Kronos Incorporated is a multinational workforce management software and services company headquartered in Lowell, Massachusetts. It employs nearly 5,600 people worldwide.
1. What changes have you made to your candidate experience recently? What improvements are you most proud of? How do you know that your changes are making a difference?
In 2018 Kronos launched the “Candidate to Kronite” (C2K) program — an initiative that continues to grow and evolve today — to map out priorities, expectations and job training throughout the new employee life cycle from initial candidacy through the first six months of employment. Our goal with C2K is to engage new hires before they even walk through our doors on their start date to get them inspired, focused on the right priorities and firing on all cylinders as a valued contributor as soon as possible.
For example, our recruiters and hiring managers send recent news articles about Kronos and our culture to candidates (which continues as they become new hires) to give them a chance to learn a little more about who we are, our key messages and what we stand for. After receiving an article where our CEO Aron Ain was profiled, one candidate stated, “I continue to get more and more excited about Kronos. Your CEO seems to really get the critical effect employee engagement has on the overall success of an organization. Pretty inspiring and I’m sure a huge draw for potential employees and customers.” These types of inspiring and educational touchpoints can be found throughout the C2K life cycle.
Above all, we treat day one in the recruiting cycle — that first touch point — as if the candidate is already part of the Kronos family. That means our WorkInspired culture of caring, trust, and high performance extends to candidates. As part of extending our culture to candidates, our recruiters are empowered to provide personal information to best connect with the future Kronite.
For example, we had made an offer to a candidate and, while waiting for his response, his wife unexpectedly needed emergency surgery. He called his recruiter apologizing as he needed more time to respond to our offer so he could attend to his family. The recruiter assured him to take the time needed to be with his family, quickly notified the hiring manager so we could adapt internally, and then had flowers sent to their home, letting them know we are thinking of their family — after all, that’s how we’d care for a Kronite facing a similar family situation. The candidate/recruiter relationship is most crucial at this point in the process, and because of our high-touch candidate experience, this candidate and recruiter relationship was transparent, open and supportive. The candidate’s wife made a speedy recovery, and we now have a new Kronite as he happily accepted our offer. Enabling our recruiters to make these decisions is important based on the types of relationships they build with their candidates — and ultimately their families.
Above all, we treat day one in the recruiting cycle — that first touch point — as if the candidate is already part of the Kronos family.
Stories like the one above are countless. Candidates will often share their appreciation that the Kronos experience made a difference to them. Recently, we received a thank you note from a candidate who took a role at another company. She stated that it was bittersweet as she became very fond of the Kronos team members she met with. She said, “Each of you have played a role in making me feel important in this process, you’ve all helped create an EXCEPTIONAL candidate experience, and for that I thank you!” Another candidate also used the word “exceptional” when talking about his experience, saying the Kronos TA team stood alone compared to others in terms of responsiveness, clarity of expectations, interview process and revealing how Kronos genuinely treats employees. One candidate-turned-Kronite ran into his recruiter recently. Afterwards, he sent a thank you for being his first interaction with Kronos because if it wasn’t for his genuine approach, he may not have made change, and it has been “a monumentally important move for my family.”
We keep that culture of a caring spirit alive as the recruiter/candidate relationship shifts to the employee/ manager relationship — and that starts with a welcome gift. As soon as a new hire accepts an offer, a “Welcome to Kronos” box is mailed to their home filled with gifts tied to our workplace culture pillars of WorkInspired, GiveInspired, and LiveInspired. These goodies include a Kronos-branded PopSocket to attach to their smartphone, a Kronos-branded water bottle to help the new Kronite stay hydrated and keep wellness top of mind, and a charitable gift card that lets the new hire donate to any cause and give back to the community where they work or live. Boxes are distributed to all newly hired Kronites worldwide, regardless of location, function or level. One recent new hire, who had been at her previous company for 10 years, was nervous about making a leap after she accepted the offer from Kronos. ‘She said the nerves disappeared a couple weeks before her start date because “I received this box from Kronos that made me feel like Kronos valued me.” Because of that, she regained confidence in her decision, enjoyed her time off between jobs, and arrived on her first day inspired and free of doubt.
We warmly welcome more than just brand-new hires — we also embrace high-performing former employees who would like to rejoin our workforce, who we call “boomerangs.” From the top, Kronos believes that “we don’t own employees’ careers — they do.” If an offer comes along that is a too-good-to-pass-up opportunity for the employee and/or their families, they should take it. However, we tell high-performing Kronites leaving the company that if their ideal career opportunity knocks twice at Kronos, we invite them to answer the door! As one of our boomerang Kronites put it, “A lot has changed since I worked for Kronos the first time; the level of training has grown, before there is a documented onboarding process. I also feel that being a boomerang is like being a long-lost relative that has rejoined the family and is welcomed with open arms. It’s like a badge of honor.”
2. Why did you decide to make changes to how candidates were being treated? What data or evidence prompted you to make a change?
At Kronos, we believe great businesses are powered by great people. Our CEO often states, “Employees join organizations because of what they hear about the company — but they leave because of who they work for (i.e. the manager-employee relationship).” We know candidates have choices, but we want them to apply to Kronos because of what they hear about us and our awardwinning workplace — yet we need to follow through to deliver the employee experience that they expect, which starts on first touch.
Team members in our talent acquisition team are empowered to go above and beyond to ensure that the candidate feels cared for. And even if we determine that the person is not a fit for Kronos, we offer career coaching and counseling to help these candidates along in their career journey — not because we feel obligated, but because we feel so passionate about candidates finding their “right fit.”
3. How did you build support and commitment within your team and the broader organization? How did you demonstrate the importance of candidate experience?
Kronos continues to build support to ensure candidate experience is important by offering education and tools to all members of the organization. One of the tools we offer is competency interview training. In addition to helping us as a hiring company, this technique leads our recruiters to often act as talent advisers, helping candidates along in their career journey. This technique isn’t just beneficial to the hiring company, but our recruiters often act as talent advisors to help candidates along in their career journey not because we feel obligated, but because we feel so passionate about candidates finding their “right fit.” We also firmly believe that every Kronite deserves a great manager — and we invest in holding people managers accountable via our Manager Effectiveness Index initiative, where Kronites rate their managers twice a year as part of our global employee engagement survey. Managers then receive their MEI scores and are expected to (1) communicate the results to employees and (2) discuss a path to improve areas of opportunity. We weave the four pillars of the MEI into our recruitment and interviewing process by focusing on supporting, developing, communicating and empowering.
“We also embrace high-performing former employees who would like to rejoin our workforce, who we call “boomerangs.”
We have such a strong commitment to employee engagement that it’s natural it extends to candidates. After all, Ain recently wrote a book, “WorkInspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work,” about how we used employee engagement as a growth strategy and saw revenue triple as engagement scores reached record heights. Being in the business of HCM software ourselves, the Kronos organization understands how important a specialized recruiting and onboarding process is!
4. How do you measure candidate experience?
How do you report on your recruiting process? How do you use that data to demonstrate financial impact as well as manage recruiter and hiring manager behaviors?
Measure: We administer surveys to candidates at various points in the process to ensure a great experience and gather data on how to improve. These surveys collect information from candidates who did not receive an offer and those who accepted an offer, as well as feedback on the hiring manager experience. It’s important to pair quantitative metrics, such as data points and ratings, with qualitative feedback to see the full candidate experience picture.
Report: We report on our survey findings during global TA calls so we can all collectively understand areas of improvement and areas of success. Additionally, we maintain and monitor a candidate experience dashboard monthly to ensure improvements and a great candidate experience across all regions and teams. Our overall recruiting process includes a variety of additional reports and dashboards to help recruiters, recruiting managers and leadership understand capacity, headcount, forecasting, pipelines, data integrity and candidate statuses.
Using the data for recruiting/hiring manager behaviors: Between our own data and market data, we have deep insight into the recruiting process, including which roles take a longer time to fill or are less available in certain markets. With the benefit of aggregate data, recruiters can set expectations with hiring managers on the availability of specific skill sets and act as talent advisors to the business.
Every new candidate job search kicks off with a oneon- one meeting between the hiring manager and the recruiter, which enables recruiters to help managers set realistic hiring expectations based on the talent in the market while providing the hiring manager the opportunity to talk about their ideal-fit candidate. This process can lead to adjusting compensation rates based on expertise and availability, tweaking skills requirements to fit a wider variety of candidates, or helping to hone the messaging of the job description based on talent “competitors.” Additionally, our recruiters are experts in the market — they know what their area looks like and can plan for historically difficult roles by pipelining high-potential candidates. By keeping the recruiting pipeline fresh and staying in touch with past candidates, our recruiters can build trust and loyalty with prospective candidates from the moment they enter our talent pool.
To supplement personal assessments of the candidate’s skills and Kronos fit by the recruiter, hiring manager and interview team, we utilize a psychometric assessment known as the Predictive Index (PI). This powerful tool provides valuable insight to our TA and interview teams: A PI report is generated for each candidate and includes an overview of their work preferences, style and preferred management style, as well as motivators and demotivators. Kronites on each interview team are encouraged to use the candidate’s PI to tailor questions that might draw out real-world examples of the strengths indicated by the assessment as well as potentially address any concerns someone might have about the candidate.