Uncategorized – 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 Navigating the Complexities of Listening to the VoE http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/listening-voe/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/listening-voe/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 10:00:20 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1000 The reality of having five generations in the workforce is upon us, as Gen Z begins to enter the workforce. At over 74 million strong and growing, these post-millennials “digital natives” are poised to become the largest working generation yet. They share many similarities with the millennials, but also have their own unique set of […]

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The reality of having five generations in the workforce is upon us, as Gen Z begins to enter the workforce. At over 74 million strong and growing, these post-millennials “digital natives” are poised to become the largest working generation yet. They share many similarities with the millennials, but also have their own unique set of expectations and assumptions they bring to work (see my LinkedIn blog post about truly communicating).

I travel quite a bit, and I always come away from my many conversations with HR and business leaders with incredible, and often poignant, examples of the new reality of working with the changing workforce. I am continually made aware of how a simple slight can have lasting implications for many people in the workplace, and how significant it can be to simply hear a person’s concerns and respond to them.

When discussing this at a recent presentation to HR leaders, an audience member affirmed the importance of listening to your employees, recounting a recent exit interview they conducted with a valued employee. The employee said, “I asked a question and never got a response. I just wanted a response. I could have handled the answer either way, but I never (even) got a response.” Sounds simple enough; we all get busy with the flow of work life and may assume that not responding will be taken as a sign that we don’t yet have an answer or are busy. But it could just as easily be seen as a sign that the person and question don’t merit a response—and clearly our assumptions can be dangerous, as this HR leader found out.

Another instance is related to feeling whole and safe at work. In Ultimate Software’s 2016 study about satisfaction at work, 95% of respondents said “the ability to truly be themselves” is directly tied to their satisfaction on the job. Six out of 10 people said that feeling emotionally unsafe at work would cause them to quit—on the spot. I heard a story of how one long-time employee had made all the difference for a transgender colleague by being vocal, and even protective, in his acceptance of the employee’s change in gender.

That same week, I was asked by a customer about how to handle fluid gender identity when current U.S. EEO compliance reporting requires either male or female identification (learn more in my post about workforce fluidity). I was glad to let him know that, at Ultimate, we provide our employees and our customers voice and choice with configurable technology, to provide them with local flexibility while ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. Listening, rather than dismissing the request as an edge case, not only made our customer able to support his employees better, but also demonstrated that if HR supports one person in an unusual situation, they will support everyone in more commonly occurring scenarios. The key is to listen and act.

This is the kind of stuff that led many of us to get into the work of HR and people leadership, and is why it is so critically important and meaningful for organizations to be prepared for the conversations they will be having with their employees in the coming months and years. It’s why, at Ultimate, we have an initiative to truly listen to the “Voice of the Employee” (VoE) and follow through with action, and it’s why we are repeatedly ranked as a Best Company to Work For.

Leaders are often told their people are their priority, though in the bustle of the day to day, that can be lost. But be assured that, for the employees, a conversation that may seem less than critical to a leader can mean everything…even a reason to leave.

 

Hear more from Cecile at the Vancouver HR Workshop on May 31. Register now!

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Employee Handbooks: Your Ultimate Guide http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-handbook-guide/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-handbook-guide/#respond Thu, 11 May 2017 10:00:58 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=997 Guest post by Kate Bischoff, Employment Lawyer & HR Consultant Shoved deep in some desks of supervisors and employees, the employee handbook resides.  For some, the handbook has lived in this dark corner of the workplace for years without a thought or care. In other workplaces, the handbook rests right there on the desk, enjoys […]

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Guest post by Kate Bischoff, Employment Lawyer & HR Consultant

Shoved deep in some desks of supervisors and employees, the employee handbook resides.  For some, the handbook has lived in this dark corner of the workplace for years without a thought or care. In other workplaces, the handbook rests right there on the desk, enjoys frequent reading, and is referenced when needed. Where does your employee handbook live?

employee handbookLawyers, like me, love handbooks (I’m not joking). Handbooks set expectations—both employer and employee expectations. Take, for example, one of the most important policies: sexual harassment. From this singular policy, employers can expect employees not to engage in sexual-harassing conduct, and employees can expect the employer to do something about it. Employees learn what the employer defines as sexual harassment and how employees can report it if they see, hear, or otherwise experience it. And, as a bonus for lawyers, we can use the policy to protect the employer if a claim is ever raised.

Employee handbooks take on all shapes and sizes. Some are true tree-killers, coming in at over 100 pages.  Others are on smartphone apps available at employee fingertips 24-7, with links to forms that an employee might need. Here are a couple of tips for all handbooks:

Make Them Readable & Accessible

Some of the best advice I ever received was “write for fourth graders.” This is especially true for handbooks. While all of your employees might be post-graduate-degree holders, a handbook with too much legalese, jargon, or seven-syllable words is not going to be understood by most.  If you write it to a fourth grader, your employees (and potential jurors) can better understand it. It’s accessible and, therefore, meaningful.

Handbooks Should Contain Only What’s Necessary

Hundred-page handbooks make my heart hurt. Employees are probably not going to read such tomes, even though they acknowledge an in-depth reading at the start of employment. Plus, with such detail, it is unlikely that the employer is doing everything it says it will do in a handbook of that size. An at-will employment statement, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, leave (and FMLA, if it applies), and some state-specific policies are the only policies employers must include. My favorite add-on policy is “use good judgment in all situations.” It pretty much covers everything else.

Use Your Handbook!

If you say you’re going to do something in your handbook, do it. Forgetting, picking and choosing, or actively working against what’s in your handbook hurts you and your people, because you show that the handbook doesn’t mean what it says. This breeds mistrust and resentment among employees. You don’t want this, even though you have the power to change the handbook at any time, with or without notice.

Talk About Your Handbooks with Employees

Employees should have a handbook available to them. They also should have a member of management, including HR, available to answer questions about what’s in there. Walk through the handbook with new employees. Hold a meeting to discuss changes when you make them.  Being open and honest about what’s in there helps create an environment of trust.

Update, Update, Update

One last thing, please update your employee handbook. Run it past your friendly neighborhood employment lawyer. Like life, employment law moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around at it once in a while, you could miss it. In all seriousness, new requirements are made all the time. Being out of compliance is easy if you don’t regularly have someone take a look.

Handbooks are creatures of culture. If your handbook sets a tone of doom and gloom, that will be reflected in your culture. Think about this when you draft, revise, and rollout a handbook.  Find the right person to work with you to make your handbook a useful tool that employees look at, value, and don’t shove into the dark recesses of their desks.

 

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Predictions for 2017: Serving People with Emerging HR Technologies http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/hr-technologies-serving-people/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/hr-technologies-serving-people/#comments Wed, 22 Feb 2017 11:00:49 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=893 Thriving in our rapidly changing and increasingly disrupted modern business environment will require organizations to both recognize major cultural shifts (see my blog post about Workforce Fluidity) while taking advantage of incredible new technologies. In this post, I explore a few of the potentially most impactful emerging and maturing technologies that are gaining traction in […]

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Thriving in our rapidly changing and increasingly disrupted modern business environment will require organizations to both recognize major cultural shifts (see my blog post about Workforce Fluidity) while taking advantage of incredible new technologies.

In this post, I explore a few of the potentially most impactful emerging and maturing technologies that are gaining traction in the realm of HR and will transform how HR and business leaders serve employees in 2017 and the coming years. Note that, regardless of the technology, putting people first is a must in 2017, as your people grow increasingly comfortable explicitly telling you, their employers, about their expectations of working within your organizations.

Augmented Intelligence, Human-Machine Interfaces, and Ambient HR Enter the Scene

People-first, people-centered, inter-connected technology that augments us. 

I’m not a huge fan of the newest buzzword, AI (Artificial Intelligence). It has negative connotations, evoking the deadly HAL or marginally useful benevolent robots, as well as the idea that insights from AI are somehow “artificial” or less than true. I prefer the more apt “augmented intelligence,” which is simply technology that mimics (not replaces) human cognitive processes, augmenting and extending human thought processing capabilities in terms of speed and volume data crunching, even avoiding putting humans in harm’s way.

“Ambient HR” refers to a future in which the ability of HR professionals to listen to the voice of employees (VoE) is increased by using distributed data collection touch points (think Google or Amazon Dots). These future technologies will help us advance beyond today’s latest “text-to-meaning” advanced natural language processing and machine-learning algorithms to uncover not only what employees are saying, but also how they feel about topics such as people practices, work environment, and leadership. In essence, allowing HR and managers to be in more than one place at a time, learning about the sentiment and “health of the organization” through distributed data-collection interfaces that capture human interactions with each other and with their surroundings.

The aggregation of cognitive-capable distributed technology will transform HR from traditional, mechanical systems of management that rely on people to selectively provide feedback in the industrial economy to an even smarter, augmented, context-aware human ecosystem.

The true benefits of these technologies will become most apparent in its ability to extend what a human could realistically do, hear, and process. We will literally be able to be in more than one place at a time, gathering input about how people feel and measuring the emotional health of your team—something a single leader could not possibly physically accomplish! This actual (albeit virtual) contact, and the ensuing insight, is invaluable for workers who crave more frequent and open communication.

Today’s workers want their leaders and organizations to hear their concerns, be open to more communication in the context of their work, and provide greater purpose and meaning in their work. (Refer to our 2016 research for more on this topic.) Such smart technologies as augmented intelligence and distributed technology that extends beyond mobile in the cloud have unleashed extraordinary possibilities for people at work.

The Configurability Imperative Serves All People

Nimble, flexible solutions that support the way people really work.

People are increasingly rejecting the traditional binary constructs of self-identification and a new vernacular is taking hold in the popular culture that is making its way into the workplace. This makes system configurability an absolute must for modern organizations, who must accommodate new definitions of how employees identify themselves so people can be true to themselves at work, as they are in their lives outside of work.

Also, as teamwork replaces “command and control” workforce structures, new work paradigms are emerging that center on more fluid notions of work, jobs, and the people who perform them. Being able to come together as a working group, having the organization acknowledge that grouping, and even being able to reassemble the same combination of successful colleagues, becomes a work imperative beyond simply tagging an individual’s work-group affiliations for identification.

Finally, gig economy employees will make up more than 40 percent of the workforce by 2020. These workers will have more flexible and virtual work schedules—a necessity in a global workspace with 24/7 connectivity—and fill short-term assignments. Preparing organizations will require new, more extensible systems of helping manage people and work, bringing together knowledge of people and work systems—long silos of information in different technology solutions.

The Rise of Virtual and Augmented Reality Experiences

A “day in the life” gets real.

Wouldn’t we all love a crystal ball that we could look into to see what we are getting ourselves into? That is quickly becoming a reality—actually, a virtual reality.

Less than five years ago, virtual reality experiences were prohibitively expensive for organizations, other than gaming companies that could commercialize the experiences on a big scale. Today, creating a virtual reality experience is not only affordable for organizations (school districts are beginning to use virtual reality experiences to help elementary school children explore different careers), but it is an excellent way to connect with more tech-savvy candidates who want to be certain they are joining an organization that values technology (a recent study we conducted with  The Center for Generational Kinetics showed a third of U.S. workers would quit a job if their company used legacy technology).

If virtual reality changes how we see the entire world around us, augmented reality can change how we interact with it, blending reality and virtual reality seamlessly. Job candidates could be encouraged to see themselves in “their new office” while exchanging texts with future co-workers they are connected with on LinkedIn…all before they have accepted the job, helping to cement the deal.

So, why not share a virtually real “day in the life” of the work experience you offer your employees?! It could make all the difference in getting that key person to join your team.

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USA Softball Wins World Championship in Latest #UltimateTeamMoment http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/team-usa-softball-wins-world-championship-latest-ultimateteammoment/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/team-usa-softball-wins-world-championship-latest-ultimateteammoment/#respond Wed, 10 Aug 2016 13:01:09 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=652 When great teams work together, achieving greatness takes many forms. For the USA Softball women’s national team, it means capturing its 10th world championship title. Discover the team’s inspirational story below, and follow #UltimateTeamMoment all summer from Rio for more great stories of teamwork and triumph, brought to you by Team USA and Ultimate Software. […]

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When great teams work together, achieving greatness takes many forms. For the USA Softball women’s national team, it means capturing its 10th world championship title.

Discover the team’s inspirational story below, and follow #UltimateTeamMoment all summer from Rio for more great stories of teamwork and triumph, brought to you by Team USA and Ultimate Software.Ultimate-Team-Moment-1200x1200-softball


Culture of Success Breeds U.S. Softball Team’s 10th World Title

 

Team USA beat rival Japan last week to win its first world title since 2010.
By Karen Price
Red Line Editorial
Winning a world championship is never easy, even for a powerhouse such as the USA Softball women’s national team.

Despite nine world championship titles, heading into this summer’s Women’s World Softball Championship in Surrey, British Columbia, the No. 2-ranked U.S. women hadn’t tasted victory since 2010. They lost in the gold-medal game to Japan in 2012 and again in 2014 before defeating them twice in 24 hours at the end of July to claim their 10th world championship title.

“This year it felt like it was a combination of everything because we all got along really well right from the beginning of the first practice,” catcher Amanda Chidester said. “Everyone just clicked, and everyone playing wanted to be there.”

Team USA finished the tournament with a .436 batting average and outscored opponents 83-10 while hitting 19 home runs and totaling 80 RBIs. The pitching staff had an ERA of 1.19, allowing just eight earned runs the entire tournament.

Janie Takeda said she remembers leaning over to one of her teammates on the bench during the semifinal game and saying, “We look so good right now.”

“Everyone was hitting, one to nine, and playing defense really well,” Takeda said. “We’ve also been pitching by committee a lot this year, which has been really awesome. Our pitchers have been taking chunks of the game and dominating whatever they’re given, and that’s huge, especially in softball.

“In baseball, you’re used to that, but in softball you see a lot more pitchers throw complete games. All our pitchers accepted their roles and just dominated.”

It was that sense of everyone not only knowing but also embracing her role that helped make Team USA the ultimate team this year, Chidester said.

Toward the end of the tournament, the lineup was essentially set, she said, but even those who started the games on the bench, such as Takeda, gave the team so much energy simply with the level of support they offered.

“Maybe I’d catch one game, then Aubree (Munro) would catch another and we were both all in,” she said. “One of the girls, (catcher) Paige Halstead, from UCLA, ended up being an alternate at the last minute. She had no idea she was going to be an alternate but she got our pitchers ready every single game and never complained once. Everybody found their role and you didn’t hear, ‘I should be playing,’ or, ‘There’s no reason I should be an alternate.’ Everyone just bought in.

“I’ve been on so many teams and I can honestly say the only team I’ve ever been on like that was when I won two state championships in high school.”

Disappointment over lack of playing time would be natural, if not expected, given that the members of Team USA have always played such important starting roles throughout their high school and college careers. The desire to be in the game at its most critical moment is something all elite athletes possess. It’s that drive that helps them reach the top of their sport.

Yet Chidester and Takeda both gave credit to coach Ken Erickson and his staff for putting together a roster that wasn’t just the 18 best athletes, but also the 18 best personalities to work together as a team.

“Obviously I wanted to be on the field, but (starters) Jazmyn Jackson, Haylie McCleney, and Michelle Moultrie were doing so awesome, why wouldn’t I buy into (my role)?” Takeda said. “All the coaches do a great job of reminding you of the bigger picture; that it doesn’t mean you’re not good at softball or they don’t need you. You have a key role being ready at any time, supporting your teammates and not throwing a fit. There were a few of us who didn’t get a lot of playing time, but the coaches help build the culture and the veterans help build the culture that it doesn’t matter who’s out there. All that matters is that the team gets it done, and that was the genuine feeling across the board.”

Team USA adds its 10th world title to an impressive array of accomplishments. The team has also won eight World Cup of Softball titles and the national team is one of just two women’s sports to capture three straight gold medals in the Olympic Games since 1996. Baseball and softball both were dropped from the Olympic program following the 2008 Games, where the women’s team lost to Japan in the gold-medal game.

Having been part of the team that lost to Japan in each of the past two world championships, this year’s victory was particularly sweet, Chidester said. Even better was the fact that the team kept working to improve as the tournament went on.

“Everyone strived to get better for the team, and that was huge,” Chidester said. “Everyone was accountable for their position and their roles and we just took off and got better every single game.”

 

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Be(ing) the Best http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/being-the-best/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/being-the-best/#respond Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:33:24 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=212 Vivian Maza Chief People Officer Ultimate Software Last week, Fortune released its 18th annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” listing, in partnership with Great Place to Work®. Feedback from employees and companies themselves determines ranking. Through the Trust Index© Employee Survey, accounting for two-thirds, employees rate their organization on job satisfaction, camaraderie among colleagues, […]

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Vivian Maza

Vivian Maza
Chief People Officer
Ultimate Software

Last week, Fortune released its 18th annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” listing, in partnership with Great Place to Work®.

Feedback from employees and companies themselves determines ranking. Through the Trust Index© Employee Survey, accounting for two-thirds, employees rate their organization on job satisfaction, camaraderie among colleagues, and management’s credibility. In the Culture Audit©, companies self-report on subjects such as compensation, benefits, and recognition programs.

What does it take to be the Best? It’s about putting people first.

This goes beyond offering a competitive benefits package. It’s about creating a company culture that cultivates trust, respect, and an overall sense of value among all members of your organization.
Being the BestIt’s when a supervisor spends time getting to know her colleague and his passions away from the desk. While chatting over lunch, she learns of his involvement with a local charity. Soon, your company supports his contributions — by matching a donation or providing extra PTO so he can spend time giving back.

After a charitable day away, he returns to work with a renewed sense of purpose. He’s made a difference in the community. You’ve made a difference in his life.

Showing your people you genuinely care about them doesn’t have to cost much more than your time and some thought. It can be as simple as an employee-recognition program, with meaningful reminders that they’re doing a great job.

New research finds 43% of Millennials want feedback every week — but they’re not the only ones who appreciate acknowledgment. And while we’re on the subject, never discount the value of a hand-written “Thank You” note, especially in the Digital Age. Kudos keep employees happy, engaged, and motivated.

There’s a simple theme at work here: Give back to your employees by all means and they’ll reciprocate in myriad ways. Take care of your people, and they’ll take care of you — and your customers.

And if you’re still worried about the financials of investing in your workforce, don’t be. Putting people first pays off.

According to Great Place to Work, publicly traded Best Companies perform almost twice as well as major stock indices and provide nearly three times the market return. Moreover, because their employees are more engaged and less likely to leave, Best Companies also save substantial money, given the high costs associated with constant turnover.

The benefits of being on Fortune‘s Best Companies list are as plentiful as the ways.

What are you doing to be the Best?

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Ultimate Software is proud and honored to be ranked in the top 25 on Fortune‘s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list four years in a row.

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Recent Incidents of Tax Fraud and Articles About Data Access http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/recent-incidents-tax-fraud-articles-data-access/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/recent-incidents-tax-fraud-articles-data-access/#respond Mon, 21 Apr 2014 07:00:30 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=352 Over the past several months, we have been made aware of a recent cyber crime scheme that involves compromised usernames and passwords to access employee data for tax fraud. We’ve notified customers several times via email newswire of threats this tax season and encouraged our customers to use our new multi-factor authentication in response. We’ve […]

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Over the past several months, we have been made aware of a recent cyber crime scheme that involves compromised usernames and passwords to access employee data for tax fraud. We’ve notified customers several times via email newswire of threats this tax season and encouraged our customers to use our new multi-factor authentication in response. We’ve learned that several of our customers have had their user login information compromised and then used to illegally access employee data, we believe through phishing or malware that the perpetrators install on end-user computers. We are working in cooperation with these customers and the appropriate authorities to assist in their investigations.

Several recent articles have been posted suggesting that our solution was compromised, however we have conducted thorough investigations and there is no indication that our application security was compromised or that there was any intrusion onto any of our internal networks or servers. The incidents appear to be on the end-user side through individual employee computers that are infected with malware. There is a difference between an end-user’s computer getting hacked by spyware (which allows the criminal to see any information that is typed into that PC – including any system usernames and passwords), and the vendor’s network or database being compromised (which could expose many customers’ sensitive data concurrently to one criminal.) We have no evidence that there has been any compromise of our network or servers – all of the theft appears to have occurred through stolen logins at an individual end-user’s level.

We have no reason to believe that this tax fraud scheme was aimed specifically at us or our customers. Unfortunately, numerous companies across the U.S., regardless of payroll provider, appear to have been victims. The increasing incidents of identity theft across the country are extremely regrettable – regardless of whether the data is stolen at the end-user or vendor level. As cyber criminals evolve, we all must work together to evolve our security practices. We recently introduced optional multi-factor authentication and we again urge our customer to take advantage of this additional security measure, as well as enforcing frequent password resets, and ensuring all employee computers are protected against malware/spyware.

We take cyber crime of any kind extremely seriously. Although there is no indication that our application or servers were compromised, we have taken steps to assist our customers in protecting themselves against unauthorized access. As soon as we became aware in February that one of our customers may have been the target of unauthorized access to their employee data, we took the following measures:

  1. Temporarily removed access to the private employee data that tax fraud perpetrators target such as W-2 files, so that we could add a secondary level of user verification (called two-factor authentication)
  2. Notified our customers of increasing incidents of identity theft this tax season, including employee data theft for the purposes of tax fraud
  3. Introduced multi-step user verification and strongly encouraged our customers to use this feature
  4. Recommended that our customers take precautions on their end, such as enforcing frequent password resets for their users, and keeping their employees’ computers up-to-date on anti-malware protection

If you have any questions, you can contact us at UltiProInfo@ultimatesoftware.com

 

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Live from #UltiConnect 2013: 4 Keys to Handling Difficult Employee Situations http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/live-from-ulticonnect-2013-4-keys-to-handling-difficult-employee-situations/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/live-from-ulticonnect-2013-4-keys-to-handling-difficult-employee-situations/#respond Fri, 15 Mar 2013 06:58:58 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=143 Every manager has one. The “just when I thought I’ve seen it all” story. The wackiest, craziest employee story you’ve ever heard. And, if you don’t have one. Trust me…at some point in your career, you’ll get one. Karen Rausch PHR, director of human resources with the Phoenix Suns, led one of the most interesting […]

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Every manager has one. The “just when I thought I’ve seen it all” story. The wackiest, craziest employee story you’ve ever heard. And, if you don’t have one. Trust me…at some point in your career, you’ll get one.

Karen Rausch PHR, director of human resources with the Phoenix Suns, led one of the most interesting conversations during this year’s Ultimate Software 2013 Connections conference. She created a safe environment for people to share their employee relations horror stories. While each us has experienced different challenges, we learned there are similar actions that get us there. For example, comments like:

“Oh, they’re just joking around. You’ll get used to it.”

“I kinda told a little white lie during the employee termination meeting. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.”

“We don’t have time to coach an employee’s performance. We need to fire them now.”

When situations occur that could be violations of policy, deficiencies in performance or threat to the company brand, we have to resolve the matter. Unfortunately, there’s no universal rule book to tell us how to solve these matters. Each situation is unique. It’s essential that we reach an answer that’s fair and consistent with company culture and previous employee decisions.

That means the manager and the employee need to have a conversation – often with the presence of human resources. Rausch shared her four key steps for success when meeting with employees.

1) Get both sides of the story. We’re all human and it can be easy to start thinking of solutions before hearing all of the nuances. Once both the manager and the employee have shared their versions of the story, then everyone can work on bringing the matter to resolution.

2) Focus on the problem not the person. I always tell managers that the worst thing they can do is tell an employee they have a bad attitude. It’s vague and will only cause tempers to flare. But if you can describe in very specific behaviors what a “bad attitude” looks like…then address those behaviors.

3) Stay calm, cool and collected. It’s okay to communicate that you’re disappointed. Maybe even that you’re frustrated. But yelling and screaming just won’t move the conversation forward. Employees will shut down. Everyone involved is an adult and the conversation should be conducted in an adult manner.

4) Maintain the respect of everyone. As a HR pro, I’ve been involved in many manager / employee conversations. Sometimes those conversations can feel like an “us versus them” situation. The employee needs to feel their voice is being heard. The manager needs to feel their authority isn’t being undermined.

Lastly, one great reminder for anyone working through a tough employee relations issue: Don’t feel the need to resolve everything in an instant. If personalities are starting to get a little edgy, tell everyone to sleep on it and resume conversation the next day. If you need to step away from the matter to do additional research, then do it. While people might not always like the outcome, everyone will respect decisions made in a thoughtful way. Especially when it comes to something as important as employees and working relationships.

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Future-Proofing Your Business: Expect the Unexpected! http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/future-proofing-your-business-expect-the-unexpected/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/future-proofing-your-business-expect-the-unexpected/#respond Tue, 03 Jul 2012 06:28:45 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=124 Expecting the unexpected is something many of us wish we could do. We would all love to be able to predict what changes are going to impact us next. Who in our organizations are going to be our future rockstars and who are those who will take a different path in their career journey? Are […]

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Expecting the unexpected is something many of us wish we could do. We would all love to be able to predict what changes are going to impact us next. Who in our organizations are going to be our future rockstars and who are those who will take a different path in their career journey? Are the hiring decisions we made going to pan out? If we had that ability to see what the future held for us all this focus on planning would be much less relevant. We could afford to be more lackadaisical in our approach. But the reality is the speed of change continues to increase at a lightning fast rate and we have to be prepared for what the future holds. Whatever that may be.

Now is the time for you to prepare for the future. Just simply having great people work for your organization is no longer sufficient. Our generations are changing and so are their expectations. This is our time to ensure we are planning for the impacts of this and many other changes. Our workforce is our future and with out a plan to continue to engage, develop, and grow our people, our companies will falter. Whether your challenge is getting great people, keeping them motivated or growing your future leaders, having a plan is the first step towards success. How future proofed are you?

Future Proofing Your Business Infographic

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Have you Future Proofed your Company? http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/have-you-future-proofed-your-company/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/have-you-future-proofed-your-company/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2012 13:58:37 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=108 According to Gartner Research, succession planning in the C-Suite is a significant concern. I’d argue it’s a concern at every level in an organization. When 61% of employed workers are open to or looking for a new job, companies need to allocate resources toward attracting and retaining their future talent. But the question is…what does […]

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According to Gartner Research, succession planning in the C-Suite is a significant concern. I’d argue it’s a concern at every level in an organization. When 61% of employed workers are open to or looking for a new job, companies need to allocate resources toward attracting and retaining their future talent.

But the question is…what does our future talent look like?

That was the focus of Cale Hammer’s session during Ultimate Software’s Connections 2012: Future Proofing Your Business. While we all realize succession planning is important for business success, nearly one-third of companies don’t have succession plans and over 50% of individuals in VP-Level positions have no successors.

It made me wonder if one of the reasons so few organizations have succession plans in place, is because the process is perceived as down-right painful. As HR pros, we know the keys to success with any program implementation are:

  1. Aligns with business needs
  2. Has top leadership support
  3. Receives regular attention
  4. Gets dedicated resources
  5. Is both manageable and effective

And in the case of succession planning, #6 – Provides a commitment to talent development. Cale shared a client quote during the session that really struck me about the significant need for companies to spend resources on their current talent.

“We lack investment in training and development and do not provide enough opportunities for employees to learn beyond their own roles.”

If organizations plan to remain competitive and grow or even just retain market share, they have to figure out how today’s employees fit tomorrow’s business needs. Cale provided an overview of Ultimate Software’s Succession Planning solution for companies that are trying to figure this out.

There were a couple of things that really stood out for me.

The flexible Talent Assessment Box. With the Ultimate Software Succession Planning solution, you can create a 4-box, 9-box or larger with custom axis to monitor employee status. Imagine one axis as current performance rating and the other as potential for promotability. Each employee is noted on the report. It’s a clean, easy way to monitor and present to leadership where individuals are in relation to your succession planning efforts.

A Succession Readiness Report. This report allows an organization to view the percentage of candidates by division or region and their readiness level in terms of months. So if senior leadership wants to know the number of people who will be ready in the next two years, it’s just a report away. And the report can provide details on who those individuals are.

Those are just highlights, the solution does so much more. If you haven’t already seen a demo of the succession planning module and how it can help future-proof your business, click here to sign up. Succession planning does not have to be long, drawn-out and painful. But it does need to be done for the success of the business.

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