Today marks a monumental day for myself, my team at Great Place to Work, and our mission of creating great workplaces For All™ around the world. I’m thrilled to announce that we’re being acquired by UKG Inc., a leading global provider of human capital management (HCM) solutions.
I joined Great Place to Work in 2015 because the mission of creating great workplaces so deeply resonated with me. I’ve spent my life witnessing the good and bad that businesses can do in the lives of those connected to them and in the communities where they operate. I have always tried to ensure my businesses were a force for good and was excited to now have this as an official line-item on my job description.
As I dug into how we evaluated companies for placement on one of our Best Workplaces™ lists, it became really clear to me that there was one missing element — we weren’t considering the consistency in experience across every employee in the organization. I knew that in order to have the impact on the world that we aspire to achieve, we needed organizations to not just be great places to work for some, but great places to work For All. And so that became the foundation of our strategy and we got to work!
Our data science team worked relentlessly to develop a new model and methodology for evaluating the consistency in experience across the organization. Our technology team built a brand new platform in record time that allowed our customers to collect and analyze feedback from their employees around the world. Our global recognition team began publishing lists that evaluated companies based on our new For All methodology, putting the emphasis on the experience of actual employees as opposed to the perks and programs often touted by companies. Our sales and marketing teams worked to recruit more companies to join our mission and have their employee experience Certified™ by Great Place to Work. Our customer success team supported our fast-growing customer community on their journey to becoming great workplaces For All. And our global team ensured we were able to do this all around the world.
You know the saying “If you build it, they will come”? That’s what happened. We’re proud to say that there are more than 10,000 companies worldwide that are listening to and gathering feedback from their employees on the Great Place to Work platform and proudly earning their badge as a Certified great place to work. But we aren’t stopping there. We continue to push ourselves further. In order to demonstrate that we’re making progress toward creating a world where work is better for people, we know that we must Certify more than 100,000 organizations worldwide.
Our mission is possible
Today’s announcement takes us one step closer to making that dream a reality. I’m honored and excited to now be a member of the UKG family, whose motto is “Our purpose is people.”
In March 2020, UKG’s CEO Aron Ain announced from the stage at our Great Place to Work For All Summit that he was set to do the impossible – lead two Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® through a merger while attempting to maintain their award-winning culture by bringing together the best from each company. If you’re curious, this was well before this acquisition was even a dream in my heart.
A week later, business in the U.S. came to a screeching halt as the COVID-19 pandemic became a new reality that we all had to contend with. That didn’t stop Aron and his team from pressing ahead. In addition to merging the two companies as planned, they incurred no job losses from the pandemic and actually hired 2,000 new employees in their first year as UKG. While this alone was a heroic feat, they also committed to investing in their people with an additional $35 million in benefits on top of the incredible package already offered to employees, exceeded financial targets for the year, and went on to be named #6 on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List in 2021.
What Aron and his team have achieved in the past 18-months is absolutely unheard of. I’m personally inspired by what they’ve done to protect their employees, their employees’ families, and their customers while running a highly successful business. This is exactly the kind of bold leadership that we need to prove to the world that, when you put your people first, the impossible is possible.
What does this mean for our community?
Great Place to Work will operate as a standalone business with me as the CEO, and we’ll continue to do what we do best. We’ll keep helping organizations to get feedback from their people anywhere in the world and to earn Certification™ when their people say it’s a great place to work. We’ll continue publishing lists of the Best Workplaces around the world through our long-standing media partnerships with Fortune, PEOPLE magazine, and other leading publications worldwide, such as The Globe and Mail in Canada and The Economic Times in India. We’ll still be hosting our Great Place to Work For All Summit — this is an open invitation for any and all to join our mission. The more the merrier.
Most of all, we’ll continue to help companies to see that this “listening thing” is a journey. Without this synergy between companies and their people, and this always-on feedback loop, there would be no change and no growth. There would be no world where equity is possible. Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) for us means equity of representation, opportunity, compensation and well-being across all demographics, roles and levels of the organization. We know that the workplace is a common ground, a place where we can all coexist and be united around a single purpose, a place where we can see the good in each other, a place where we can realize we’re all on the same team — this is where lives are changed.
The future is bright
I want to thank all the organizations around the world that continue to join our mission and are a part of our amazing customer community — you continue to put your people first and witness the magic that happens as lives are changed through work. I also want to thank all of you around the world who have taken our survey to provide the critical feedback that your employers need in order to better understand you and how to support your growth.
I’m incredibly optimistic about the future of our mission with UKG and about our opportunity to make the world a great place to work and live — For All.
The best is yet to come.
Michael C. Bush
Michael Bush is CEO of Great Place to Work®. Driven by a love of business and an unwavering commitment to fair and equitable treatment, Michael joined Great Place to Work as CEO in 2015, bringing 30 years of experience leading and growing organizations. Previously, he was CEO of Tetra Tech Communications, a billion-dollar global telecommunications infrastructure firm and was a member of President Obama’s White House Business Council. He earned his M.S. in Management from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.