Today's post comes to us from the executive director of The Workforce Institute, Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

This past Friday was an exciting day for the more than 12,000 employees of Kronos Incorporated and Ultimate Software (you may remember hearing about the merger of the two companies back in February) as we officially announced our new combined company name: UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group). You can see a launch video and read the press release here.

As anyone who has ever been through a merger knows, there is a certain amount of uncertainty as the companies come together, and having a name we can all identify with and rally around feels really good. The name will become official on October 1st and there will be more to come on how The Workforce Institute's brand and look may change to align with UKG.

One thing that won't change at The Workforce Institute is our focus on helping organizations drive performance by addressing human capital management issues that affect both hourly and salaried employees. This has been our mission for the last 13+ years and we're as committed as ever to it. Through primary research and the insights of our spectacular external board of advisors we plan to continue to focus on empowering organizations with practical ideas for optimizing the 21st century workplace. In fact, UKG's new tagline, “Our purpose is our people”, squares nicely with where The Workforce Institute's priorities have always been.

I hope that over the next thirteen years and beyond, we will continue to hold your interest as we talk about the issues that are affecting workers and how to make your workplace and your career better. I've always loved the Socrates quote, “The unexamined life is not worth living” and I think it applies to our work lives as well. Rather than just going through the motions day-to-day, we should always be looking at what we can do better and how we can make a positive impact on our co-workers and organizations.

I look forward to continuing this learning journey with you, our board and our new UKG family!

Today's post is courtesy of Joyce Maroney, executive director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos.

When Labor Day weekend passes in the US, it marks the official end of summer.  Even if the hot weather continues, it's not long until the days grow shorter, and it can feel like work consumes more of your week.  Even if you enjoy your job, you may spend more time on it than you'd like.  Especially on those days when you work all day and don't feel you've accomplished as much as you needed to.

Recently, we asked workers around the world about their attitudes toward their jobs and their managers.  We collected data from over 2700 employees in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S.  On September 4th, we released the results from the first part of this research, related to how workers are spending their time at work.

We found that even though most workers (75 percent) say they have enough time in the workday to finish their work, nearly two in five (37 percent) work more than 40 hours each week and 71 percent claim work interferes with their personal lives.

If people generally have enough time to get their jobs done, why are they working overtime - even to the point of getting burned out?  

Even though 71 percent of workers accomplish what they want to at work every day or almost every day, three in four employees (79 percent) suffer from at least some burnout at work.  Unreasonable workload (26 percent) was the top reason cited for burnout, followed by “not enough time in the day to get job done” (25 percent); lack of skilled co-workers (24 percent); a negative workplace culture / toxic team (24 percent); and unfair compensation (21 percent).

More than half of all employees worldwide (53 percent) feel pressure to work longer hours or pick up extra shifts to grow their career - yet oftentimes that pressure comes from within. Of those who feel pressure to work longer, 60 percent put pressure on themselves while the rest say that pressure comes solely from their managers.

What are people spending time on at work?

When asked what they spend the majority of their workday doing, individual contributors (56 percent) and people managers (28 percent) both listed servicing customers as their top task.  The next highest-rated workday tasks for individual contributors include collaborating with co-workers (42 percent), administrative work (35 percent), manual labor (33 percent), and responding to emails (31 percent), while people managers list attending meetings (27 percent), administrative work (27 percent), collaborating with co-workers (26 percent), and responding to emails (26 percent) as the top ways they spend their workday.

How much time isn't contributing to meeting their objectives? 

Almost nine out of 10 employees (86 percent) say they lose time each day on work-specific tasks unrelated to their core job, with 41 percent of full-time employees wasting more than an hour a day on these extraneous activities. Additionally, 40 percent of employees say they lose an hour-plus each day on administrative tasks that do not drive value for their organization.

“Fixing a problem not caused by me” (22 percent) and administrative work (17 percent) were the top two answers given by full-time employees when asked what they waste the most time on at work. Meetings (12 percent), email (11 percent), and customer issues (11 percent) round out the top five time-wasters.

So what about that shorter work week?

Our respondents would spend less time at work if they could.  One-third of employees (35 percent) would take a 20 percent pay-cut to work one day less per week.  According to this recent New York Times article, A 4-Day Workweek? A Test Run Shows a Surprising Resultthere have been multiple successful trials of shorter work weeks that led to happier employees without a loss of productivity.  The comments on this article are as interesting as the article itself, ranging from those who'd work no other way to business owners who say they can't make it work.   

One interesting finding in our research is that despite their legislated 35-hour work week,  42 percent of French respondents said they'd take a 20% pay cut in return for a 4-day work week.  

What can organizations do to achieve their productivity goals without burning out employees?

Managers are the first line of defense when it comes to 1) ensuring employees are clear on their priorities and 2) monitoring whether they are reaching a point of burnout.  Our respondents indicated that they are putting more pressure on themselves than they are experiencing from their managers.

Leaders and managers need to remove obstacles to productivity where they can.  Our respondents say they spend a significant amount of time doing work that doesn't contribute to meeting their objectives.  Prior research we conducted revealed that organizations may undermine their employees' productivity through outdated attitudes and policies. It's not unusual for systems and processes to outlive their usefulness in any workplace.  It's important to revisit how work is getting done on a regular basis and challenge whether there is a better way.

It's obvious not all employees are the same when it comes to their needs for work life balance and those needs can change over time.  For managers willing to explore creative solutions that will work for their team, there are longstanding, practices out there to help workers achieve the balance they need such as compressed work weeks, job sharing, self-scheduling, etc.

 

 

Kronos has a long track record of building our business by creating satisfied and loyal customers.  As this most recent press release concerning our Q2 financial performance confirms, our growth has been consistently strong, even as we've transitioned our technology to the cloud, expanded globally and earned numerous awards for our culture.  It's hard to accelerate growth, product innovationemployee experience, and customer satisfaction simultaneously, but that's what Kronos has done - by design.

As is the case with the development of our technology, we continually assess and refine our customer service strategy.  On the customer satisfaction front, we've recently received significant recognition.  For the 18th consecutive year, Kronos was awarded the Omega Northface award for excellent customer support.  In addition, our vice president of global customer success, Jennifer Dearman, was recognized on the Mindtouch annual list of the Top 100 Customer Success Strategists.

Recently, I sat down with Jennifer and vice president of global professional services Kristina Lengyel to talk about what it takes to meet and exceed customer expectations while delivering sophisticated technology solutions.  As Kristina said during our conversation, "Customers are purchasing an experience"; i.e. our job is just starting when we implement the products.  Especially since we've moved to software as a service as our primary model, our customers expect that we'll lead them to better results in their organizations while alleviating them of the burden of managing that software.

We talked about how Kristina and Jennifer have worked hard to collaborate across Kronos in order to develop trusted relationships with our clients that accelerate their realization of value from the investments they make in Kronos.  Knocking down organizational siloes is never easy, but these two have led the way on many fronts.

You can learn a lot more about what it takes to exceed at customer satisfaction by listening in our our conversation below.

 

 

 

 

 

Here at Kronos, we recently achieved a terrific milestone that we'd been pursuing for a while - we made the list of the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For.  This list is based on a combination of survey responses from more than 315,000 employees rating their workplace culture, as well as an extremely detailed culture audit of employee policies, benefits, values, professional development opportunities, recognition programs, communication processes, community involvement, and more.

This type of recognition doesn't happen by accident.  Commenting on this award, our CEO Aron Ain said “Since 2010 we've seen more than a 20-point increase in our global employee engagement scores thanks to continuous and focused investments in our people and practices. Over that same time, Kronos global revenue has doubled. That's not a coincidence. We cannot deliver innovative products or deliver great services to our customers without having great people. Having a culture steeped in trust, transparency, and caring brings out the best in us all, and I'm beyond proud of what our Kronite family accomplishes together every single day.”

That our CEO has this level of belief in the importance of employee experience at Kronos provides support for a wide range of investments that our organization has made to attract great people and to ensure they want to stay and build their careers here.  According to the Great Place to Work research of Kronos employees, 94 percent of Kronites are proud to work at Kronos; 96 percent laud the company for great communication; and 95 percent of Kronites agree they have a great boss.

We know that our people managers are critical to our success, and have invested in their development via our Manager Effectiveness Index program.  If you are attending the 2018 Great Place to Work Summit in San Francisco March 7-9, you can attend a session by Kronos Chief People Officer David Almeda and Vice President of Talent Management Kim Nugent to learn about how they developed this program.

You can also learn more about how Kronos creates and maintains our WorkInspired culture from the following posts at the Workforce Institute:

Kronos Case Study: Implementing Unlimited Vacation

Podcast: One Mom's Extreme Flexibility Story

Podcast: Tips from Glassdoor CEO Aron Ain

 

 

 

 

 

Today we hosted a tweet chat to discuss the implications of our 2018 predictions.  We were joined by a number of our board members, as well as guest tweeters with an interest in workplace issues.  Following are the questions we posed to our participants.  You can see the full transcript of our conversation below.

Today's post is courtesy of Claire Richardson, director of the Workforce Institute Europe.

U.K. workers are not delivering - at least compared to their European counterparts. They are simply less productive at work: Brits spend more work time on social media, take more work home with them, and sleep fewer hours than the leading European nations according to new research from the Workforce Institute Europe at Kronos Incorporated. The study of more than 3,000 full-time workers across Germany, France, and the U.K. found that this trend is poised to continue, with younger generations less able to regulate their working lives in the face of new technology and changing working practices.

The research shows significant differences in the way U.K., German, and French workers operate, and a close correlation between an Always On relationship with technology and lower productivity. To halt the consistent decline in U.K. productivity, all industries need to take a close look at the way we work with technology and develop a tailored and flexible strategy that helps our workers balance work and life according to how they work best. Technology has a key role to play in improving productivity, and our role as employers is to provide the workforce with the skills they need to become empowered, not less productive, by technology. The Workforce Institute Europe will continue to collaborate with experts in this field to set the agenda for the workplace of the future.

Research Highlights:

One of our Board members, Kronos Chief People Officer David Almeda, has just published an article on the Great Place to Work website titled “5 Tips to Improve Manager Effectiveness at Your Company”.

The piece looks at Dave and his team's commitment at Kronos to the mantra that every employee deserves a great manager. Saying this is one thing, but Dave and his team are providing more than just lip service. They have launched a Manager Effectiveness Index, or MEI, using data to validate the powerful link between manager behavior, employee engagement, performance and retention.

Check out Dave's article here.

It also goes without saying that great HR programs like these don't happen in a vacuum. As I've blogged and podcasted about in the past, a commitment to great managers comes from the very top at Kronos and you can read more about our CEO's commitment to this idea in this New York Times column from a year ago.

What do you think makes a great manager? How about a terrible one? Let us know in the comments…

In recent weeks, our outstanding CEO Aron Ain has been getting a lot of public recognition for his great performance.  He was once again recognized by Glassdoor as a top CEO - with a 96% approval rating from Kronos employees.   Of the 700,000 companies reviewed on Glassdoor, the average CEO approval rating is 67 percent.

Aron Ain has been CEO at Kronos since 2005.  During the 12 years of his leadership,  Kronos has grown from $518.7 million in annual revenue to  a $1.261 billion company; has expanded its worldwide employee base from 2,900 to 5,200 Kronites; and employee engagement scores have risen dramatically to 87 percent today, which includes a three percent boost from 2016 to 2017 alone.  Aron has also been honored for his commitment to employee engagement, innovation, and overall Kronos success by being named the inaugural Ray Stata Leadership and Innovation Award winner from the Massachusetts High Technology Council as well as CEO of the Year by MassTLC.

All of the above are impressive accomplishments.  What any Kronite would tell you, though, is that what's most important is his genuine concern for every employee.  He trusts us to do our jobs, and we trust him in return.  If you'd like to hear from the man himself, have a listen to this short radio interview from earlier in June.  And if all of this makes you want to work for Aron and Kronos, you'll find our job postings here.

To hear from Aron about what he thinks makes an effective leader, you can listen to this recent radio interview.

In the finale episode of "1 in One Hundred Million," see how Paul found his rhythm as a cymbal maker to the stars:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac2WhbJ0VjY]

Like many musicians, Paul was waiting for his big break. When it didn't come quick enough, his parents urged him to get a day job - so he headed to Zildjian Cymbals to put his passion to work. His first day on the job wasn't exactly a dream come true, though - “the first day,” he recalls, “I literally swept the factory floor.”

Fast forward 28 years to today, and Paul knows cymbal-making inside out. He creates cymbals that bring the world's top drummers' distinctive sounds to life - in fact, he's something of a cymbal-maker to the stars: Journey's Steve Smith, Aerosmith's Joey Kramer, Santana's Dennis Chambers, and hundreds more top artists swear by his cymbals.

Click here to view the entire award-winning series of "1 in One Hundred Million." 

I'm proud to announce that our Chief Executive Officer Aron Ain was named CEO of the Year by the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC).  The MassTLC Technology Leadership Awards program is the Commonwealth's most prestigious honor for technology companies, innovators, and leaders. The Awards Gala brought together more than 800 of the region's top tech innovators to network and celebrate the area's best leaders, companies, and technologies. Winning companies were selected from hundreds of nominations and judged by panels of executives, investors, analysts, media, and thought leaders in 16 categories.

Aron has spent the entirety of his 37-year career at Kronos, starting as one of the company's first employees in 1979, working his way up through the ranks and playing a role in nearly every functional department at Kronos.  Since taking over as CEO in 2005, he has been the driving force in building Kronos into a $1.1 billion global cloud company with more than 30,000 customers in over 100 countries around the world. More than 40 million people use a Kronos solution every day.  The MassTLC 2016 CEO of the Year award closely follows a number of other accolades Ain and Kronos have received connected to the company's WorkInspired culture.  Aron was named to Glassdoor's Highest Rated CEO list, ranking as one of the highest-rated CEOs at large organizations in the U.S. - and top 10 in information technology - based solely on employee reviews.

The Boston Business Journal once again named Kronos a Best Place to Work, ranking the company #2 overall - and as the top technology employer - within the extra-large category of companies in Massachusetts.  Kronos won Great Place to Work® Institute honors this year in Australia, Canada, and India and is Certified as a Great Place to Work® in the U.S.

How does Aron manage to balance great business results with the cultural investments required to earn recognition as a great place to work? He never forgets that the people of Kronos drive the results.  When he is praised for the company's track record, he'll immediately flip the focus to the team of 5000 Kronites around the world who are making things happen for our customers every day.  In the photo above, he's serving lunch during our annual Thanksgiving celebration.  I love this picture because it exemplifies Aron's humility.  In a The New York Times Corner Office column titled, “The Incalculable Value of a Good Boss” Aron is quoted as saying "Leading and managing people is a privilege."  And because he really believes that, his employees want to work even harder for him.

If you want to hear more from the man himself, you can listen in on an interview I did with him this year by clicking the link below.  We talk about why Aron considers the Kronos culture to be a strategic weapon.  If you take a few minute to listen, you'll know why I gleefully passed my 10 year anniversary at Kronos recently.  When the CEO walks the talk, it makes all the difference in the world.

Today, Kronos held our annual Employee Appreciation Picnic at our headquarters in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Every summer, this event is a fun and much anticipated way for Kronites to come together, eat delicious food, play games, and simply hang out outside of the office. The location also couldn't be more convenient: the picnic is held right in our building's back parking lot!

Picnic1

This year's event featured food trucks (Taco Party and Captain Marden's), Ben & Jerry's ice cream, lawn games, a mechanical bull, and some incredible raffle prizes - including gift cards to the spa, Lowe's, and Starbucks, as well as Oakley and Tiffany sunglasses, an Amazon Echo, a Nutri Ninja Blender, a Callaway Golf Bag, a FitBit, and a yoga set.

Picnic3

This yearly event helps to not only bring Kronites together to have a good time, but also serves as an important reminder about how much their hard work is appreciated. The event is also during work hours, allowing Kronites to not miss time at home with their families.

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Kronos offers their employees a breadth of healthy living benefits, and the activities at our annual picnic only echo our commitment to health and wellness. A basketball tournament, corn hole, and football were just a few of the games that helped to encourage employees to get out of their seats and be active. The raffle prizes we gave away also inspire a healthy, fun lifestyle.

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To see all of the photos from today's celebration, check out our Facebook album.

Thanks to all Kronos employees for attending this year's picnic!

Last Thursday, Kronos held its second annual 5K walk/run in Chelmsford, Massachusetts (home to our headquarters). Participation was complimentary and open to all Kronos employees and their families.

Kronos5K3

Our now-annual 5K is a great way to get Kronites outside and active together - whether you're an experienced runner or you'd just prefer to walk the 3.1-mile loop.

Kronos5K2

Leading up to the event, we held a Desk to 5K program for anyone who wanted to get fully prepared for the race. (It's Kronos' version of the popular Couch to 5K program). In addition to engaging employees, this program also successfully increased participants' endurance for race day.

Kronos5K1

Although the 5K is a great incentive to get Kronites active and engaged, we're lucky that it's only one element to Kronos' breadth of healthy living benefits. From our on-site, fully-equipped gyms to the Quit for Life program to Weight Watchers discounts (to name a few), Kronites throughout the world are constantly encouraged to live healthy, happy lives - inside and outside of work. (To see all the photos from this year's 5K, visit Kronos' Facebook page).

What are your tips for staying healthy - and active - inside and outside of work?

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