Reporting gender identity and sexual orientation in Workday

Penn faculty and staff members now have the option to self-identify their sexual orientation and gender identity in their personal profile.

computer rendering of filling out forms online

In response to concerns raised by faculty and staff about the manner in which information about gender was being collected in Workday, Laura Perna, vice provost for faculty; Joann Mitchell, senior vice president and chief diversity officer; and Jack Heuer, vice president for Human Resources, convened a group of colleagues to work on enhancements.

The working group developed a proposal to allow faculty, staff, postdoctoral trainees, and others on Penn’s payroll to voluntarily self-identify their gender identity and sexual orientation within the constraints of Workday’s current functionality.

After discussing the proposal with the Senate Committee on Faculty Development, Diversity and Equity; the University Council Committee on Diversity; and the LGBTQ Faculty Diversity Working Group, changes were instituted to make the personal profile fields in Workday more inclusive.

Mitchell, Heuer, and Perna, highlight four points regarding the changes.

Providing information regarding your gender identity or sexual orientation is completely voluntary.

Penn faculty and staff members may voluntarily self-report their gender identity or sexual orientation in Workday at any time during their employment at Penn. They may also change that information at any time by following the steps in the Self Service: Modify Your Personal Information tip sheet. As is the case for any other changes to personal information, changes to gender identity and sexual orientation fields become effective when submitted.

Penn acknowledges the limitations of having only two options in Workday for sex, but the binary format (female or male) is necessary to meet federal and state reporting requirements.

“We recognize that some people may wish to select multiple options or write in a description of their gender identity or sexual orientation,” Perna says. “We will continue to work with others to urge Workday to make the necessary changes.”

Information provided by individuals is private.

Only faculty or staff may change the fields regarding their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. The individual may add, change, or delete the values in the gender identity and sexual orientation fields at any time. To update the sex field, an individual must contact their school, center, or departmental HR administrator. Only a small group of senior University-level Workday administrators and designated Human Resources representatives who are trained on data confidentiality will have access to gender identity or sexual orientation information for individual faculty and staff.

“The aggregate data collected will be used to report on the diversity of Penn’s faculty and staff more fully and to assist in identifying initiatives that support the University’s aim of inclusive excellence,” says Mitchell.

Aggregate data regarding sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation may be used by University to advance its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

The University’s administration may use this information for policy development, benefits administration, and other institutional planning initiatives. It may also use the information for administrative research, analysis, and reporting on diversity at Penn at an aggregate, de-identified level.

“Penn is committed to providing a safe and inclusive work environment. These changes are one small and important step to demonstrate our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” says Mitchell.

More information about the options available and how they were developed.

An FAQ was developed to respond to the questions most frequently asked during the consultative process. The FAQ can be found in the Guidance for Reporting Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in Workday.

“As the functionality in Workday evolves, we will revisit and revise the options available for faculty and staff,” says Heuer.

While there was unanimous agreement among the advisory groups consulted that this was an important first step, it was also agreed that more needed to be done. This is also an opportune time to ensure that all of the information in one’s personal profile is up to date, including home address, phone number, and emergency contact information.