Editor’s Note: This article frequently references Ultimate Software. Ultimate, which will become UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group), merged with Kronos Incorporated on April 1, 2020, to become one of the largest cloud companies in the world focused on human capital management (HCM) and workforce management. Combining two award-winning, employee-centered cultures—emphasized by the company’s new tagline, “Our purpose is people.”—Ultimate and Kronos will officially rebrand as UKG on October 1, 2020.
Richada Franklin loves seeing those around her succeed. It is, after all, one of the biggest functions of her job.
As a Manager of People Success at Ultimate Software, her days are spent helping others grow personally and professionally.
Even better? It’s not only colleagues who she’s able to empower each day at work, but people she’s come to see as some of her closest friends — a true work family.
“I moved to South Florida without any family or friends, with my mind set on my career,” Franklin recalls. “Since that time, I have served on our Customer Success team as a Solutions Specialist, Team Lead and now People Manager, with countless colleagues I can call friends.”
Driving forward other people’s careers has also, in turn, helped her to power her own growth. Franklin says she’s “never experienced a richer leadership development program” than the one she’s found at Ultimate — which is part of the reason she hasn’t needed to job-hop in order to evolve professionally, despite having spent eight years with the same organization.
Recently, she shared with us what exactly that growth has looked like, as well as her three most memorable pieces of career advice.
How long have you been with your company? What about it made you first want to join?
I just celebrated eight years at Ultimate Software. I will never forget the multiple applications I submitted after visiting its booth at a trade show. At that time, I knew a handful of employees there whom I had worked with at a previous company, and they all loved it!
I wanted to join because the company seemed to give life to workplace culture, diversity and innovation. I had seen it grow successfully as an organization over the years while also serving its local community, which is very important to me. I also applied because of its unlimited professional opportunities and the amazing benefits package. It was the perfect fit for my values and my aspirations, and I visualized my career journey with Ultimate for many years to come.
Tell me about the roles that you’ve held at your company, as well as your current one. What about this role most excites you?
I moved to South Florida without any family or friends, with my mind set on my career. Since that time, I have served on our Customer Success team as a Solutions Specialist, Team Lead and now People Manager, with countless colleagues I can call friends.
Serving as a people leader has been very rewarding. I love helping people turn their visions into reality, as well as coaching, exposing one’s full potential, and being an influencer of change. It’s molding personal and professional growth to someone else and myself at the same time. I’m especially excited for what the future holds, now that we’ve officially merged with Kronos!
What’s something you’re especially good at, at work?
Something that comes naturally to me is keeping my ears open for opportunities to connect the unconnected. I can also understand the full picture because I have so much knowledge about the organization, our products and our customers.
What’s the first (and/or last) thing you do at work every day?
Typically, I start the day reviewing emails, and then I review my team’s current volume. At the end of the day, I spend 30 to 45 minutes on highlights and notes taken throughout the day to create a game plan for the next day.
A lot of people believe that developing your career means changing companies, and not infrequently. What has enabled you to develop/advance your career without job-hopping?
I have never been the individual who job-hops in efforts to advance. I believe in longevity and stability. However, a mentor inspired me to express my goal to advance and be clear about what I desired, which led me to take on career-developmental opportunities in new teams, new processes and new projects. I was able to really showcase my skills and talents.
Ultimately, what has led you to stay at your company?
The flexibility of caring for my family, acknowledgement and celebration of my contributions and the support of my career aspirations. I’ve never experienced a richer leadership-development program. Our leadership and mentorship programs have enabled me to apply the principles immediately in my role.
What’s something you think most people don’t know about your company that you think they should?
Being who you are is accepted and celebrated here. You truly belong.
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
Fortunately, I have surrounded myself with great leaders, mentors and friends who share career advice frequently, and I have used their advice on many occasions. There’s not one more memorable than another.
I once asked a wonderful leader here, “How do you balance being a mom, a wife and having a successful career?” She responded, “You just do it!” Since that point, I have faced many challenges, especially during the pandemic with two kids under the age of three at home. I have had to remind myself of this advice many times!
Another piece of advice my grandmother would always say was, “Work smart, and be wise.” I think of this whenever I am trying to solve a problem.
The last piece of advice that is memorable to me is to reflect daily, and let it be your advocate for change.
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