Press Release

The Workforce Institute at Kronos appoints new executive director

Founder Joyce Maroney retires after building the think tank into a global workforce research leader for more than a decade

The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated today announced the appointment of Chris Mullen as the new executive director, succeeding founder Joyce Maroney, who will retire at the end of June. Maroney, who built The Workforce Institute into a leading global authority on workplace trends over 13 years, concludes a distinguished career in the human resources (HR) technology industry focused on customer experience, services, and workforce management thought leadership.                                                                                       

Chris Mullen (Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP) – a current Workforce Institute advisory board member and director of human capital management (HCM) strategic advisory services at Kronos – will assume the executive director role on 1 July 2020, bringing more than 15 years of experience as a HR leader and practitioner. Driven by a dedication for compassionate leadership and doing well by doing good, Mullen earned his Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado with a research focus on work-life balance and the use of mobile technology. Prior to his role at Kronos, Mullen served as director of HR for Housing and Dining Services at the University of Colorado, where he managed the HR needs of more than 2,000 employees, following his role as assistant director for recruitment and selection in the Office of Equal Opportunity at Colorado State University.

Under Maroney’s leadership, The Workforce Institute has collaborated with more than 100 thought leaders from around the world as advisory board members, guest writers, book contributors, and podcast guests, establishing itself as a leading global authority on helping organisations manage their workforces effectively while providing a voice for employees – especially frontline employees who must be present to do their jobs – on critical workplace issues via its research, such as:

o   Workplace absenteeism, including its flagship Super Bowl absence research that was first to cite the millions of Americans who would miss work because of the big game – culminating in a record 17.5 million U.S. employees in 2020, which was only surpassed by the 27.2 million employees who admitted that the Game of Thrones series finale would impact their workday.

o   Employee burnout, which 95% of HR leaders said was sabotaging their workforce and attributing to half of their employee turnover.

o   The 4-day workweek, revealing that nearly half of employees (45%) worldwide could do their jobs in five hours or less each day, even though nearly two in five (37%) work more than 40 hours each week, showing a need for better efficiency, creative scheduling, and flexibility.

o   Gen Z’s impact on the workplace, a three-part global series unearthing that one-third (32%) of Gen Zers say they are the hardest-working generation but view their anxiety (34%) as a barrier to success.

o   “Boomerang” employees, highlighting the changing perception of 76% of organisations becoming more accepting of rehires, with nearly half of HR professionals saying their employer previously had a policy against boomerang employees.

o   Manager effectiveness, discovering that employees globally like their managers in general, yet nearly 70% claim they can do their boss’s job better and 90% say the manager-employee relationship is an important factor to remaining at their current job.

o   Technology’s impact on the workplace, including its multi-part global series finding that more than half (55%) of employees say it is easier to search for new movies on Netflix than to check their benefits details, and more than a third (35%) feel their job is harder than it should be because of outdated processes and legacy technology.

Following years of North America-focused research and thought leadership, The Workforce Institute established advisory boards in China in 2013 – the same year it began releasing annual workplace predictions – and Europe on its 10-year anniversary in 2017. Other highlights include:

o   Publishing four books – all anthologies written by board members –  on changes employers can implement to improve the employee experience, including “Being Present: A Practical Guide for Transforming the Employee Experience of Your Frontline Workforce (2019).”

o   Being an early pioneer of business-focused podcasting by launching “The Workforce Institute Radio” in 2008.

Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos, “The founding and cultivation of The Workforce Institute at Kronos has truly been one of the highlights and great privileges of my career. Thirteen years, more than 800 blog posts, more than 120 podcasts, and over 100 thought leaders later, it has made its mark on the industry and continues to be at the forefront of critical HR topics and the future of work. I am pleased to welcome Chris as the Institute’s new leader and look forward to reading the team’s inspired work – this time, from afar.”

Chris Mullen, director of HCM strategic advisory services, Kronos, “I am truly humbled to be continuing the leadership role Joyce established and carried out so masterfully. Joyce’s work building the Institute is inspiring. The impressive group of talented individuals that make up The Workforce Institute at Kronos represents such an important voice for the industry. To speak on behalf of employees – their wants and needs – and provide prescriptive guidance to employers on the world of work, specialising in a niche that’s often not explored: frontline employees.”

Supporting resources

About The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated

The Workforce Institute provides research and education on critical workplace issues facing organisations around the globe. By bringing together thought leaders, The Workforce Institute is uniquely positioned to empower organisations with the knowledge and information they need to manage their workforces effectively and provide a voice for employees on important workplace issues. A hallmark of The Workforce Institute’s research is balancing the needs and desires of diverse employee populations with the needs of organisations. For additional information, visit

About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organisations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Kronos merged with Ultimate Software on 1 April 2020, to create one of the world’s most innovative HCM and workforce management companies. Visit Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.

About Ultimate Software

Ultimate Software is a leading global provider of cloud human capital management (HCM) and employee experience solutions, with more than 51 million people records in the cloud. Ultimate’s award-winning UltiPro delivers HR, payroll, talent, and time and labour management, as well as HR service delivery solutions. Founded in 1990, Ultimate is headquartered in Weston, Florida, and employs more than 6,000 professionals. To learn more, visit Ultimate Software: People First.

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