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In today’s dynamic business landscape, the quest for the most efficient human capital management software often leads to the same debate: Ceridian vs. Workday. These software platforms have raised the bar by enhancing the employee experience, bolstering basic HR functions, and redefining the realm of performance and talent management. 

In this article, we’ll try to resolve the Ceridian vs. Workday debate. Our exploration delves deep into the capabilities of each, shedding light on their unique offerings and helping you make a pivotal decision for your organisation. Dive into our comprehensive comparison of these two industry-leading HCM solutions.

What Is Ceridian Dayforce?

Ceridian Dayforce, a dominant force in the human capital management software market, transforms the employee experience. With its cloud-based application, it consolidates HR, payroll, benefits, workforce management, and talent management

Key features such as embedded document management and workforce costing stand out, while the distinctive Dayforce Wallet allows real-time pay access, enhancing payroll management across the workforce.

What Is Workday HCM?

Workday was launched in 2005 and has since become a leader in the enterprise cloud applications sector, particularly in the areas of finance and human resources. Workday HCM, which is used by thousands of companies, has numerous tools for managing human resources processes, such as recruiting and onboarding new workers and processing payroll. 

Its effectiveness is not only limited to human resources but now extends to areas such as finance, in particular budgeting and reporting. Workday’s integration capabilities with over 600 third-party software tools further bolster its reputation.

Key Features that Will Be Compared

We will compare and contrast the two systems, focusing on key differences and similarities in areas ranging from fundamental HR capabilities to cutting-edge tools such as predictive analytics. 

Drawing from diverse resources such as customer interviews, our consultant experiences, and product documentation, our aim is to paint a holistic picture of both vendors to support your purchasing decisions.

Our Feature Comparison Criteria

  • Employee Management and Experience: Comparing lifecycle approaches vs. self-service functionalities
  • Performance Management: How they assist in gauging and enhancing employee contributions.
  • Payroll Management: Unveiling native platforms, affiliations, and unique offerings.
  • Talent Management: Instruments that foster recruitment, onboarding, and talent nurturing
  • Global Compliance: Insights into their compliance features
  • Predictive Analytics: Analysing the infusion of AI and machine learning for insights
  • Workforce Management: Exploring automation, time tracking, and scheduling proficiencies
  • Employee Engagement: Tools dedicated to employee satisfaction and feedback mechanisms

Product Feature Comparison:

Employee Management and Experience

  • Workday HCM: Highlights the entire employee lifecycle, from hiring to retirement.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Prioritises employee self-service, allowing employees and managers to manage multiple professional tasks, from vacation to selecting benefits.

Performance Management

  • Workday HCM: Offers comprehensive feedback, goal-setting, and skill gap analysis using Workday Skills Cloud.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Emphasises real-time feedback, AI-driven analytics, and collaborative goal-setting aligned with business objectives.

Payroll Management

  • Workday HCM: Native payroll is limited to the US, Canada, the UK, and France. For global payroll needs, it partners with ADP.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: To date, Ceridian has expanded its native payroll platform to over 160 countries. It uses a unified system for time tracking and pay administration. Also, it offers the Dayforce Wallet, allowing early wage access.

Continuous Payroll Calculation

  • Workday HCM: Does not inherently offer continuous payroll calculation. However, with periodic processing, employers can view calculated pay at any point.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: One of its standout features is continuous payroll calculation, allowing for real-time visibility into employee earnings.

Talent Management

  • Workday HCM: Manages the complete talent lifecycle, with native recruiting software, performance management, and training tools like the Workday Skills Cloud.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Simplifies candidate experience and offers AI-driven tools for recruitment. Post-onboarding, it facilitates collaboration on goal setting and performance tracking and has the ideal Talent Marketplace for flexible staffing.

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Global Compliance

  • Workday HCM: Has a strong focus on global compliance, frequently updating for changes in local labour laws and financial requirements across various countries.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: emphasises real-time compliance, ensuring businesses remain updated with evolving regulations.

Predictive Analytics

  • Workday HCM: Features Workday People Analytics, which leverages augmented analytics and machine learning to glean workforce insights.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Although it has potent analytics, it hasn’t prioritised machine learning-driven predictive analytics as much as Workday. According to a recent report, this is set to change in 2024, as part of their latest updates.

Workforce Management

  • Workday HCM: Leverages automation for scheduling while staying compliant with labour laws. Its self-service portal facilitates time tracking and shift changes.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Uses mobile geofencing and biometric fingerprint scans to provide insights into attendance patterns. Its advanced scheduling tools forecast labour requirements and ensure optimal staffing.

Employee Engagement

  • Workday HCM: Utilizes “Workday Peakon Employee Voice,” an AI-driven tool, to gather extensive insights on employee engagement. It facilitates creating surveys, offers predictive turnover reports, and fosters managerial development.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Prioritises real-time employee feedback, promoting active communication and understanding between management and staff.


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Non-HR Features

Beyond a simple feature comparison, here are the non-HR aspects that will be contrasted to give you a broad picture of each solution. 

Non-HR Feature Criteria

  • Integration capabilities: The ability to seamlessly integrate data
  • Architecture: Architectural design of the platform, environment, and tenants
  • User Interface and Experience: The ability to reduce training due to intuitive design 
  • Ease of Customization: The ability to scale the solution to a business’s unique needs
  • Feature Quality: Consider whether or not the product is simple to use, well-designed, trustworthy, and effective at performing its intended function before making a purchase
  • Product Strategy and Innovation: The ability to adapt to market change and emerging trends
  • Ease of Implementation: The ability to implement the solution without unnecessary disruption 
  • Ease of IT Administration: Indicating whether or not internal IT teams can fix problems and make configurations quickly and effectively.

Non-HR Features Comparison

Integration Capabilities

  • Workday HCM: Utilises the Workday Cloud Platform for custom integrations and extending the application.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: While it emphasises minimising integrations due to its single application design, it still offers solid API capabilities for required external system integration.


  • Workday HCM: Built on a single application, ensuring seamless inter-module operations relying on integrations for modules outside the scope, such as non UK, US, Canada, and France 
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Also designed as a single application, emphasising real-time data access and eliminating integration challenges. Three tenants are available as standard to accommodate a build, test, and production deployment strategy.

User Interface and Experience

  • Workday HCM: Features a modern, intuitive, and mobile-responsive UI. The system is designed around the core principle of keeping the user experience consistent across all modules.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Offers a real-time system, meaning every module is updated in real-time. This ensures the most recent data is always available across all functionalities.

Ease of Customization

  • Workday HCM: This platform is highly flexible and offers a more cloud-centric approach. It allows for a lot of customization, especially for larger enterprises with unique requirements.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Dayforce, known for a robust feature set, offers decent customization options that can be tailored to suit specific industries and business needs.

Feature Quality

  • Workday HCM: Features are user-friendly, well-organized, and designed for a modern enterprise. Its intuitive design aids in its effectiveness.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: The features are robust and reliable, but there might be a slight learning curve for new users, which is to be expected with any new software. The platform is designed with a focus on real-time data processing.

Product Strategy and Innovation

  • Workday HCM: Has a strong history of innovation and often leads the way in incorporating new tech trends. Their product strategy is forward-looking, with a focus on cloud, machine learning, and adaptability.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Continues to evolve, with regular updates. Their focus is often on improving existing features and expanding their solution’s capabilities, with generative AI and Machine Learning being a central focus for the upcoming release this year.

Ease of Implementation

  • Workday HCM: Although the implementation is comprehensive, their cloud-centric model simplifies the process. The level of complexity and duration still depend on the organization’s size and needs.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Implementation can be complex depending on the business’s unique requirements, which is almost certainly the case when implementing a payroll solution. A structured approach and third-party SI assistance is needed to deliver a smooth implementation.

Ease of IT Administration

  • Workday HCM: Due to its cloud-based and modular architecture, IT administration is relatively straightforward. The platform provides tools and resources for IT teams to manage configurations and troubleshoot effectively in-house or with external application management support.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Moderate difficulty in IT administration, especially for highly customised applications. As is commonly the case, there is a compromise between customised solutions that meet your exact business requirements and maintenance. However, with proper training, internal teams can manage this effectively.


  • Workday HCM: The number of users, the chosen modules, and the length of the contract all affect licencing costs.
  • Ceridian Dayforce: Similarly, as with Workday and all SaaS Cloud solutions, monthly costs vary based on selected modules, features, and user count.

Note: Implementation costs for both vendors are a separate one-off expense and are dependent upon the SI partner selected, the project duration, and the modules chosen. Although choosing to implement alone you will need the support of certified application engineers.

Organisation Size

  • Workday HCM: is tailored for the most significant enterprises – from multinational corporations to educational establishments and government bodies. 
  • Ceridian Dayforce: While Dayforce was built with the needs of companies with more than a thousand workers in mind, its adaptability makes it suitable for companies with as few as a hundred workers. 

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Ceridian vs. Workday – Making the Right Choice

Both Ceridian Dayforce and Workday HCM are highly regarded as two of the best HCM software options available. Features like the Dayforce Wallet and instantaneous payroll calculations are just the tip of Ceridian Dayforce’s broader, all-encompassing iceberg of functionality. 

Workday HCM, on the other hand, has been around for a while and focuses on a full suite for workforce management, from hiring to retirement, complete with integrative flexibility and impressive third-party software integration.

Ultimately, there isn’t one answer to the Ceridian vs. Workday discussion – your decision should be based on the size, needs, and objectives of your organisation. Larger enterprises may find Workday’s robust offerings and global reach compelling, while Ceridian Dayforce might resonate with businesses prioritising real-time data access, multi-country payroll, and a versatile employee experience.

Aside from the HCM’s features, cost, and ability to scale with your business, the most important consideration should be how well it fits in with your overall business goals. Ensure a thorough assessment, considering both HR and non-HR features, and always keep future scalability and adaptability in mind. Both platforms are top contenders, and your decision will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of work for your organisation.


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Marcus Dasilva is the Managing Partner and Head of HR Technology at BaseLinked. He has worked as an HR technology expert for 25 years. Marcus leads the technology and automation practice, specializing in helping organizations digitally transform HR. His mission is to drive business value and efficiency through HR innovation in an ever-changing environment.
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