Harnessing the power of talent delivers high-quality services, believes Kiveshen Moodley
Workday’s new country manager says this personal philosophy is perfectly aligned with the business’s.
by Jane Steinecker
In October 2021, longstanding CFO South Africa partner Workday appointed Kiveshen Moodley as its new country manager in South Africa, replacing Zuko Mdwaba. Since his appointment, Kiveshen has been responsible for leading the company's South African operation and has been instrumental in the company's growth in the region. CFO South Africa caught up with Kiveshen to find out who the man is behind this growth.
Tell us about yourself and your background?
First, I am a family man. I’ve been married for just over 10 years and my wife, who is an anaesthesiologist, is my pillar of strength. Together, we have a six-year-old son, and my family is important to me. I grew up in a small town in Durban called Umkomaas, which is on the lower South Coast, in a family of five: two sisters and my parents.
My sister passed away recently. That has been very tough for me. She was a huge inspiration in my life. She was also an HR practitioner for over 20 years.
How do your work and personality align with Workday?
I believe in values. And I've always stuck to family values. Workday has a culture that believes in very strong values as well. That's what resonates very strongly with me.
There is also a fun side to me. One of the core values of Workday is having fun. I remind everyone as often as I can that fun is the core value of Workday.
Like my late sister, I also feel strongly about coaching and mentoring and that is brought into practice at work every day.
What is your work and management style?
I’m a planner, and quite a structured person in everything that I do. I’m quite meticulous in terms of knowing what’s taking place in my personal life, having a lot of structure. And that seems to have come through in my work-life integration as well.
I believe in goal setting, having a vision and sticking to it. Many years ago, I got into the habit of having a long-term vision for myself, knowing where I wanted to be in five or 10 years. And that’s something that has stayed with me. Recently, I presented a similar approach to the Workday South African team as part of our all hands meeting.
The last 18 months have been quite challenging as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact. The one thing that I've enforced with the team is that we know it’s a tough climate, we know that it’s challenging, but every day, we have control over what we can control. I’m a firm believer in controlling the controllables. And I’ve asked the team to look at every day and think of a few goals that they want to achieve. Those mini goals, when achieved, equate to small wins.
Where did your love for technology come from?
My dad worked in the oil and gas industry for close to 30 years during apartheid – a very tough era. He was not given the opportunity to become computer literate. When I was about nine or 10 years old, a lot of my family and friends had a lot of these cool computer games like Nintendo, but we honestly couldn’t afford it.
My father took a very different path. He bought a X286 computer and for many years he paid it off. He brought home the manuals used to teach computer literacy to employees at work. I took his work material, I studied it at night and after school, and I learned how to program in DOS and BASIC, which sparked my passion for technology.
What attracted you to Workday?
I was very intrigued during my interview process in 2018. I met many successful people who have worked for similar companies to me, but wanted to find a better balance between work and family life.
Throughout my employment within Workday, that still stands true. One of Workday’s key philosophies is that we put employees at the centre. And we believe that happy employees lead to happy customers. This is completely true of Workday’s DNA in terms of our values and how we run the business.
I also could not believe how intuitive the Workday app was, and how rich it was in terms of accessing your data. Recently we announced that we now have 600,000 reviews of the Workday app on the iTunes Store, highlighting the pedigree of our app.
The company’s previous country manager, Zuko Mdwaba, who started the South African Workday operation, was a big part of building this culture that we are fortunate to enjoy today. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to work with, and learn from him, and to now be trusted to build on his work, which has created a platform for Workday to grow in South Africa.