Ultimate Software – Ultimate Software's Blog http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Tue, 23 May 2017 19:20:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Introducing “10 Places to Find US” http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/introducing-10-places-find-us/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/introducing-10-places-find-us/#respond Wed, 03 May 2017 10:00:20 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=982 In addition to Ultimate Software’s official blog, there are many places you can find US online and throughout the HR community. Our new series features topical coverage of Ultimate’s cloud technology and workplace culture from the perspectives of various thought leaders, industry analysts, and people-first organizations. Here are 10 Places to Find US: Recruiting Daily—RecruitingDaily.com […]

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In addition to Ultimate Software’s official blog, there are many places you can find US online and throughout the HR community. Our new series features topical coverage of Ultimate’s cloud technology and workplace culture from the perspectives of various thought leaders, industry analysts, and people-first organizations. Here are 10 Places to Find US:

  1. Recruiting Daily—RecruitingDaily.com published a 300+ Women in HR Technology That You Should Follow and Support list on its blog to support Women’s History Month. Ultimate Software’s Jody Kaminsky, Julie Dodd, and Cecile Alper-Leroux were featured on William Tincup’s list.
  2. The Tim Sackett Project—HR expert and blogger Tim Sackett attended the Ultimate Software Connections customer conference in March, sharing his experience in posts What If You Could Predict All of Your Turnover and Every Moment Counts.
  3. HR Happy Hour—Ultimate was featured on Steve Boese’s HR Happy Hour episode titled “Artificial Intelligence for HR and for People.” The episode discussed how technology can improve your performance and talent management by empowering HR and managers to better understand your people.
  4. Acacia HR Solutions—HR outsourcer, expert, and blogger Sabrina Baker joined Ultimate at Connections and shared Elevated, Enlightened, Engaged at #UltiConnect 2017 and Conferences, Events, and New Resources—Oh My!
  5. UpStart HR—Ben Eubanks wrote a post outlining 40 Free Training Sources for HR and payroll professionals. He included Ultimate’s #PeopleFirstPodcast as a valuable resource.
  6. HR Bartender—The #PeopleFirstPodcast was also featured on Sharlyn Lauby’s blog, HR Bartender, as a way professionals can use technology to advance their HR careers.
  7. Jeff Waldman—Thought leader Jeff Waldman also attended Connections and shared his opinions in three posts, HR Technology Companies Can Be Awesome Places to Work, Why You Should Care About Your Technology, and Balancing Software and the Human Element. Jeff also joined Ultimate at Canada’s largest HR conference, HRPA, and shared some awesome experiences on social media.
  8. SHRM—Ultimate’s Cecile Alper-Leroux and Micole Kaye hosted SHRM’s Twitter Chat on March 8.
  9. T Recs—HR thought leader and author Mervyn Dinnen flew across the pond from the U.K. to spend the week with Ultimate at Connections. He penned Are You Listening to Your Employees after listening to an Ultimate customer share his story about how UltiPro® helped his organization transform its retention.
  10. Red Branch Media—Recruitment marketing expert Maren Hogan attended Connections and shared her key takeaways in her post What Small Businesses Can Teach Enterprise HR.

For the latest Ultimate news, updates, and happenings, visit www.ultimatesoftware.com, look for Ultimate on your favorite HR blogs, or connect with US on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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Ultimate Unveils New Ways to “Elevate” Employee Experiences at Connections 2017 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/connections-2017-new-products/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/connections-2017-new-products/#respond Wed, 12 Apr 2017 10:00:05 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=953 Last month marked Ultimate Software’s largest-ever Connections customer conference, with more than 3,000 HR professionals, analysts, and leaders gathering in Las Vegas for the four-day event. Connections 2017 centered on the theme of “Elevate” and featured a dual keynote presentation by Ultimate’s Chief Technology Officer, Adam Rogers, and VP of Products, Martin Hartshorne, who showcased […]

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connections 2017Last month marked Ultimate Software’s largest-ever Connections customer conference, with more than 3,000 HR professionals, analysts, and leaders gathering in Las Vegas for the four-day event. Connections 2017 centered on the theme of “Elevate” and featured a dual keynote presentation by Ultimate’s Chief Technology Officer, Adam Rogers, and VP of Products, Martin Hartshorne, who showcased Ultimate’s latest human capital management solutions designed to elevate the employee experience.

Here’s a special look at how Ultimate plans to help organizations better understand their people, support their development, and increase their productivity in 2017, and in the years ahead.

Improving Understanding with Smarter Surveys, Advanced AI

Because understanding employees starts with good listening—and 75% of American workers say they’re more likely to stay with a company longer if their concerns are heard and addressed—Ultimate is excited to introduce UltiPro Perception™. Using advanced natural language processing (NLP) and machine-learning algorithms, UltiPro Perception delivers a smarter employee survey with sentiment analysis to uncover how people truly feel about work. Perception interprets open-ended responses in real time and delivers instant insights to managers and leaders, so organizations can better listen, understand, and act on employee feedback to improve satisfaction and increase retention.

Taking the power of Perception and UltiPro’s suite of analytics even farther is Xander, Ultimate’s “People First” artificial intelligence (AI) platform and its next step in HCM data science. This portfolio of advanced AI technologies combines analytical intelligence and emotional intelligence to support organizations in every aspect of HR. Built on NLP and machine learning, Xander will enable Ultimate’s solutions to automatically understand, predict, prescribe, and act on all relevant HCM data.

Supporting Development with Modern Learning Experiences

Three out of four people in the workforce say professional development is necessary to remain satisfied at work, according to The Center for Generational Kinetics. To help organizations shift from offering employees one-time training to providing continuous professional development, Ultimate introduces UltiPro Learning. This solution delivers a modern learning experience and a compelling, person-centric approach to development, in which people learn in ways they find most convenient and helpful—from traditional courses to short, user-generated content. With the ability to conveniently share knowledge among teams and communities, users are empowered to become educators, teaching their peers while learning from one another.

Through UltiPro Learning, organizations can provide employees with consumable, on-demand content, social and collaborative tools, and mobile access to educational resources—so learning and professional development can continue to take place, even in workplaces where desktop computers aren’t always available, such as in retail stores and restaurants.

Increasing Productivity with a New Native Mobile App

Soon, employees will be able to do much more than learn on their preferred devices. This summer, Ultimate officially launches UltiPro’s new mobile app. Natively available in the Apple and Android app stores at no extra cost, this mobile app puts the most frequently used and relevant UltiPro functionality in people’s hands, elevating employee productivity with better notifications, easier collaboration, and enhanced interaction. Employees can sign in with a simple touch ID or pin code, clock in and out of shifts, view schedules, request time off, and more.

Another standout feature of UltiPro’s mobile app is its Pay Insights feature. Organizations on average receive 1,150 calls and emails from employees about their pay annually, according to Bloomberg BNA. Pay Insights helps prevent pay-related confusion and distractions by breaking down an employee’s paycheck, so they can better understand how earnings and deductions will affect their pay.

With convenient access to critical information and tools, UltiPro’s enhanced mobile app will help employees stay productive at work, in the field, and on the go.

For more Connections 2017 coverage, follow #UltiConnect on social media, and visit Ultimate’s Facebook and Instagram pages for exclusive photos, videos, and insight from the event.

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2017 Connections: A Look Back at Ultimate’s Largest-Ever Customer Conference http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/2017-connections-elevate/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/2017-connections-elevate/#comments Thu, 30 Mar 2017 14:20:27 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=938 Nearly 3,000 HR professionals and business leaders assembled in Las Vegas last week for an at-capacity 2017 Connections, Ultimate Software’s annual customer conference. Living up to this year’s theme of “Elevate,” the jam-packed, four-day event featured more than 60 hands-on workshops and engaging breakout sessions; a full lineup of inspiring keynote presentations; a nonstop, 48-hour […]

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Nearly 3,000 HR professionals and business leaders assembled in Las Vegas last week for an at-capacity 2017 Connections, Ultimate Software’s annual customer conference. Living up to this year’s theme of “Elevate,” the jam-packed, four-day event featured more than 60 hands-on workshops and engaging breakout sessions; a full lineup of inspiring keynote presentations; a nonstop, 48-hour Code-a-Thon; and an energetic pop-rock concert by platinum-selling Maroon 5. Concluding the week with an unforgettable community service project, customers had the opportunity to participate in Ultimate’s award-winning “People First” culture, most recently recognized as #2 on People magazine’s inaugural 50 Companies That Care list.

Attendees also received an exclusive look at what’s ahead in HCM cloud technology, as Ultimate unveiled its newest product and service offerings and presented an in-depth preview of its roadmap. The event kicked off with a tag-team keynote presentation by Adam Rogers, Ultimate’s chief technology officer, and Martin Hartshorne, Ultimate’s vice president of products. The duo detailed the newest UltiPro® features and how they’ll enhance the employee experience, putting people first at all stages of their careers.

A Humble Leader and A Fresh Prince

2017 connectionsOn Wednesday, Connections attendees heard from Scott Scherr, Ultimate’s chief executive officer, president, and founder. Humbled by his reception, Scherr delivered a heartfelt address recounting the company’s 27-year history, from its modest beginnings with two cubicles and four employees to its current culture of more than 3,700 employees strong.

“When the thunderbolts came, we never choked,” said Scherr. “We always broke through together, and became stronger because of it. We were relentless, and we always made sure the main thing remained the main thing. And that main thing has always been you, our customers.”

Scherr reiterated the importance of preserving a “People First” workplace culture, and discussed how Ultimate has never waived when it comes to taking care of its people. That includes covering healthcare premiums for all employees and their families; making every employee a company shareholder with restricted stock units; and offering a 40% dollar-for-dollar match on employees’ 401(k) contributions. It’s this unyielding care, Scherr said, that has led Ultimate to bring the best people onboard—people who remain relentless in creating innovative products, delivering industry-leading service, and always caring for Ultimate’s customers.

Following Scherr’s presentation, the audience had the opportunity to listen in on a candid conversation between Oscar nominee Will Smith and Ultimate’s CTO Adam Rogers. During the chat, Smith shared insightful stories from his childhood, relayed lessons he’s learned throughout life, and even showcased some beatboxing skills.

With regard to succeeding in HR and in business, Smith said companies have to shift their focus “from product to people,” and make improving lives their number-one mission.

“No matter how great your product is, it doesn’t mean anything if you damage people in the process,” said Smith. “When you elevate people, your product will be fantastic.”

F-14s, Stick Figures, and Frenzied Fans

Thursday’s events included two TED-style talks that provoked thoughts, a Code-a-Thon demo that wowed the crowd, and a rocking performance that pleased all fans.

Carey Lohrenz, the U.S. Navy’s first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot, provided a personal glimpse into her former high-stakes career and discussed the positive impact of taking calculated risks, whether in the air or on the ground. With so much going on in our professional and personal lives, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or try and complete several tasks at once, said Lohrenz. Her advice? Focus on the fundamentals, and don’t let fear prevent action.

“When we are overwhelmed, we start to pull back. We’re afraid to take risks, and we wait. But, taking action will mitigate fear,” said Lohrenz. “Often times, we think, ‘I’m just gonna wait, then I’ll go for it.’ Don’t wait for an invitation to make a difference.”

Tim Urban also spoke about action—or a lack thereof—as he offered a procrastinator’s perspective on why some people wait until the final hour to act.

Author of the acclaimed blog, “Wait But Why,” Urban used stick-figure illustrations to tell the story of an “Instant Gratification Monkey” and a “Rational Decision Maker” that continuously compete for prominence in a procrastinator’s mind. He then introduced a third character, “The Panic Monster,” as the driving force that finally takes charge when a deadline arrives.

After a thoroughly entertaining explanation of a procrastinator’s daily plight, Urban departed with a motivational message: “Everyone is procrastinating on something important in life. Pay attention to the Instant Gratification Monkey. Start today…okay, maybe not today…but sometime soon.”

Thursday also included the highly anticipated results of Ultimate’s second-annual Connections Code-a-Thon. A team of Ultimate’s talented software engineers spent two sleepless days coding a prototype solution based on ideas submitted and voted for by customers. This year’s requested solution centered on a Job Description Library.

Audience members cheered with approval as Joseph Cutrono, manager of research and member of the Innovation Team at Ultimate, premiered the working prototype. The new feature enables UltiPro users to search within an existing job library; build configurable description templates; and view, print, or email descriptions as PDFs. Cutrono also announced that the feature is officially now on UltiPro’s roadmap, which drew more applause.

2017 connections

Capping off Thursday’s complete schedule was Ultimate’s Customer Appreciation Party, featuring a private performance by Maroon 5. The concert included a showcase of standout songs—from early hits (“Harder to Breathe” and “Sunday Morning”) to new favorites (“Animals” and “Daylight”)—and even a surprise cover of Prince’s classic track, “Let’s Go Crazy.”

Community Service and #UltiConnect

Before wrapping up a memorable, engaging, and productive week in Vegas, Ultimate customers and employees participated in a special community service project. Rising and shining early on the final day of Connections, attendees teamed up with nonprofit Clean the World to prepare hygiene kits with soaps and bottled bathroom amenities donated by local hotels. The kits will be distributed to servicemen and servicewoman through the USO Las Vegas.

Missed this year’s Connections, or want to catch up on all the happenings from the conference? Check out #UltiConnect on social media, including photos and videos on Ultimate’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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More Employees are Voluntarily Leaving Jobs – What it Means for HR http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-feedback-retention/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-feedback-retention/#respond Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:00:31 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=882 The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for December 2016, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in February, reported there were 1.4 million more quits than layoffs and discharges for the month. These numbers mirror the November 2016 report, which also determined that the difference in number of quits—defined by the BLS […]

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The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for December 2016, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in February, reported there were 1.4 million more quits than layoffs and discharges for the month. These numbers mirror the November 2016 report, which also determined that the difference in number of quits—defined by the BLS as “generally voluntary separations initiated by employees”—and number of layoffs and discharges has increased since April 2010.

employee feedback Said another way: more and more people are feeling more and more comfortable about voluntarily leaving their jobs. While this development shows signs of a strengthening economy, it also spells fresh challenges for HR professionals and business leaders.

Fortunately, the number of technological tools and resources available for preventing turnover—that is, forecasting flight risk, measuring workplace happiness, and taking meaningful action to enhance the employee experience—also has increased in recent years.

Advances in predictive and prescriptive analytics have given HR the ability to easily analyze millions of data points to uncover workforce trends and, even more importantly, act upon the results. Assisted by unbiased metrics, today’s managers have increased insight into their teams’ performance and can better determine which individuals might be thinking about leaving. Maybe one employee feels undervalued, and another overworked. A third, meanwhile, craves more responsibility. All three employees could benefit from leadership stepping in and having that all-important, two-way conversation—before it’s too late.

But, as with any productive conversation, the key is to listen.

New employee feedback software is empowering organizations to do just that. These solutions not only help managers collect valuable employee feedback, they also measure how people truly feel about their jobs, teams, leaders, and organization as a whole. The latest offering in this realm revolutionizes the staff-engagement survey, drawing upon machine learning and natural language processing to analyze open-ended responses and gauge individuals’ perception of the organization.

Survey results are even delivered in real time. Because time is of the essence.

These new numbers from the BLS suggest it’s perhaps now more important than ever for organizations to renew their focus on the employee. After all, people drive business, and retaining top talent is crucial for continued success.

A recent study by The Center for Generational Kinetics found that three-quarters of American workers reported they’re more likely to stay with a company longer if their concerns are heard and addressed. By listening to and acting upon employee feedback, companies of all sizes can help ensure their people choose to grow their careers with their organization, instead of deciding to develop their skills elsewhere.

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An #UltimateTeamMoment That’s All About Putting People First http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ultimateteammoment-thats-putting-people-first/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ultimateteammoment-thats-putting-people-first/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:00:18 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=885 Today’s #UltimateTeamMoment is a testament to teamwork, and what it means to truly care about others and put them ahead of yourself. Learn how a group of top American athletes came together—some even sacrificing their hard-earned spots—for a standout luge relay performance, ultimately earning Team USA’s first team relay medal in world championships history. Ultimate […]

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Today’s #UltimateTeamMoment is a testament to teamwork, and what it means to truly care about others and put them ahead of yourself.

Learn how a group of top American athletes came together—some even sacrificing their hard-earned spots—for a standout luge relay performance, ultimately earning Team USA’s first team relay medal in world championships history.

Ultimate Sacrifice, Ultimate Teamwork Led USA Luge to Relay Silver Medal

Three athletes gave up their relay spots to veterans at the world championships, and it paid off.

By Greg BatesTeam USA luge

A relay in any sporting event requires the utmost teamwork.

What three world-class Team USA athletes did at the 2017 FIL Luge World Championships on Jan. 29 in Igls, Austria, was above and beyond the definition of teamwork. And their actions even led to a silver-medal performance.

In order to determine a U.S. relay team—which includes a singles man, a singles woman, and one doubles team—USA Luge picks the fastest racers from earlier in the world championships.

Erin Hamlin, a three-time Olympian and Olympic bronze medalist, had easily punched her ticket to be a member of the relay team after a gold in the sprint and silver in the singles competition. The three slots for the men were up for grabs.

Justin Krewson and Andrew Sherk clocked the fastest doubles time out of three U.S. sleds to earn a spot on the relay team. Taylor Morris logged a career-best fifth-place finish in the sprint, tops for U.S. men’s singles athletes, to get his position in the relay.

What Krewson, Sherk, and Morris did next was truly honorable and entirely unexpected. Krewson and Sherk gave up their spots to veterans Matt Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman, and Morris passed up his chance at the team relay to allow Tucker West to compete.

The move was an ultimate team decision.

“I thought it was a remarkable show of sportsmanship,” said Mark Grimmette, the USA Luge sports program director, who competed in five Olympic Games. “It shows that they think of the team before themselves.”

Morris said he made the decision immediately and didn’t consult with Krewson or Sherk.

“I finished the race and hopped on the truck to head up to the start and change out of my sliding gear,” said Morris, who would have raced on his first international relay team. “While on the truck, Tucker and I discussed the team relay spot, and I offered the position to him right then and there.

“It wasn’t a hard decision for me as I knew exactly what had to happen to put the best team on the ice.”

West, who has won two world cups this season and was on two medal-winning relay teams, initially told Morris he wouldn’t accept the relay spot.

“He said, ‘No. You earned the spot, so you race the event,’” Morris said. “And this took me by surprise. But, in all honesty, he was still upset about how his world championships had gone and just needed time to reset and realize how important his participation would be for the team.”

Terdiman was out to dinner with his parents when he received a text from his doubles teammate Mortensen saying the duo was going to be racing in the relay.

“I couldn’t believe what I was reading,” said Terdiman, who placed 11th in doubles at the Sochi Games. “This was the biggest race of the year, and the boys had rightfully earned the spot. It took me a few minutes to accept that they were giving us the anchor in the relay.”

Terdiman said he and Mortensen had been clocking top-five finishes as a doubles team all week, but had just a couple bad runs late in the championships. Terdiman felt added pressure to do well in the relay race, since his teammates graciously gave up their spots. He said it’s the most nervous he’s ever been for the start of a race in his career.

Hamlin led off the relay and recorded the third-fastest run time for women. Up next was West, who shook off previous rough races to put the Americans in first place by 0.4 seconds heading into the doubles portion of the race. Mortensen and Terdiman had a great run to help the team clock a track relay record time of 2:08.664.

There were still four teams remaining to compete out of 15, so a medal wasn’t guaranteed. The Germans relay ended up with a time of 2:08.474 to nab the gold. But the silver belonged to the Americans.

Bringing home second place proved to Morris that he made a wise choice to give his spot to West.

“It gives me validation in the decision,” Morris said. “But even if he hadn’t done well I would have known the decision was the right one for the event at hand.”

It was the first team relay medal earned by Team USA in world championships history.

“They did a great job of setting aside their disappointments in their individual events to give a medal-winning performance in the team relay,” Grimmette said. “We also have to remember that Tucker, Matt, and Jayson had an enormous amount of pressure on them as they did not want to disappoint their teammates who gave up their spots so they could race. They came through not only for themselves, but also for their teammates.”

Terdiman has a close relationship with all his teammates, but what the group went through at the world championships will only tighten their bond on and off the track. Terdiman was elated he could be a part of history capturing the silver medal.

“There are no words,” Terdiman said. “It was pure happiness—not just for us, Erin, and Tucker, but for the entire team. It was Taylor, Justin, and Andrew as well. I’ve never been more proud of a group of individuals. It’s an honor to be on this team.”

Greg Bates is a freelance writer based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, who has covered Green Bay Packers games for the past eight seasons. He has been a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org since 2010 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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More Than #UltimateTeamMoment for U.S. Under-18 Women’s Ice Hockey http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/more-than-ultimateteammoment-for-u-s-under-18-womens-ice-hockey/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/more-than-ultimateteammoment-for-u-s-under-18-womens-ice-hockey/#comments Fri, 27 Jan 2017 19:56:33 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=844 The latest victory for the U.S. under-18 women’s ice hockey national team marks more than just an #UltimateTeamMoment for this group of elite athletes—it’s part of an entire team experience. In today’s article, learn about the long-standing rivalry among some of the United States’ and Canada’s most gifted young hockey stars, and discover how Team […]

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The latest victory for the U.S. under-18 women’s ice hockey national team marks more than just an #UltimateTeamMoment for this group of elite athletes—it’s part of an entire team experience.

In today’s article, learn about the long-standing rivalry among some of the United States’ and Canada’s most gifted young hockey stars, and discover how Team USA’s collaboration and camaraderie isn’t just limited to the ice rink.

Ultimate Team Effort Drives U.S. U18 Women to Another Hockey World Title

By Scott McDonaldUltimate-Team-Moment-1200x1200-women-hockey

The United States-Canada rivalry in women’s ice hockey starts when kids become old enough to play for their respective countries, said Alex Gulstene.

“Kids on both teams want to play for their country,” Gulstene, the goalie for the U.S. under-18 women’s national team, said. “I want to play against Canada, and I want to beat Canada winning gold.”

That’s exactly what happened for Gulstene and her American teammates Jan. 14, at the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship gold-medal game in Zlin, Czech Republic. Team USA scored twice in the third period to down Canada 3-1, marking the third time in a row the Americans defeated their northern rival for a U18 world title.

The effort took more than a strong goalie like Gulstene.

It’s more than sharpshooters like Grace Zumwinkle, Cayla Barnes, and Natalie Heising.

It’s defense, penalty killing, and power plays.

It’s bringing together a team that comes from all over the country, from New York to Alaska and Minnesota to Texas, and everywhere in between.

It’s the ultimate team experience.

“It can be difficult to jell, but we all have a common goal in mind,” said Gulstene, who had 27 saves in the game. “We start building as a team from the first camp all the way until now.”

Gulstene said team bonding comes from the whole experience, including dinners, road trips, the long flight to the Czech Republic, playing games at the hotel, and hanging out in the foreign country.

Putting the pieces of the puzzle together is up to the coaching staff, led by U18 coach Joel Johnson. He takes different personalities and playing styles, and he melds them into one cohesive unit in a very short timeframe.

“We’ve mixed some things up like the line combinations and the penalty-kill set,” Johnson said. “They get used to their teammates quickly, and we just ask the girls to trust the coaching staff.”

The Americans navigated their pool play round by going 2-1, with a 6-1 win over Russia and 4-0 win over Sweden. Canada defeated Team USA 1-0, but both teams got a first-round bye into the semifinals to set up a rematch in the final. The United States actually defeated Canada with matching 3-2 overtime wins in the two previous championships.

The teams played a scoreless first period before Delaney Drake put the United States ahead 1-0 off an assist from Clair DeGeorge on a power play.

Canada tied the game midway through the third period, making it look like the teams would go to overtime for a third-consecutive world championship game.

“We were up 1-0 and playing well, but when you have a goal lead you tend to play more defensively,” Johnson said. “Grace Zumwinkle scored, and that kind of turned the tide for us.”

Zumwinkle’s goal to make it 2-1 also came off an assist from DeGeorge. Emily Oden iced the game with an empty-net goal with five seconds remaining on the clock.

“We got better as the game went on,” Johnson said. “Our players continued to work hard, and good things started to happen for us.”

Gulstene said winning gold is a dream for a crop of athletes striving for moments like these, although she was a little nervous before the game began.

“There were some nerves before the game for sure,” Gulstene said. “When it came down to it, the puck dropped and we were ready to play.

“This means everything. It makes all the early mornings, the late nights, and 16-hour drives to tournaments worth it.”

The team trained in New Jersey and took in a professional hockey game as part of their bonding experience. Gulstene said the team would celebrate with their families and teammates at the hotel, and then start looking toward their futures. For some, that might mean a shot at the PyeongChang 2018 or Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

“Making the national team isn’t something we talk about, but I know we have some players who are certainly thinking about it,” Gulstene said.

Johnson said though he might have some girls who could compete, what they’re doing now is preparing them for further down the road.

“The national team is very deep,” Johnson said. “Where our girls might not be ready to be evaluated for the next Games, there’s the possibility of four years, maybe eight years away. And that’s what we’re getting them ready for.”

 

Scott McDonald has 18 years’ experience in sports reporting. He was named the State Sports Writer of the Year in 2014 by the Texas High School Coaches Association. McDonald is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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U.S. Sled Hockey Squad Credits Chemistry in Creating Its #UltimateTeamMoment http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/u-s-sled-hockey-squad-credits-chemistry-creating-ultimateteammoment/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/u-s-sled-hockey-squad-credits-chemistry-creating-ultimateteammoment/#respond Tue, 03 Jan 2017 14:09:09 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=823 Today’s #UltimateTeamMoment is all about team chemistry, and how young players and accomplished veterans have worked together to achieve victory. The U.S. sled hockey team has won six consecutive international tournament titles, dominating on the ice since the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Team USA credits the incredible chemistry among the athletes for its consistent […]

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Today’s #UltimateTeamMoment is all about team chemistry, and how young players and accomplished veterans have worked together to achieve victory.

The U.S. sled hockey team has won six consecutive international tournament titles, dominating on the ice since the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Team USA credits the incredible chemistry among the athletes for its consistent success.

Read more below about the squad’s path to Paralympic prominence, and what’s ahead for Team USA.

With Blend Of Vets And Youngsters, U.S. Sled Hockey Squad Proves To Be Ultimate Team

Team USA has won six international tournaments dating back to the Sochi Paralympics.

Team USA Sled Hockey Ultimate Team Moment

By Stuart Lieberman

The U.S. sled hockey team ended 2016 by becoming the first program to win three consecutive championships at the World Sled Hockey Challenge.

For Team USA, the win was also the program’s sixth consecutive international tournament title dating back to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Arguably, no team in Paralympic sport has been as dominant over the last two years as the U.S. sled hockey program. So what makes these guys the ultimate team? The players credit their unbelievable team chemistry.

“The team chemistry since I joined a decade ago has increased tenfold,” three-time Paralympic goaltender Steve Cash said. “It’s not to say we didn’t have some chemistry back then, but now you’ll see 17 guys working in true harmony, and back then there was a little disparity between the two groups—veterans and young guys. That cohesion is something we don’t take for granted, and without it we wouldn’t be the kind of team that we are right now.”

Whereas Canada, Norway, and Korea strained to keep their young players on par with their veterans throughout the World Sled Hockey Challenge, the Americans relied on their youth to power them to the top once again.

In Prince Edward Island, Canada, earlier this month, Team USA took total control of the tournament, outscoring its opponents 27-4 over five games, with 19-year-old Declan Farmer and 18-year-old Brody Roybal combining for 13 of those goals.

The top line of Farmer, Roybal and Kevin McKee—formed shortly after the Sochi Games, when Josh Pauls shifted to defense—has been playing together for nearly three years and now functions like clockwork. Some U.S. players, such as Cash, and former U.S. player Taylor Lipsett, are even deeming the trio the best line to have ever played the game.

“I think we’ve just grown up a lot,” Roybal said. “In Sochi, we were only 15 years old. Just growing up, getting bigger and the experience of being on the team for three years now has brought us to a whole other level.”

By no means did Team USA coast its way through another World Sled Hockey Challenge, though. The first couple practices were “rough” according to Cash, and it took an overtime period for Team USA to beat Canada 2-1 in the preliminary round.

“At the beginning of the tournament, it felt like it took us a little longer to get settled in, but once we did we got rolling,” said Cash, who backstopped the winning side for three of the team’s games, allowing just three scores and posting a 0.921 save percentage. “The more we worked together, the more chemistry we built.”

In the championship game, Team USA found itself down 1-0 during the first intermission thanks to a goal by Canada’s dual-sport athlete Liam Hickey. U.S. coach Jeff Sauer entered the locker room and told every player to look at the teammate to the right, to the left, and across the room, and to remember who they were all representing when they returned to the ice.

Sauer certainly righted the ship.

The U.S. team erupted for five goals in the second period, outshooting Canada 10-2, with Roybal scoring two of those goals and Farmer another one to help the Americans claim the 5-2 victory.

Farmer finished the tournament as the leading scorer for the third-straight World Sled Hockey Challenge. His 17 points were a new record for the most points by a U.S. player in a single World Sled Hockey Challenge, and his eight goals tied Nikko Landeros for the most goals in a single edition of the tournament.

At this point, with four months to go until the next world championships and just over a year until the next Paralympics, Sauer has just one critique for his top line.

“We don’t shoot the puck enough, as we’re always trying to go for that picture-perfect goal,” Roybal said. “He says we always like to try to be too fancy out there. The one critique he gives us is to just put the puck on the net, because you never know what could happen.”

Just imagine if Roybal and Farmer shot the puck more.

The U.S. sled hockey team—the reigning Paralympic, world, and Pan Pacific champions—could be even more dangerous.

Stuart Lieberman covered Paralympic sports for three years at the International Paralympic Committee, including at the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

 

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Finding New Ways to Put #PeopleFirst http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/improve-company-culture-12daysofhcm/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/improve-company-culture-12daysofhcm/#respond Fri, 23 Dec 2016 13:00:54 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=787 Year-end marks the perfect time to reflect on the past 12 months, and look to the many opportunities ahead. What goals have you accomplished this year, and what more will you set out to achieve next? At Ultimate Software, we’re committed to creating a company culture in which we put people first in all we […]

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improve company culture. There are countless ways to put people first and make a difference for others. Share your thoughts today using #PeopleFirst. See more by reading our #12DaysofHCM blog series.

Year-end marks the perfect time to reflect on the past 12 months, and look to the many opportunities ahead. What goals have you accomplished this year, and what more will you set out to achieve next?

At Ultimate Software, we’re committed to creating a company culture in which we put people first in all we do, every day. That means we’re always considering how we can do more to help more people—from delivering hundreds of new UltiPro® features and updates each year to implementing a collaborative support model for our customers.

In 2016, we launched our #PeopleFirst social campaign so we could all share what “People First” means to each one of us, and show how we put others first in our daily lives.

What will you do in 2017 to positively impact people? How will you improve company culture to put #PeopleFirst?

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The Future of Employee Feedback – #12DaysofHCM http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/get-employee-feedback-12daysofhcm/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/get-employee-feedback-12daysofhcm/#respond Thu, 22 Dec 2016 13:00:06 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=779 Employees everywhere are talking, but are we listening? The need for organizations to actively listen to their people is at an all-time high, with three-quarters of American workers saying they’re more likely to stay with a company longer if their concerns are heard and addressed, according to a study this year by The Center for […]

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get employee feedback. 75% of employees say they are more likely to stay with a company longer if their concerns are heard and addressed. Learn more on the #12DaysofHCM series.

Employees everywhere are talking, but are we listening?

The need for organizations to actively listen to their people is at an all-time high, with three-quarters of American workers saying they’re more likely to stay with a company longer if their concerns are heard and addressed, according to a study this year by The Center for Generational Kinetics.

The good news? Advances in employee-survey solutions now make it easier to collect, analyze, and act upon employee feedback—including open-ended responses—efficiently and effectively. Technology that combines natural language processing and machine-learning algorithms can analyze text-based feedback, enabling organizations to not only hear what employees are saying, but also measure how they truly feel about work.

We can learn a lot from our people. Organizations that take active steps in 2017 to get employee feedback, hear, and address concerns could see positive impacts on culture, performance, and retention.

 

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Taking Time for Everyday Celebrations – #12DaysofHCM http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/celebrating-work-12daysofhcm/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/celebrating-work-12daysofhcm/#respond Wed, 21 Dec 2016 13:00:14 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=785 Though we often talk about the importance of recognizing the “big picture,” it’s also important to remember the “little things.” At Ultimate Software, we believe achievements take all forms, and we make it a point to celebrate our people’s accomplishments year-round, both in their professional and personal lives. We recognize and laud individual, team, and organizational […]

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79% of the American workforce believes it's necessary to have fun at work. Learn more on the #12DaysofHCM series. celebrating at work.

Though we often talk about the importance of recognizing the “big picture,” it’s also important to remember the “little things.”

At Ultimate Software, we believe achievements take all forms, and we make it a point to celebrate our people’s accomplishments year-round, both in their professional and personal lives. We recognize and laud individual, team, and organizational successes such as meeting business and financial goals. We celebrate life events—birthdays, marriages, and new additions to our family. We celebrate holidays throughout the year. We celebrate everyday events, from a colleague’s return from vacation to the successful launch of a companywide initiative for employees. Most of all, we have fun celebrating together.

Throughout the coming year, take some time to have fun and celebrate the little things at your organization. It can have a big impact on your people.

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