Aron Ain, Author
The Magic Formula

By David Chasanov

Kronos Inc. CEO Aron Ain released his book, “WorkInspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work,” in October. Ain discusses how prioritizing employees is beneficial for an entire company. Workforce Editorial Associate David Chasanov spoke with Ain and found out what workplace elements are most important to him as a leader.

Workforce: What’s your favorite element in making the workplace fun?

Aron Ain: Having a great place where great people can come to work and enjoy what they’re doing. A place where they can also have balance in their lives. I love when I tell people that if the most important thing in their life is working for Kronos, they have their priorities mixed up. People get uncomfortable at first when they hear that, but then they end up believing in it because I keep repeating it to them.

WF: Where does building a workplace culture begin?

Ain: At the top. If the CEO and leadership don’t believe, encourage or support [workplace culture], it’s not effective. [At Kronos], if people know it’s important to me, people take it seriously. There’s safety in making sure employees are looked after and encouraged to have the right balance in their life. There’s safety in giving active feedback about how we can do better. I can’t imagine you would have great engagement in your company if people at the top don’t believe in that deeply.

WF: Are you a rah-rah leader or lead-by-example type of leader?

Ain: Both. I’m very communicative. I do video blogs all the time with employees, I talk to people all the time, I make sure when I’m walking through the halls or on the elevator that I don’t have my nose in my cellphone and I have my head up and I’m saying hello and talking to people. I visit Kronos offices around the world, and the first thing I do is go and say hello to everyone in the office. In India, where there’s about 1,000 people, it takes me a whole morning to go shake hands and say hello.

WF: Is employee engagement all about the money?

Ain: Absolutely not. What’s most important to us is that the workplace should be a place where people have a great career opportunity, where they feel they have a great manager who respects them and helps them grow. It’s a place where they have confidence in the future, where they’re learning and growing, where they enjoy their co-workers, where people are making a difference with customers. If a place is a fun place to work but they’re working for a miserable manager, they’re out of here.

WF: What is a common misconception in the business world right now?

Ain: The whole thing about what makes a company successful or what impact people have on making a company successful. People think having the magic product will make all the difference. The problem is you can’t deliver great products without great people. People say what comes first, the chicken or the egg, and in my world, what comes first is great people. It’s crystal clear. Once you have great people, you must work hard to do all the components to motivate people to want to stay.