Ultimate Software's Blog http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:58:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 10 Places to Find Ultimate this Quarter – Q2 2017 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/10-places-find-ultimate-q2-2017/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/10-places-find-ultimate-q2-2017/#respond Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:00:25 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1063 Earlier this year, we shared the first post in our new “10 Places to Find Ultimate This Quarter” series, designed to showcase the latest Ultimate Software mentions and news in the HR community. Check out the latest places to find Ultimate: At #SHRM17, HR expert and influencer Mike Haberman experienced UltiPro Perception™ for the first […]

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Earlier this year, we shared the first post in our new “10 Places to Find Ultimate This Quarter” series, designed to showcase the latest Ultimate Software mentions and news in the HR community. Check out the latest places to find Ultimate:

  1. places to find ultimateAt #SHRM17, HR expert and influencer Mike Haberman experienced UltiPro Perception™ for the first time. He shared his thoughts on the product and the importance of development and learning in his post, Future Friday: Lessons from the SHRM conference.
  2. Adam Rogers, chief technology officer at Ultimate, explained why trust matters at work and how technology can help. Read his post on Janine Truitt’s blog.
  3. Maren Hogan, CEO and founder of Red Branch Media, attended and spoke at our San Antonio Workshop. She discussed the event in her post, Ultimate Workshop Learns: Why Roadshows Resonate with HR.
  4. HR Influencer Sharlyn Lauby recently explored the impact of employee discount programs and taxes on recruiting and candidate experience. The article Recruit Better: Employee Discount Programs and Taxes features Ultimate’s Kellie Jones, senior director of products.
  5. In Giving a Voice to the Voiceless with Technology, Janine Truitt describes how survey tools incorporating AI and sentiment analysis can help organizations effectively listen to and act on employee feedback.
  6. Janine also included US in one of her Ask Czarina Live Periscope events where she highlighted the importance of managers and organizations listening to employees. Tune in for her insights and applicable use cases.
  7. HR consultant and expert, Sabrina Baker, shared a guest post from Adam Rogers on the Top 5 Ways HCM Software Supports Your Small Business.
  8. Jennifer Miller, leadership development consultant and influencer, featured Cecile Alper-Leroux, vice president of HCM innovation at Ultimate, in her recent InPower Coaching article, “Leadership Tips for the Modern Fluid Workforce.”
  9. Jennifer McClure, founder of Unbridled Talent, recently celebrated 100 DisruptHR locations. As she continues to encourage HR disruption worldwide, Ultimate is pleased to participate, share, and sponsor these great events including DisruptHR San Diego and DisruptHR Detroit.
  10. Employment lawyer Kate Bischoff, of Thrive HR Consulting, provided her expertise and best practices on how to create an employee handbook that people actually want to read in a recent post, Employee Handbooks: Your Ultimate Guide.

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 LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

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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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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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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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#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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Customer Onboarding: Why It Matters & How Companies Can Excel http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/customer-onboarding/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/customer-onboarding/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:00:43 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1023 Customer onboarding. It’s an integral part of customer support that’s, unfortunately, often overlooked. Once the sale is finalized and customers are “in”—particularly with recurring-revenue platforms like SaaS (software as a service)—there’s a tendency to let automated services take over and focus reactively instead of proactively. But, in my experience, that’s a mistake. The early stage […]

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Customer onboarding.

It’s an integral part of customer support that’s, unfortunately, often overlooked. Once the sale is finalized and customers are “in”—particularly with recurring-revenue platforms like SaaS (software as a service)—there’s a tendency to let automated services take over and focus reactively instead of proactively.

But, in my experience, that’s a mistake. The early stage of a customer’s journey is extremely important—building rapport, setting expectations, and (hopefully) paving the way for future satisfaction. This is when customers form lasting impressions and decide whether the product or service they purchased will actually prove valuable. Attracting customers is not enough; to be successful, businesses need to retain them, and that process starts with onboarding.

customer onboardingOnboarding is not necessarily teaching the customer how to use a product, but rather, how to solve problems and alleviate concerns by using the product. It’s important businesses thoroughly consider their customers: their specific goals, what they need to achieve them, and how the companies’ resources can help them get there.

It’s important to note that customer onboarding is an ongoing, iterative process. Companies that design the process around these predetermined goals while focusing on the following areas stand to see long-term customer satisfaction and retention.

Inauguration
It’s best to address each customers’ unique business needs, establish measurements for success, and develop training plans from the very beginning. At Ultimate Software, we use proven methodology to ensure our customers are up and running quickly. Individualized, expert guidance starts with end-user training and extends to self-service resources, configuration tips, and best practices for using our software, UltiPro®.

Customer Support
Customer service is often a key differentiator for companies. In HR tech, for example, a recent study revealed an astonishing 77% of HR buyers regretted their vendor choice—and the primary reason wasn’t product functionality, usability, or price. It was service. Moreover, 71% of respondents wished they had done more research on vendors’ customer service, and three out of four reported having issues with their current vendors’ service. Customers are often drawn to product functionality, but if they’re unhappy with service, they’ll most likely be dissatisfied overall. Businesses should always look for opportunities to improve their service offerings. At Ultimate, when we considered the limitations of traditional tiered support, for example, we adopted a collaborative support model that decreased customer resolution time by 60%.

Continual Collaboration
Remember, effective onboarding is ongoing and should continue throughout the customer lifecycle—reinforcing the understanding of existing solutions, introducing new ones, building confidence, and bolstering value. Ongoing collaboration is also important, and this is a two-way street. Companies primarily exist to serve customers, who are an invaluable resource for identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement. At Ultimate, our customers are directly involved in our user experience and design testing, and more than 1,500 customer ideas have been incorporated into UltiPro to date.

The most successful customer onboarding campaigns rapidly deliver value, empower users, and evolve alongside the product. They build relationships, inspire creativity, and forge an emotional connection between a company’s customers and its products—and that’s worth investing in.

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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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Four Employee Training Trends to Keep on Your Radar http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-training-trends-2017/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-training-trends-2017/#respond Wed, 31 May 2017 10:00:13 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1011 Technological innovation is occurring at breakneck speeds, and our world—and successful businesses—are transforming just as fast. Technical skills, such as computer literacy and basic coding, are often prerequisites even for service and administrative positions—and for good reason. Companies unable to keep pace with the digital revolution risk becoming obsolete, and employees must continue honing their […]

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Technological innovation is occurring at breakneck speeds, and our world—and successful businesses—are transforming just as fast. Technical skills, such as computer literacy and basic coding, are often prerequisites even for service and administrative positions—and for good reason. Companies unable to keep pace with the digital revolution risk becoming obsolete, and employees must continue honing their talents to remain competitive in their careers.

These realities have led to higher values being placed on professional development. In fact, seven out of 10 people surveyed said that employee training and learning opportunities had influenced their decision to either stay with or leave a company. Considering the growing costs attributed to lack of engagement and attrition, companies can certainly benefit from giving employees every reason to stay.

Employers are recognizing the importance of employee development as an investment both in their people and the organization. But it’s important to differentiate between training for training’s sake and providing thoughtful, essential learning and tools for development. Too often, organizations invest in sub-par solutions that prove neither productive nor interesting for employees. In fact, it’s estimated that ineffective training costs $13.5M per year, per 1,000 employees. Organizations can save a significant amount of time and money with a learning solution that incorporates modern employee training trends, resulting in a better supported, more satisfied workforce.

With a changing workforce comes evolving expectations about career development. Here are four employee training trends to keep on your radar:

    • employee training trendsEnsuring quality over quantity. Far too often, employee training courses are encumbered with unimportant information. In addition to simply frustrating your employees, this makes it less likely they’ll retain critical info. Establish the most important goals for each course, and limit any information that doesn’t directly support that goal. Configure your solution to meet your unique business needs and deploy a personalized training academy tailored to meet them.
    • Focusing on engagement. Developing interesting and engaging content is the best way to keep your employees’ attention and ensure content is fully retained. Some learning platforms even offer social and collaborative tools, including badges and gamification. Employees can follow their own progress and that of their teams through online leaderboards, communities, and newsfeeds.
    • Providing convenience and flexibility. Back in 2015, Microsoft made headlines with the proclamation that the average human’s attention span had become shorter than that of a goldfish. Today’s workers crave consumable, bite-sized, on-demand content, easily accessible through a variety of devices. Mobile app capabilities are ideal, providing immediate access to content whether an employee is on the road, in the field, or in their pajamas.
    • Tracking accountability and results. Strategic learning platforms seamlessly track and report employee progress through powerful reporting dashboards. Customizable quizzes can even be deployed at various stages with the click of a button. In addition to tracking engagement and progress, consider incorporating advanced organizational surveys to collect real-time data revealing how your employees feel about their professional development opportunities. With these results, and a better understanding of your people, you can take meaningful action to implement the most effective programs to help boost engagement and retention.

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