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The Workforce Institute Celebrates 15 Years!

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

Believe it or not, this month marks 15 years of The Workforce Institute!

We officially launched in October 2007. Back then, long before the monumental merger that created UKG, we were known as The Workforce Institute at Kronos and led by Joyce Maroney, who served as our first managing director.

As Joyce wrote in our very first article, The Workforce Institute started because, “There are lots of resources available to organizations that focus on white-collar workers, but we don’t see much that addresses the concerns of the hourly workforce. Our hope is to identify actionable advice that can help managers with their entire workforce, not just the knowledge workers that are the principle focus of much that’s written in the human resources arena.”

Providing actionable insights and best practices for both hourly and salaried workers has been our mission from day one, and I’m proud to say we’ve stayed true to that mission — all while evolving with the ever-evolving world of HR.

To commemorate our history, we thought it’d be fun to take a look back and celebrate some of our milestones from over the years. So, without further delay, we hope you enjoy this retrospective!

Our First Article
Welcome to The Workforce Institute! | October 2, 2007
This is the aforementioned first post, written by Joyce, introducing The Workforce Institute and all that we aimed to accomplish. She also introduced our advisory board of expert contributors and practitioners. Little did we know when we first set out just how much we’d accomplish in the years ahead!

Our Most Read Article
The Scientific Method Isn’t Just for Scientists | March 14, 2014
In this article, Sharlyn Lauby, who’s still part of our advisory board today, discusses how leaders can apply the scientific method of investigation to help solve everyday problems in business. Though this article is from eight years ago, it’s still our most popular article to date and remains a favorite among new and longtime subscribers alike.

Our First Podcast
Hourly Workforce Planning: One Size Does Not Fit All | May 12, 2008
Prior to podcasts becoming a prominent source for knowledge, perspectives, and entertainment, we offered our own here at The Workforce Institute. Our first featured a chat with David Creelman, another longtime member of the advisory board who, like Sharlyn, is still part of our board today. He’s joined by Joyce and by former advisory board member Steven Hunt, who wrote the white paper in discussion, “Increasing Hourly Workforce Productivity: Different types of work, different types of workers.”

Our Super-Sized Research
We’ve conducted countless studies and research across a realm of industries over the years, though one of our readers’ favorites has been our Super Bowl Workplace Impact surveys. Kronos actually started this study in 2005, two years before The Workforce Institute launched (as such, we began reporting on the results in 2008). Have you ever noticed a quieter workplace on the Monday after the big game? It’s not you. Our research has regularly shown that millions of people do call in sick or otherwise take time off following Super Bowl Sunday. Even amid the pandemic in 2021, we predicted 16.1 million employees to be sidelined. These absences, whether planned or not, can have real impacts on the workforce and the greater business — something to consider as you make your plans for Super Bowl LVII.

Our Global Expansion
Here at The Workforce Institute, our goal isn’t just to help companies in the United States navigate the workforce. We recognize that HR is global, and what works or what’s happening in one country might vary from another. Thus, we aim to provide diverse perspectives from around the world. Currently, advisory board member Ivonne Vargas reports from México, David Creelman is based in Toronto, Canada, and Natalie Bickford is chief people officer of Sanofi in France. This has been our longtime goal and we’ll continue to bring you global insights and perspectives as we move forward.

Our Books
Not only does The Workforce Institute bring you great, biweekly content, but did you know we’ve also published four books over the years? Our latest is titled “Being Present: A Practical Guide for Transforming the Employee Experience of Your Frontline Workforce” and it remains a critical topic — not only as we saw in the height of the pandemic, but also today, as organizations navigate best practices in caring for frontline workers. The foreword of that book is from Chris Todd, who recently became CEO of UKG. Chris shares an inspiring story about his dad serving as CEO of the YMCA and how it’s informed Chris’s focus on helping employees find purpose at work, which ultimately drives success. I recommend this read, even if you don’t currently manage frontline employees.

Our Social Media Presence
When we first launched, social media was still a fledgling ecosystem. For context, Twitter was still in its infancy, YouTube had only been around for about two years, Facebook was primarily used by college students, and podcasts were just starting to gain widespread popularity. Today, you can connect with The Workforce Institute on LinkedIn and Twitter, and you can listen to episodes of our bimonthly People Purpose Podcast on your favorite device, or watch hosts Chas Fields and Julie Develin talk all things HR on YouTube.

New for 2022 … and Coming in 2023
Fifteen years later, and we’re definitely not coasting, slowing down, or even quiet quitting (though we’ve certainly covered the topic). It’s been a busy 2022 for us. We launched our thought-provoking monthly feature, the Workforce Institute Weigh-In. Our in-house labor market experts, John Frehse and Dave Gilbertson, started the fan-favorite “No Suits, No Slides!” video series (also known as Leadership in the Labor Shortage) to make a little sense of this perplexing, pandemic-fueled economy. We also began delivering a revamped weekly newsletter directly to your email inbox (if you haven’t already, you can subscribe today).

And we’ve got plenty more planned for 2023 — such as new additions to our advisory board of experts, a new social media series, new research across industries, and, of course, a new set of workplace predictions so you know what’s ahead for HR.

Cheers to 15 Years!
To all of our current advisory board members, to Joyce, to Laura, and to all of those who’ve served on our board over the past decade and a half, and to Beth and the incredibly dedicated team who’s worked behind the scenes every day to support our work and bring you expert analysis and perspectives on the latest happenings in HR — I want to say Thank You.

And to our loyal readers, listeners, viewers, and subscribers over the years who’ve made everything we do here at The Workforce Institute possible — Thank You. Whether you’re new to The Workforce Institute, you’ve been a part of our journey since 2007, or you joined us somewhere in between, we’re glad you’re here with us.

Cheers to The Workforce Institute! Congratulations on 15 insightful years, and here’s to many, many more great years together!

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