruiting features include job sourcing and requisitions, referrals and endorsements, offer management and onboarding.

ADP Workforce Now

Companies can set up a custom career website that includes job postings, messages and relevant company information for internal and external applicants. ADP Workforce Now has built-in integration with ZipRecruiter, so recruiters can easily find an unlimited number of candidates. ZipRecruiter’s matching technology identifies the best candidates for a specific job and encourages them to apply. Recruiters can post jobs to social media networks, too.

Additional talent acquisition features include mobile and text communications, job requisitions, candidates talent communities, interview scheduling and offer management. Finally, ADP Workforce Now has a separate onboarding feature that includes new hire workflows, I-9 processing, dashboards, reminders and an office map.

Bottom Line

Workday doesn’t integrate with ZipRecruiter, while ZipRecruiter is embedded within ADP Workforce Now.


Workday HCM

Workday HCM supports multiple payroll calculations and flexible earnings and deductions. It also allows companies to run payroll for their locations within the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and France, but companies in other countries would need to access Workday’s Cloud Connect for Third-Party Payroll. Workday partners with other third-party payroll companies, so users can use the local payroll service in their desired country, yet still access payroll data via Workday HCM.

The software monitors changes within the federal, state and local tax structures and automatically updates those changes, so companies stay in compliance. Users can also monitor any tax changes via their dashboard.

Within Workday HCM, employees can see their paystubs, make changes to their withholding elections and access tax documents. Finally, there’s the Pay On-Demand feature that lets employees receive their pay if their needs arise outside of the normal pay cycle.

ADP Workforce Now

The Payroll & Tax modules include many features, such as payroll processing, tax filing, new-hire reporting, error detection alerts, a general ledger interface, employee self-service and online standard reports. ADP offers a wage garnishment processing service that deducts garnishments from employees’ paychecks and tracks any legal changes. Companies with global payroll needs can integrate ADP Workforce Now with the ADP Celergo payroll solution.

Bottom Line

Both software solutions have robust payroll functionality. However, Workday has an on-demand pay feature available, while this feature is only available via a third-party integration (e.g., DailyPay) in ADP Workforce Now. In addition, Workday supports payroll for some countries, but ADP Workforce Now clients can look into the ADP Celergo software for global payroll.


Workday HCM

Companies can manage their benefits plan with Workday’s benefits solution, which links to a variety of health insurance, retirement and other providers via its Cloud Connect for Benefits. The Cloud Connect for Benefits include a pre-built integration catalog with over 300 providers, and it automatically takes employee information data from Workday HCM to reduce manual entry. It also automatically updates any change in employee status – all the user has to do is schedule the updates. There’s also the Affordable Care Act (ACA) dashboard, where users can monitor key benefits details to stay in compliance like the number of full-time employees or the number of employees enrolled in benefits programs.

ADP Workforce Now

The Benefits Administration add-on feature includes a benefits plan creation wizard, online enrollment management, automated COBRA notifications, Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting and employee self-service. Workforce Now also lets a company’s accountant or insurance broker access the module. Companies can optionally add on automated file sharing with insurance carriers, retirement services and property insurance.

Bottom Line

Both vendors provide robust benefits administration features, but ADP offers direct access to group health insurance, retirement plans and business insurance through its affiliate partner, Automatic Data Processing Insurance Agency, Inc.

Time and Attendance

Workday HCM

The Workday Time Tracking solution includes real-time calculations, automated mass approvals and exceptions, and configurable time and attendance compliance rules. Employees can clock in and out via the web or their mobile devices as the software includes geofencing capability that captures time accurately. They can also get clock-in/clock-out reminders and submit time-off requests by text or voice. Managers can approve all time requests for their team at once, and they can also monitor labor trends with the dashboard and reporting feature.

ADP Workforce Now

With the ADP mobile app, employees can record their time, see their schedules and submit time-off requests. ADP Workforce Now’s Workforce Management solution integrates with Outlook, so time collection data syncs between the two solutions. Users can also set up automated workflows, such as alerts, exceptions, overtime calculations and time-off approvals. Additional features include local and country-specific requirements, custom team dashboards and predictive analytics for workforce staffing plans.

Bottom Line

Workday and ADP Workforce Now have similar features, especially capturing time by mobile devices with geofencing capability.

Reporting and Analytics

Workday HCM

The Workday People Analytics solution provides insights in six key areas: key performance indicators (KPIs), diversity and inclusion, organization composition (e.g., head count), retention and attrition, hiring and talent, and performance. It uses machine learning to search through the data and provide insights through stories. Users can drill down into the data for further analysis, compare current and historical data side by side for context and save data as a slide for collaboration.

ADP Workforce Now

Most of the Workforce Now solutions include built-in reporting (e.g., payroll reports), but we want to specifically note the add-on Insights solution with advanced analytics features. Insights includes standard reporting templates, but users can also build their own report with a drag-and-drop interface. In addition, Insights uses artificial intelligence to search through data and then sends analyses to users via email or the ADP mobile app. Finally, the solution has optional benchmarking features for comparing a company’s performance against the market on a variety of workforce metrics (e.g., demographics, compensation, turnover). Users can also set up their retention strategy with the Turnover Probability Explorer and identify pay gaps with the Pay Equity Explorer.

Bottom Line

While both vendors have robust analytics features, the benchmarking functionality is offered to Workday customers at no additional cost, while it’s an add-on feature for ADP Workforce Now.

Download Vendor Comparison Guide


Workday HCM

Workday doesn’t publicly release its pricing information. Contact the vendor directly for a quote.

ADP Workforce Now

ADP Workforce Now has three pricing tiers:

  • Essentials – The Essentials tier includes features, such as payroll, tax management, onboarding, digital record keeping and other advanced HR features (e.g., compliance reporting, guided new hire and termination workflows, employee self-service).
  • Enhanced – The Enhanced tier includes all of the features of the Essentials tier, plus benefits administration.
  • Premium – The Premium tier includes all of the features of the other two tiers, plus workforce management.

ADP offers these optional features for all three tiers: the HR Assist tool, talent acquisition, performance management, compensation management, advanced analytics and learning management. ADP doesn’t display prices for each tier, so prospects will have to contact the vendor for a quote.

Bottom Line

Both vendors don’t publicly display their pricing. Instead, prospective customers will need to get a custom quote. They should also keep in mind that additional costs, such as implementation, may need to be factored into the price quote.

Customer Support

Workday HCM

Workday’s support team, Workday Support, provides answers and resolutions to questions or issues. The customer can submit a request via the online Workday Customer Center. They’ll then receive a case number and a confirmation email, as well as status updates. The request then gets routed to the appropriate customer service representative.

In addition, customers can access Workday Community to see product documentation, get information on new features and communicate with other customers.

Workday also offers premium support via its subscription-based Success Plans. There are three tiers:

Enhanced – The Enhanced tier includes feature release reviews, on-demand training tutorials, 10% discount on Workday Customer Enablement Services, registration fee waiver for the Workday Pro event, alignment meetings, feature adoption planning, an Ask the Expert and other services.

Guided – The Guided tier includes all of the features of the Enhanced tier, plus a 20% discount on Workday Customer Enablement Services, working sessions on support models framework, an additional standard implementation tenant, a governance plan and a Feature Accelerator (self-guided materials with personalized coaching).

Guided with Elevated Support – The Guided with Elevated Support tier includes all of the features of the Guided tier, plus an incident management specialist, operational reviews, Service Level Agreement (SLA) reviews and system health insights.

ADP Workforce Now

ADP offers different support sites for employees and client administrators. The employee support site has several resources, including answers to common questions, guides on troubleshooting year-end form issues, and phone numbers and links for issues related to payroll or benefits. The client administrator support site has similar content, but specifically targets administrative issues.

Clients can also work with the Professional Services team on implementation, integration and optimization services. Some of those services include a tailored implementation plan, cloud migration, application program interface (API) integration, temporary payroll support, best practices on benefits enrollment and other events, and HR change management initiatives (e.g., parental leave, new leadership).

Bottom Line

While both vendors provide similar types of support, Workday has a community forum, while ADP doesn’t. (Instead, it’s offered by a third-party partner.) Also, Workday offers premium support, while ADP doesn’t.

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