Employee engagement is one of the hottest topics in business today.  Intuitively, we know that engaged employees create better organizations, and reams of research backup our gut feeling to show that employees that are engaged are more productive, produce higher quality products, delivery better service, are more loyal, improve profitability, and help their organizations outperform their competition.

So, it should be no surprise that employee engagement was the theme at KronosWorks 2015, Kronos’s user conference which it dubs “the world’s largest workforce innovation exchange.” The theme was evident in numerous sessions, the launch of the Workforce Institute’s book It’s All About Bob(bie) – Strategies for Winning with Your Employees, and the opening session which included customers talking about how they use Kronos to increase engagement and a video about Kronos’ own highly engaged workforce.

Kronos CEO Aron Ain also used the general session to review highlights from the past year:

  • Kronos eclipsed $1.1B in revenue last year.
  • More than 16,000 customers use Kronos products in the cloud, up from 12,000 from a year ago.
  • Kronos also continues to invest heavily in its products with 1,200 people working in and $130M spent on research and development.

While Ain focused on big numbers, most attendees were focused on a small one: 8. Kronos released Workforce Central 8 last spring. Ain said that more than 800 customers have implemented or upgraded to Workforce Central 8 since May, which represents the fastest adoption of any version of the product. It was also the primary topic of conversations with customers that I spoke, asking about Axsium Group’s experiences with Workforce Central 8.

One of the main drivers of adoption is the user interface.  Prior to Workforce Central 8, end users needed a Java plug-in for their web browser to run Workforce Central.  This created headaches for administrators as they had to install and maintain Java on every users’ computer. Workforce Central 8 strips out Java and replaces it with HTML5.  This not only reduces administration but provides a more responsive user experience.

Complying with employment and labor law at the federal, state and local levels is an issue for all organizations and it is growing more difficult every day.  Even those diligent about keeping their WFM system up to date with the latest legislative changes are at risk of employees gaming the system.

To help solve this problem, Kronos launched Workforce Auditor at KronosWorks.  Workforce Auditor helps customers identify patterns in behavior through time keeping and scheduling data to help organizations identify potential compliance issues and implement best practices. It is built on Workforce Analytics, a module for Workforce Central, and shows how Kronos is bridging the content gulf I discussed in my 7 Trends Impact Workforce Management post.

Another WFM industry-wide problem that Kronos is tackling is implementations.  Many organizations are surprised at the cost and effort required to implement a WFM system.  It is easy to assume that since we all operate using the same pay rules, implementations should be turnkey.  Unfortunately, it is not that simple.  While pay rules are common, how they are applied and to what groups of employees are highly dependent upon each organization’s policies, practices, interpretation of the law and geographies.

Kronos’s solution is Kronos Paragon.  Launched at KronosWorks, Paragon is the company’s new implementation approach that combines agile project management with automated tools to reduce both implementation time and cost.  With Paragon, the project team can rapidly create an initial configuration based on the organization’s industry and geographies. Paragon’s tools also automates documentation and testing.  This automation allows the implementation to focus on tailoring that configuration to company-specific requirements as well as on change management and training.

KronosWorks returns to Orlando, Florida, next year.  It will be held on November 13 – 16, 2016. I will be very interested to see how Paragon affects some of those big numbers that Ain spoke about in his opening session and how Kronos’s research and development investments affect the product in the next 12 months.