Posted on Tuesday, November 28th, 2023 at 1:03 PM
Stacia Garr and I attended the UKG Aspire conference in Las Vegas from November 6-8, 2023. It was the biggest conference the company has ever hosted, with over 4,000 customers and 1,500 partners and analysts in attendance.
CEO Chris Todd opened with impressive growth figures: $4.3 billion in total revenue, $881 million in bookings, and 1,000+ new employees in Q4 2023. The two-day event was filled with insightful updates from the executive team, offering a valuable glimpse into the company's vision for the upcoming year. Below is the TL;DR for this event. You can also check out our road reports from the company’s analyst sessions in Spring 2023 and Fall 2022.
- A strong commitment to making companies great places to work. UKG acquired the Great Place To Work (GPTW) Institute in 2021 and has been working to integrate the capabilities into its technology and service offerings. This year, the company announced the availability of the GPTW Hub – a single unified place for UKG and GPTW data – in all of their products.
- Doubling down on user experience and community. The company highlighted its continued investments in simplifying its products, improving the user experience, and driving user experience by providing a single unified mobile application for its users, launching a benefits hub for employees, and providing connectors for users to build custom codes.
- Entering and expanding into new and adjacent markets. The company has moved up on the SMB front and is providing UKG Ready suite to companies with up to 500 employees. It also announced a new product, UKG One View for Global Pay, and a new partnership with Eightfold.ai.
A strong commitment to making companies great places to work
The keynote sessions and analyst sessions focused heavily on UKG’s purpose of helping organizations become great places to work for all through people-centric HR technology (Figure 1). There are 2 main ways UKG is trying to do that.
- GPTW Hub: The company announced the availability of the UKG Great Place to Work (GPTW) Hub to all UKG Pro customers. The Hub is GenAI-powered, and leverages UKG and GPTW data, including Trust Index benchmarks, best practices, and insights. It is able to offer insights into a company’s culture as well as identify areas that need to be improved and recommend specific actions and behaviors based on GPTW leadership model. The company plans to launch GPTW Hub for Ready in H1 2024.
Figure 1: A snapshot of UKG Great Place to Work Hub | Source: UKG 2023
- UKG Bryte: The company announced the launch of its AI assistant, called Bryte, as part of its UKG Pro suite. Bryte provides a unified solution for access to UKG Flex People Fabric, which is the underlying AI and machine learning that pull together insights and provides recommendations and nudges based on UKG and GPTW data, which itself is layered on top of Google’s Vertex large language model, which allows the technology to scale easily. The company envisions the technology being used for both task automation and operational improvement and overall talent and leadership development (Figure 2). Bryte will be available for UKG Ready customers in H1 2024.
Figure 2: A snapshot of UKG Bryte AI | Source: UKG 2023
The investment in GPTW hub area strongly aligns with UKG’s goal to develop better leaders and is the most comprehensive and clear messaging we have seen so far. While the company has been leveraging its GPTW product as a differentiator ever since its acquisition, the integration of the hub into UKG Pro and the brand is firmly established now.
It’s interesting to see how this has led to a slight shift in UKG’s messaging. While in 2022, the company identified its people-first suite as its leading differentiator, it now sees the one-of-a-kind data from its GPTW hub as the leading differentiator. Although their human-centric approach continues to be a value driver, the company is right in leading with something that truly sets them apart from other HCM providers. The integration of the GPTW hub into UKG Pro solidifies this position, emphasizing its unique data as a leading differentiator.
The description of how UKG plans to enable their customers to use AI technology represents some of the clearest thinking around usage that we have seen so far. The idea of using it not just for job descriptions and interview guides (which comprise most use cases currently) but also for leadership behavior nudges, career pathing, and frontline worker insights reflects that UKG is thinking more broadly about how to use AI to transform practices, not just make them more efficient. The challenge will be in not just getting companies to adopt the technology for these high business value and impact cases at scale but also in the right manner. A good way to do this would be for UKG to share their own learnings as they test and build these capabilities. Chris Todd shared that internally, the leadership is already encouraging UKG employees to use these capabilities to help them manage their workload, and as a result, avoid burnout.
Doubling down on user experience and community
The company has invested over $2 billion in customer experience over the last 3 years. There were several announcements that underscored the company’s commitment to unification, simplification, and an improved user experience:
- Unified mobile application: UKG announced a new mobile application for the Pro suite, which allows users to access all the information from the Workforce Management product and Pro HCM in one unified place. The application will provide a consistent experience to all users, regardless of whether they need to run payroll, manage schedules, or take any other HR action (Figure 3).
Figure 3: A snapshot of UKG's new mobile app | Source: UKG 2023
- Low-code/no-code premium connectors and templates. These are provided for mutual UKG Pro and Microsoft Power Platform customers. These connectors will make it easy and simple for users to create their own custom applications and configure workflows as per their needs.
- UKG Pro Benefits Hub. A new product that makes it easy for employees to access all the information regarding their benefits in one place (Figure 4). The product includes a comparison tool for employees and a feature that shows the impact of selected benefits on their income.
Figure 4: A snapshot of UKG Pro Benefits Hub | Source: UKG 2023
- Continued investment in the community portal. Launched in 2023, the community portal was an important addition for the company, especially since its biggest competitors (Workday and Ceridian) already had established community portals as part of their platforms. This year we saw that the community has grown into an active and valuable place used by over 2000 customers and partners to ask questions, share knowledge, and access classes and courses for free (Figure 5).
Figure 5: A snapshot of UKG's Community Portal | Source: UKG 2023
UKG has been on the simplification and unification journey for a while. It is the persistent focus that made the Ultimate and Kronos merger a success and turned UKG into its own brand. With the continued development of new products and acquisitions, the investments made in simplifying the experience for the user will be crucial in long-term adoption. The low-code/no-code connectors, in particular, can help expand usage among power users.
The unified mobile application will ensure accessibility and consistency for customers while low-code/no-code connectors will empower customization, and the Benefits Hub will simplify benefits management, collectively contributing to more efficient and user-friendly HR practices.
Entering and expanding into new and adjacent markets
A couple of announcements highlighted this.
- Expansion of UKG Ready into smaller markets. During the Spring event, UKG announced the official availability of UKG Ready product for clients of up to 500 employees (it used to target customers with only 250 employees). The product is now directly sold to companies with 75-500 employees. For companies with less than 75 employees, the product is available via resellers and partners (Figure 6). To push further into the small-sized market (SMB), the company has changed its marketing strategy for the product to go directly after the market and has hired over 100 sales representatives to drive its efforts.
Figure 6: An overview of UKG suites | Source: UKG 2023
- Multinational payroll via UKG One View. The company announced the launch of a new product, UKG One View for Global Pay. The product is the outcome of the Immedis acquisition earlier this year and provides a unified view of a company’s payroll across the globe. Through UKG One View, HR can run payroll anywhere in the world in any currency and continue working with their preferred payroll provider through the product, thus helping the company expand its customer base across the globe. The product is currently available to UKG Pro customers and will be made available to UKG Ready customers in mid-2024.
Figure 7: A snapshot of UKG One View | Source: UKG 2023
- Partnerships. The company announced the integration of UKG Pro suite with Eightfold.ai, a skills-based talent acquisition vendor (Figure 8). The partnership will allow data from UKG Pro to flow into Eightfold.ai and allow customers to hire high-performing talent from a wider talent pool based on their needs. UKG also announced a partnership with PayPal which will allow customers to create PayPal account from within UKG HCM and receive their anticipated salary two days in advance.
Figure 8: A snapshot of UKG's partnership with Eightfold | Source: UKG 2023
The fall conference season firmly established the trend that we had long seen coming – multiple partnerships between HR tech vendors. UKG’s partnership with Eightfold.ai will be useful for customers interested in skills-based hiring.
The UKG One View product is also a smart move as it will help massively ease the multi-country payroll experience for HR leaders. We think it will be particularly beneficial for smaller companies with lean HR teams and global offices dealing with different payroll providers.
Overall, these developments collectively position UKG as a vendor focused on expanding its market reach by simplifying global payroll processes and forming strategic partnerships to enhance talent acquisition and financial services for its clients. They should lead to a more comprehensive and globally accessible suite of HR and workforce management solutions for a diverse range of businesses.
Overall, it was a very informative and well-designed conference. We greatly appreciated the opportunity to spend 2 days with UKG’s leadership and ask them questions about their challenges, vision, and product future. UKG has made significant investments in its HCM suites over the last few years. We are excited to see the company continue to innovate and look forward to particularly hearing more about how it will leverage GenAI for the benefit of its customers in the new year.
Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2023 at 10:53 AM
People analytics has served as a crucial tool for many leaders to navigate the uncertainty of the past few years. Given its essential role, it is not surprising that this research, our fourth annual study on the people analytics technology market, finds that vendors in this space are thriving.
Yet, the market has changed and matured over the last few years.
Our study into the people analytics technology (PAT) market, based on survey data and vendor briefings and demos conducted in early 2023, resulted in 6 key findings that can help the buyers and makers of the technology understand the market better. We found that:
- The PAT market has continued to grow. The overall PAT market grew to an estimated $5.6 billion in 2022 from $3.1 billion in 2021. It experienced a growth rate of 41% for 2021-22 and a 50% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for the last 3 years.
- Acquisitions and investments are slowing down. About half of the vendors that said they received funding in 2021 said the same in 2022. In addition, there was almost a 10% decline in those that reported undergoing a merger, acquisition, or some ownership change in 2022, compared to 2021.
- Growth expectations for 2023 are lower than for 2022. Fewer vendors expect over 31% growth for 2023 compared to those that said the same for 2022.
- Vendors are shifting their target customer segments. More vendors served small companies (under 1,000 employees) and mid-sized (1,000 – 10,00 employees) in 2022 compared to 2021.
- Vendors are helping customers address urgent needs. Retention and efficiency were the top 2 outcomes vendors' solutions focused on in 2022.
- Customers are receiving more support, but services cost more. Vendors checked in with their customers more frequently, but they also increasingly charged them for consulting services.
Overall, 2022 was a good year for PAT vendors. We were excited to see the market grow and the vendors become clearer on their value propositions, marketing, and go-to-market approach. Vendors are also optimistic about their ability to deliver on customer needs while being realistic about the future and how the changing economic environment might impact their growth.
Our member-only report dives into each of these findings and provides insights on what they mean for people analytics practitioners and the PAT market. RedThread members also have exclusive access to RedThread’s 2023 People Analytics Technology tool, which will be updated in May, which helps members quickly search and compare information on specific vendors. If you would like to learn more about our membership, please click here.
In addition to the member-only full report, there is also a link to a free executive summary available on our external website, which provides an overview of our findings from the report.
The publication of this report will be followed on May 30, with the release of the second part of the study — the People Analytics Technology Vendor Report. That report will contain a more in-depth look at individual vendors and where they fit in the marketplace.
We will also share our findings at an upcoming webinar on June 29.
This report is made possible by the support of our RedThread Tech Consortium members. We would like to thank our Tech Consortium members for pledging to support high-quality, unbiased HR technology research. If you would like to learn more about our Tech Consortium, please click here.
Posted on Friday, April 7th, 2023 at 3:16 PM
Last week I attended Phenom’s fourth customer conference, IAMPhenom, from March 29 – 30th in Philadelphia, PA. Phenom is a talent acquisition and management solution provider and refers to its suite of products as the Intelligence Talent Experience platform. Below is the TL: DR from the event.
- Consistent focus on innovation: A steady theme throughout the conference sessions was the company’s focus on innovation. The company unveiled over 17 new products and features as part of its continued drive to innovate. The biggest announcements included the launch of a generative AI capability, Phenom X+, and Succession Planning, Interview Intelligence, and Workforce Intelligence tools.
- Improvements in customer care: The company updated its customer delivery model in 2022 by creating a centralized governance and planning structure with a core service layer. It also added 3 sub-teams focused on product advisory, governance, and transformation advisory. The company also updated its service model and launched a new support portal, a user community, global office hours, an online learning academy, and a 24/7 hub services hub for administration-focused requests.
- Continued growth: The company proudly boasted that it had maxed out one of the biggest hotels in the city with over 1,400 people in attendance, compared to 800 attendees in 2020. The company grew its number of employees as well. It has over 1400 employees, compared to about 500 in 2020, with offices in 6 locations and over 500 customers.
Figure 1: Phenom’s opening Keynote by CEO and co-founder, Mahe Bayireddi | Source: Phenom 2023
The company leadership emphasized its focus on consistently reinvesting in product innovation and developing new features and capabilities. The company made over 17 new product announcements during the conference. I’ve covered some of the major announcements below.
- Phenom X+
- Succession Planning
- Interview Intelligence
- Workforce Intelligence
The biggest announcement was the launch of Phenom X+, a new generative AI capability embedded across the entire platform that can help surface insights, create content, and automate tasks for all users, including managers, employees, candidates, recruiters, and HR teams. Mahe Bayireddi, Phenom CEO and co-founder, pointed out in his keynote that automation and personalization will define how work is done moving forward.
Phenom X+ is designed to help customers automate time-consuming tasks while providing greater context and a personalized experience for users. For example, instead of sifting through applications, a recruitment manager will be able to search for top candidates matched for a role within the platform simply by asking a chatbot powered by Phenom X+. Similarly, an employee will be able to ask the chatbot to show them all relevant opportunities within the organization based on their skills and experience.
Figure 2: Phenom X+ | Source: Phenom 2023
This new feature is designed to allow hiring managers and talent management teams to identify suitable employees for specific roles based on tenure, performance, skills, and competencies. According to Phenom, it will allow users to plan movement within the organization by adding new employees to the succession plan and charting their progression.
According to Phenom, this new capability, powered by AI, will allow recruiters to receive transcripts, recordings, and key takeaways from video interviews, thus, enabling them to move quickly. It will also be able to provide insights such as interview sentiment, talk-to-listen ratio, topics covered, and main topics discussed during interviews.
Figure 3: Phenom’s Interview Intelligence | Source: Phenom 2023
A new dashboard, Workforce Intelligence, is created to provide HR and talent management teams with metrics such as churn rate, flight risk, and high performers. According to Phenom, it will allow users to drill down and see which roles are in danger of the highest retention risk, which employees are a good fit for those roles, the most common skills within the company for specific roles, and where the gaps are. It will also allow users to review employee profiles for insights on tenure, current skills, and growth trajectory.
The launch of Phenom X+ is extremely timely. With new use cases for applying generative AI popping up daily, Phenom rolled out a tool that will:
- Cater to all platform users, not just HR
- Allow users to take action by quickly surfacing relevant information
- Allow automation of workflows, which can significantly reduce the time to output
Talent acquisition leaders should benefit from automation when creating job descriptions, career website content, interview questions, personalized candidate emails, and messages, and scheduling interviews. Talent management leaders will be able to identify succession planning opportunities, skills gaps, and employees with a high risk of leaving the organization.
The area I am most excited about is the potential ways employees can use the capability. From giving them information on their current skills gaps and identifying relevant roles for career progression to helping them gain the necessary skills, the tool can significantly impact employee learning, performance, and experience. It can be particularly useful for frontline and gig workers, who might not always be fully aware of the potential career paths they can explore.
The Succession Planning and Workforce Intelligence tools are smart additions to the existing capabilities in helping customers find the right talent quickly. It also makes sense for the company to provide these capabilities since the platform already collects skills data from employees and other systems and can use the data to help with internal mobility.
The Interview Intelligence capabilities should allow recruiters to receive much richer insights into the interview process and help them make better decisions. It can help them design better interview questions, improve candidate and recruiter experience and fasten the process as well.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the level of innovation that was presented and the thoughtfulness that was clearly put into creating features that would improve the experience for all the users of the platforms.
Figure 4: Phenom’s Intelligent Talent Experience Platform | Source: Phenom 2023
During the analyst day, the company leadership spent a significant time talking about the changes and upgrades it has made to its customer delivery and care model.
Global Delivery Model
Based on customer feedback, the company rebuilt its delivery model in the past year. It created a centralized governance and planning structure with a core service layer and 3 sub-teams:
- Product advisory that takes customers through the product journey
- Governance that focuses on training, enablement, planning, and allocation of resources
- Transformation advisory that focuses on compliance regulations and comprises domain experts
According to the leaders, the new model has enabled consistency and predictability and reduced friction during delivery and deployment. One of the ways it did this is by changing how the core services are delivered. Prior to the changes, a project manager would be assigned to manage the delivery. Instead, it now appoints a technical program manager who has a depth of knowledge across the product, domain, and technology and can respond to customer’s questions quickly.
The company also launched the Falcon Model, an accelerated delivery model that delivers the product to customers, along with the integration setup, and moves them over to the customer team within 4 weeks of buying it. At the time of the conference, it had completed delivery to 7 customers successfully.
Figure 5: Phenom’s One Global Delivery Model | Source: Phenom 2023
Customer Care Model
The company deployed a new service model to 40 customers in 2022. As part of the model, the company introduced the following new features:
- Support Portal. A 24/7 portal for customers with connections to other Phenom resources such as the Phenom User Community, Service Hub, and Managed Services Requests and status tracking capabilities
- User Community. An on-demand online user community that contains articles on product and platform functionality and allows users to connect with other customers to ask questions
- Global Office Hours. Online office hours 3 times a week to meet the needs of their international customers
- An online learning academy that is available to all customers 24/7 on-demand with over 100 different online role and scenario-based courses and micro certifications to help with end-user training
- Service Hub. An on-demand 24/7 services hub for administration-focused requests that do not require Managed Services Requests that involve configuration changes
The initial results from the new care model look promising. For the 40 companies it was launched for, the model reduced case duration by 20%, improved customer Health Index Score by 10%, and a 100% service-level agreement (SLA) compliance.
Figure 6: Phenom Explorer | Source: Phenom 2023
The amount of work that the company has done to improve its customer delivery and care model is impressive. According to the leaders, the developments have allowed the company to reduce a lot of noise in the customer journey. It’s great to see the company offer a user community, as many of its competitors and other providers in this space already do this.
This growing focus on customer care and delivery is also likely to be a differentiator for the company compared to other providers as they give up some of the support services or push them off to their partners to reduce costs and adjust their pricing in the current economy.
Although the company did not share revenue or growth numbers, it did talk about the customer growth it experienced over the past few years. The company's last conference was before the pandemic, in 2020, with over 800 attendees. This time the company proudly boasted that they had maxed out one of the biggest hotels in the city with over 1,400 people in attendance. The company also grew its number of employees. It now has more than 1400 workers with offices in 6 locations and over 500 customers. The company did not raise any funding in 2022; its last round of financing was in 2021, when it raised $100 million in Series D.
While it would have been interesting to learn how much the company grew in revenue, the customer and employee increase reflect steady and consistent growth. The company will likely go public at some point in the near future, although the current uncertain economic considerations might push the timeline further than planned by the company. Given that the company has a good financial standing, it’s also likely to make acquisitions of its own as other solution providers find themselves running out of funding and lacking capital.
Overall, it was a great conference for Phenom customers and analysts. The focus on automation, personalization, and context providing was front and center through all the sessions and announcements.
The customers I spoke to enjoyed their training day and were excited to start using the newly launched capabilities. Some customers also mentioned that they were happy about the improved customer support. I am curious to see where the company goes next and how it will work on further elevating the employee experience.
Posted on Wednesday, April 5th, 2023 at 12:30 PM
It’s been a busy first quarter for the RedThread Tech Consortium! Since our kick-off in January, we have been excited to welcome eight new member companies: Claro Analytics, Cornerstone, Crunchr, Lightcast, Medallia, NovoEd, Quantum Workplace, and Torch.
This brings our current RedThread Tech Consortium membership to twenty-two, including founding members: Augmentir, Axonify, Betterworks, Degreed, Eightfold, Perceptyx, Reejig, SeekOut, Skillable, SplashBI, TechWolf, Top Employers Institute, Visier, and Workday.
The Tech Consortium is already having a measurable impact. Our first TC-sponsored research, a Learning Technology Trends virtual event, is scheduled for April 19. The Consortium will also be a co-sponsor of RedThread’s People Analytics Technology (PAT) research. PAT is an influential annual report which — thanks to the Consortium — will now be available in two parts, starting on April 20.
Our new and founding members are equally excited about their opportunities to connect with one another and support this ground-breaking, high-quality research.
“We are proud and grateful to be a founding member of this Consortium. We think this is a very pivotal time to step up and be counted,” said Carin Taylor, Chief Diversity Officer at Workday. “Tech can help us to proactively imbue inclusion and well-being in very foundational and structural ways. We’re proud to be helping to bring these conversations and this analysis into the workplace and will continue to look for ways to support this important work in the future — in the Consortium and beyond."
“By providing independent and invaluable research, RedThread has become a leading voice in people analytics and the broader HR industry.” said Ralf Bovers, Head of Marketing at Crunchr, “As the world of work changes due to new ideas and innovative technologies, organizations can rely on RedThread to navigate this complex landscape. Moreover, their insights help us to develop great products for our customers. And for all these reasons, Crunchr is proud to support RedThread as a member of the Tech Consortium.”
At RedThread, we have also been energized and encouraged by the interest the Tech Consortium has generated. As Dani Johnson has observed: “The response to the launch of the Tech Consortium has been overwhelmingly positive. As the Consortium grows, it reaffirms our shared commitment to unbiased Learning and HR technology research. We are grateful to these vendors who are leading the industry forward with integrity, and helping us to make these insights available to everyone.”
We have many more Consortium-sponsored projects on the docket for 2023, including analyzing the tech marketplace for Learning, Performance Management, and DEIB vendor solutions.
You can read the press release on these updates here, and stay tuned for more announcements!
If you are interested in learning more about joining the RedThread Tech Consortium, please reach out to [email protected].
Posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2023 at 3:54 PM
Got questions about the RedThread Tech Consortium? We have answers for you.
In January of 2023, we were proud to launch a bold new partnership that invited vendors to support the development of independent, unbiased HR and Learning technology research. Here are answers to some of the inquiries we’ve had along the way about the Consortium.
If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please reach out to us.
What is the RedThread Tech Consortium?
The RedThread Tech Consortium enables industry leaders to partially underwrite RedThread’s ongoing research on the technologies that support the future of work. Members are able to align their brands with a commitment to unbiased industry analysis and get early or enhanced access to our high-quality research. They can also invite their customers to access those same insights via quarterly HRCI-approved webinars. As a part of their membership, members provide RedThread with data, suggest relevant research topics, and participate in a lively community of like-minded organizations.
Who should join the Tech Consortium?
You should! Our Consortium members are typically companies in the HR or Learning technology markets who wish to demonstrate their strong commitment to high-quality, agnostic industry intelligence.
What exactly is included?
The Consortium has two membership tiers — which include many benefits, such as 3 seats for our gated research membership community and bragging rights as a Tech Consortium member. At the higher level of membership, members can distribute one of our tech research studies to customers and prospects. We will be adding to these benefits in the future.
You can read more about the specific membership levels here.
What are these future benefits you speak of?
We plan to add additional perks for Consortium members as we grow. For example, we will soon be kicking off a new series of quarterly HRCI-approved webinars to accompany our tech report releases, which will be promoted as sponsored by the collective Consortium. The webinars will feature a slide with the names and logos of all Consortium members. TC members can invite their customers and prospects to these webinars, providing education and thought leadership to those folks.
Can we license any reports we want?
Our BETTER level of Consortium membership comes with the ability to license one of our tech reports each year. We will add your logo and description and provide permission to distribute them to your audience for lead generation. This is limited to technology reports only and does not include our non-technology-related reports.
What if we want to license a non-technology report?
Our BETTER level Consortium membership includes the ability to license a technology report only. If you wish to license a non-technology report, we’d love to talk. Please contact us for details.
Do your reports only talk about Tech Consortium members?
Our technology reports are partly underwritten by our Tech Consortium but are in no way influenced by our client or member lists. RedThread Research is committed to unbiased industry research, and we include all applicable organizations in our technology reports — whether they are members of our Consortium or not.
Does being a member of the TC mean that RedThread will never say something “bad” about my organization?
Our philosophy is that there is never a “right” or “best” solution. Different vendors offer distinctive capabilities, and different clients have varying needs. We focus on helping folks understand the market and how it is changing, not crowning any vendor as the “best” or “worse.” That said, we also recognize that vendors have different strengths and weaknesses, and being a member of the Tech Consortium will not prevent us from making those calls as we see them. When you join the TC, you are ascribing to a higher value of honesty and integrity in research, and that same approach is applied to everyone — regardless of their membership status.
Will you co-create or custom-create reports for our organization?
No. We do not create custom reports for any vendor or solution. When companies license our work, they do not have any input into the actual content of those reports. Consortium members do have the opportunity to share their ideas for future research topics, but we make those decisions and set our research agenda independently. We’re deeply grateful to our Consortium members for supporting our work — but ultimately, we must call the industry as we see it.
Why should I join the RedThread Tech Consortium over other communities?
The Consortium is an important way to showcase your company’s integrity and share your commitment to the highest standards of unbiased research. Consortium members also get early or exclusive access to some of the most substantive and actionable research available in the industry. Plus, you’ll be directly connected to us and to your peer organizations through our Consortium portal — to communicate with one another, provide feedback on proposed future research questions, and contribute to data gathering. Just as RedThread is unique in the industry, so is our Consortium.
Who are the other Tech Consortium members?
You can see the full list of our members on our Tech Consortium web page.
What will be required of us as Consortium members?
As part of membership in our Consortium, organizations sign a pledge to support high-quality research, share business data with RedThread on at least an annual basis, and agree to provide access to at least 5 customers (min) per product to respond to an annual questionnaire. This helps us to gather some of the information that informs our work. We also ask for your ongoing participation in our RedThread research community, as you will learn from others, and we will learn from all of you — which makes everyone smarter!
What if we need more than three seats?
All Consortium members can buy additional membership seats at a discounted rate.
What if we need to switch membership seats and users?
We can help you with this at any time. Chat with us.
What is so special about RedThread?
RedThread Research is a women-owned firm, founded on a commitment to exploring technology trends and delivering rigorously impartial analysis across HR and L&D topics. Our independent, “No Bullsh*t” approach has set us apart from the “pay-to-play” research that is common across the industry. Supporting our work helps to align your brand with high-quality, unbiased industry insights.
When can I start my membership?
You can get started today! Our Consortium is an annual, renewable commitment. Your membership can start at any point in the year and be renewed annually.
Do you still have space?
We certainly do. Contact us if you’d like to get the process started.
Keep the questions coming, and feel free to reach out to us at any time.
Posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2023 at 2:09 AM
Today, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of the new RedThread Tech Consortium.
The HR and Learning technology market is growing exponentially, with new ideas and innovations every day.
That’s a very good thing for leaders and employees, but it can be confusing for anyone looking for independent, unbiased research into performance, people analytics, learning and development, and the other technologies that support the future of work.
Let’s be real. There is a lot of fluff out there, with too many buzzwords and pseudo-research.
Vendors and their customers want to make decisions with the best possible information — but all too often, the research they see is created to support an agenda. Guided by sponsorships, consulting services, or pay-to-play, many researchers have priorities of their own that may not match those of practitioners.
At RedThread, our research is always independent, so that our readers know they can have trust in the analysis. We made a commitment to an independent, “No Bullsh*t” approach that has guided our firm and everything we produce. No one has input into our output but us.
In order to expand that research, we needed to create partnerships with industry leaders who understand and support that mission, and believe strongly in underwriting that kind of unbiased research.
That’s why we created the RedThread Tech Consortium. And we’ve been delighted to see how many companies share our philosophy, and are stepping up as champions of good quality thought leadership.
We are so grateful to those founding members — Augmentir, Axonify, Betterworks, Degreed, Eightfold, Perceptyx, Reejig, SeekOut, Skillable, SplashBI, TechWolf, Top Employers Insitute, Visier, and Workday — for their belief in quality research and in us.
As Stacia said in our press release: “We take a principled and meticulous approach to how we do research. When you see RedThread’s name, we want you to immediately know it is going to be honest, unbiased research. This Consortium is a way that we can continue to deliver on that promise — and also invite our members to be part of our bigger commitment to high-quality analysis.”
Of course, the RedThread Tech Consortium is more than simply a group of underwriters. It’s also a community. Our Consortium members get access to a virtual hub exclusively for members, where they can have discussions, ask questions and share news and ideas, and where they get early access to our research.
Consortium members are also active resources for our team — sharing relevant business data with RedThread and working annually with their customers to provide important insights into the industry via questionnaires.
Here’s what some of the Consortium members had to say:
“We’re excited to participate as a founding member of the RedThread Tech Consortium. RedThread’s research continues to set the bar when it comes to HR, performance management, and learning trends, and we are looking forward to providing continued guidance for customers looking to technology to shape the vision and direction of learning and development within their organizations.” – Chris Kuntz, VP of Strategic Operations, Augmentir
“I’m thrilled that Axonify is among RedThread Tech Consortium’s founding members, Their commitment to delivering thoughtful, industry-leading research on topics that are key to HR & LD professionals is aligned with our focus on enabling a greater sense of communication and community within the industries that we represent.” – Carol Leaman, Co-founder and CEO, Axonify
"Degreed exists to challenge the status quo.RedThread Research and the community they’ve created shine a light on how the most innovative learning and talent teams are building what's next in HR. We're excited to support this work of capturing and sharing these stories, ideas, and lessons. We hope this Consortium will help inspire and guide others who want to follow." – Todd Tauber, SVP Strategy, Degreed
“The Talent and HR Tech landscape is complex and experiencing considerable disruption. RedThread Research has been at the forefront in providing the insights that corporations need to navigate these changes, especially around key concerns like DEIB, AI and skills technology, and learning and Talent mobility. Eightfold is proud to be supporting RedThread Research’s Tech Consortium which will help organizations become future-ready.” – Michael Dunne, Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Eightfold
“The RedThread team is laser-focused on the people analytics technology marketplace, and they’ve been providing invaluable insights and advice for vendors and their customers. As a vendor in this space, we’re excited to be part of this Consortium, and to be able to support quality, non-biased research on the topics affecting enterprises and people analytics professionals most.” – Daniel Norwood, VP of Marketing, Perceptyx, Inc.
“The team at RedThread Research has built one of the most respected research organizations in the HR industry today, and we here at SeekOut are looking forward to working with them more closely as part of the Tech Consortium. Joining this group will not only benefit SeekOut by giving us advanced insights into the HR and people industries, but it will benefit our own customers through the development of new product features and offerings based on those unique insights.” – Claire Fang, Chief Product Officer, SeekOut
“Vendors in the HR Tech market are (re-)shaping their vision and products at an incredible pace — which creates confusion. That’s a natural thing to happen in emerging technology markets. RedThread Research helps filter out the noise and lead customers to better buying decisions — with less fall-out and fewer failed projects. And that eventually creates more trust across the entire market.” – Andreas De Neve, CoFounder and CEO, TechWolf
“RedThread provides some of the most valuable insights into the HR market today. We're excited about the Tech Consortium and we're thrilled to be a founding member of this initiative." – Jake Sorofman, CMO, Visier
Some of the RedThread Research projects the Consortium will support in 2023 include analyzing the tech marketplace Performance Management, People Analytics, DEIB,and Learning vendor solutions.
If you are interested in learning more about joining the RedThread Tech Consortium please reach out to [email protected].
Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023 at 1:58 PM
Why we care
The frontline workforce is vital to most organizations’ success, but they’re not being supported in the ways they need or want. Organizations need to do better. We're launching research into how organizations can enable frontline workers to thrive in their current and future roles.
The frontline—AKA deskless—workforce is huge. A 2018 survey by VC company Emergence estimated that 80% of the global workforce is frontline, while McKinsey put the number at 70% of the US workforce. In early 2022, a Microsoft representative said the frontline workforce represents nearly 2 billion people worldwide.
And frontline workers are critical to many organizations’ success: They’re often the “tip of the spear” executing the organization’s strategies. In many industries—like retail, hospitality, healthcare, education, and transportation—frontline workers are the face of the organization to customers. They’re also an (often untapped) resource for innovation and improvement—with ideas to solve real problems they see on the ground.
Frontline workers are critical to organizations' success. But they're often underserved, under-supported, and unempowered.
But in our experience, many HR systems and processes aren’t designed with frontline workers in mind. For example, employee development opportunities are often created assuming that a worker has easy access to a computer and company email, some schedule flexibility, or the financial wherewithal to pay for learning and wait for reimbursement. That's simply not the case for many frontline workers.
In addition, there are indications that the ways organizations support frontline workers don’t align with what those workers need or want. Research by Axonify and Nudge found a mismatch between frontline workers' and corporate leaders' perceptions of what drives frontline happiness and success. BCG reported that frontline workers want more flexibility and work-life balance, better career advancement opportunities, and better pay and benefits than they’re currently provided.
Something’s wrong with this picture. Organizations need to better understand their frontline workforce's needs and adjust systems, processes, and approaches to better enable their success.
Organizations need to better understand their frontline workforce's needs and enable their success.
But that’s more easily said than done.
What challenges are organizations facing when it comes to the frontline workforce?
- Finding and keeping workers. In contrast to the late-2022 layoffs in the tech industry, the talent market in many frontline-heavy industries remains tight. For example, we’re still seeing articles (like this one from a Chicago-based PBS news outlet) about restaurants struggling to find staff. And unemployment rates across most industries are still below 2021 levels, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many employers are having trouble finding and keeping workers with the skills they need to compete in their industries.
- Providing a strong employee experience—while preparing for a downturn. In many industries, employers are competing against one another to attract workers. They're vying to provide a better organizational culture and employee experience than other prospective employers—in addition to paying higher wages. For employers facing an uncertain economic environment in 2023, it may be challenging to pay employees more, invest in culture and employee experience, and prepare for a downturn…but it looks like that’s what many companies will have to do.
- Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). DEIB efforts remain a priority—at least nominally—for many organizations. As BIPOC workers are overrepresented in the US frontline workforce (source: McKinsey), DEIB efforts can have an outsized impact on this group of people. If DEIB budgets are cut, organizations will need to find creative ways to continue to enhance equity and inclusion for frontline workers.
- Connecting frontline employees. Many frontline jobs are becoming more digitized and siloed. Retail teams, for example, may see many customers but interact little with one another. One leader told us about manufacturing workers who work whole shifts in their warehouse section without talking to anyone else. In addition, communication from leaders or central parts of the organization may be fragmented and feel unreliable. Connecting frontline workers to the organization’s purpose and one another will be a challenge for many organizations in the future.
What will we research?
Heading into this research, our primary question is:
How can organizations better enable frontline workers to thrive in their current and future roles?
More specifically, what does frontline enablement look like in the following areas? And how should enablement differ for frontline and not-frontline workers?
- Employee development (including learning methods)
In terms of our going-in hypothesis, we believe:
- Organizations will need to use different approaches to enable frontline vs. not-frontline workers
- Organizations will need to adjust their systems, processes, and practices to more effectively enable frontline workers
As always, we will do this research “out loud” by opening our research process to practitioners across the community. It makes us smarter and helps everyone gather ideas from a wider pool of people.
You can participate by joining a roundtable, volunteering to be interviewed, or simply commenting on this article. Thanks in advance for your participation!
Posted on Friday, November 18th, 2022 at 3:24 PM
I attended Ceridian’s Insights conference in Las Vegas from November 9-110 Overall, it was a very well-attended conference, both by its existing as well as a significant number of prospective customers. The conference featured over 40 customer speakers as well as keynotes from Venus Williams, Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, and David Horsager, author and CEO of the Trust Edge Leadership Institute.
Below are my takeaways from the major announcements and themes from the conference. I also published a quick wrap-up video that you can check out here.
- Consistent growth and innovation
- Continued focus on providing a seamless experience
- Focus on trust building
Consistent growth and innovation
Ceridian’s Co-CEO David Ossip kicked off the conference by sharing an overview of the company’s performance over the last 2 years. The company reported total revenue of $1.24 billion for 2022, an increase from $824 million in 2019. Recently released Q3 results showed 33% YOY growth. Ceridian reportedly has 6,000 customers live on Dayforce, its flagship HCM solution, in 2022, compared to 4,000 in 2019, and a 96.5% gross retention rate. Thirty-eight percent of those Dayforce customers are using the full HCM suite. The company now has over 170 partners.
On the innovation side, Ceridian shared products launched in 2021 and reported that it delivered over 840 new features in 2022. Five of the main features unveiled at the conference included:
- Employee Experience Hub: The product, is in early access and will be available globally in 2023. While not an entirely new product, the employee experience hub is the evolved version of the employee portal launched in 2019 and is a central hub for employees to find all company-related information and communications in one place. The improved portal is personalized for the user and provides relevant and contextual nudges and recommended actions (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Ceridian’s Dayforce Employee Experience hub | Source: Ceridian 2022
- Guides: This new product will help guide employees through milestones such as parenthood, promotions, exit, etc. It will provide employees with resources and guides from Dayforce and other systems and recommend connections to which employees can reach out for additional information and support. The product will be available in beta in 2023 (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Ceridian’s Dayforce Guides | Source: Ceridian, 2022
- Mobile Benefits Enrollment: Payroll is one of Ceridian’s strengths and it continues to invest in its capabilities. This new product will allow employees to enroll in benefits via the mobile application, making the process easier and simpler. It will suggest personalized recommendations for benefits and enable users to compare plans within the mobile app and configure it to their needs. It will also allow users to switch from mobile to the web without losing their progress. The product was the most highly voted by customers in the customer portal and will be available in December 2022 (figure 2).
Figure 3: Ceridian’s mobile benefits enrollment | Source: Ceridian, 2022
- Career Explorer: Powered by Dayforce Skills Engine that helps users with skills management, this new product will enable employees greater control over their careers. It will allow them to explore open positions within their companies, find out how they can upskill themselves, and apply for new roles. The product will be launched in beta mode in early 2023.
Figure 4: Ceridian’s Dayforce Career Explorer | Source: Ceridian, 2022
- Agile Organizational Management: The launch of this product was received with applause from the audience. It provides users with a visual organizational chart and the ability to model and reorganize structures and teams in response to business needs. It allows users to create internal positions within a team and move people to fill them all with a drag-and-drop capability while the system can launch the associated workflows on the backend automatically. The product is available in beta mode now (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Ceridian’s Dayforce Agile Organization Management | Source: Ceridian, 2022
The company didn’t share information on the number of customers that are currently live on the products already available or in beta. As I mentioned, most were excited about the Agile Organization Management product as it would make the admin user experience very easy.
While no doubt Ceridian has made significant investments in innovating and launching new features to help its customers, I would’ve appreciated more context around the product vision and what leaders believe to be its true differentiators. It would’ve also been helpful to understand which other products within the HCM suite customers find most useful and where the company plans to invest in the future.
The company also mentioned that it will be launching an inclusion survey as part of its engagement product within Dayforce, but it’s not clear how customers will use the data from the survey or what kind of insights be available from it.
Continued focus on providing a seamless experience
Ceridian’s Chief Product and Technology Office, Joe Korngieble spent time talking about Ceridian’s differentiator, which is the single data system at the backend of Dayforce that provides its users with a seamless experience on the front end (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Ceridian’s single system HCM solution | Source: Ceridian 2022
Because of the single data system, Dayforce is able to provide users with a personalized experience, automate workflows, and allow teams to be more agile and flexible. As Megan Sullivan, the VP of Product Design, said,
"We have an obligation to make experience and design a priority. We owe it to people to design experiences that make their lives better."
The single data system sets Ceridian apart from its competitors, and the company continues to reap the benefits of this advantage as it builds new features into the solution. I spoke with several customers about their experience using Ceridian, and many highlighted the ease of use and the seamless experience they get because of the single system.
Given this, I would’ve appreciated greater insight into the underlying structure and technology that enables the single system and, more importantly, their vision for scaling the product to meet customer needs. It would’ve also been helpful to understand how Dayforce integrates with other existing technologies.
Focus on trust building
A consistent theme throughout the conference was trust building. From the opening keynote to David Horsager’s talk, there was a clear emphasis on the need for companies to build trust with their employees in order to retain high-value talent and become an employer of choice.
The sessions highlighted Ceridian’s role in helping its customers build trust. The company shared how its single data system provides customers with a reliable source of data and thus helps them share it with their employees confidently, thereby driving transparency and trust.
Another new product that Ceridian believes will help establish consistency and provide greater clarity to its customers is the Ideal Talent Marketpalce (Figure 7). The product will provide full visibility to its users across its full-time, part-time, and contingent workforce, allowing managers to post jobs in the marketplace or with a staffing partner. The product also matches open roles with the right skills and qualifications based on data and information leveraged from the skills engine. The product will be available in beta in the second half of 2023.
Figure 7: Ceridian’s Dayforce Ideal Talent Marketplace | Source: Ceridian 2022
The investments made by Ceridian in their workforce management capabilities are smart. However, it would be interesting to learn more about whether the company plans to invest in workforce planning capabilities. Strategic workforce planning that requires a more long-term understanding of the supply and demand of the workforce will be increasingly important for companies as they enter a recessionary period along with a tight labor market. There was no information shared on how Ceridian is helping its customers do that.
The focus on trust-building is great. The company is also doing a good job of providing an active customer community where customers are able to share information, learn from each other, and share their experiences.
Overall, it was a great conference for Ceridian customers, with lots of new product announcements and information sharing. We would have loved to hear the leaders talk more about helping customers with their diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) efforts and navigating hybrid work challenges, especially those around connection-building and providing an engaging employee experience. We look forward to learning about more updates in the future.
Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2022 at 6:28 PM
You, like us, may have been hearing a lot about connection at work recently. One leader said she feels bombarded by messages about the importance of connection at work. We feel the same.
It’s almost as if the floodgates have opened on a topic that’s been on everyone’s minds for a while.
And for good reason: Connection is good for employees and organizations alike. This research found that organizations with more connection were:
- 5.4x more likely to be agile
- 3.2x more likely to have satisfied customers
- 2.3x more likely to have engaged employees
In this context, many leaders are thinking about how to enable more connection in their organizations. That's not an easy task, especially in a hybrid work environment. Simply bringing people together in person won't build the kinds of connection that organizations need. Connection requires intentionality, planning, and thought. You need to know exactly what types of connection need to be enabled, where, and why.
This infographic, we hope, will help you more effectively enable connection in your organization. It summarizes key findings from our research report, Rethinking Connection for a Hybrid Work World. Click on the image below to expand the view.
As always, we'd love your feedback in the comments!
Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2022 at 6:02 PM
Last week I attended the UKG Aspire conference in Las Vegas. It was the first unified conference for the customers of Kronos and Ultimate Software since the merger of the two companies in April 2020. It was attended by about 5,000 people in-person and 2,000 online. Overall, it was a great experience and an opportunity to listen to the executive team about the new updates and their vision for the following year.
Below are my takeaways from the major announcements and themes from the conference. I also published a quick wrap-up video that you can check out here.
- A unified vision of putting people first. Two years after the merger of Kronos and Ultimate software, UKG presented a strong and unified vision focused on being people-first, including its customers and employees.
- Increased simplification and better user experience. UKG has made significant investments in simplifying its products, improving the user experience, and driving employee experience.
- Increased focus on DEIB. The company launched new analytics tools to help customers drive their DEIB performance.
- Greater attention to community and connection building. Retention is a major challenge faced by UKG’s customers, and the company is investing in building products that can help build connection, collaboration, and belonging.
A unified vision
As a unified company, UKG now has over 15,000 employees (or U Krewers as they are called) across the Americas, APAC, and EMEA. Forty percent of U Krewers have joined the company since the announcement of the merger. New CEO, Chris Todd, shared UKG’s goal of growing its revenue to $5 billion and cash operating earnings to $1.5 billion by FY 2025.
Having implemented the merger the vision that UKG is focused on now is helping their customers become the employer of choice in current times by focusing on 5 priorities in 2023 (Figure 1).
Figure 1: UKG’s 2023 priorities | Source: UKG 2022
Talking about the product, the Chief Product and Technology Officer, Hugo Sarrazin, shared what they believe are the product differentiators, which includes helping customers work towards becoming Great Place to Work Certified given UKG’s acquisition of Great Place to Work (GPTW) in 2021 (Figure 2).
Figure 2: UKG’s differentiators | Source: UKG 2022
The company’s vision is to become a people-first HCM solution provider and solve customer challenges through its 2 HCM solutions, UKG Pro (previously Ultimate Software UltiPro) and UKG Ready (previously Kronos Workforce Ready). Twenty five percent of the features on the 2023 roadmap for the UKG Pro product and 21% of the features for UKG Ready have come from its Customer Ideas portal.
The merger between Kronos and Ultimate Software appears to be a success. I spoke to a few employees about it and their experience, and they mentioned how UKG’s culture around and focus on putting people first has helped ensure a very smooth transition. The company seems clear on its purpose of being a people-first company. Still, with so many vendors putting out similar messages, it will be interesting to see how UKG truly sets itself apart.
The one true differentiator for UKG is the addition of the GPTW offering. We would have loved to hear from current customers of both UKG and GPTW on how UKG’s HCM platform has helped them improve their overall GPTW ranking and their DEIB performance over time.
Increased simplification and better user experience
Four announcements underscored the company’s commitment to simplification and an improved user experience:
- Retiring products. UKG will retire some of its older products and technologies over the next few years, especially those currently on-premise, to transition to a complete SaaS product to better support its customers (Figure 3).
Figure 3: UKG’s timeline for retiring products | UKG 2022
- One mobile application. The company will converge the existing mobile applications for different products into one single application, providing users with a single point of access to all the different products and tools
- Customer community. UKG will launch a customer community of over 140,000 users by bringing them together on the platform and allowing them to share information and best practices and learn from each other. The community will be live over the next few months.
- New technology. The company will launch UKG FleX, a new technology platform that is comprised of 3 components (Figure 4):
- FleX Fabric: Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), this feature will allow customers to receive insights, recommendations, nudges, and reminders both within UKG as well as their work tools. UKG shared an example of how this technology will be used in another one of their new products, Career Designer, to provide employees with prescriptive and individualized suggestions for relevant learning opportunities to drive growth and development.
- FleX Flow: This API framework will allow users to connect UKG solutions with other existing solutions easily. The leaders shared examples of how the framework can integrate UKG Dimensions within Uber and Microsoft to enable users to manage and fill open shifts with minimal disruptions quickly.
- FleX Dev: This component provides users with “low-code and no-code” capabilities which means that users and third parties can easily customize and build additional tools and applications. UKG leaders believe this will allow the developer community and power users to engage with the product more easily.
Figure 4: UKG FleX | Source: UKG 2022
UKG has made wise investments in the underlying technology to help their customers with a better user experience through integrations and AI, making it easier for the community to automate work processes easily, and build applications to augment the UKG product. The partnerships UKG has built with Uber, Microsoft, Google, and ServiceNow are smart investments that will enable better user and employee experience for the customers already using these products.
The community portal is an important addition for the company, especially since their biggest competitors (Workday and Ceridian) already have established community portals as part of their platforms. We would be interested to see how active and useful the community turns out to be for the customers in the near future.
Increased focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
UKG acquired GPTW in September 2021. During the conference, the company unveiled its new “Great Place To Work Hub” product as part of the UKG Pro HCM suite. The product will allow users to bring their Trust Index survey data from GPTW, which includes employee sentiment data, into UKG Pro and combine it with their HCM data to better analyze and understand their performance on DEIB (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Overview of UKG’s Great Place to Work Hub | Source: UKG 2022
In addition to helping users surface crucial insights, it will also provide actions and recommendations within the dashboard and guide users on the next steps. The suggested actions are based on GPTW thought leadership, customer experiences, and best practices and the customers' overall goals.
The overall dashboard will also allow users to understand their performance in areas such as promotion and attrition rates through a DEI lens by slicing and dicing their HCM data. The recommended actions, however, are limited to GPTW data.
The Hub will also allow users to access all of their GPTW notifications from the UKG Pro inbox (Figure 6). The product will be generally available in the second half of 2023 as part of UKG Pro suite.
Figure 6: UKG’s Pro Inbox | Source: UKG 2022
This was one of the most important announcements and investments that UKG has made over the past year. By bringing GPTW sentiment data into UKG Pro, the company will be able to set itself apart from other HCM solutions that lack the wealth of data for benchmarking and comparison that UKG can leverage from GPTW. While ADP and Workday have invested significantly in their DEIB analytics capabilities in the recent past, the addition of GPTW recommendations and actions to help companies become GPTW certified as part of the product will be a strong differentiator for UKG.
It will be interesting to see how the customers that leverage these capabilities fare in their GPTW rankings over time. Additionally, if the future iterations of the product allow customers to bring in data from other HCM solutions into the GPTW Hub (as indicated by UKG), it will make DEIB analytics much easier for the customers.
UKG mentioned that intersectionality data (to identify inequality within and between groups of people based on multiple facets of an individual's identity) and providing actions and recommendations on the HCM data, will be considered for future iterations. While the investment is applaudable, UKG will need to move fast and take on a greater role in educating their customers on moving beyond simple data consumption.
Greater attention to connection building
A major theme during the conference was the role that UKG can play in helping their customers build connection and relationships in a hybrid work world. The recent acquisitions and product launches by the company are a reflection of that.
UKG acquired SpotCues, a mobile communications platform, in early 2022. The technology is folded into its new product, Talk, which is a social media tool that can help customers facilitate engagement, connection, and belonging across the organization. The product also helps customers build a sense of community by enabling employees to come together in groups, ask questions, share knowledge, and collaborate based on their shared interests (Figure 7). The product is live and available as part of UKG Pro.
Figure 7: Overview of UKG’s Talk Product | Source UKG 2022
Another new product launched by the company to help managers understand their teams better and drive engagement is the “Team Pulse” product which will be available in 2023. The pulse survey will enable leaders to find insights into their team’s engagement levels and if they are feeling connected with each other (Figure 8).
Figure 8: Overview of UKG’s Team Pulse product | Source: UKG 2022
The focus on connection building is a smart move for UKG. The communications tool and pulse survey capabilities are critical additions to its HCM suite. Not only will these tools help drive employee engagement and connection, but will also allow customers to understand the impact of their DEIB initiatives. It will be interesting to see the different ways customers leverage these tools to drive their DEIB goals.
How well UKG can help customers make the most of these tools remains to be seen. For example, with UKG Talk, a potential concern could be that a lack of moderation of activity feeds, comments and questions posted by employees could result in disengagement and disconnection among people. UKG will need to educate and set best practices for customers to use these tools effectively.
Overall, it was a very informative and well-designed conference. We greatly appreciated the opportunity to spend 2 days with the leadership and ask them questions about their challenges, vision, and product future. UKG has made significant investments in its HCM suite, user experience, and employee experience over the last few years. We are excited to see the company continue to innovate and look forward to hearing more about its work on DEIB analytics and connection building.