Ultimate Kronos Group, UKG, one of the global HCM player, and the owner of Great Places to Work, has been at the forefront of helping organisations achieve their full potential as an employer of choice, by challenging their own Status –Quo. As a consistent recipient of GPTW recognition, UKG has had a tech-first approach to how it empowers its own employees as they make truly inclusive tech products that make equitable access to life-balance at the workplace a reality for their customers across sectors. Born from a historic merger that created one of the world’s leading HCM cloud companies, UKG’s Life-work Technology approach to HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions for all people helps more than 70,000 organizations around the globe and across every industry anticipate and adapt to their employees’ needs beyond just work. In India they have over 2k employees , and over 70k employees globally.
Sumeet Doshi, country manager – India for UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group), Sumeet is responsible for the vision and execution of UKG’s long-term strategy and growth in the Indian workforce management market. Sumeet joined UKG (earlier Kronos) in 2007 as a solution consulting and business development manager — and the third employee working in India — before bringing his business development expertise to his role as the head of marketing. There, he led the India marketing organisation to build a sustainable channel and alliance network in the region. In his most recent role, he headed sales for the India region.
Prior to working with UKG Sumeet held marketing, sales, and business consulting roles at companies such as Aditya Birla Group, Oracle, and Tata Consultancy Services.
Recently we have engaged in an interview with Sumeet Doshi, Country Manager India, UKG. He spoke about how UKG, as a workforce management company, upholds the values of DEI&B and elaborated on the impact of workload on mental health and how organisations can help employees navigate through it.
Introduction – (A brief non-promotional profile)
Ultimate Kronos Group, UKG, is an HR and workforce management solutions provider to over 70,000 organizations across 150 countries. The merger between Ultimate Software, a human resources IT company, and Kronos Incorporated, specialists in cloud software, back in 2020 resulted in the formation of UKG. With a technology-focused approach, UKGenables organisations efficiently manage their workforce by driving engagement, increasing productivity, and reducing compliance issues. Its solutions are designed specifically to meet the demands of employers as well as employees across industries such as manufacturing, IT/ITeS, and retail among others. Currently, the company has around 15000 employees across the globe and generates a revenue of more than $4 billion.
Give us an overview of UKG’s business in India and overseas.
In India, UKG has a significant presence with over 2400 employees across offices in Noida, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. In the 16 years of conducting operations in India, UKG has helped hundreds of Indian customers better manage cost, compliance, and productivity for their diverse workforce including contract, blue-collared, while-collared, and gig etc while fostering a culture of inclusivity and belonging in the workplace.UKG also has a large R&D centre in Noida which works toward delivering some of the best HR and workforce management (WFM) products in the world.
With Indian customers concentrated mainly in manufacturing, IT/ITeS, and retail sectors, the company’s innovative solutions, such as shift scheduling, are key in improving efficiency and driving engagement. Industries such as manufacturing, IT/ITES, and retail involve substantial logistical challenges that require dynamic solutions that can streamline their ongoing 24/7 work procedures while ensuring a positive employee experience. This is where workforce management solutions come into play, wherein employers are equipped with adequate tools that cater to their specific set of requirements.
On a global scale, UKG’s range of workforce management solutions has a multifaceted approach to helping companies thrive by enabling them to stay ahead of the curve by helping them with global regulatory and policy compliances. UKG’s WFM solutions also help track and manage global employee costs and productivity.
What are some workforce-related challenges in India, and how are you meeting customer expectations through technology?
Indian companies, encompassing both large corporations and small to medium businesses, have rapidly adapted to the digital transformation that has been happening around the globe in the past two decades. However, challenges continue to exist in this new ‘hybrid’ era of work,where managing the right availability of the employee at the right time with the right skill to meet business objectives has become far more complex to handle.
With the transition to a hybrid mode of work, flexibility has gained much currency as organizations strive to strike a balance between remote and in-office operations, allowing employees to adapt their work schedules and locations based on individual needs and preferences. Thus, tech-enabled workforce management solutions play a crucial role here by driving transparency in communications between managers, leaders, and employees. It allows organisations to accommodate the requirements of their employees, such as granting emergency leaves or earned wage access, without compromising the continuous cycle of work. UKG’s ‘Life-Work Technology’ is built on understanding and anticipating employee needs, helping them swap shifts basis their availability, and allowing managers to have a clear and real-time view of resource availability and allocation.
Furthermore, the labor policies in the country are different for different states, making it difficult for organisations to ensure employee welfare while maintaining compliance. Workforce management technology can be integral here in empowering companies to navigate complex multi-state tax configurations and effectively track employee wages, aligning them with each state’s specific overtime and other regulations. By doing so, organizations can ensure fair compensation for their employees based on their work location, all while staying compliant with the constantly evolving laws.
By embracing workforce management technology (WFM), organisations can foster a culture of engagement, reduce attrition rates, effectively manage compliance and create a work environment that thrives on innovation and productivity. This not only benefits the organization but also enhances the overall employee experience, leading to long-term success and growth.
What kind of role do you see technology playing here? How a company such as yours can help organisations de‐risk their workforce?
With the Indian economy looking up and strong tailwinds driving the growth, organisations are bound to grow and so will competition. This will drive the need for optimal utilization of a fixed and fluid workforce to remain competitive. This would involve implementing strategies that allow for flexibility and adaptability in the face of rapidly evolving market conditions. It requires re-evaluating operational processesand leveraging technology to streamline operations and mitigate potential risks.
Workforce management (WFM) technology can help create significant value by automating repetitive tasks and allowing companies to provide their employees with better opportunities. Automation will not only free up time for employees to focus on more strategic activities but also enable them to develop new skills and take on more challenging responsibilities. Additionally, by leveraging workforce management technology, companies can gain better insights into their workforce, optimize resource allocation, improve scheduling accuracy, and ultimately drive operational efficiency. It will allow companies to make data-driven decisions, remove bias, proactively address issues such as overstaffing or understaffing, identify skill gaps, and align their workforce with business needs.
Therefore, by embracing a proactive approach, organizations can position themselves to seizeeconomic opportunities and ensure long-term sustainability. Adopting workforce management solutions, in this case, can help companies operate on an agile business model, ensuring flexibility and adaptability for employees that will lead to a more engaged and productive workforce.
How are organisations bridging the gap between meeting organisation requirements and the employees’ expectations?
Across industries and workforces, some critical elements of employee expectations always coincide along the veins of flexibility, work-life balance, and opportunities for growth and development within the organisation. Now, looking at the other end of the spectrum, organisational requirements circle around the factors of driving productivity leading to better outcomes, maintaining a competitive edge, and fostering a positive work culture that attracts and retains top talent. It is quite essential to consider both these perspectives to achieve optimum success both at an individual as well as an organisational level. A Newtonian law is not needed to recognise the fact that a company that makes its employees feel valued will, in turn, inspire a greater sense of productivity amongst them, leading to better performance.
Workforce management solutions can help companies navigate this by nurturing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace where employees feel a sense of belonging. WFM technology is the only component of technology in an organisation that touches every single employee multiple times every day. This provides organisations a treasure trove of information to understand employees’ voices, views, perspectives and, organisations can drive better engagement. A shift towards a culture that promotes a positive work environment will allow employees to grow professionally while constantly being in touch with their true personal selves. By enabling data-driven decision-making and objective evaluation processes, technology can help rid organisations of existing biases and prejudices that they might not be completely aware of.
On the organisational side, one of the top priorities is to maintain business outcomes (production target in manufacturing or sales per labour hour in retail), and workforce management tools can help by putting efficient personnel mapping mechanisms in place. In industries such as retail which require increased workforce presence on topical days, these tools can help companies plan out schedules in advance and allocate tasks based on employee availability. It can also help employers map the workload and deploy personnel accordingly to ensure optimal productivity and efficient utilization of workforce resources.
What will be the top three or five categories/sectors that you will be catering to?
Manufacturing continues to be one of the largest sectors that UKG’s solutions primarily cater to, which includes pharma, auto, FMCG, metals, mining, and heavy engineering. The retail industry is also an avital sector that uses UKG’s workforce management solutions. In India, we also provide our solutions to some of the largest IT/ITeS organisations that have a global scale. While all these industries have their own unique set of challenges and requirements regarding the effective management of their workforce, we at UKG understand the diverse needs of each sector and have developed solutions to address them.
Speaking of your existing area of expertise, what are the additional requirements now?
As providers of HR and workforce management solutions to various industries across multiple verticals, the need for a centralised HR service delivery solution has been apparent for a while now. Even today, most of the HR executives’ time is spent dealing with several impromptu individual employee queries or requests, such as leave management, relocation issues, and benefits inquiries. These manual and time-consuming tasks can significantly hinder HR professionals from focusing on strategic initiatives and driving organizational growth.
However, with the adoption of advanced HR service delivery solutions like UKG HR Service DeliveryTM, HR executives can streamline and automate these processes, empowering employees to self-serve and find quick resolutions to their inquiries. By reducing the administrative burden on HR teams, organizations can enable their HR professionals to shift their focus towards more tactical activities such as talent development, employee engagement, and shaping a positive workplace culture. This enhances HR efficiency and the overall employee experience, leading to higher productivity and satisfaction levels within the organization.
The HR solutions delivery space, while relatively new, is subject to rapid evolution with the advancements in AI and ML. Therefore, it is crucial to leverage cutting-edge technologies to enhance the capabilities of HR solutions and stay ahead in the market. The potential for growth here is incredible. Therefore, we must constantly stay ahead of the curve to meet the changing needs of organizations and employees across industries.