Ultimate Software – Ultimate Software's Blog http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Tue, 18 Jul 2017 10:00:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Introducing HR Spark: Igniting Ideas in HCM http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/introducing-hr-spark-igniting-ideas-hcm/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/introducing-hr-spark-igniting-ideas-hcm/#respond Thu, 13 Jul 2017 10:00:01 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1046 Looking for an engaging, informative, and entertaining way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in HCM? Look no farther: Ultimate Software has launched a new Web series, HR Spark: Igniting Ideas in HCM, where we’ll tackle relevant HR topics with a variety of industry influencers and subject-matter experts. Each month, host […]

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Looking for an engaging, informative, and entertaining way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in HCM? Look no farther: Ultimate Software has launched a new Web series, HR Spark: Igniting Ideas in HCM, where we’ll tackle relevant HR topics with a variety of industry influencers and subject-matter experts.

Each month, host Matt Mullan will moderate a panel discussion covering the most pressing issues facing HR leaders today—from payroll and workplace culture to advanced HR technology and the growing remote workforce. Viewers can expect an interesting combination of perspectives on the latest challenges and opportunities in today’s HR and business environment, as well as potential tools and solutions worth optimizing. Each episode is streamed online and runs about 10 to 20 minutes.

HR Spark: Episode 1HR Spark

The HR Spark series premiered on June 11, with an in-depth talk on listening to the voice of the employee (VoE), featuring guests Janine Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer at Talent Think Innovations, and Armen Berjikly, Senior Director of Strategy for Workforce Intelligence at Ultimate.

Did you know that three out of four employees said that the #1 thing employers can do to get them to stay longer with a company is to listen to and address their concerns? Tuning in to the VoE is a complex endeavor, but the ROI is truly significant, including a reduction in turnover, improved culture, and an increase in employee trust and engagement.

“Employee engagement is really the byproduct of employee experience, so that’s really the wrong thing to focus on initially,” said Armen. “That’s because the experience is as much emotional as it is statistical. It’s as much IQ as it is EQ; as much left brain as right brain. That experience is the root of all the outcomes you’re going to have for the employee. Yet, the methods employers have typically used—if they are listening to their employees—has totally ignored the fact that we are human and we feel as well as think. It’s that true sentiment of the workforce, including emotions as well as facts, that’s the voice of the employee.”

The downfalls of traditional employee surveys are discussed, including the shocking statistic that only 35% of employees feel that the surveys they take have any value at all. This led into a high-level conversation with thought leader Janine Truitt about the importance of trust in the workplace, and how employees feeling safe to speak freely at work is crucial to their employers receiving honest, useful feedback.

“There’s a lack of trust and a lot of fear on the part of the employee,” said Janine. “Even when you’re doing things like surveys, oftentimes you’re not going to get the root of that sentiment, because people don’t want to be seen as a whistleblower or ‘Negative Nelly.’ [The focus should be] really trying to foster a true sentiment of trust within the organization, so that employees can feel empowered to speak up when they’re asked, no matter how they’re asked.”

The “gold bar” of building trust and listening to VoE is described by Armen as taking every employee out to coffee to really get to know how they’re doing and what they’re feeling. But, of course, that’s tougher to do as organizations grow in size. That’s where technology can help. Armen and Janine discussed the role of AI, pulse surveys, and other technological advances that help HR leaders scale their VoE initiatives in a strategic and meaningful way to foster trust and improve the employee experience.

“People go into HR to help people reach their potential and deliver on their promise, and these tools are there to help,” said Armen. “That’s what I’m excited about: you have a sort of people-first artificial intelligence.”

Or as Matt put it, “It’s bringing the ‘human’ back to human resources—with AI.”

Welcome to Ultimate’s new web series, HR Spark. Watch the full #HRSpark premiere episode today.

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#UltimateTeamMoment Interview Talks Teamwork with U.S. Women’s Beach Volleyball Standout http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ultimateteammoment-interview-talks-teamwork-u-s-womens-beach-volleyball-standout/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ultimateteammoment-interview-talks-teamwork-u-s-womens-beach-volleyball-standout/#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 20:55:23 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1034 The latest #UltimateTeamMoment features an insightful interview with Brooke Sweat from the U.S. women’s beach volleyball team. Learn how Sweat and her teammate, Summer Ross, came to compete together, and what’s led to the duo’s impressive performances thus far. No Pressure, No Drama Makes Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross the Ultimate Team, presented by Ultimate […]

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The latest #UltimateTeamMoment features an insightful interview with Brooke Sweat from the U.S. women’s beach volleyball team. Learn how Sweat and her teammate, Summer Ross, came to compete together, and what’s led to the duo’s impressive performances thus far.

No Pressure, No Drama Makes Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross the Ultimate Team, presented by Ultimate Software

After a silver medal on the FIVB World Tour, the duo was in New York City for an AVP event.

By Lynn Rutherford

With summer just heating up, a new duo is making a big splash on the beach: Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross earned silver at the FIVB World Tour in Moscow in June—only their second World Tour competition together—and stand fifth in FIVB rankings, the highest of any U.S. women’s beach volleyball team.

Sweat, a 2016 Olympian with Lauren Fendrick, thinks she and Ross have gotten off to a fast start by keeping things low-key and easy.

“We both come from a good place,” the 31-year-old Sweat said. “There’s no questioning each other; it’s strictly down to volleyball. There’s no drama involved. It’s easy to get catty when it’s just the two of you all the time, but we keep the drama out of it and keep it straightforward.”

Sweat and Ross, 24, were in Manhattan to compete at the AVP New York City Open, where they took on other top U.S. teams. Before they hit the beach, though, Sweat took time out to explain why she thinks she and Ross could be the ultimate team.

In Rio, you played with Lauren Fendrick. How did you team up with Summer?

At the end of last season, my teammate Lauren was planning on trying to start a family, and I was planning on having shoulder surgery, so we both thought we were done for this year. Then I got an MRI (that showed) my shoulder was healing on its own, and the doctor didn’t want to do surgery. So it was, “Oh, what do I do now?” Just then, Summer texted me, “Hey, you want to play next year?” I was like, “Wow, I kind of do!” We did one practice together (in December) and it seemed so right. It didn’t take long to know this is what I was meant to do this year.

Why are you and Summer such a good fit?

We are both ball-control players, we have a really good touch on the ball, and complement each other. We see the game very similarly, and that’s huge when it comes to partnerships and playing beach volleyball. It makes it easy for us to be on the same page. There’s not a lot of lost communication about what the other player thinks, or wants. It all kind of flows and it’s easy out there.

How do your personalities mesh?

We’re both really low-key on the court—I think maybe I’m a little feistier, but not much. We’re trying to keep it smooth. We don’t want to get too high or too low; we want to be steady and consistent.

It’s the same thing off the court, pretty much. We like to have fun together and I think that’s huge, because it carries onto the court. We respect each other on and off the court, and that goes a long way as well. So we’re building this friendship and partnership as much as we can.

You’re off to a fast start on the World Tour, a fourth-place in Ft. Lauderdale and second place in Moscow.

Well, I still think we’re a new team. No one has seen us play before this year, and they’re still figuring us out. We’re just having fun, there’s no pressure. We’re playing loose. We can have those hard conversations of what we need to fix, and not get mad at the other player.

What’s your strategy moving forward?

We’re focused on playing on the World Tour and competing with the best in the world. We are here in New York and absolutely excited to compete with the best in the United States. We get back on the road Sunday night and head back to the Netherlands for the World Tour event.

Thus far this season, you’ve lost twice to Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil, two of the all-time greats.

Brazil is always good. They are the best in the world right now. It’s great competition for us. Unfortunately, we didn’t play our best in our match against them in Moscow; I think we had some opportunities to score we let slip away. We’re just going to learn from that and bring that back to our practices. Hopefully, we’ll be in a better spot the next time we play a Brazilian team.

You’ve been working with a new coach, Ty Tramblie. What does he bring to the team?

Once we decided to play together, Summer pretty much said, “I’d love for Ty Tramblie to coach us.” I think for Summer a big part of learning and getting better is having a fast-paced practice, which is different than what a lot of coaches do, and Ty fits that perfectly. He’s very high energy; it’s very go, go, go. That’s new for me this year, and I love it. I can adapt to different coaching styles. Ty’s done a great job bringing energy to practice and noticing things a lot of coaches don’t notice, and those are the things helping us get to the next level.

Lynn Rutherford is a sportswriter based out of New York. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

 

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We’ll See You at SHRM 2017! http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/shrm-2017/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/shrm-2017/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 10:00:21 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1019 In just a few days, thousands of HR professionals, analysts, and influencers will gather in “The Big Easy” for easily one of the biggest events in our space, the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition. More than 200 concurrent sessions covering industry hot topics, a marquee lineup of keynote speakers, countless networking opportunities, and an […]

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SHRM 2017In just a few days, thousands of HR professionals, analysts, and influencers will gather in “The Big Easy” for easily one of the biggest events in our space, the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition. More than 200 concurrent sessions covering industry hot topics, a marquee lineup of keynote speakers, countless networking opportunities, and an exciting night of entertainment all combine to make SHRM a must-attend event every year.

As you prepare for your trip to New Orleans, here’s where you can plan to find Ultimate Software at SHRM 2017.

A Firsthand Look

Join us on Monday, June 19, from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m., for a special demo of Ultimate’s employee survey and sentiment analysis solution, UltiPro Perception™. To create a great workplace culture and employee experience, organizations must understand both what employees are saying and how they feel. Discover how UltiPro Perception helps you better collect, understand, and act on real-time employee feedback through advanced natural language processing (NLP) technology. Seating is limited for this exclusive event—titled, “Do You REALLY Understand the Voice of Your Employees?”—so be sure to register in advance to secure your spot.

A Virtual Tour

Once you’ve experienced UltiPro Perception, visit Ultimate at Booth #2333 in the SHRM exposition hall for a unique virtual-reality (VR) tour. Grab a pair of our stylish VR goggles and see just what Ultimate’s cloud HCM solution can do. From core HR, benefits, and payroll to talent management, learning, and advanced analytics, UltiPro provides the tools, resources, and technology to help develop your people and grow your business.

And, after your virtual test drive, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a special premiere. Hint: We’re building on the success of Ultimate’s #PeopleFirstPodcast, which launched at SHRM last year, to bring you a brand-new series that’s sure to spark some great ideas for your organization.

A Quick Refresher

While you’re taking in all SHRM 2017 has to offer throughout the week, whenever you need a few minutes to recharge your batteries, stop by Ultimate’s Relax & Recharge station, also located in the expo hall. Enjoy a free massage and power up your mobile devices, so you’ll always be ready to go.

Whether you’re heading to New Orleans, or you’re attending SHRM in spirit, stay connected with Ultimate throughout the conference by following @UltimateHCM and #SHRM17 on Twitter, and by visiting Ultimate’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

We’ll see you at SHRM!

 

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U.S. Women’s Team Serves Up Fed Cup-Worthy Performance in Latest #UltimateTeamMoment http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/u-s-womens-team-serves-fed-cup-worthy-performance-latest-ultimateteammoment/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/u-s-womens-team-serves-fed-cup-worthy-performance-latest-ultimateteammoment/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 12:00:52 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1015 Today’s #UltimateTeamMoment follows the U.S. Women’s Tennis team on its path to the Fed Cup this November. After topping the Czech Republic, Team USA earned a spot in its first Fed Cup final in seven years. Now, Team USA looks to take home the cup for a record 18th time. Read how these championship athletes […]

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Today’s #UltimateTeamMoment follows the U.S. Women’s Tennis team on its path to the Fed Cup this November. After topping the Czech Republic, Team USA earned a spot in its first Fed Cup final in seven years.

Now, Team USA looks to take home the cup for a record 18th time. Read how these championship athletes persevere and thrive as a team, both on and off the court.

Ultimate Team Effort Pushed U.S. Women’s Tennis Team to First Fed Cup Final in 7 Years

Olympic doubles partners Coco Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands gave Team USA the crucial win.

By Doug Williams

Coco Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands were doubles partners for Team USA at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. They’re friends as well as teammates.

“I know what it means to her to play for her country,” says Vandeweghe. “Together, we feed off each other so well.”

Playing for the United States always has been important for Vandeweghe. It’s the reason she loves being on American teams in the Fed Cup.

So, when the recent Fed Cup semifinal tie between Team USA and the Czech Republic in Wesley Chapel, Florida, came down to the doubles match between Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands against Katerina Siniakova and Kristyna Pliskova, the two Americans were pumped for the opportunity.

With Team USA and the Czechs tied 2-2 after four singles matches, the winner of the doubles match would advance to the Fed Cup final in November. The stage was set against the Czechs, who have won the last three Fed Cup titles.

“You go out there and you hear the crowd just chanting ‘USA!’ and I told her, I said, ‘This is what we dream about,’” said Vandeweghe. “‘This is what we play for, this moment right here, to play for our country and to win this match for Team USA.’”

The American duo responded, downing the Czechs 6-2, 6-3 to put Team USA into the Fed Cup final for the first time in seven years. The victory gives the United States—which has won a record 17 Fed Cup titles—a chance to win its first since 2000.

Vandeweghe, 25, came up big in the tie, winning both her singles matches and the doubles in the 3-2 U.S. victory. She has been playing very good tennis this year and last. She reached the Australian Open semifinals in January, losing to Venus Williams, and is 20th in the WTA rankings.

She said playing in front of the enthusiastic fans in Florida gave her a boost.

“I feed off of the crowd’s energy,” she said. “It really amplifies my game play and my game style. That’s kind of what I relish. I relish people experiencing a thrill with me or pushing me through a hard match. The crowd can be game-changers. That’s what’s amazing these last two ties, they have really pushed me through some difficult situations.”

In February, Vandeweghe won two singles matches in the Americans’ 3-0 quarterfinal win over Germany in Hawaii. On Day One of the semifinal tie, Vandeweghe beat Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets before Siniakova downed Shelby Rogers. Vandeweghe came back the next day to beat Siniakova 6-4, 6-0 to give Team USA a 2-1 lead, but the Czechs evened the score with Vondrousova’s win over Lauren Davis, 6-2, 7-5. Vandeweghe and Mattek-Sands then sent the Americans to a win and a date with Belarus in the final at a site still to be determined.

“Coco, she just loves playing Fed Cup,” said U.S. first-year captain Kathy Rinaldi. “She told me from day one that it’s her goal, she wants to win a Fed Cup title, and as you can see, she really enjoys the atmosphere. She rises to the occasion, she gets fired up for it and the fans love it, too, because they see somebody who really takes the Fed Cup and playing for their country to heart.”

Though Vandeweghe has been the headliner over the last two ties, both she and Rinaldi point to the culture among the women on the U.S. team for the foundation of this American run toward a possible 18th Fed Cup trophy. It’s been an ultimate team effort.

“Everyone’s involved,” Rinaldi said. “Even the players who aren’t playing, their support has been extremely important. It’s important for us all to come together and win the title for the U.S.”

Rinaldi said the women have formed strong friendships off the court, which is leading to a great mindset.

“They’re a very close-knit group of players and so when you bring them all together, we work really hard in the week of training leading up to the matches, but we also have a lot of fun,” she said. “We really enjoy our times together. It’s a special week.”

Vandeweghe said the team has bonded with trips to the golf course, roller-coaster rides, and good times, just hanging out with one another. Yet they’ve stayed focused on getting past each hurdle to the Fed Cup final.

“It’s been a testament to Kathy’s captaincy, how she runs it,” said Vandeweghe. “Players have been willing to put their egos aside and work as a team. Even players who haven’t been selected to play that weekend have boosted their teammates.

“When you’re not playing, you have the respect of not only your captain but your teammates,” she said. “You earned your spot here, so we’re all here together to achieve one goal and one dream, and that’s really a testament to Kathy.”

Doug Williams covered three Olympic Games for two Southern California newspapers and was the Olympic editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He has written for TeamUSA.org since 2011 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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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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