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Butte County, CA modernizes operations with Workday

About Butte County:

  • Industry: Government
  • Headquarters: Oroville, California
  • Workforce: 2,500 employees

Butte County was incorporated as one of California's 27 original counties on February 18, 1850. The county lies along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada range, covering roughly 1,677 square miles in north-central California. Over the years, it has evolved into a vital hub for agriculture and its gold mining heritage. 

Today, Butte County stands as a beacon of responsible governance, serving over 207,000 residents with a dedicated workforce of 2,500 employees. As a prominent government entity in the region, Butte County plays a pivotal role in meeting the diverse needs of its citizens. To maintain its trajectory of progress and adapt to the evolving landscape, county leaders recognized the need for transformation. The backbone of their operations, a decades-old legacy system, had served them for years, but it was time for a renewal.

Key takeaways:

  • The transition to Workday lays a robust foundation for future growth, positioning Butte County to confidently embrace new challenges and opportunities, ensuring continued progress.

  • Workday's implementation brings greater transparency to the government entity, enabling real-time monitoring of crucial aspects and providing user-friendly self-service options that foster increased employee satisfaction and engagement.

  • The adoption of Workday streamlines operations and improves collaboration across various county departments, demonstrating a commitment to operational efficiency and integrated teamwork.

  • The strategic partnership with Alight and Workday aligns with a long-term vision for efficiency, sustainability, and the delivery of exceptional services to those they serve.

Minimizing disruption in journey to self-sufficiency

Butte County had squeezed out every ounce of value from its 35-year-old legacy system. The platform had exceeded its intended lifespan, and the vendor was going out of business — leaving the county without any support options. Their existing systems had limited functionality and self-service capabilities. Because of that, various county departments were using secondary systems to track lower-level accounting, such as grants, projects and programs. In addition, a significant portion of Butte County’s reporting process involved exporting data to Excel and manually formatting it outside of the legacy system. It was clearly time for a change, but the transition to a new, modernized system involved a lot more than simply flipping a switch. Butte County wanted an integrated system for payroll, time keeping, accounting and benefits management — one that provided a single source of truth and data-driven decision-making while enabling seamless integration with third-party providers. Their top priority was to minimize disruption and ensure the continuity of service to their citizens.

Optimizing Workday for improved accountability and future growth

To address the challenge of outdated systems and pave the way for future growth, Butte County zeroed-in on Workday and worked with the deployment experts at Alight to get the new system up and running on a quick timeline. The collaborative effort focused on a multi-faceted solution to modernize operations and empower the county's dedicated workforce.

Identifying needs and priorities

The team started with creating a master list of processes to clarify what was working and what wasn’t. By creating a master list of workflows, the team gained a clear understanding of what was working efficiently and where improvements were needed. They defined what the finished state should be and what would constitute success, ensuring a smooth and seamless transition to the new system.

A disciplined and phased approach   

To minimize disruption to ongoing operations, the team intentionally started small and targeted the mission-critical processes as their highest priority for transitioning to the new system. After “getting the lights on” with those core processes, they then targeted the “nice-to-haves” that paved the way to wider transformation. 


Butte County’s story is a compelling illustration of good governance at work. Thanks to a disciplined, well-conceived transition plan, the county is now up and running with a Workday solution to help them modernize operations, yielding many benefits like:

  • Greater transparency within processes and the ability to monitor items such as invoice status and approvals in real time.

  • Smoother integration with external providers like CalPERS, the state's public pension fund, and reducing its errors by 93% and cutting the time spent on corrections by more than 50% providing more accurate and reliable payroll and benefit processes.

  • Streamlined operations by consolidating time and payroll into a single system, achieving a remarkable 98% reduction in hours spent on annual reports after Workday implementation, from 400 working hours to a mere five hours.

  • Data-driven decision making and improved accountability with county taxpayers, regulators and stakeholders.

  • More efficient and streamlined processes, with a 31% decrease in overall daily support requests, and an impressive 75% reduction in HR support requests.

With Workday’s state-of-the-art, fully integrated system for payroll, time keeping, accounting and benefits management, the county has also achieved remarkable success in streamlining state report generation. They have introduced user-friendly self-service for their workforce in areas such as W-2 and pay slip distribution, as well as benefits access — all of which has proven to be highly intuitive and efficient. These features have significantly enhanced efficiency and employee satisfaction.

What’s next:

In the aftermath of the successful implementation, Butte County utilized Alight AMS for extended stabilization. This collaboration included aligned resources and support through the first two releases post-go-live. After successfully transitioning through the critical initial phase of the Workday implementation, Butte County achieved a significant milestone in their journey towards self-sufficiency and long-term operational stability.

Start the transformation

State-of-the-art HR, payroll and planning capabilities from Workday and Alight give agencies the cutting-edge capabilities needed to attract, retain and nurture talent while fulfilling the agency mission. Our combined public sector domain expertise helps ensure seamless navigation of new-era challenges from private employers and uphold the role as steward of public trust and tax dollars. 

For more on the advantages of this unique partnership between two industry leaders, visit Alight's page

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