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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Why “Best in Tech” Workplaces are Built on Innovation http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/best-place-to-work-in-it/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/best-place-to-work-in-it/#respond Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:04:29 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1022 Anyone familiar with Ultimate Software knows that our core mantra is “People First.” From our employees to our customers to their employees, everything we do is focused on caring for people. And it makes an impact. We’re honored to frequently rank on a variety of “best workplace” lists, including being named Fortune’s #7 Best Company […]

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Anyone familiar with Ultimate Software knows that our core mantra is “People First.” From our employees to our customers to their employees, everything we do is focused on caring for people. And it makes an impact. We’re honored to frequently rank on a variety of “best workplace” lists, including being named Fortune’s #7 Best Company to Work For in 2017, and the #1 Best Large Workplace in Technology the past two years. Today, I’m proud to announce another accolade: Computerworld magazine has named us the #1 Best Place to Work in IT among midsize tech companies.

Computerworld Magazine Best Place to Work in ITThere are several fundamental beliefs that set US apart. We believe in helping our employees—and their families—stay healthy by covering 100% of their healthcare premiums, including medical, dental, and vision. We believe in nurturing our people’s futures by offering a 401(k) retirement plan with a 40% company match on every dollar, with no cap. And we believe in trust, communication, and flexibility to accommodate life. These core values enable our employees, our culture, and our company to thrive. I believe any company, in any industry, would benefit from taking care of people the way we do.

But as a technology company that specializes in human capital management (HCM), there are other unique factors to consider. Constant industry upheavals are standard, along with steep competition for top talent, constant innovation, and growing market share. Technological advances are occurring faster than ever, and companies must keep ahead to remain successful. Developments in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and an ever-growing gig workforce are forcing HCM software providers to grow and adapt. Fortunately, at Ultimate, we’ve learned that the same techniques that encourage our employees’ innovation also help foster an exciting and unique culture contributing to overall happiness and satisfaction.

Here are some ways we bolster creativity, driving the creation of our award-winning products, services, and culture.

48 Hours

We once asked, “What can be done in 48 hours?” and learned, with the right people, more than we could have imagined. Twice a year, we run a highly anticipated coding event called “48 Hours.” Developers spend two consecutive days brainstorming and actualizing ideas enhancing UltiPro’s features and functionality. Sometimes, they even work on ideas completely unrelated to their current projects and roadmaps. Fueled by copious amounts of coffee and energized by the exciting (and competitive!) atmosphere, our developers thrive on the challenge and complete freedom to invent new solutions. This is a great testing and proving ground for our development staff to showcase new technologies. Several times, these projects have enhanced our current roadmap or provided such an increase in value to our clients, we added it directly into the UltiPro solution.

Leverage Advanced Technology

We invest in our employees by providing the best technology possible. We even have our own in-house tech support team complete with onsite TechSpots, where employees can take their devices for tune-ups and troubleshooting. Our innovative UltiLab features a variety of the latest products and technologies for employees to program, test, and experiment with. By experimenting with the latest and greatest platforms and technologies, our people are continuously inspired to create innovative solutions that help people solve problems.

Continuing Knowledge Transfer

Another way Ultimate promotes innovation is by providing each department a budget for attending employees’ choice of learning workshops and conferences. Agile, ISSTA, Lean Kanban, SHRM, QCon, and others are all frequently attended by our employees—and it’s common to find our people leading conference sessions and workshops. Developers are highly encouraged to take development courses, and teams have even created customized learning paths specific to their needs on various platforms.

Professional Development

We continually invest in ongoing learning opportunities for our employees, a passion that is now being offered to our customers through UltiPro Learning. In addition to Ultimate offering tuition reimbursement and covering costs associated with certificate training, our internal learning portal encourages all employees to improve their current skill sets and potentially grow into new roles. The site offers videos, Web tours, and courses employees can select to achieve their personal goals. Employees are also encouraged to take ownership of their own learning and growth as they advance in their careers.

Developing Leaders

Our comprehensive LeadUS program was created to develop all managers and potential managers into world-class leaders. Drawing on Ultimate’s leadership principles, skill-, trust-, and team-building sessions prepare the next generation of Ultimate’s leaders for success, while cultivating creativity and innovation among our people. Three separate learning tracks are available, from aspiring managers to senior executives.

In my experience, one of the best aspects of working at a technology company is the camaraderie and hunger for continual improvement. By fostering a culture of innovation, we’re not only supporting our employees’ individual careers, but developing a workforce that runs on inspiration and ingenuity. We’ve built an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and challenged—a workplace that’s definitively the “best in tech.”

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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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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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