The culture itself at Ultimate is inspiring. It feels like it’s more than a place of work, more than a company that builds human resources solutions. It feels like family—a family of extremely talented, committed, and caring people. The atmosphere of inclusion, warmth, openness, sharing, and positivity was created originally by CEO Scott Scherr when he founded Ultimate and has grown into the ethos of the company that we all have come to “own”. These values inspire our behavior to encompass our customers and our communities as well.
Values and Quotes That Inspire Us
One of our CEO Scott Scherr’s favorite quotes is from Samuel Johnson: “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” He shares this quote with us nearly every time he speaks to a group, and it is posted on the wall of our atrium and entrance at headquarters.
In an acceptance speech when Ultimate was named #1 on the Great Place to Work’s list of medium companies in 2009, our CEO adapted Johnson’s idea for business when he said, “The true measure of a company is how they treat their lowest-paid employee.” Scott’s statement is reflective of his behavior and has inspired all of us for years to emulate him and treat all people at Ultimate with equal respect and care.
Probably the most frequent quote we hear from Scott is: “Do the right thing.” It’s such a simple guiding principle, yet powerful because it inspires us to consider moral implications as well as business ones when we are faced with complex challenges.
Scott on Value of People: Same Message for Years (full video)
Other quotes that inspire our behavior and appear in our working environment are:
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
“Courage is the finest of human qualities because it guarantees all the others.”
“'People First’ is more than a tag line at Ultimate. It’s the basis for our culture and the products we create. Our leaders and co-workers make sure that respect and caring for people are at the center of all we do.”
James Belvin, Multi-Media Architect
“Ultimate is amazing. I don’t know if there are enough superlatives to describe it. Everyone’s a leader in their field here.”
Dennis LeFever, Software Engineer
Our Talented People Inspiring One Another
There is so much talent at Ultimate that our people are literally inspired by one another’s abilities. People commonly talk about the genius or brilliance of the people on their teams. Many say they came to work at Ultimate because of the exceptional people that they would have the opportunity to work beside. Our people inspire one another to stretch their thinking, to go beyond their own expectations. People with diverse skills in a safe environment inspire each other to go for the untried, newest, most novel solution.
"Who would have known that you have your family that heaven gives you and then if you are fortunate enough you get a family that was formed in a company like ULTIMATE SOFTWARE. A mix of intelligent, amazing people coming together making US!!”
Inspiration from Team Giving
Team giving is an inspiring tradition at Ultimate, a tradition that does not show up on the Charity line of our Income Statement in dollars but involves hours of time and commitment from our people. Our people give generously through company-wide charity programs, but team giving is especially inspiring because the ideas spring from our individual teams, both large and small. One example is Heather encouraging our Marketing department to develop a long-term relationship with ARC Broward’s Santa Fe House, which provides services to children and adults with autism, Down syndrome, and other life challenges. With our CEO’s approval, our Marketing department adopted the Santa Fe House, and celebrated their partnership with an ice cream social at the house with cookie decorating, tree trimming, and a visit from Santa. Other of our teams choose their own charities to support too. Development builds houses for Habitat for Humanity every year. Our Services team features a different charity each year at its annual strategic alignment meeting, and they spend one full day of their meeting working to aid that charity.
Inspiration from Leaders Showing They Care
How Ultimate Saved Amber’s Home
Listen to the surprising story about Amber’s challenges with her new house and how Ultimate helped her to avoid foreclosure and save her home.
Having a Boss Who Says “No Worries”
Norma describes the culture of respect at Ultimate, how her “boss” reacted to her multiple surgeries, and the strength CEO Scott gave her when her sister died.
Inspiration from Creative Artists
Developing innovative solutions for our customers is a highly creative process. Like a painter who studies his subject with a trained eye as he creates an artwork reflecting its essence, we study and learn about our customers’ work lives and needs in order to create the ideal human resources solutions. To reflect that idea, in one of our newer buildings, we have named team work rooms after famous artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, and others. In the same building, we have an artist’s wall with museum lighting reserved for one of our engineers, Dan Graffeo, to hang his painting of the week since he is both engineer and an artist who paints.
Speakers as Inspiring Role Models
We are inspired by speakers who come to talk with us about their lives and how they have overcome challenges. Examples are:
Aimee Mullins – An athlete who was born with a medical condition that resulted in the amputation of both of her lower legs and yet she set world records in the 100m, 200m and the long jump in Paralympics. Ms. Mullins is a TED “All Star,” one of the most prominent thinkers on the topic of prosthetic innovation, and a Pentagon advisor.
Al Leiter – A former World Series pitcher from Major League Baseball who won one of the most historic games playing for the Yankees against Boston AFTER he was unceremoniously let go from the Florida Marlins and labeled “too old to play.”
Inspiration from Books
It is a tradition at Ultimate to share inspiring books. Beginning in 1997, our CEO gave everyone at Ultimate Pat Riley’s book called The Winner Within, stressing the power of a struggling team in forming a covenant to play together rather than playing as separate individuals and other messages about leadership, change, and personal growth. The book and its tenets remain a cornerstone of our philosophy today.
Over the years, the list of books that Scott, other executives, and managers give to their teams has grown quite long, including such titles as Walk the Talk, Secrets of the World Class, and What It Takes to Be Number One. Our Chief Technology Officer has been known to give each person at his new hire lunch eight books he finds inspiring.
Inspiration from Our Customers’ Successes
We are inspired every day by our customers’ many successes. Their enthusiasm for improved management of their processes with our UltiPro solution motivates us to continue learning from them and developing solutions that improve their work lives. Our customers have become our partners and great friends in business.