The most unique aspect of Ultimate’s welcoming process is the 2-day new-hire orientation event at our headquarters. In addition to awarding ALL new hires Restricted Share Units of ULTI stock, Ultimate pays for all new employees quarterly to be flown to Weston, Florida. While there, in addition to hearing presentations from our leaders and sharing meals with them, new hires personally meet and spend casual time with our CEO Scott Scherr, CPO Vivian Maza, and other executives, and even visit Scott’s office. This event follows an online welcome through UltiPro Onboarding before their first day of work, welcoming emails from co-workers, assigned mentors, training, and department orientations.
Virtual Welcome: 24 Hours After Acceptance
Before their first day at Ultimate, within 24 hours of verbally accepting a job offer, all new hires receive a virtual welcome through a cloud Onboarding solution that Ultimate built. The opening page begins with a personal, positive message about why we are impressed with them and happy they are joining us. It also includes a video welcome from our CEO and welcome emails from the new hire’s manager, other team members, and mentor. From this point on, new hires are one click away from contacting any of these people on their “network” list. On their personalized home page, there’s a list of new hire activities and items to be completed before their first work day at Ultimate. A favorite section is called “Unlock Your Potential” and directs them to details on the Mentor process, Learning and Development resources, Courses they can take virtually before arriving, and a Connection center that provides links to a variety of Ultimate resources.
Personal Letter to New Hire’s Home
New hires receive a letter welcoming them to Ultimate. Our Chief Services Officer welcomes the new hire’s entire family to the Ulti Family by sending a small gift such as movie tickets for the whole family. She also includes her picture to further personalize it. Our Chief Technology Officer and other executives send similar welcome letters.
New “Green Badge of Welcome” for New Hires
In 2015, Ultimate introduced the Green Badge of Welcome program to encourage seasoned UltiPeeps to welcome new hires actively and often into our UltiFamily. These badges sport the green of our company logo, making it noticeably different from our standard blue badges. Our HR team reminds UltiPeeps to introduce themselves to people wearing green badges, welcome them, and share stories and experiences from UltiLife—always with the goal of helping new hires feel comfortable and a part of our life and business. We also have signs throughout all our offices to remind us of the Green Badge of Welcome program and importance of inviting new people into our culture. New hires wear these badges for 90 days, so they are welcomed frequently…and by many.
Mentoring and Training for New Hires
We typically assign peer mentors or “buddies” to new hires to answer questions, familiarize them with the basics of how our culture works, where things are, how to access self-learning courses on a huge variety of topics, and who can help them with what. We also have formal, in-depth training for particular types of jobs.
Casual, Low-Key Practices to Help New Hires Feel Comfortable
Some of the most effective practices we have for assimilating new hires into our culture are casual and low-key. We always have a buffet lunch outside in tents, where new hires mingle with our seasoned UltiPeeps. CEO Scott Scherr and Chief People Officer Vivian Maza talk with them casually on our atrium basketball court or foyer, not from a podium, and have a dinner with them at Capriccio’s Ristorante, a long-time favorite restaurant. Viv always gives new hires a tour of Ultimate’s headquarters that features a visit to our TechSpot, where they can get hands-on, immediate help with technology questions and issues. The tour also includes a visit to Scott’s office, where he talks with them about his favorite sports memorabilia and who gave them to him.
Engaging New Hires: Welcome Box, Happy Hour, and Team-Building Events
Services is our largest division at Ultimate and comprises all of our customer-facing people, who provide activation and ongoing support to our customers. When new people join our Services team, an UltiWelcome Box is sent to their home, and there is a monthly Newbies Happy Hour to celebrate their joining us. The UltiWelcome box includes Ultimate-branded tchotchkes like coffee mugs, pens, and mouse pads. The Happy Hour event is a fun, casual event that helps to make new hires feel both welcomed and comfortable. As part of a 14-week training experience, our Rising Stars in Services have numerous team-building exercises as a catalyst for engagement.
Private Lunch with Chief Technology Officer, Sharing Inspirational Books
Our Chief Technology Officer has a private catered lunch for new hires in his office every month or so. He establishes a personal relationship with them by talking about his family and asks each individual about their personal backgrounds. They talk about Ultimate’s culture, the principles that guide our behaviors, goals, and teamwork.
As a part of that process, he gives all the new hires several books. In recent years, he has given each person 6 books: Drive by Dan Pink, An ENEMY called AVERAGE by John Mason, Getting Things Done by David Allen, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Leadership & Self Deception by The Arbinger Institute. This year he has added two more books to the list – Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek and Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen – bringing the count to 8 books for each new hire.
Two-Day Orientation at Our Florida Headquarters
Once each quarter, all new hires are flown to headquarters for a two-day orientation. The orientation includes presentations from our CEO, Chief People Officer, executives in key areas of our business, and other UltiPeeps who provide them detail about “everyday things” like how to file healthcare claims, acquire office furniture if they work remotely, get their laptops serviced, request time off, obtain reimbursement for tuition expenses, etc. Favorite activities at the orientation are: a tour of headquarters (with our basketball atrium), a visit to our CEO’s office that is stuffed with sports memorabilia and mementoes from UltiPeeps (he likes to share the history behind each item – and somehow visitors always end up laughing), and a dinner at our traditional Capriccio restaurant where they can talk casually with our CEO, CPO, executives, and directors in a fun, relaxed setting.
Shares of Stock, a Welcome to All New Hires
All new hires receive stock ownership in Ultimate as well as healthcare and dental coverage for themselves and their dependents or same-sex partners, 100% paid for by Ultimate, and life insurance coverage to match their salaries along with a 35% employer match on all of their 401(k) contributions. Scott instituted the policy of the company paying 100% of the premium cost for the healthcare of all employees and their families in 1990, and it has been the same ever since.