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Workforce Ready Suite-Kronos’ SMB Growth Engine

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: October 24 2013

Amid the fever pitch of the MLB 2013 Playoffs, Kronos Inc.’s 2012 acquisition of SaaShr appears to be a grand slam hit. The cloud workforce management offering for small to medium businesses (SMBs) has instantly brought several thousand SMB customers to Kronos (and given the giant vendor a much larger foothold in the coveted lower-end of the market, see here), resulting in double-digit annual growth of the vendor’s SMB business. The inexpensive cloud SMB platform provides a single view of employee data across human resources (HR), payroll, and time and attendance (T&A) records for simplified and real-time workforce management. With recent international and SMB growth (the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive), Kronos has been moving toward the $1 billion (USD) revenue mark.

The HR Technology Conference & Exposition fall event was an opportunity for Kronos to make some announcements and preview major news of the upcoming KronosWorks conference later this year. At HR Tech 2013, Kronos announced the latest version of its Kronos Workforce Ready (formerly SaaShr) workforce management cloud suite. Major new enhancements include global capabilities, new applications to help SMBs minimize risk associated with labor law compliance, and a range of ease-of-use enhancements.

Going Global

Kronos Workforce Ready now includes the following global workforce management capabilities:

  • Control absenteeism—Workforce Ready incorporates the Bradford Factor, a formula that is commonly used in the UK to measure the impact of employee absenteeism. The formula helps organizations define what constitutes absences, identify unreliable employees, set warnings when preset thresholds for absences are exceeded, and track absence trends with real-time reporting.

  • Manage overtime and employee leave—Workforce Ready allows organizations to track overtime requests, country mandated time off, and vacation time, while ensuring compliance with country-specific and regional mandates such as the European Union's Working Time Directive.

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance—With ACA deadlines looming, a new ACA Manager application helps SMBs proactively manage their ACA compliance strategy across the entire organization, including both part- and full-time employees (see here). Companies can more effectively manage regular- and variable-hour employees’ benefit compliance along with applicable reporting, see employees approaching a status change, and drive benefits enrollment.


With the ACA Manager module (see figure 1), SMBs should gain the following capabilities:

  • Comprehensive visibility—Provides preconfigured current and historical reporting with the ability to drill down into the individual employee level. Managers can create rules by employee group.

  • Awareness and enforcement—Notifies managers when an employee's ACA eligibility status changes and allows organizations to institute rules that enforce scheduling strategies. Managers can view employee status by month with a timeline view.

  • Unified administration—Easily automates affordability calculations and benefit enrollment with a single record for each employee across HR/benefits administration, T&A, and payroll.


aca.png
Figure 1. ACA Manager

Leave Management Compliance

Workforce Ready can help organizations automate the enforcement and tracking of federal, state, and employer-specific leave polices and requirements for a variety of qualified leave types, including the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Leave Manager module (see figure 2) allows SMBs to perform the following:

  • Ensure accuracy and reduce risk—By automating leave administration, Workforce Ready ensures that leave cases are managed accurately and thoroughly, reducing errors from manual processes to avoid costly litigation and employee grievances.

  • Improve visibility and productivity—HR administrators are just one click away from accurate data and comprehensive visibility of employee leave availability and eligibility, with automated leave frequency and duration tracking to increase efficiency.

  • Reduce labor costs—By tracking time and eligibility in every leave case, Workforce Ready prevents ineligible or unauthorized time off and ensures employees return on time, with built-in notifications to control the potentially high cost of absence.


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Figure 2. Leave Manager


User Experience Enhancements

Workforce Ready now includes a graphical business process workflow engine that can be tailored to the environment of a particular organization, increasing process efficiency and HR productivity (see figure 3). Users can define simple or complex workflows for approval processes. The Workflow engine was initially applied to Time Off & Leave Requests, but will eventually be applied to all existing as well as new workflows. The engine also makes complying with Workers' Compensation regulations easier, as it ties deductions to vendor policies, helping organizations automatically pay the amount owed to these vendors.

workflow.png 
Figure 3. Workflow Designer

Designed to bring a consumer-driven buying experience to workforce management, the Kronos Workforce Ready Marketplace allows SMBs to easily customize their cloud platform with complementary applications. Now available directly through Workforce Ready are new third-party applications such as PayScale compensation reports, Kronos Workforce Talent Acquisition Express, and a HR and Payroll Compliance library from CCH. Kronos now also offers an additional payroll tax compliance solution from Business Software Inc.

There is no shortage of competition in the SMB HR, payroll, and workforce management space. In addition to Insperity and the traditional service bureaus—ADP, Ceridian, Paychex, and Ultimate Software, there are dozens of smaller vendors with various capability levels such as TriNet. Kronos attributes Workforce Ready's rapid adoption to the following two reasons:

  1. Very few of these competitors offer a complete and fully integrated solution with pure software-as-a-service (SaaS) architecture and delivery.

  2. Kronos has been serving SMBs since its founding—but in recent years, as the flagship Kronos Workforce Central suite has increased in functional/technical breadth and depth, it has become a product that offers more capabilities than many SMBs actually need. With Workforce Ready, customers can now get the best of both worlds: full-suite workforce management in the cloud designed for SMBs and the reliability and customer experience that Kronos is widely known for.


KronosWorks 2013 Peek Preview

While Workforce Ready will be one main themes at the upcoming KronosWorks 2013 conference in November 2013, at HR Tech 2013 Kronos briefly previewed some other conference themes—big data, data discovery (transforming data into actionable information), data visualization (finding meaning in raw data faster), and self-service analytics (helping business users get better insight faster via guided discovery that provides ability to quickly see patterns, trends, and relationships that previously required an experienced analyst).

A social collaboration tool within Workforce Central will certainly create a buzz, as activity streams will be able to facilitate collaboration among employees and groups to, for example, fill a shift quickly, decide who can go home early, look for a skillset, etc. Based on TIBCO’s Tibbr platform, social collaboration is fully integrated within the Workforce Central 7 user interface (UI), whereby users can capture and share screens and post and share documents and files. Stay tuned for our KronosWorks 2013 post-conference report.
 
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