Today, new products from software providers are rarely “new”—they’re often an iteration of an existing design based on legacy code or the result of an acquisition. So, when the management team at Kronos established an off-site startup with 25 employees, the team was given 12 months to accomplish a single goal: Put the company, as it was known, “out of business” by designing an entirely new product that would revolutionize the workforce management industry.
It worked. The team returned with the concept for Workforce Dimensions, the first cloud-native, mobile-native, and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered workforce management suite.
Kronos operates as an employee engagement testing lab, constantly improving its own corporate culture to recruit talent capable of developing products that help organizations thrive in the future of work. With 35,000 customers and 40 million daily users, Kronos employees—called “Kronites”—go to extraordinary lengths to revolutionize the way organizations manage and maintain their workforces.
Building a culture that dares to fail
Kronos has certainly proven it knows how to engage its own workforce, earning “best place to work” awards in every market in which it operates as well as a spot on Fast Company’s Best Workplaces for Innovators list. Its 5% annual attrition rate among high performers is also industry-leading and less than half the 13.3% attrition rate TechRepublic cites for software developers.
Trust and transparency, starting at the top of the organization, is a key component. “Our mission to innovate everywhere means it’s okay to try and fail,” says Kronos President Christopher Todd. And he would know. A few years ago, Todd had to admit to his boss, CEO Aron Ain, that he had made a big mistake and didn’t know what to do about it. Instead of being fired, he worked closely with Ain and his team on a solution.
Given responsibility, resources, and permission to fail, Kronites are not afraid to take calculated risks in pursuit of big new ideas. “We encourage creativity and openness to trying new things,” Todd says. A big part of fostering a culture of innovation is embracing failure, he explains, “but when we do fail, we fail fast.”
In return, employees are passionate about solving complex workforce challenges for Kronos customers. When Sprint Mart needed help modernizing its paper-based scheduling system, it onboarded a Kronos solution to automate and unify HR, workforce management, and payroll. Employees now electronically request time off, rather than leave handwritten notes. Payroll processing shrunk from one week to two hours and eliminated the 1,300 pieces of paper used for weekly pay stubs. And thousands of applications are now instantaneously distributed to all hiring managers. The result has been a massive culture change that has reduced turnover, improved customer service, and driven revenue growth.
Serial reinvention as a competitive advantage
Just as Kronos isn’t afraid to reinvent its products in the name of improvement and innovation, the company as a whole has evolved. “By our estimates, we’ve reinvented ourselves at five distinct points in our company history,” Todd says. However, customer and employee satisfaction has always remained at the fore.
As companies increasingly focus on engagement, Kronos has an advantage in developing products that help them. “We believe great businesses are powered by great people—and that goes for Kronos and our customers. By providing a culture that inspires Kronites to innovate every day, we help drive better business outcomes for tens of thousands of organizations by creating a more inspiring experience for their own employees.”