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Unlocking Workday Accounts: Troubleshooting & Best Practices

Reco Security Experts
July 10, 2024
July 10, 2024

Understanding account lockouts and resolving them efficiently is crucial. Whether caused by multiple failed login attempts or security protocols, knowing how to lock/unlock a workday account can save time and reduce disruptions as an IT Administrator. This blog explains the common reasons behind account lockouts and offers practical solutions to help you regain access quickly so you can get back to work without unnecessary delays. 

Understanding Why Your Account Might Be Locked

Knowing why your Workday account could get locked before delving into the options is useful. Common reasons include:

  • Multiple Failed Login Attempts: Multiple incorrect password entries may result in a lockout. This is the most frequent offender. Everyone has made a mistaken password entry quickly, but Workday raises the security alert after a set amount of failed tries.
  • Password Expiration: If you haven't updated your password within the required timeframe, your account may be locked for security reasons.
  • Security Protocols: Workday takes precautionary security steps. Businesses could have stringent security protocols that lock accounts immediately following suspicious behavior if they notice odd login attempts (such as someone attempting to get in from a nation you've never visited). 

Locking and Unlocking Workday Accounts

You can lock Workday accounts to prevent specific users from signing in to Workday and updating data. You can also restore access for users that you’ve locked out. You can't regain access for users that Workday has locked out due to excessive failed sign-in attempts. Workday automatically prevents you from locking or unlocking your own account or any account you don't have access to. These steps only apply to Workday accounts, which Workday manages.

Case Scenarios for Workday Account Locking and Unlocking

1. Case Scenario of Workday Account Lockout Due to Phishing Attack

Sarah, an HR manager, is on a three-week vacation and wants to temporarily suspend access to her Workday account to ensure data security during her absence. Before leaving for vacation, Sarah notifies her IT department or Workday administrator about her request to temporarily lock her account. Sarah explained that she wanted to secure sensitive HR information and prevent unauthorized access while she was away.

The IT department or Workday administrator accesses the Workday system and implements a temporary lock on Sarah's account, which is explained below step by step.


i. Access the Manage Workday Accounts task as Workday Administrator.

ii. As you complete this task, the following options will appear in the workday accounts portion. Consider:

Option Description
Select All Locks or unlocks all Workday accounts.
Include Selected Workday Accounts Locks or unlocks the Workday accounts that you specify.
Exclude Selected Workday Accounts Locks or unlocks every Workday account except the ones you choose. Workday adds the Workday user for any external sites, such as Workday Recruiting or Student, to this exclusion list if you allow them for your tenancy.

iii. Now we will select Lock Workday Accounts in action and add Sarah in Include Selected Workday Accounts shown below.

The above screenshot shows the steps to lock Sarah's account in the Workday Account.

They confirmed with Sarah that her account would be locked for three weeks and made sure she understood that she wouldn't have access during this time. While her account is locked, extra security measures, like monitoring account activity and ensuring other team members have the access they need, are implemented. Sarah is also informed about the steps to unlock her account when she returns, which usually involves contacting IT support or following specific instructions from the administrator. 

Note: Users can't access Workday when you've locked their accounts. Workday emails users with locked accounts when they try to sign in.

Now, to unlock the account, we will follow the same procedure, but we will change the lock to unlock, as shown below.

The above screenshot shows the steps for unlocking Sarah’s Workday Account.

This scenario shows how individuals can take charge of their account security by temporarily locking their Workday accounts when needed. By working with IT and following the established procedures, Sarah can protect her data and have peace of mind during her absence.

2. Case Scenario of Workday Account Lockout Due to Multiple Login Attempts

Mike, a finance analyst at a large corporation, uses Workday daily to manage financial reports and budgets. One morning, he finds himself locked out of his Workday account after multiple failed login attempts. Each time he tries to log in, he mistakenly enters the wrong password, receiving an error message indicating the password is incorrect. After the fifth failed attempt, Mike sees a notification on the login screen stating that his account has been locked due to these multiple failed attempts.

Mike contacts the IT department or the Workday administrator to request that his account be unlocked. The IT department accesses the Workday system and follows a step-by-step process to unlock Mike's account.


i. Access the Manage Workday Accounts task as Workday Administrator.

ii. Now we will select Unlock Workday Accounts in action and add Mike in Include Selected Workday Accounts shown below.

The above screenshot shows the steps to unlock Mike’s account in Workday.

After unlocking his account, Mike checks his email and finds a link to the "Forgot Password" page. He clicks the link, answers his security questions, and follows the prompts to reset his password. Once he successfully resets his password, Mike logs into his Workday account without any further issues.


Getting locked out of your Workday account can be both inconvenient and stressful. This often happens due to multiple failed login attempts, expired passwords, or security protocols to protect sensitive data.

To regain access, you can check your email for instructions, use the "Forgot Password" feature to reset your password, or contact IT support for help. Taking preventive measures can help avoid future lockouts. Creating strong passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication, and educating about phishing threats are all crucial steps. Following these guidelines can quickly resolve lockouts and keep your Workday account secure.

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