April 15, 2021

Workday vs. Oracle Cloud HCM: Comparing Two Human Resources Software Giants

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Workday vs. Oracle for human capital management (HCM) is always going to be a difficult comparison. It wasn’t long ago that Oracle took over PeopleSoft to gain a better position in the HR space, forcing the PeopleSoft CEO to leave and start another people-focused ERP company built on cloud technology. Workday is that company.

Workday vs. Oracle HCM Cloud are just two of many full-service business software choices that include a comprehensive human capital management tool. Get recommendations for the best HCM for your medium or enterprise company via our HR Software Product Selection Tool. It only takes five minutes, and we’ll give you a shortlist of the top HR software options for you. Click the image below to get started.

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Oracle is consistently ranked as one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world, but profitability doesn’t always equal innovation. Oracle’s long-standing love affair with on-premise technology made it difficult for the company to pivot to the cloud. Workday was built for the cloud. From its beginning it could push faster updates, it contained better data analytics tools, and it had a more user-friendly user interface. Oracle’s on-premise systems needed extensive modernization to compete with the cloud giants.

Oracle has come a long way since those early days of fighting to keep up with the innovators, and Oracle Cloud HCM is — in part — the result of that struggle. The sleek interface is built on the solid foundation of Oracle’s cloud database offerings. It’s a user-friendly face on powerful data connectivity and tool integrations across business departments. And while Oracle has gained ground in usability, Workday’s innovation has slowed somewhat. That makes these two choices a fairly even match.

At a high level, there’s not much difference between today’s Oracle HCM and Workday HCM. This article details the differences in the human resources management and talent management modules for both systems, and briefly discusses suggestions for a smooth implementation.

Also Read: Workday vs. PeopleSoft

Workday vs. Oracle: an overview

Workday is a cloud database-based human capital management software for medium to enterprise-sized companies. Human resource and talent management modules give CHROs and directors a high-level understanding of how hiring, firing, retention, and individual employee performance drive revenue growth. The cloud infrastructure gives HR employees access to analytics and benchmarks, and the entire system is available via browser or mobile app. Visual workflows and drag-and-drop tools make team reorganizations and big-picture updates fast and easy. Employees can access their performance, benefits, and even recommended learning all from a single interface.

➡️ View Workday product page

Oracle is a software company that builds database-driven business software, including human capital management (HCM) software. The HCM tools include three separate modules for human resource management, talent management, and workforce management. Each of these is available in cloud deployments with browser and mobile interfaces for full service access. The employee interface includes AI-driven action suggestions, company news, and individual and team analytics.

➡️ View Oracle HCM Cloud product page

Workday vs. Oracle: feature comparison

The Workday and Oracle HCM software systems include a wide variety of tools to manage human resources across medium and enterprise businesses. You’ll find many of the same tools in these systems, as they perform essential functions for businesses that know that employees drive their companies.

Human resource management

Human resource management systems in both Workday and Oracle emphasize the financial importance of employees as talent resources and company revenue-drivers. Both tools are built to connect to the company’s revenue and financial databases, brining HR directly into the overall revenue growth model. This helps CFOs and CHROs come together to make financial decisions on all the possible information, without significant retooling and IT input.

Analytics and predictive modeling

Workday analytics on mobile.

Workday’s workforce planning tools give HR leadership insight into the total cost of workforce from a historical perspective. They can use this information to build predictive models that make better use of the company’s human resources. This includes building hiring pipelines and recruiting models, using popular spreadsheet and project management visualizations to drive hiring projects, and get budget approvals in a timeline that works for hiring.

Oracle’s workforce modeling uses the internal data intelligence tools to understand possible hiring and reorganization needs based on potential business situations. The workforce predictions tool uses business intelligence modeling and data visualization tools to bring insights to all the hiring and employment data that companies already make. And these tools are built for HR teams with little coding knowledge, not for data analysts. HR executives can predict high performance and future openings based on individual metrics, giving the HR team a head start for hiring.

Compensation and financial trending

Oracle compensation manager.

Workday and Oracle provide HCM tools that allow corporate leaders to look at human resources within the larger context of the company’s overall financials. This advanced contextual data means executives can make better-informed decisions regarding salaries, hiring, and benefits.

Workday provides industry benchmarks and uses the software’s database analytics to help companies stay competitive in the marketplace and attract top talent. Companies can add compensation incentives like bonuses, awards, and stock options according to custom rules.

Oracle gives executives access to total compensation metrics including base salary, bonuses, and extras. HR teams can control compensation in the administrative portal and design compensation plans based on business strategy.

Benefits and work-life solutions

Workday offers benefits management solutions in the HCM portal. These tools help HR decision-makers understand how enrollments levels and plan offerings affect the overall business financials. Because all of this information is stored in a centralized location, HR teams reduce their reliance on manual audits and lighten their periodic tax reporting work.

Oracle provides a benefits portal for individual employees to sign up for their own benefits, protecting employee privacy and freeing HR pros to complete high-level work. All of the benefits information gets consolidated in the Oracle database, and HR teams can view the cost effectiveness of each benefit plan in dashboards and through advanced reporting tools.

Talent management

Workday and Oracle HCM define talent management differently. Workday uses talent management to define leadership potential, individual skills metrics, and organizational progress toward shared goals. The software has separate modules to manage recruiting, payroll, and employee education. Oracle’s talent management tools include everything along the talent acquisition and retention process including recruiting, compensation, and learning. Although they group the tools in different modules, both systems offer similar tools, so we’ll compare each.


Oracle talent management recruiting.

Workday’s recruiting tools give candidates, recruiters, and HR executives a seamless experience across the tool. Recruiters get a high-level overview of the most important recruitment tasks they need to perform every day and can customize their dashboard with shortcuts to the most important features and tasks.

Workday recruiting connects directly with compensation strategy modules, which streamlines the approval process and gets new hires on-board faster. And with access to performance management tools that pinpoint the most valuable skills and habits of high performers, recruiters can continually iterate and find the best-fit candidates for a changing workforce.

Oracle’s recruiting tools encompass the full employee acquisition cycle from a data-driven and self-service careers site that attracts top candidates to an enterprise onboarding checklist. Split candidates into pools based on skills and keep them all informed with conversational chatbots. And because the recruiting tools run on the Oracle database infrastructure, the entire process is searchable and available for analysis that drives innovation.


Workday offers native payroll for the US, Canada, UK, and France, with connections to other payroll providers to manage global payroll. HR pros can use dashboards that show payroll by groups and individuals to understand overview and drill-down metrics. Direct connections with the recruiting software mean that employee data gets entered once and automatically transfers to payroll. Payments and compensation changes are managed directly in the tool, which gives HR more control and cuts out the IT middle-man.

Oracle’s payroll management comes in the human resources module, while compensation tools are included in the talent management module. These modules work seamlessly with one another, however. The Oracle payroll system includes core payroll features that work for the US, Canada, UK, Mexico, and several Middle Eastern countries. Teams can also control payroll outputs to third party processors within the Oracle cloud, or cut checks directly from the system.


Workday learning.

Workday combines required corporate learning and social-collaborative learning experiences in a single interface. The tools support peer learning, social sharing, quizzes, individual scoring, and content sourced from the Workday Content Cloud to support learning initiatives. And since the learning modules live in the same system with HR and management tools, teams can tie their learning to organizational goals and individual performance management.

Oracle’s learning modules are designed to give managers and individuals the power to create, share, and participate in custom learning experiences. Social and collaborative learning tools bring entire teams together around business goals and organizational priorities. Blended learning across classrooms and online classes makes education interesting and ensures that departements support learners of all types. And HR or managers can set up automated learning experiences to quickly onboard new team members.


Workday is a huge system that takes a long time to implement correctly across a corporation. On top of the customization inherent with a comprehensive system, you need extensive training to understand how to use the system correctly for all of the business parts. Plan on using change management tools and possibly contracting with an outside implementation consultant to ensure that your company takes full advantage of all of the software’s capabilities.

Oracle HCM is similarly complex and difficult to implement correctly. Companies that already use the Oracle databases or ERP software will find implementation is a bit easier as much of their information already lives on Oracle. But companies newly switching to Oracle HCM should consider hiring a third-party consultant to manage the implementation and provide detailed, mandatory training for all employees.

Choosing the right HCM for your business

Human capital management software is complex, especially for medium to enterprise-sized businesses. Make sure you have your organization’s priorities in mind as you look at features.

  • How important is it to have integrated learning solutions in the HCM product
  • Whether you want direct access to financials for compensation and payroll management tools or if you’ll be using a separate financial database
  • What executive functions will benefit from unified financial and human resource management

When you’ve outlined your priorities, you’re better equipped to find an HCM that provides the right module combinations for your needs.

Talking to an advisor can help you better understand which features and tools fit your company’s unique software needs. Our Technology Advisors are here to help you understand the complicated HCM landscape. We can give you a short list of recommended HCM vendors that meet your qualifications. Get started with our HR Product Selection Tool.

Top Human Resources Software Recommendations

1 JazzHR

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Say Goodbye to outdated processes like spreadsheets and inbox recruiting, and Hello to powerful, user-friendly hiring tools designed to streamline your entire candidate-to-employee journey. With JazzHR you can easily post jobs, screen resumes, schedule interviews, collaborate with your team, extend offers and more from one central location. Get started today for as little as $39/month.

Learn more about JazzHR

2 Rippling

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Rippling is the first way for businesses to manage all of their HR, IT, and Finance — payroll, benefits, computers, apps, corporate cards, expenses, and more — in one unified workforce platform. By connecting every business system to one source of truth for employee data, businesses can automate all of the manual work they normally need to do to make employee changes.

Learn more about Rippling

3 Paycor

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Processing routine HR tasks by hand and entering data in multiple systems can be time consuming and risky. That’s why leaders depend on Paycor for a modern, adaptable, and unified system for all things HR. From engaging employee self-service, mobile push notifications and company updates to unlimited workflows, reminders, and notifications, Paycor‘s HR software helps you get out of the weeds so you can focus on bigger priorities like attracting, retaining and developing employees.

Learn more about Paycor

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