Uncategorized – 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 Firing an Employee: What to Do When it Has to be Done http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/firing-an-employee/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/firing-an-employee/#respond Tue, 18 Jul 2017 10:00:57 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1058 No one really enjoys firing an employee. It’s a tough decision for any employer—who has invested time, money, and a great deal of energy—to let a person go and move on. But even if it’s not easy, it’s sometimes necessary. I offer, then, a few pieces of advice to consider when firing an employee. Employee […]

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No one really enjoys firing an employee. It’s a tough decision for any employer—who has invested time, money, and a great deal of energy—to let a person go and move on. But even if it’s not easy, it’s sometimes necessary.

I offer, then, a few pieces of advice to consider when firing an employee.

Employee Resentmentfiring an employee

Have you ever been the employee working diligently on a project, only to grow frustrated because your colleague isn’t pulling their weight? Ever see another employee engage in activities that hinder workplace productivity? We likely all have. In each of those situations, firing an employee might be the best option to ensure engagement and morale among your other employees remains positive.

Allowing misbehavers and poor performers to stay ignores accountability and everyone else. Other employees deserve everyone to be held to an equal, fair standard. Ignoring a problem because you’re afraid to let someone go is a mistake. It’s important to address a situation as soon as possible, whether through dismissal, a lateral move, or another effective action that resolves the issue.

The Opportunity to Resign

Sometimes, employers like to give employees the opportunity to resign, so the employee can say they resigned rather than being terminated. While this is empathetic of the employer, I see two flaws in doing this. For one, it’s not the truth. Employees (and employers, for that matter) should be held accountable for their actions.

Second, letting an individual resign might actually work against the now-former employee. If an employee resigns, they may be ineligible to collect unemployment or training support from unemployment agencies. I’m a big proponent of giving people the opportunity to receive unemployment when they can.

Mid-Week Terminations

Is there an “ideal” day to fire someone? I believe it’s Wednesday.

When you fire an employee on a Friday, the remaining team goes home for the weekend concerned about their jobs. They might be concerned about how they fit in at the company, or their own job security. You may have terminated a popular employee, who they will miss. The adjustment is unsettling. Dismiss someone on Monday, and those worries could impact morale for entire week (or longer).

If you act on a Wednesday, however, there are two more days for the team to ask you questions and get reassurance. By the following Monday, things have most likely settled down, and the dismissal has probably become a distant memory for many.

Dismissing an employee isn’t fun. But, on occasion, you have to do it. So, consider this advice when you have to take action. Because ignoring the situation will likely lead to bigger problems—and that’s not good for anyone.

Kate Bischoff is an energetic and enthusiastic human resources professional, employment/labor law attorney, and technology aficionado. She loves HR and wants to make companies better – not just compliant. To read more from Kate, find her HR-related posts here: http://www.ultimatesoftware.com/blog/author/katebischoff/

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We’re All Biased, But We Can Get Better http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/implicit-biases/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/implicit-biases/#respond Thu, 06 Jul 2017 12:09:52 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1043 Like many people, I do all I can every day to value people for their character and contributions, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion, age, gender, national origin, cultural heritage, sexual orientation, disability, and size or shape. But, probably like many of you, I still have work to do to truly know and be aware of […]

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Like many people, I do all I can every day to value people for their character and contributions, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion, age, gender, national origin, cultural heritage, sexual orientation, disability, and size or shape.

implicit biasesBut, probably like many of you, I still have work to do to truly know and be aware of my implicit biases—the stereotypes that affect my assumptions and actions in an unconscious way. As a longstanding champion of diversity and inclusion, I realize we are probably better at the diversity part than inclusion, which is much harder—after all, eradicating implicit biases to make all employees feel they belong and are valued equally is incredibly tricky and important.

With diversity, companies can tally up their triumphs, citing the percentages of different types of people they employ. Inclusion, on the other hand, is less tangible, but even more important in creating a great workplace culture. If people sense that others are judging them because they are “different,” this adversely affects their freedom of expression, ability to collaborate, and overall work engagement and productivity. In short, people begin to second-guess themselves.

Implicit bias is not full-out racism, sexism, or any of the other bad –isms. We all are susceptible to rash judgments that have no basis in truth. They’re hardwired into our DNA. We do our best to ignore them, but they’re frustratingly resilient, coloring our decisions in ways we may not even realize.

This point came home to me in a recent discussion with a colleague, Jarik Conrad. Jarik is a deep thinker and eloquent speaker, who is African-American. He’s got firsthand experience being on the other end of implicit bias and far worse prejudices. He also has the wisdom and a great sense of humor to recognize his own implicit biases. Growing up in East St. Louis in a largely African-American community, Jarik was a basketball standout. “If two kids came up to us on the court wanting to join us in a game and one was black and the other white, we’d always choose the black kid since white boys can’t jump,” he told me laughing. “Then, I played basketball in college and realized white boys really can jump.”

Jarik tells this story on the speaking circuit and it always gets its share of laughs. Then he explains what it has been like to be a talented, articulate, smart person in a black body. “It’s the first thing anybody ever recognizes about me,” he said. “The same thing happens to other people, based on their gender, sexual orientation, religion, and so on. Our intelligence, skill sets, humor, work ethic, and other productive personal aspects take a back seat.”

Deborah Dagit knows the feeling. A former chief diversity officer, Deb is a little person. In 2013, she opened her own diversity-consulting business because she was “plain fed up,” she said, with people not seeing her as she truly is. “When I interacted with an employee who’d never met a little person before, they couldn’t get through the shock and awe of the experience,” she said. “It just made the day exhausting to have to educate others about what it is like to be a little person.”

Why are we all so bewildered by others’ differences? Jarik has studied the phenomenon. “The brain has a default mechanism that recognizes someone different as a potential predator or adversary, which sets in motion our `flight or fight’ response,” he explained. “When our brains are not aware of others’ differences, we experience an implicit expectation that they are just like us.”

This makes great sense, but it does not let us off the hook when it comes to doing what is necessary to train our brains accordingly. “The only way to teach our brains not to experience implicit biases is to spend significant time with others who are different from ourselves,” Jarik said.

Deb agreed. “Spending time in conversation and engaged in projects and tasks with groups of people who are different helps many people become more comfortable with each other’s differences,” she said. “But you need a regular diet of such diversity-immersion experiences. It’s not a `one and done’ thing to authentically appreciate and cherish each other’s differences.”

These are excellent strategies. Another is to continually gauge how your diverse workforce actually feels about their work experiences, with special attention paid to their supervision by managers and team leaders. We turned this idea into an opportunity to help organizations via Ultimate Software’s UltiPro Perception™ solution, leveraging advanced natural language processing and machine learning technology to really listen to and understand employees.

Most organizations rely on the annual (and massive) employee engagement survey to take the pulse of employees, but by the time the findings are produced, the results are dated. At Ultimate, we’ve developed a timelier and smarter way to understand people’s emotions—soliciting employees’ open-ended feedback on their work interactions via regular and easy-to-complete feedback. Powered by Xander™, our underlying “People First” artificial technology platform, UltiPro can tease out specific cultural themes, as well as deterrents and recommendations, for immediate action. Even good managers can lack communications skills. The problem is they don’t always know it.

As Deb and Jarik would agree, self-knowledge is crucial to creating a work environment that is authentically inclusive. Now that I better understand my own implicit biases and their origins, I plan to spend more time with people who appear different, training my brain to appreciate others’ extraordinariness as extraordinary, because at the end of the day, that’s what has always driven me… people, amazing people.

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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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