Talent Management

Smackdown: Workday vs Successfactors

Published by in Talent Management

“Option one… Or option two… One… Or two… One… Or two?”

Don’t you hate it when you’ve been staring at two extremely similar things for so long that you can’t tell the difference anymore? That’s what buying software can feel like for sure. Like a bad vision test that never ends, with higher stakes.

So if you find yourself stuck in a one vs. two dilemma, allow me to help you bring it into focus. Here I’ll break down two of the giants of the talent management software world to show you the nuance between Workday and Successfactors.

So what’s the real difference? Read on.


Rated 4 of 5 stars by over 50 reviewers, Workday is a popular software that’s out here trying to do it all. Workday includes recruiting, payroll, time tracking, absence tracking, benefits, compensation, overall talent management, and even a rudimentary learning management system. You expect any full-coverage talent management suite to offer a lot, but the inclusiveness and willingness to merge finances and human resources looks particularly well thought out.


  • Super-robust reporting
  • Cloud-based, so you can access it anywhere, at any time. They also have a mobile app, and have tablet-optimization, if tablets are your jam.
  • Workday can claim a 99.9% uptime rate in the last two years.


  • Their pricing is by quote only. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Hard to say, but the added mystery can be a turnoff for first-time buyers.
  • Reviews describe a learning curve while you figure out how to navigate such a robust system
  • Some reviews suggest that Workday drops the ATS ball while trying to do it all (see below)

What they say:

“Workday was founded on a disruptive idea: to put people at the center of enterprise software. Now, over a decade later, we still deliver on that idea every day.”

What reviewers say:

“As an employee, I like how accessible my compensation information is. It is also very easy to read, with details presently clearly and nicely.”

“It’s extremely easy to use and very user-friendly. Anything you’re looking for can be accessed within 2-4 clicks and the page is never crowded with too much information. In 2015, our company moved to Workday to house employee performance goals and reviews. This tool has the option to conduct reviews of direct reports and also has the ability to collect reviews from direct reports about their direct managers. There’s an awesome audit trail as well as approval process. All changes are tracked and it’s good that this tool allows the option for dual acknowledgement of year-end reviews (from the employee and their direct manager). Would highly recommend for companies of all sizes.”

“The offer stage is the hardest thing, it’s like threading a needle multiple times. As a recruiter for ten years the last thing you want to struggle on is getting an offer letter to a candidate, you work hard enough just to get them there and now you have to deal with software issues? I had to ask several candidates to reapply after getting the offer.”

“The user experience is amongst the worst I’ve seen for ATS’. The tool is definitely not intuitive and it is not easy to manipulate unless you have a team dedicated to it.”

Want to contribute? Review Workday HERE!


Rated 4 out of 5 stars by over 45 reviewers, SuccessFactors is neck-and-neck with Workday in terms of popularity. SuccessFactors comes complete with an ATS, onboarding, performance management, compensation, basic LMS functionality… close to anything you need to hire an employee, train them up, and help them stick around.


  • Starts at $7.50 per month per user, making it very accessible for small businesses on a budget.
  • Are you not an English-speaking company? Or are you a global company that has multiple languages represented? Never fear! SuccessFactors is offered by default in seven languages, no special requests, modifications, or Google Translate required.
  • Super-attractive, sleek design doesn’t feel too much like a 90s Office program.


  • While reporting is robust, reviews indicate that that means long load times, and users find themselves pining for an export option.
  • Managers will find a ton of options, but those who aren’t benefitting from reporting might not love the user experience.
  • The customization options make it hard to get timely help from the support team.

What they say:

“Only SAP SuccessFactors provides a complete, recruit-to-retire solution across all talent processes, and comprehensive content such as skills and competency libraries, job descriptions, goal catalogs, as well as legal and coaching content.”

What reviewers say:

“It is critical for all employees to have clear direction…vision, values, group goals, functional goals. SuccessFactors helps us manage all of this. The workflows are awesome allowing you to set up each stage of the process and release…Goal Setting, Goal Review/Acknowledgement, Mid-year Assessment, Annual Review. Each job role has core competencies, functional competencies and then overall performance targets. Weighting system is awesome, personnel calibration and round tables is great.”

“This is a good solution if you can be flexible with your process. Do not over-customize if you ever want help from support again!”

“I’ve used SuccessFactors for a few years now within my company and it is a convenient way to manage employees and to complete an evaluation on specific goals. The system makes it easy to locate information from prior years and to update or add new goals as things change. It is a helpful HR tool.”

“Overall SuccessFactors has great performance management software tools – creating goals, tracking performance, compensation, recruitment, etc. My only suggestion is building in how-to-use instructions directly into the tool to make it more user friendly.”

Want to contribute? Review SuccessFactors HERE!

Workday vs Successfactors: what’s the bottom line?

I hate to be that person who refuses to make a call, but Workday and Successfactors are both solid, full-service talent management options, so which one you prefer is going to come down to company size and needs. If you really need finances merged with talent management, go for Workday. If that’s not as much of an issue as hiring, go for SuccessFactors.

If cost has you hung up, take the time to contact Workday and see what they quote you. $7.50 per user is a great price for a small company, but adds up fast once you expand into larger companies.

A quick word to anyone looking into talent management software for the first time: That do-it-all approach isn’t what every company needs, particularly if you’re small or already in love with an existing ATS, payroll, or time tracking software. Don’t feel the need to get one massive package if all you need is one aspect!

Who wins for you? Got a strong opinion? Leave me a comment below and tell me if you’re on team Workday or team SuccessFactors. Subscribe to my mailing list and follow me on Twitter @CapterraHalden to see talent management new, tech, and updates every week.

Looking for Talent Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Talent Management software solutions.

About the Author

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen is a former Capterra analyst.


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