Inside the Virtual UKG Connections Experience

May 3, 2021      By Andrew Taylor

Over this past year, one of the things I’ve missed about adjusting to a socially-distanced world have been the live events. Holiday parties with my family and extended family, concerts, and of course conferences of all kinds. But, those opportunities to be surrounded by like-minded people haven’t vanished entirely — they’ve just evolved. That’s been especially true of our annual UKG Pro™ customer conference, UKG Connections. For the first time, we held a 100% virtual Connections conference that brought over 10,000 customers, partners, analysts, thought leaders, and inspirational speakers together for two days of fun, education, and all-around great experiences.

If you’re unfamiliar with Connections, it’s one of our annual conferences that brings us together with our customers, partners, and employees to celebrate everything we’ve done together and the incredible innovations to look forward to. We share company updates, industry trends, product innovations, networking opportunities, prizes, and so much more. If you’re looking for the latest product updates from UKG, head on over to our official press release here. If you want to experience the intangible, special kind of magic that happens at UKG Connections, keep reading.

Incredible Hosts

At our 2020 Connections conference, Aron Ain stepped on stage to share  the excitement of our merger. Now, fully-merged and with a brand new name, our CEO Aron stepped on stage alongside other leaders from UKG, like our president Chris Todd and our vice president of product innovation Cecile Alper-Leroux, to share everything we’ve been able to accomplish over the last year.

Every great event also needs a great MC, and we’re lucky enough to have our chief relationship officer Bill Hicks as our Master of Ceremonies since 2012. Bill not only wows our customers as our chief relationship officer, but he’s been known to wow the audience too. Even with a new format for Connections, Bill made a point to entertain by jumping in a wind tunnel to show off his very impressive indoor skydiving skills.

Inspirational Guest Speakers

Every Connections conference features some truly remarkable people who join us to share their stories and inspire us to act. Our virtual UKG Connections was no different.

Laila Ali, world-champion athlete, TV host, and entrepreneur took the virtual stage to give us a look into her personal life story, self-titled Finding Strength, Spirit and Personal Power. After an action-packed career in boxing, Laila was ready to tackle the next chapters of her life and reinvent herself. She touched on the difficult transition going from boxing, starring on and hosting television shows, spreading her passion for health and wellness, and starting a family with her husband and two children. She left us with her three keys to success to be the greatest version of yourself during times of change: 

  • Qualify Yourself 
  • Embrace the Process 
  • Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

The Vision of Life-work Technology

No matter the format, you can always expect to learn about the industry’s latest and greatest human capital management (HCM) solutions. At this year’s Connections conference, we also unveiled our Life-work Technology™ vision. Simply put, life and work are intertwined, and employees need solutions designed with that reality in mind. Cecile Alper-Leroux, vice president of products and innovation at UKG, said it best. “This is an entirely new vision for designing enterprise HCM solutions, factoring in people’s emotions and preferences, allowing them to work in a way that supports their lives and empowers them to thrive both at work and in life.” To learn more about our Life-work Technology vision and new innovations like UKG Pro Candidate Cultivation, read our full press release on our website.

Feel Good Moments

Connections has always been bigger than just us. This conference has been an opportunity for us to recognize and amplify the good we can all do together — and that starts by taking care of our neighbors. To help people across North America who are struggling with food insecurity, UKG partnered with Feeding America and Daily Bread Food Bank of Canada and donated $5 for every time the hashtag #UKGConnect was used during the conference. Customers filled our social media notifications with tweets, posts, and photos throughout the two-day event with our hashtag #UKGConnect, and in response we’re donating $25,000 to these great organizations!

Want to help us in supporting our communities? Consider donating to either of these organizations using the links below:

It’s also been a tradition at Connections to celebrate UKG customers who have used technology to uplift people as their purpose. Laila and Bill closed out virtual Connections 2021 with the customer Innovation Awards ceremony, recognizing our champions—the companies and people behind the scenes who stepped up as early adopters, solved business challenges, and added value to their organizations with our solutions. Here were this year’s winners:

  • In the HR Transformation category, this year’s winning companies Schlegel Villages and the City of Loveland were honored for using UKG Pro to overcome a significant business challenge, and, as a result, improve operations and deliver a world-class employee experience.
  • In the ROI/Measurable Benefits category, this year’s winners 2nd.MD and Cofense demonstrated substantial and impressive quantifiable business benefits with UKG Pro.
  • In the Innovation Evangelist category, Avalon Healthcare and The Parking Spot were recognized for the way they leveraged the latest Pro solutions. 
  • In the UKG Product Suite category, Biltmore and Mosaic were recognized for using flagship UKG people technologies to improve the employee experience and drive cost savings.

You can learn more about the Innovation Awards and our winners at our website.


I’ve been fortunate enough to attend Connections live in past years, and while I missed seeing everyone in person this year, the spirit of Connections was wonderfully captured and expressed. Thank you to every U Krewer, customer, partner, and guest who helped make this event a familiar kind of magic.

And from all of us here at UKG, we look forward to seeing you at our next Connections in Las Vegas on December 13-16.

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