Bringing 12,000 People Together—Virtually, During a Pandemic

Sponsored by UKG

Photo Courtesy of UKG

Photo Courtesy of UKG

Darlene Marcroft, VP, PR & Communications
Darlene Marcroft, VP, PR & Communications
May 20, 2024 at 9:54PM UTC

When you take a job at an organization, you are not necessarily thinking of what will happen if you remain with that company 5, 10, or even 20+ years, as I have. You may not think of how your relationships, your world view, and even your heart become inextricably connected to your work.

Choosing the right job is like entering into a lifelong friendship—that person grows and changes just like you do, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be at the center of such work changes with my amazing work family. In February, my organization, Ultimate Software, and Kronos Incorporated announced a definitive merger agreement—and plans to bring together two renowned companies known for their remarkable cultures in an industry-defining merger. Two great companies coming together to accomplish more together.

Then, COVID-19 hit.

While merging two global organizations in the middle of a pandemic is no easy feat, we ultimately decided Ultimate and Kronos would be stronger together—and better able to care for our 12,500+ employees (and their families). Although, in many ways, COVID-19 put a stop on almost everything, we couldn’t postpone our original plan and vision. What a tremendous opportunity for growth! 

On April 1 (no joke!), we officially completed our merger and we embarked upon the journey of thoughtfully marrying our two companies with the help of numerous employee surveys, integration-ambassador employee focus groups, and dozens of workstream teams focused on bringing together the people and processes that have made us successful for so many years.

This new union was important to us, and now we needed to select the right name and form a brand identity that truly encompassed the best of both worlds. In the fall, we unveiled our new name: UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group), strategically combining the best of both legacy companies in one, united brand.

It sounds simple, but actually took months to arrive at that conclusion. How did we do it?

From day one, we recognized that Ultimate and Kronos had so much in common—particularly when it came to our philosophies on people, culture, and customers. It was always clear who would decide the direction of our new company: people.

It Starts with People

When we think of corporate rebrands and mergers, it is almost natural to imagine a room (or, these days, a video meeting) of executives deciding every component of the new company. Although that is usually true in most cases, when our CEO Aron Ain called this “a merger like no other,” he meant it.

With 70+ collective years of passionate work and partnerships, our employees and customers have made us who we are today. To ensure we built our new brand together, we surveyed our people and conducted customer focus groups to find out what kind of company we should become. We asked things like, What do our company, people, and solutions mean to you? Who are we at our core? and Who do we want to be in the future? The feedback from employees and customers was critical in driving our decisions.

A cross-organizational team of more than a dozen people weighed in on key decision points, and, at every juncture, there was great consideration into how the new name would impact employees and help them to envision our future as one company. 

With assistance from global brand experts, we used the information from our people alongside other data to collect, analyze, and consider over 1,000 names to find the one that respected our history and captured all that we had set out to become. The data and input we received pointed to maintaining a bit of our combined 70-year brand equity while having a new name for our unified company. UKG does just that.

The Face of UKG

Embedding our people-driven UKG brand in a new logo and visual look was also critical to developing our identity. The logo, featuring both a smile and two icons of people merging to create the “U,” speaks to the culture and values we aspire to create for people everywhere. As a leading global provider of human capital management (HCM) and workforce management solutions, we are in the people business. We wanted our new face to represent that.

Likewise, we wanted to introduce a tagline that builds upon our respective, lifelong commitments to putting “People First” and creating cultures where employees “WorkInspired.” Though, just as it has always been for Ultimate and Kronos, it had to be more than just a tagline. It would become our new promise to every employee, every customer, and every member of our community. Naturally, we looked to our purpose for inspiration. Not just our what, but our why. It soon became clear.

At UKG, “our purpose is people.”

Everything we do is inherently designed to better serve people. We create innovative HCM and workforce management solutions to drive better business outcomes, improve HR effectiveness, and create a more connected experience for every employee. Simply put, we are here for people. In the greatest times, but more importantly in the trying times. We are here for people—always.

Our Future Is Bright

Looking back at the past several months, and the countless hours we spent developing our new identity, I would say it was a huge success. We researched, listened, and employed our hearts in the process. Together, we built a brand representing an organization committed to improving businesses and the lives of the millions using our solutions around the world.

Looking ahead, this is just the beginning. There’s plenty more to come from UKG. And we can’t wait to show you what’s next!


Fairygodboss is proud to partner with UKG. Find a job there today!

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