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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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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Inspired By People http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/inspired-by-people/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/inspired-by-people/#comments Fri, 10 Mar 2017 21:30:55 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=934 What inspires you? What wakes you up each morning and motivates you to face life’s challenges? At Ultimate Software, we’re inspired by people. It’s why we started our company more than 26 years ago, when we recognized an amazing opportunity to put people first: to provide the “ultimate” HR and payroll software that would inspire […]

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What inspires you? What wakes you up each morning and motivates you to face life’s challenges?

At Ultimate Software, we’re inspired by people. It’s why we started our company more than 26 years ago, when we recognized an amazing opportunity to put people first: to provide the “ultimate” HR and payroll software that would inspire people in the workplace and empower them to achieve more.

We’re humbled and honored to be named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For six years in a row, and the #1 Best Large Workplace in Technology the past two years. We’re fortunate to be here, and we know we’re here because of people—our employees, our customers, and our communities. They continue to inspire us, to better ourselves and to always do the right thing. So we look to pay it forward and inspire others in return. We wake up every day thinking of new ways to care for our people and to make Ultimate not just a great place to work, but a second home.

Establishing an Inspiring Home Away From Home

First, we focus on fostering a supportive, family-like environment where colleagues listen to one another, feel comfortable sharing ideas and taking risks, and work together to achieve their goals as a team. This positive, productive atmosphere inspires our employees to create innovative products that help people work more efficiently and effectively. They’re also motivated to constantly do more for our customers, providing extraordinary service and personalized, proactive support.

Next, we ensure our employees have the tools, resources, and technology they need to thrive as professionals. We’ve implemented a companywide performance management program in which employees set goals, track their progress, and have ongoing conversations with team leaders rather than a quick, once-annual review. We also offer a variety of flexible opportunities for continuous learning, from on-demand online training courses to hands-on leadership development workshops, so our people can gain new skills and grow their careers. This in addition to internship programs providing real-life experience, assistance for tuition and certifications, and specialized training for those in customer-facing service roles.

Supporting Our People’s Whole Selves

We also realize the need to support our employees not only as professionals, but as people. Since 2014, we’ve formed three diverse Communities of Interest: PrideUS for our LGBTQIA community; Women in Leadership for employees at all job levels; and UltiVETS for veterans and active service members. Each hosts several networking and social events throughout the year, including organizing Ultimate’s Inter-Office Pride Days, sponsoring seminars for Girls Who Code, and hosting barbeques for veterans. These groups bring us together to share and celebrate our unique personal experiences, and everyone at Ultimate is invited to get involved in some way.

No matter how much we do for our people, though, we’re always most inspired by what they do for others. Near and dear to us are the heartfelt contributions our employees continue to make in the community. Over the past year, 93% of our employees have participated in charitable giving. They’ve utilized their company service days to volunteer at nonprofit organizations. They’ve donated to charitable causes and helped those impacted by natural disasters, terrorism, and other unexpected events. They’ve stepped up to support colleagues and families who’ve endured personal tragedies. We are genuinely moved by the unending selflessness of our people.

From day one, we set out to create more than a successful HR technology company. We wanted to build a workplace that inspires people to trust, respect, and care. A company that encourages employees to bring their best selves—their whole selves—to work each and every day. A family that always looks after its own, in good and bad times, and makes a meaningful difference by giving.

I am extremely proud to say, that’s US.

Through our employee-centric culture, HR cloud solutions, collaborative customer service, and charitable efforts in the community, we hope we inspire others to become “People First” companies, too. Because we believe that when people succeed, companies succeed.

So, what inspires you? For US, we’re inspired by people.

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An Open Letter to Our People on Employee Appreciation Day http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-appreciation-day-2017/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-appreciation-day-2017/#comments Fri, 03 Mar 2017 12:30:47 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=922 Every year on the first Friday in March, one of my favorite holidays is celebrated: Employee Appreciation Day. While we make every effort to put people first every day, I wanted to take this special occasion to thank our incredible employees for their relentless passion, loyalty, determination, and drive. Fortune ranked us the #1 Best […]

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Every year on the first Friday in March, one of my favorite holidays is celebrated: Employee Appreciation Day. While we make every effort to put people first every day, I wanted to take this special occasion to thank our incredible employees for their relentless passion, loyalty, determination, and drive. Fortune ranked us the #1 Best Large Workplace in Technology—twice—because you, our people, are the best. And for that, we’re eternally grateful.

Thank you for your dedication to designing the industry’s most innovative, intuitive HCM software.

Thank you for providing award-winning, white-glove service to every customer, every day.

Thank you for being you, and for sharing your unique ideas, stories, and experiences with us.

Thank you for keeping our “People First” culture alive.

Ultimate Software employees will be taking over our account on Facebook LIVE to share their proudest moments and to thank the people who’ve had the biggest impact on their lives and careers. Stay tuned for a visit from our monthly ice cream truck.

Happy Employee Appreciation Day!

Thank you for making US who we are.

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Expect an “Elevated” Experience at Connections 2017 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/connections-2017/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/connections-2017/#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 11:00:50 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=911 Ultimate Software’s annual customer conference, Connections, is coming up soon. With more than 70 unique hands-on learning workshops and informative breakout sessions, a full lineup of inspiring keynote speakers, and a major concert by one of today’s most successful pop-rock bands, this year’s event promises to be bigger than ever. If you’re one of the […]

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Ultimate Software’s annual customer conference, Connections, is coming up soon. With more than 70 unique hands-on learning workshops and informative breakout sessions, a full lineup of inspiring keynote speakers, and a major concert by one of today’s most successful pop-rock bands, this year’s event promises to be bigger than ever.

If you’re one of the 2,000-plus HR, payroll, and talent management professionals and business leaders attending Connections 2017, here’s what you can expect to experience in Las Vegas, March 21–24.

Invaluable Breakout Sessions

connections 2017 crowdThis year’s Connections theme is “Elevate,” and the conference agenda is designed with that exact mission in mind. Connections 2017 aims to elevate your knowledge and use of UltiPro®, while increasing your overall engagement with the solution, and with us. At Ultimate, we view customers as our Partners for Life, and we want to ensure you continuously get the most out of UltiPro, our collaborative support, and our educational resources.

Throughout Connections 2017, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from and chat with Ultimate’s subject-matter experts about all facets of UltiPro. Our sessions focus on such topics as leading and developing your people, harnessing powerful reporting and HCM analytics, configuring and integrating UltiPro with additional solutions, and managing payroll and time more efficiently. There are even sessions tailored to Canada-based organizations and customers with global workforces. Plus, Connections includes speed-networking sessions, industry roundtable discussions, an UltiPro User Community open house, and a special group service project with nonprofit Clean the World to benefit USO Las Vegas.

Captivating Keynote Speakers
Besides the myriad of learning and networking opportunities available at Connections, the conference is also known for its thought-provoking and entertaining general sessions. Don’t be surprised if these talks inspire your mind, challenge your thinking, or even change your perspective.

On Wednesday, you’ll hear from Will Smith, the acclaimed actor, musician, producer, and philanthropist. A Grammy Award winner and two-time Oscar nominee, Smith has had a diverse, decades-long career spanning several industries, from television to film to music. In the community, Smith is dedicated to working toward the advancement of individuals through the areas of education, sustainability, empowerment, and health, having established the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation.

connections 2017 adamThursday includes back-to-back keynotes, featuring prolific writer Tim Urban and former U.S. Navy Lt. Carey Lohrenz. Urban is the creator of the popular blog, “Wait But Why,” which combines long-form articles and stick-figure illustrations for an impactful blend of humor and intrigue. Lohrenz was the U.S. Navy’s first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot, and now draws upon her experience and lessons learned to educate professionals about taking calculated risks, becoming better leaders, and achieving successful careers.

Awesome Code-a-Thon, Exclusive Concert
Back by popular demand, the Connections Code-a-Thon returns, giving attendees a chance to witness Ultimate’s skilled software engineers develop new UltiPro functionality in a matter of days. Before the nonstop coding session begins, Ultimate customers will have a chance to submit ideas for which features they’d most like to see in UltiPro. Functioning on little sleep—but much drive and caffeine—our developers will then get to work coding a prototype solution. The Code-a-Thon wraps up with a live unveiling and demo of the team’s creation. Don’t miss it!

Speaking of can’t-miss events, the only place to be in Vegas on Thursday night will be Ultimate’s exclusive Customer Appreciation Party, featuring a private performance by platinum-selling pop-rockers, Maroon 5. Bring your best voice and expect to move like Jagger as you enjoy all the hits from this Grammy Award-winning group.

“Mind-Blown Moments”
Connections always proves to be a meaningful, memorable event for Ultimate customers. But, don’t just listen to me. Here’s what some past attendees have said about their Connections experience:

“I gained so much knowledge about UltiPro that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been utilizing already!!! I had so many of those ‘MIND-BLOWN’ moments and got really excited about using my new skills when I got back to work, and getting my coworkers excited about it too! The speakers at the general session were so engaging and spoke directly to everyone in the room. My first Connections experience was beyond any expectation that I had, and I look so forward to next year!”

“This is the best conference I’ve been to and have been lucky enough to go four years in a row. We get to see our Ultimate partners face to face and hear about exciting new changes to the software.”

Whether this is your very first Connections, or you’ve been with us since the beginning, we look forward to welcoming you at the conference. See you soon!

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Want a visual preview of what to expect at Connections 2017? See below:

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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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How Unified Employee-Feedback Tools are Revolutionizing HR http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-feedback-perception/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-feedback-perception/#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2017 19:30:05 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=864 Nearly all HR leaders agree that long-term organizational success is dependent upon building and retaining a happy, engaged workforce. While a litany of factors influence workplace satisfaction, the data on this are clear: three out of four employees say that the one thing employers can do to improve retention is to listen to and address […]

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Nearly all HR leaders agree that long-term organizational success is dependent upon building and retaining a happy, engaged workforce. While a litany of factors influence workplace satisfaction, the data on this are clear: three out of four employees say that the one thing employers can do to improve retention is to listen to and address their concerns. This deceptively simple concept, however, is easier said than done. Yearly reviews are invaluable snapshots of each employee’s experience and performance, but they’re limited in their ability to provide real-time feedback throughout the year.

It turns out that the best way to learn what motivates your employees and how they feel about work is to just ask them. Regularly. Some companies have begun investing in employee-feedback technology, but those that do usually struggle with time-consuming manual analysis, complex integration work, and far-too-simplistic surveys that fail to uncover any meaningful, actionable insights.

So, what’s the solution?

It’s HCM Software, Only Better

We’re thrilled to be unveiling UltiPro Perception this year, one of the newest features of Ultimate Software’s award-winning, cloud-based HCM solution. Developed by a team of statisticians, mathematicians, psychologists, and , this sophisticated sentiment-analysis technology uses customizable surveys to measure both quantitative, scalar data and unstructured, text-based data. It’s a statistical approach, but grounded in human psychology, and it’s capable of recognizing more than 100 emotions and over 70 themes, including workplace topics, values, and performance competencies.

The analysis of open-ended data supplies specific information about how employees are actually feeling—are they sad about lack of manager recognition? Worried about developmental opportunities? Grateful for benefits updates? Perception interprets their responses and understands data with upwards of 97% accuracy, compared with human-level accuracy of 65%–75%, and HR leaders enjoy a 99% reduction in expended time and effort. Instead of waiting weeks—or months—to go through a complex analysis process, results are delivered within seconds of survey completion. Instant insights mean you understand how your employees feel today, not how they felt three months ago, all with the click of a button.

unified technologyThe technology cuts through extraneous information to focus on the key insights that matter most to businesses, such as performance and attrition. These data-driven results leave no room for bias or favoritism and make decision-making easy. Finally, because Perception is part of our comprehensive HCM solution, employers can match scores with crucial employee metadata while incorporating UltiPro’s predictive and prescriptive analytics functions.

And this is where the magic happens.

The Power of One

As part of a unified HCM solution, sentiment analysis tools seamlessly integrate with existing employee data, with no down time and no room for user error. Perception’s survey- and result-distribution lists are automatically synced with information changes in UltiPro, so as people join, leave, or move around the organization, they’re guaranteed to receive only the most relevant material without any additional input from IT or HR. Data is further safeguarded using UltiPro’s enterprise-level security and role-based access.

Templates exist for every step of the employee journey, from new hire to exit, and automated surveys can be triggered by regular intervals or workplace events. Because UltiPro houses all employee data, it’s easy to select survey participants based on information such as location, department, or tenure. Any data element within the solution can be leveraged to fine-tune surveys, which means you can send a satisfaction survey to all California-based salespeople who’ve been with the company for less than a year—and then filter and compare their responses based on their supervisors or performance. Interested how a certain team’s engagement scores have changed over time, or whether Marketing’s average tenure is improving alongside engagement? Historical benchmarking is an absolute breeze.

Sentiment analysis uncovers people challenges, insight that is even more valuable when used alongside predictive and prescriptive analytics to forecast outcomes based on current feelings and recommend specific actions to mitigate risk. This enables leaders to respond with timely action that drives real change within an organization, improving morale alongside performance and retention. Managers can even link unsatisfied or under-performing individuals directly to UltiPro’s action planning and learning-development courses.

The seamless ease of use provided by a unified sentiment analysis solution is a game-changer for HR professionals and the industry at large. Today’s leaders can leverage massive amounts of unstructured data to receive instant analysis and insights, empowering the data-driven decisions central to every successful strategy.

It’s machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence, and HCM—all in one. Most importantly, it’s easy, so you spend less time analyzing and more time achieving.

It’s a revolution. And we’re paving the road.

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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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Collaborative Support: The Ultimate Difference in Service http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/collaborative-support-ultimate-difference/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/collaborative-support-ultimate-difference/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2017 13:14:30 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=817 In a recent post, titled “A ‘People First’ Approach to Customer Service,” we touched upon several factors that make Ultimate Software’s support different, noting Ultimate’s 97% customer retention rate and 95% customer satisfaction rate. Ultimate received widespread industry recognition for its service in 2016, including being named a Gold winner for “Best Customer Service Department […]

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In a recent post, titled “A ‘People First’ Approach to Customer Service,” we touched upon several factors that make Ultimate Software’s support different, noting Ultimate’s 97% customer retention rate and 95% customer satisfaction rate. Ultimate received widespread industry recognition for its service in 2016, including being named a Gold winner for “Best Customer Service Department of the Year” at Network Product Guide’s 2016 IT World Awards, recognition in the Best in Biz Awards 2016 as a Silver winner in the “Support Department of the Year” category, and winning a TSIA STAR Award for Innovation in the Transformation of Support Services at the SMB Level.

Today, we’d like to share a primary differentiator in delivering Ultimate’s “People First” customer service: our collaborative support model.

Ultimate’s culture of innovation goes beyond the design of our people-centric products. It extends into the delivery of our personalized service. Last year, we recognized an opportunity to enhance the support experience for our customers even further by adopting a more effective customer service model: the collaborative support model (sometimes called “tierless” support).

Traditional software support is delivered in a “tiered” structure, where customer calls are automatically handled by a “Tier 1” support representative trained to answer the most common support questions. More complex questions are forwarded to “Tier 2” support reps, sometimes “Tier 3”, and so on. The downside to this approach is that customers might be required to explain their issue to multiple support representatives, remain on hold while the issue is escalated, or be placed into a “Tier 2” support queue for call-back. This tiered support system, while a logical organizational structure, can require a high level of time and effort from customers.

collaborative support customer service

In contrast, when a customer submits a question in a collaborative support model, it immediately goes to a team of specialists and multiple subject-matter experts who can then “swarm” the issue. Their collaboration produces a prompt resolution with less customer effort required. In 2015, Ultimate adopted a collaborative support model designed to “swarm” each customer inquiry to ensure that subject-matter experts reviewed and resolved each question quickly. This approach improves the speed of resolution and provides the customer with one central point of contact. The results speak for themselves: after implementing the new model, Ultimate’s customer support inquiry resolution time decreased by 60 percent between May 2015 and June 2016.

In addition to dedicated account managers and cutting-edge collaborative support, Ultimate offers 24-7 service that includes a live chat, Rapid Response hotline, and online User Communities. All customers also have access to a virtual library with articles documenting resolutions to the most common inquiries. These articles are updated in real time by our subject-matter experts and are readily available for any users wishing to explore at their convenience.

Our underlying goal is to ensure our customers get the most out of UltiPro.  We recognize that comprehensive product functionality and cutting-edge technology are only a part of that equation.  Customers need exceptional service to experience more value from their HCM technology. Our customers can be confident that when they select UltiPro, they’re not simply choosing an HCM solution designed to improve work life for their people. They also stand to benefit from a lifelong partnership with Ultimate–a partnership built on trust, care, and a mutual investment in long-term success.

We are committed to this enduring promise: we’ll continue to provide innovative, industry-leading technology and service, and we’ll put people first while we do so.

That’s the Ultimate difference.

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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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