Both Dayforce and Workday are cloud-based human capital management (HCM) platforms that are designed for large businesses and enterprises. While many of their features overlap, there are also some key differences that set Dayforce and Workday apart from one another. In this guide, we compare and contrast Dayforce vs. Workday to help you make the right choice for your business.

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What is Dayforce?

Dayforce is enterprise-level human capital management software offered by Dayforce, which is why you might sometimes see it called Dayforce. Dayforce encompasses payroll, HR, benefits administration, talent acquisition and management, performance management and workforce management. It can be accessed via a web browser and is also available as iOS and Android apps.

What is Workday?

Workday is a suite of cloud-based enterprise software that encompasses payroll, HR, benefits administration, talent acquisition and management, performance management, workforce management, financial planning and operations planning. It can be accessed via a web browser and is also available as iOS and Android apps.

SEE: Oracle vs Workday: A Comparison of HR Software

Dayforce vs. Workday: Comparison table

FeaturesDayforceWorkday
International payroll160+ countries4 countries
Benefits administrationYesYes
Talent acquisition and managementYesYes
Performance managementYesYes
Workforce managementYesYes
Financial planningNoYes
Operations planningNoYes

Dayforce vs. Workday: Pricing

Dayforce pricing

Dayforce does not currently disclose pricing information on its website. To get a pricing quote, you must contact the sales team. Take a look at our full Dayforce review for more information.

Workday pricing

Workday also doesn’t disclose pricing information on its website right now, so you’ll have to contact the sales team for a quote. Check out our full Workday review for more information.

Dayforce vs. Workday: Feature comparison

Payroll

Winner: Both

Dayforce’s native payroll platform is available in over 160 countries, making it a great choice for international companies. Dayforce uses a single system to track time and administer pay, and pay information automatically updates through the period as time is tracked (Figure A). Employees can also use the prepaid Dayforce Waller debit card to access their wages early if needed.

Figure A

Dayforce uses a single system to track time and administer pay, and pay information automatically updates through the period as time is tracked.
Dayforce uses a single system to track time and administer pay, and pay information automatically updates through the period as time is tracked.

You can run payroll yourself, work with a managed payroll partner or totally outsource it through Workday. However, Workday’s native payroll platform is only available in the US, Canada, the UK and France. If you need to pay employees in other countries, Workday partners with ADP — one of the biggest global payroll providers — so you can still pay international employees through them. Read our ADP review to learn more about its international capabilities.

HR software

Winner: Workday

In Dayforce, employees can use the self-service benefits administration portal to make selections during open enrollment. Compensation management tools ensure that budgets are allocated efficiently, while employee engagement tools help management collect survey responses from workers and turn them into actionable insights.

Workday also provides a whole host of HR software features. Get ready for open enrollment with benefits administration, manage employee raises and bonuses with compensation management and deliver a personalized employee experience with machine learning features. Workday also offers an employee engagement feature called Peakon Employee Voice (Figure B) that helps you gather feedback and retain employees.

Figure B

Workday also offers an employee engagement feature called Peakon Employee Voice.
Workday also offers an employee engagement feature called Peakon Employee Voice.

SEE: SAP vs. Workday: Which Software Is Better for Your Business in 2023?

Talent management

Winner: Dayforce

Dayforce lets candidates create a profile and apply for a job in just five simple steps (Figure C). It also provides screening tools and AI candidate scoring and matching to speed up the hiring process. Once new employees have been onboarded using Dayforce, they can collaborate with their managers to set goals and track their performance on the software. Dayforce also offers the Ideal Talent Marketplace to connect employers with flexible on-demand workers to fill scheduling gaps.

Figure C

Dayforce lets candidates create a profile and apply for a job in just five simple steps.
Dayforce lets candidates create a profile and apply for a job in just five simple steps.

In Workday, you can manage the full talent lifecycle, starting with native recruiting software that helps you boost the quality of your applications, personalize job searches and make the application process easy. Once employees are hired, Workday provides performance management and training tools, like Workday Skills Cloud, to help your workers continually improve.

Workforce management

Winner: Dayforce

With Dayforce, you can use mobile geofencing to track employee’s time, record punch-ins and punch-outs with biometric fingerprint scanning and track attendance patterns over time with reporting insights. Its scheduling tools (Figure D) help managers forecast labor needs, automatically generate a best-fit schedule and share employees across locations or job roles.

Figure D

Dayforce's scheduling tools help managers forecast labor needs, automatically generate a best-fit schedule and share employees across locations or job roles.
Dayforce’s scheduling tools help managers forecast labor needs, automatically generate a best-fit schedule and share employees across locations or job roles.

Workday’s workforce management tools are powered by automation to cut down on repetitive work. Its scheduling tools automatically incorporate new labor laws to ensure compliance. Time and attendance tools let employees clock in and out, trade shifts with coworkers and request time off through the self-service portal.

Financial planning and management

Winner: Workday

Workday has a dedicated financial planning function (Figure E) with embedded AI to improve budgeting and forecasting processes. Its financial management features translate business data into accounting and provide always-on auditing to help you get ahead of issues. Meanwhile, the spend management function incorporates sourcing and procurement information into one system to streamline decision making.

Figure E

Workday has a dedicated financial planning function.
Workday has a dedicated financial planning function.

Since Dayforce is more focused on HCM features exclusively, it does not offer this level of dedicated financial planning and management function.

Operations planning

Winner: Workday

Operations planning (Figure F) is the other core non-HR function that Workday offers besides financial management. Workday covers sales planning, demand and supply planning, project planning and marketing planning to help users make smarter business decisions based on data. Workday also offers some other operational tools, including professional services automation and supply chain management for healthcare.

Figure F

Operations planning in Workday.
Operations planning in Workday.

Similar to financial management, Dayforce does not offer operations planning features, so you’ll need another platform for that.

SEE: Paycom vs Workday: Which Software Is Better for Your Business in 2023?

Dayforce pros and cons

Pros of Dayforce

  • Unique talent marketplace for hiring flexible workers.
  • Excellent reporting and analytics.
  • Payroll available in over 160 countries.
  • Pay information automatically updates as time is tracked.

Cons of Dayforce

  • No transparent pricing or free trial.
  • No specific financial management tools.
  • Customer support can use improvement.
  • System can lag and be slow to load.

Workday pros and cons

Pros of Workday

  • Dedicated financial management tools.
  • Over 600 pre-built integrations.
  • Specific tools available for over a dozen industries.
  • Relatively user-friendly for enterprise software.

Cons of Workday

  • No transparent pricing or free trial.
  • Too complex for smaller businesses.
  • No automatic tax filing like some other payroll services.
  • Need training to master the tool.

Methodology

To compare Dayforce vs. Workday, we considered several features:

  • Payroll.
  • HR.
  • Benefits administration.
  • Talent acquisition and management.
  • Performance management.
  • Workforce management.
  • Financial planning.
  • Operations planning.

We also weighed other factors, such as:

  • User interface design.
  • Customer support.
  • System loading time.

While writing this review, we consulted product documentation, user videos and demo videos.

Should your organization use Dayforce or Workday?

Both Dayforce and Workday are designed with larger businesses in mind. Dayforce is best suited for truly enterprise businesses with 1,000 or more employees that are looking for a comprehensive HCM platform. It is also designed for large businesses, but its ease of use makes it a good fit for companies with 250 or more employees. Either tool will be overwhelming (and likely too expensive) for small or midsize businesses.

Dayforce offers some features that Workday doesn’t, such as the Ideal Talent Marketplace. The same can be said of Workday, however, which offers dedicated financial planning and operations planning tools that Dayforce does not. Dayforce is more focused on HCM features only, while Workday also branches out into these additional functions. If you want one tool that does it all, Workday is the better choice.

Dayforce’s global payroll platform is also available in far more countries — over 160 locations — compared to Workday, which supports only four countries. On the other hand, if you only need payroll in those four countries or don’t mind partnering with ADP for other international countries, Workday might be a good choice for you.

Still not sure if either Dayforce or Workday is a good fit for your needs? See our list of the best payroll software for enterprises to broaden your search.

Other HR solutions

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Stay up to date on the latest in technology with Daily Tech Insider. We bring you news on industry-leading companies, products, and people, as well as highlighted articles, downloads, and top resources. You’ll receive primers on hot tech topics that will help you stay ahead of the game. Delivered Weekdays