“How can we make our company as successful as possible?” The quest to get an answer to this single question has warranted an amazing amount of academic research, business-sponsored studies, and theoretical speculation, all in the hopes of discovering the “secret sauce” of great organizations. After years of working in HR, I’m convinced that the “secret” is really no secret at all.
From playing sports as a kid to being grouped together for projects in school, teamwork has always been a differentiator in determining success. How well the members of a team, group, or organization work together towards a common goal is a key variable – if not the most important variable – in determining the quality and quantity of what is being produced. So, the key question that we really should be asking instead might be, “How can we make our people more successful together?”
When we unveiled our new identity after a merger like no other, we also introduced our new company’s brand identity: Our purpose is people. To make sure that we stay true to our purpose, we recently began introducing our new UKG values and behaviors to all employees. The journey leading up to this point was filled with many valuable insights that I’d love to share with you. So, let’s talk about why we felt that establishing these company values and behaviors was important for UKG, what they are, and how we got it all done (and how you can get involved, too).
Fostering Intentional and Meaningful Company Culture
Each and every company has a culture, regardless of how it came to be. The simplest way to think about this is that companies either build a culture collaboratively and intentionally, or it develops randomly over time. Those are the only two choices: 1) Intentional 2) Random. Sadly, most organizations “choose” option two. The vast majority of the time that “choice” occurs by default because they haven’t focused and invested the time and resources required to create a culture that is intentional. It’s simply not a priority for them. We’ve chosen option one because we believe deeply that our people are the “secret sauce” to our success. Establishing our company values and behaviors is just one piece of how we are intentionally building a unique, authentic, and special culture for UKG.
Our values and behaviors provide the foundation for our UKG culture and ensure we live Our Purpose is People. They not only reflect who we are now but more importantly, they reflect the future of our company.
Aron Ain, CEO of UKG
Everything is Better Together
The best part about the process of creating these new company values and behaviors is that our 13,000+ U Krewers helped decide who we want to be together as an organization. In order to begin this process from an informed place, we had to take a look at where we were. Having just merged two organizations with strong company cultures, we had the unique opportunity to really understand the strong and rich cultures that already existed and all of the many overlapping values, behaviors, and core competencies such as trust, integrity, authenticity, belonging, excellence, courage, empowerment, innovation, care, support, and inspiration.
Doing this well required that we collect and analyze feedback from literally thousands of employees to ensure their voices were accurately heard so that the company we are, and the company we become, is one that we can all be proud of and closely identify with. U Krewers collectively know better than anyone who we need to be in order to make our company as successful as possible.
Defining our values and behaviors was a data-driven process that took months of extensive research and evaluation by a collaborative, multi-discipline group of people that looked at four key areas:
Rich Heritage: Determining which values were common across both legacy companies
Purpose and Brand: Analyzing the results of employee culture surveys as well as external brand studies and surveys
Employee Values Survey: Based on the outcomes of the above inputs, selecting 10 values and asking employees how they felt about each
UKG Strategy: Incorporating important aspects of our business strategy
After reviewing the output from these four areas, several values acronyms and rally cries were produced and considered. The team then shared these concepts with various stakeholders and focus groups for their feedback. Multiple focus groups were held with diversity networks, integration ambassadors and other groups. The feedback gathered via these meetings clearly indicated that United, Kind and Growing was the clear choice to represent the values of UKG.
United: We are Inclusive; We are Collaborative
Kind: We are Trusting/Trustworthy; We are Caring
Growing: We are Agile; We are Accountable
Bringing Our Company Values and Behaviors to Life
These core values and high-level behaviors help solidify UKG’s identity, and this is only the beginning. As our CEO Aron said, these are our foundation. From here, we’ll continue to build on these values to make sure we’re all empowered to stay true to our purpose of people.