UltiPro – Ultimate Software's Blog http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:00:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Letting the User Experience Drive the Decision Making Process http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/letting-the-user-experience-drive-the-decision-making-process/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/letting-the-user-experience-drive-the-decision-making-process/#respond Tue, 03 Jun 2014 13:26:29 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=166 As a business, we focus on the customer. Even if you’re in government or the non-profit world, you have someone that fills the role of “customer”. We want those individuals to be happy with our product or service. We want them to have a good experience when they interact with or organization. The same philosophy […]

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As a business, we focus on the customer. Even if you’re in government or the non-profit world, you have someone that fills the role of “customer”. We want those individuals to be happy with our product or service. We want them to have a good experience when they interact with or organization.

The same philosophy holds true when we talk about software. The customer is a user and we want them to have a good user experience. Often the user experience is mistaken for how visually appealing an application looks. But the user experience is about much more than aesthetics. A great user experience enables people to perform a task efficiently and successfully, while at the same time being enjoyable.

Letting the User Experience Drive the Decision Making Process

Creating a positive user experience isn’t easy. Especially when you have a unique corporate culture. However, one company that’s allowed the user experience to drive the decision making process with excellent results is LivingSocial.

For those of you who don’t get their daily deals, LivingSocial is a marketplace to buy the “best things to do” in cities around the world. Based in Washington, D.C., LivingSocial currently operates in 11 countries worldwide and has 40 million users around the world.

As a company, LivingSocial is very aware of the importance of the user experience. Their members’ user experience drives sales. So when it comes to a human capital solution, the employees drove the process. LivingSocial included employees in the selection process for their HCM solution. Colleen Wood, vice president of human resources at LivingSocial, said they asked for employee feedback in a couple of key areas:

How would employees use the system? You can implement the fanciest solution in the whole world but, if no one uses it, it’s not really a success. An employee’s first interaction with LivingSocial is through UltiPro. Once an employee is onboarded, here are some of the things they can do:

  • Receive company information and news
  • Collaborate with managers on their career development plans and performance
  • Access paychecks and direct deposit notices
  • Request time off

What devices would employees use to access the system? When a majority of users will access the system using their mobile devices, then the system needs to be responsive. UltiPro Mobile is compatible with any HTML5-friendly smartphone or tablet browser so there’s no need to download anything. Employees are able to get company, human resources and payroll information instantly.

Now, just because LivingSocial allowed the user experience to drive their decision making, it doesn’t mean the business didn’t get the results they wanted. According to Wood, they’ve seen big results in two areas:

  • Onboarding – At LivingSocial, the employee’s first day is their most important day with the company. It needs to be perfect. UltiPro helps new employees feel connected, engaged, and productive from day one. New hires at LivingSocial are able to quickly complete and sign any required documents electronically. They can also connect with other team members through social media networks, choose a mentor, and select training opportunities.
  • Data and Reporting – The LivingSocial HR team was able to use the reporting feature to provide accurate, real-time metrics to the senior management team needed for strategic planning, compliance reporting and daily employee management. No more manual headcounts, report reconciliations, or data entry delays.

At Ultimate Software’s Connections conference, LivingSocial was recognized for their hard work in aligning their employee-centric culture with technology innovation. In announcing the award, Chief Technology Officer Adam Rogers said they demonstrated excellence in multiple categories. “With core values that include live hungry, makes strong moves, and champion good ideas, LivingSocial was a clear winner for our 2014 Innovation Award.”

Check out this video from the LivingSocial HR team about what the UltiPro solution has done for their company:

I love this video. Don’t you want to have a unicorn in your office?!

 

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Connections 2014 Summary – The New Generation of Work http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/connections-2014-summary-the-new-generation-of-work/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/connections-2014-summary-the-new-generation-of-work/#respond Thu, 01 May 2014 05:28:36 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=165 This year’s Connections conference hosted by Ultimate Software was a monumental success for everyone in attendance! The annual event in Las Vegas for UltiPro customers, technology experts, and industry analysts offers unparalleled opportunities for interacting and networking with some of the most innovative, forward-thinking people in human capital management (HCM). Customers had the chance to […]

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This year’s Connections conference hosted by Ultimate Software was a monumental success for everyone in attendance! The annual event in Las Vegas for UltiPro customers, technology experts, and industry analysts offers unparalleled opportunities for interacting and networking with some of the most innovative, forward-thinking people in human capital management (HCM). Customers had the chance to expand their knowledge of Ultimate’s solutions, experience hands-on training with experts, collaborate with peers, and get a closer look at the UltiPro product roadmap and upcoming features.

Connections 2014, themed “The New Generation of Work,” ran from April 6 to April 11 at the Bellagio hotel and drew nearly 1,600 attendees from across the U.S. and Canada. Ultimate Software experts and partners offered over 100 sessions that empowered users with a greater understanding of current technologies, industry best practices, and trends that can increase operational effectiveness in the workplace. In addition to the many breakouts and hands-on learning sessions, customers explored the Ultimate Experience, an enormous open-floor exhibition with product demos, interactive displays, and partner booths, and plenty of Ultimate staff were on hand for questions.

While learning more about Ultimate Software’s solutions and features, attendees enjoyed appearances by renowned speakers on a variety of topics. Jason Dorsey, a.k.a. The Gen Y Guy®,” was on hand to share his insights on the generation gap and how to best manage the five generations that will comprise the workforce of the near future. Best-selling author Patrick Lencioni offered his best practices for organizational health and employee engagement, then world record-setting Paralympics athlete Aimee Mullins shared her inspirational story of success in the face of overwhelming adversity. In the evenings, attendees got the chance to kick back and experience a New York City-themed customer appreciation party as well as a performance by American Idol winner Phillip Phillips.

Every year, Connections is exciting for us as a unique and powerful forum for Ultimate staff and attendees to come together to exchange knowledge and feedback. We’re always grateful for the chance to share our roadmap for the upcoming year and the innovative technologies and features that can simplify our customers’ work lives. Thank you to all Connections 2014 attendees for making this conference successful. We hope that every participant had an enjoyable, positive, and rewarding experience. Please save the date for next year’s customer conference, March 24-27, 2015.

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The New Generation of Work – Connections 2014 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/the-new-generation-of-work-connections-2014/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/the-new-generation-of-work-connections-2014/#respond Mon, 31 Mar 2014 10:30:41 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=161 At Ultimate, we understand that getting the most from your people is a full-time endeavor. After all, every component of our technology team is focused on putting people first in delivering our innovative HR solutions, from maintaining high availability and improving the end-user experience to all of the exciting advancements on our product roadmap. To […]

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At Ultimate, we understand that getting the most from your people is a full-time endeavor. After all, every component of our technology team is focused on putting people first in delivering our innovative HR solutions, from maintaining high availability and improving the end-user experience to all of the exciting advancements on our product roadmap.

To provide the level of service and functionality our customers deserve, we channel this focus every day of the year. But next week is special. The Connections conference is an exceptional opportunity for our team to network with the people that rely on UltiPro daily in their professional lives, connect with partners, and unveil our continuing vision for the future of human capital management.

This year, we’ll be hosting 1,500 attendees in Las Vegas for what will undoubtedly be our best conference ever. We’re offering two completely new special-interest session tracks compared to last year, for a total of 11. We’ve also expanded our popular hands-on learning sessions to encompass three days of the conference to help even more of our customers get the most from UltiPro. Additionally, you’ll notice more Ultimate team members and partners among the Connections staff available to share their knowledge and help make this year’s event an unprecedented success.
The New Generation of WorkConnections 2014 will include the chance to see some of the most exciting keynote speakers we could have hoped for. Jason Dorsey, a.k.a. The Gen Y Guy® will be bringing his generational expertise to the conference stage. He’ll share his insights in managing across the four distinct generations that comprise the workforce of the present and future, with a focus on the secrets of both managing and selling millennials. Jason is hilarious—I’d be shocked if anyone in the ballroom is able to resist laughing out loud by the end of his presentation. Patrick Lencioni is a bestselling author with more than 3 million copies sold of his work on the topics of organizational health and workforce dysfunction. His perspectives on employee engagement and passion for teamwork reflect what Ultimate is all about. Finally, we’ll be lucky enough to hear from Aimee Mullins, a truly inspirational individual who set world records in 100- and 200-meter dash events as well as the long jump despite being outfitted with prosthetic legs her entire life. She’s also the youngest person ever to hold a top-secret clearance at the Pentagon and serves on numerous boards and nonprofits, including the Women’s Sports Foundation.

As always, I’m especially eager to share what my team has in store for the coming year. We’ll be showing off some very cool new UltiPro features and functionality, and I can’t wait to hear what our customers think. Even if you can’t join us this year, be sure to follow all the action on Twitter at #UltiConnect. See you in Vegas!

 

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People-Centric Recruitment and the Millennial Job Seeker – Ultimate Software Teams Up with LinkedIn http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/people-centric-recruitment-and-the-millennial-job-seeker-ultimate-software-teams-up-with-linkedin/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/people-centric-recruitment-and-the-millennial-job-seeker-ultimate-software-teams-up-with-linkedin/#respond Fri, 14 Mar 2014 15:33:52 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=159 Job seekers of the millennial generation are radically different than baby boomer candidates. For one thing, millennials are adept at using all forms of technology when searching for a new job, including social media. They’re also very comfortable applying for job opportunities utilizing smartphones and tablets and will often follow up using creative ways to […]

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Job seekers of the millennial generation are radically different than baby boomer candidates. For one thing, millennials are adept at using all forms of technology when searching for a new job, including social media. They’re also very comfortable applying for job opportunities utilizing smartphones and tablets and will often follow up using creative ways to present and differentiate themselves online.

Considering that members of the millennial generation, also known as gen Y, are actually more likely to communicate via social media than other communication methods, LinkedIn has become a particularly relevant in recruiting millennials. In an effort to leverage this pervasive professional networking resource in North America, Ultimate Software has teamed up with LinkedIn to simplify the application process for both candidates and our customers.
People-Centric Recruitment and the Millennial Job SeekerUltimate is now offering customers seamless integration between LinkedIn and its new UltiPro Recruiting solution. This integration empowers candidates to easily and securely apply for opportunities to companies within a matter of seconds using their LinkedIn profile to submit their professional details, endorsements, and job history from LinkedIn to UltiPro in just one click. This saves the candidate from having to slog through a clunky copy-paste scenario and continuously update their resume or CV, and even can eliminate the need to navigate through multiple systems.

In the coming months, Ultimate plans to go beyond the convenience of leveraging LinkedIn profiles with additional integration between the two platforms. This includes plans to allow employers to easily post open opportunities directly from UltiPro to LinkedIn with a simple click. Stay tuned!

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The Mobile Simplicity Imperative: Form Meets Function? http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/the-mobile-simplicity-imperative-form-meets-function/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/the-mobile-simplicity-imperative-form-meets-function/#respond Mon, 15 Apr 2013 16:08:15 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=154 Native, HTML5, design-driven … at the end of the day these technical terms and concepts, while important, don’t capture the way that mobile solutions and devices have transformed us. Tablets and smartphones have brought business solutions into the boardroom, are gearing up to replace textbooks in schools, and even play a huge role in disaster […]

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Native, HTML5, design-driven … at the end of the day these technical terms and concepts, while important, don’t capture the way that mobile solutions and devices have transformed us. Tablets and smartphones have brought business solutions into the boardroom, are gearing up to replace textbooks in schools, and even play a huge role in disaster relief around the world. Simply put, mobile solutions have changed the nature of our daily activities, connected us to each other, and embedded technology in our lives.

But only when it works.

Like anything in life, when something fails or confuses us, we don’t use it. And in the case of mobile, these obstacles take the shape of poorly designed, cluttered experiences that don’t address what we need.

Increasingly, the attributes that make mobile devices different from other tools have come to feel natural to us. It no longer seems odd to command a device to ‘call mom’ by speaking to it or follow through on a task by touching a screen. As such, mobile applications and programs should match this ease by providing simple and intuitive capabilities; only then will they truly meet – and exceed – our needs and expectations.

Because mobile devices are smaller than computers, they must offer a more focused experience, guiding us quickly to the most important actions and insights. This is especially challenging in the world of business solutions where applications are built to streamline and complete a process instead of the people who interact or rely on it. Simple and instinctive designs put people first and focus on delighting, not frustrating them.

People have different connectivity and navigation expectations for their mobile devices. We rely on them on the go and often use cell signals instead of wireless Internet for connections, which can result in delayed downloads and poor experiences. We all want to move beyond traditional methods of searching and viewing to taking action on search results. These transitions must be simple and intuitive in order to be truly person-centric. And the designers behind these solutions need to account for this when building mobile experiences.

The reality of mobile is that the explosion of available apps has been matched by an equal randomization of quality experiences. Mobile experiences, both for consumer and business use, will continue to evolve, whether as standalone applications or extensions of existing business solutions like UltiPro. From our perspective, we are committed to not only expanding our mobile capabilities, but doing so in a way that never loses its focus on people and exceeding their standards for working, staying connected, managing their workplace narrative, and collaborating.

 

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Social Recognition – Motivation for 21st Century http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/social-recognition-motivation-for-21st-century/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/social-recognition-motivation-for-21st-century/#respond Mon, 08 Oct 2012 12:46:29 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=134 How do you like to be recognized? How do you recognize others? In my previous company if someone went above and beyond, I sent a note to their manager and CC:ed them via email. And that was it. When someone sent me a “job well done” compliment to my inbox I saved it in my […]

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How do you like to be recognized? How do you recognize others? In my previous company if someone went above and beyond, I sent a note to their manager and CC:ed them via email. And that was it. When someone sent me a “job well done” compliment to my inbox I saved it in my “GOOD FOR YOU” folder (not kidding – it was really called this). If I was feeling disengaged, I would pull up that folder and bask in the glory of the work I had been recognized for the quarter before. If it was something really great, I might have been given a monetary reward or similar. Maybe this sounds familiar…

Fast-forward a few years and social networking is now mixed in with our workplace communication tools, providing us with yet another channel for communicating recognition. So how do you do this? How do you recognize your employees with social tools? And how do they want to be recognized? For some people a great and powerful motivator is public recognition. Now I use Yammer, our enterprise social networking tool, to let everyone know about the great job that one of my coworkers has done. Within Yammer, I can easily “Praise” any member of my Yammer network. I can also receive Praises from others as well. You can post the Praise to the whole network or to a specific group. And similarly in email, you can also copy their manager. The difference with Yammer, or social tools in general, is that the community has the opportunity to speak up and chime in as well as learn from what others are doing well.

Here’s why we’re so excited about our partnership with Ultimate. The Yammer and UltiPro integration takes the power of peer recognition a step further and feeds these praises right to your talent profile, providing for an ongoing, collaborative review process. I don’t know about you, but I’m instantly motivated and engaged when I know that my contributions to my team and organization are recognized. To learn more check out – Ultimate Software and Yammer Bring Together Collaboration and Workforce Performance Management.

So, the next time you go to give someone some recognition think about how to socialize it with the rest of your organization.  What are you doing today to make your reward and recognition programs 21st century? How are you keeping your employees engaged through these programs?  Please share!

 

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Ideation http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ideation/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ideation/#respond Mon, 23 Jul 2012 13:10:27 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=126 Do you remember Schoolhouse Rock? One of my favorites was the story of the U.S. bill on an arduous journey to become a law. Maybe it was the combination of music and animation or that my future political science ambitions were already present that made this specific Schoolhouse Rock episode stay in my memory. As […]

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Do you remember Schoolhouse Rock? One of my favorites was the story of the U.S. bill on an arduous journey to become a law. Maybe it was the combination of music and animation or that my future political science ambitions were already present that made this specific Schoolhouse Rock episode stay in my memory. As we create products at Ultimate, how does this process work? How does product get from an idea all the way into a release? Is it as complicated as the bill “sitting on Capitol Hill,” then to committee, and then a long wait or veto at the President’s desk?

 

Fortunately, we don’t need a song to help explain the ideation process at Ultimate. The reason is that the process  is very simple and involves actively listening to our community of customers. It is no surprise that we have a fantastic group of partners. One of the highlights of the year is getting the chance to interact and hear from our customers at Connections, our annual customer conference. Do we have to wait 12 months until the next meeting in Las Vegas to listen? Absolutely not!

One of the ways that we listen is through our Ideas Community. One of the benefits of delivering in the cloud, is also joining a larger community. This is evidenced in our Ideas Community where customers are able to share ideas with each other, comment on those ideas, and voice their preference by voting an idea up or down. Here’s the great thing: Ultimate’s product team knows right away what things our collective partners want to see in our solution. In a sense we are crowdsourcing by tapping into the collective wisdom of our “crowd” of customers.

And our product managers are listening and pulling in ideas. In fact our community is so active that we’re working very hard to keep up with the ideas that they are creating. In many meetings with our product managers and development teams, I hear comments, “this is our customer’s #1 idea in this area.” I know that is music to the ears of our customers, who are looking forward to their suggestions coming to life in the product. Their ideas will not have to follow the same path of that bill waiting on a committee and then a President to sign.

 

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United Stationers: An Open Enrollment Success Story http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/united-stationers-an-open-enrollment-success-story/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/united-stationers-an-open-enrollment-success-story/#respond Mon, 04 Jun 2012 13:44:26 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=190 Back in March I wrote on the importance of choosing the right benefits and how providing decision support to employees is critical. In my role at Ultimate, I speak with many Ultimate Software open enrollment customers to better understand how they are leveraging UltiPro’s benefits enrollment solution to streamline benefits administration and help employees make […]

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Back in March I wrote on the importance of choosing the right benefits and how providing decision support to employees is critical. In my role at Ultimate, I speak with many Ultimate Software open enrollment customers to better understand how they are leveraging UltiPro’s benefits enrollment solution to streamline benefits administration and help employees make informed benefits decisions. Many customers do a great job of leveraging their open enrollment solution—and I wanted to share one example of a true benefits enrollment process best practice from our customer, United Stationers. United Stationers is a leading North American wholesale distributor of business products that has found tremendous success with UltiPro for open enrollment. They’ve not only achieved quick adoption of the solution, but through effectively communicating and educating on available benefits, they’re helping those employees make smart and informed benefits decisions.

How did they do this? Let’s take a step back.

With almost 6,000 employees, 64 distribution facilities, 24-hour operations, and a workforce with limited computer knowledge/access (only a small percentage have company emails), United Stationers was faced with many challenges. These challenges included:

  • How to efficiently administer employee benefits to such a large, dispersed and diverse workforce?
  • How to ensure that they’re effectively communicating and educating employees on all the benefits being offered?
  • How to provide employees with the tools they need to make informed benefits decisions?

After years of using a phone-based open enrollment process, United Stationers took the plunge and conducted their first online open enrollment in 2011. Remarkably, within the first year they were able to achieve a 94% employee completion rate. These amazing results were achieved by:

  • Planning early – United Stationers started planning their implementation, communications and training materials 3-6 months in advance
  • Communicating over various channels – mailings were sent to associates homes, a Sharepoint site was set up as well as an UltiPro Welcome Page Gadget
  • Providing tools that easily explain benefit plans and changes – United Stationers offered kiosks for their associates to leverage the online solution and prepared easy-to-use & accessible training materials – all with consistent messaging
  • Being available to employees for questions and support – because questions were inevitable they held open forum Q&A sessions, built step-by-step guides, trained HR Services, and created a special email box for annual enrollment questions.
  • Leveraging the capabilities of their online open enrollment solution to the fullest – through UltiPro’s robust messaging capabilities, they were able to include session information, benefit plan information, education and comparison tools – basically everything their people needed to make informed benefits decisions.

There are many organizations like United Stationers. Organizations with progressive thoughts around how to administer, communicate and roll out important employee benefits information but with a disbursed, offline workforce. If you want to streamline benefits administration and enable employees to make informed benefits decision, do what United Stationers did. Start planning early, engage your people through various channels. and take full advantage of your solutions capabilities.

Because if you truly want to put your people first it is imperative that you prove it through a great benefits experience.

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Musings of a Product Manager: There is No Bug Juice at this Camp http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/musings-of-a-product-manager-there-is-no-bug-juice-at-this-camp/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/musings-of-a-product-manager-there-is-no-bug-juice-at-this-camp/#respond Tue, 22 May 2012 13:03:03 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=120 But who needs bug juice when there are Sublime Doughnuts at Product Camp? For those that are unfamiliar, Product Camp is a type of BarCamp, which is an international network of user-generated conferences. The conferences are open, participatory-style workshops where participants provide content. So in this case, it’s a product management conference, organized by and […]

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But who needs bug juice when there are Sublime Doughnuts at Product Camp? For those that are unfamiliar, Product Camp is a type of BarCamp, which is an international network of user-generated conferences. The conferences are open, participatory-style workshops where participants provide content. So in this case, it’s a product management conference, organized by and for product mangers.

I’ve had the privilege of attending the Atlanta events, which have upwards of 300 participants that willingly give up their Saturday to teach and learn from one another. And this year I’m stoked to be on the planning committee. Some past event sessions have included: Collaborative Product Planning, 7 keys to being a Great Agile Product Manager, It’s PowerPoint Karaoke! and The Blended Art of Leadership, Narratives and Aligning Purpose. We get to vote on the sessions we’d most like to attend, the schedule is drawn up on the spot, and attendees get to pick from a variety of sessions just like any other conference. Except it’s free (thank you sponsors!).

It’s awesome to learn and network with everyone there. Imagine a level of engagement and passion in a community of professionals that are willing to spend time outside of their jobs to organize an event, create session content, and give up a beautiful weekend in Atlanta to learn from each other. Some product management professionals will even travel to other parts of the country to learn from those outside of their immediate community. Next on my list is the Seattle product camp. (Do you hear that noise? It’s my propeller spinning on my cap).

I’m able to take back this information and use it readily in my job at Ultimate. I strongly believe it makes me a better team member. I always come back re-energized and the connections I make are invaluable. It’s great to talk to people outside your organization and discuss (ok, sometimes commiserate) shared problems and opportunities. It not only allows me to improve but also to understand what challenges my peers are facing in the event I’m faced with them someday.

Applying what I learn to work is easy. For example, after walking out of the session on The Blended Art of Leadership, I met with the lead of my development team. We worked together on how to align our product vision so that I could communicate in a meaningful way to the rest of the development team (Think numbers!). The team is much more engaged when they understand the value of what we’re all working on.

This is a lesson for product management and the importance of continually learning and applying best practices, but it’s not just for product managers. We’re also in the business of people. If you’re looking to get the most from your people, I challenge you as an employer to help them develop this level of engagement in their professional careers. I challenge you as an employee to take accountability for your own growth and connect with members of your professional community and continue to learn new ways of doing things. You’ll love what you do and your business will benefit from it, like I believe Ultimate benefits from empowering our people.

Now back to my day job! And maybe a doughnut.

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Implementing Social Collaboration Tools in Your Organization http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/implementing-social-collaboration-tools-in-your-organization/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/implementing-social-collaboration-tools-in-your-organization/#respond Mon, 14 May 2012 10:00:13 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=118 A key component to developing a high-performing workplace is sharing. Being able to share information in an effortless way builds strong teams and enhances the team performance. Social media creates opportunities for people to use a medium that is very natural and comfortable to communicate. But over the relatively short period in time corporations have […]

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A key component to developing a high-performing workplace is sharing. Being able to share information in an effortless way builds strong teams and enhances the team performance. Social media creates opportunities for people to use a medium that is very natural and comfortable to communicate.

But over the relatively short period in time corporations have been using social media, something has happened. We’ve created silos. There are networks for social goals and social projects. Even more for social tracking. The key to breaking down these silos is integration.

Ultimate Software and Yammer, an enterprise social network, have recently announced a partnership to create that integration. The vision is to use Yammer’s collaborative tools to connect employees with the organization in a social way, for the benefit of everyone involved.

Here’s an example: let’s say the company’s sales team is working on a presentation for a major prospective client. In preparing for the meeting, they’ve run into a challenge. Sitting around the conference room table, someone says “Gosh, we can’t be the only team who has faced this challenge before. It would be great to know what other teams have done.”

Instead of calling around hoping to find an answer, organizations can now use social collaboration tools to pose their questions and get answers. Maria Ogneva, director of community for Yammer, explains how social collaboration benefits the business. “The possibilities are endless, and the most important thing is to understand what business problem you are trying to solve. As today’s rapid pace of change increases, companies must adapt faster and faster just to remain in the same place, let alone get ahead of the competition. Adapting to the speed with which you need to move to stay ahead of the competition is simply not possible when the people who need to execute on the vision aren’t on the same page and are hindered by archaic processes. Besides, you often don’t know where the best answer lives; you may be surprised.”

Not only do social collaboration tools help solve business problems, but they contribute to employee satisfaction and engagement. Ogneva says sharing information leads to less frustration and allows employees to easily get their work done.  “Social collaboration helps employees feel like they are part of a larger goal, like everyone is marching to the beat of the same drum. It also reduces the barriers created by hierarchies and flattens the organization, providing insight into what other teams (and management) are doing and thinking. When the leadership team is able to be more open and honest not simply about what’s happening, but why – employees are more compelled to support the overarching business problems and execute on the vision.”

Implementing a social collaboration tool reaps many benefits. Before introducing social tools within an organization, here are some points to consider.

  • Understand your corporate culture.
  • Look at current processes: how information is obtained and shared within the organization.
  • Define what success will look like using social collaboration tools.
  • Get support from senior leadership and key stakeholders.
  • Create an implementation and communication strategy for the roll-out. Be sure to include employee training on the social collaboration tools!
  • Establish a schedule to evaluate and monitor progress.

Social collaboration tools can bring a tremendous amount of information and knowledge to an organization. The key is harnessing it to solve business issues. Ogneva reminds us to focus on the success metric. “For any business social effort to be successful, it has to tie to a business objective. You know it’s bringing positive results when you are getting closer to meeting these objectives.  What do you want to enable with this collaboration? If your goal is to increase customer satisfaction, perhaps the business impact metric you are looking for is the increase of speed of a response to a customer, and how collaboration helps you do that.”

To learn more about social collaboration tools and how they can benefit your company, check out the Yammer blog and talk with your Ultimate Software representative.

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