Ultimate Software, Kronos Unveil Combined Brand

Merger Puzzle

Ultimate Software and Kronos, who closed their merger in April, unveiled their new corporate identity and began hinting at plans for their combined future.

Beginning October 1, the merged companies will rebrand as UKG, for Ultimate Kronos Group, and adopt the tagline “Our purpose is people.” The company said the name is meant to “build on the strength and innovation” of Ultimate and Kronos even while “signaling a singular, shared focus on inspiring workforces and businesses around the world.”

.@UltimateHCM, @Kronos nod to combined traditions with new branding, "UKG". CEO @AronAin looks to the future of business, culture. #HR #HRTech Click To Tweet

Aron Ain, who was CEO of Kronos before taking the reins of the combined business, said the UKG brand is rooted in each company’s history. “We believe the UKG brand represents our continued commitment to our employees, customers and their employees—while at the same time giving us a modern new identity for our future together as one organization,” he said.

Ultimate Software and Kronos are both controlled by the PE firm Hellman & Friedman. The company generates an estimated $3 billion in revenue each year, employs more than 12,000 people and has an enterprise value of $22 billion.

Reality on the Ground

UKG Logo

Unveiling UKG’s identity brings employees of both companies into “a new place as a team,”Ain said in an interview with the HCM Technology Report. “That brings [together] all the benefits of two complimentary products and two complimentary cultures and two complimentary sets of customers and employees and visions and strategies, and starts to really meld them into one.”

Ultimately, Ain’s goal is to create a unified organization that offers a comprehensive line of workforce management and HCM solutions. “Two years from now, I want people to think of our new company as that company. I don’t want them to think of it as Ultimate and Kronos,” he said.

In the near term, that means UKG’s combined teams will be working to integrate products, go-to-market strategies, sales, service activities and marketing. “Two years from now, there won’t be different platforms and different products and different billing systems and different business cards,” Ain said.

UKG’s Human Factor

Ultimate Software and Kronos have both had reputations for strong cultures. For example, Ultimate ranked second on Fortune’s 2020 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For, while Kronos rose to number 52. Both companies also earned spots on Glassdoor’s 2020 Best Places to Work/Employees’ Choice list.

Bringing those cultures together won’t be easy, Ain said, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic keeps many employees working remotely and hampers business travel. To overcome such challenges, he plans to communicate frequently and encourage collaboration and transparency. “You do this by working together toward a common objective,” he said. “You do this through all the ways that make sense.”

Still, the company is in the midst of a tricky dance. “Merging is one thing. How you operationalize that merger is another,” Ain said.  “We’re going to try really hard to do it right. We’ll see a month from now if we did that.”

Disclosure: Ultimate Software is a sponsor of the HCM Technology Report

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