Ultimate Software's Blog https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Mon, 12 Nov 2018 21:17:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 An Important Discrepancy in Workplace Harassment Policies, Law https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/workplace-harassment-policy/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/workplace-harassment-policy/#comments Wed, 07 Nov 2018 15:00:40 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1550 From time to time, we invite guest contributors to provide their personal perspectives about trending HCM topics. The views, opinions, and comments expressed below are solely those of the author and do not represent Ultimate Software. This post was commissioned by Ultimate Software and the author has or will receive compensation for their work. With […]

The post An Important Discrepancy in Workplace Harassment Policies, Law appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
harassment policyFrom time to time, we invite guest contributors to provide their personal perspectives about trending HCM topics. The views, opinions, and comments expressed below are solely those of the author and do not represent Ultimate Software. This post was commissioned by Ultimate Software and the author has or will receive compensation for their work.

With the rise of the #MeToo movement, companies across industries and of every size are taking a closer look at their policies and training against harassment, of all forms, to determine whether changes need to be made. While every policy could use a refresh now and then, one sentence commonly found in harassment policies is outdated: the requirement that targets of harassment say “no.”

When the Supreme Court’s Faragher and Ellerth decisions came out in 1998, the harassment policy was born. Attorneys quickly seized onto the language in the decisions to find nuggets to use in crafting language to fit the newly created affirmative defense. One piece they added was that a target of harassment must indicate that the conduct or comments were unwelcomed. The policy now read that if an individual thought she or he was subjected to harassment, they were required to tell the harasser to stop or say that they did not appreciate the comments or conduct.

Yet, this is not what the law requires. Yes, the law requires the comments or conduct be unwelcomed to be actionable sexual harassment, but there’s no requirement that a target of harassment say or do anything.

So, why include this obligation in a harassment policy? Because it made it easier to determine whether harassment occurred. Leaders (and some HR professionals) could find that the conduct isn’t harassment because the target didn’t say stop. By not finding harassment – by over-relying on this requirement in the policy – leaders implied that the conduct was okay. This easy determination also tamped down the possibility that targets of harassment would report it because they saw that leaders wouldn’t take action. What happened? Harassment permeated our workplaces.

Determining whether conduct is welcomed should not be difficult. Did she ask to be touched? Did he ask to overhear the dirty joke? It is not a difficult determination to make, and employers often determine that the conduct itself – even if welcomed – should not happen in their workplaces. Dirty jokes, repeated requests for dates, touching, and anything else that could be considered harassment doesn’t belong in the workplace, regardless of whether the conduct is welcomed or not.

We do a disservice to our employees if we require them to do anything in our harassment policy. The policy exists to set expectations of what harassment is, and whether employers will condone harassment that creates an uncomfortable work environment. With the definitions and examples of harassment, employees learn this expectation.

Instead of requiring action, the policy should give employees options to report harassment – report it to any manager and/or human resources, call an ethics hotline, etc. – but it should not require them to report it. Encouraging reporting is all employers can really ask. Including statements like “we can’t do anything to stop harassment unless we know about it” articulates why employers need to know.

With managers, however, it’s different. Because managers are the organization, for all intents and purposes, their failure to report potential harassment creates liability for their employers. Employers should include language that directs managers to tell HR as soon as they learn or perceive that harassment is occurring or has occurred. Their failure to report harassment means an employer loses the affirmative defense the policy made possible.

Employers are responsible for providing a harassment-free workplace. The law does not place any obligations on our employees. Requiring them to take action or say “no” goes above the law and shifts the burden to employees. Instead, employers should encourage employees to talk to company leadership and share when they feel uncomfortable. Most importantly, employer should address their concerns immediately. Together, we can help put an end to harassment in the workplace.

The post An Important Discrepancy in Workplace Harassment Policies, Law appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/workplace-harassment-policy/feed/ 1
Holistic Well-Being Was a Hot Topic at #HRTech2018 (And it Should be in Your Org, Too) https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-wellness-programs/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-wellness-programs/#respond Thu, 25 Oct 2018 18:30:17 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1541 I first came across the term “The Wellness Effect” in an investment article discussing the symbiotic relationship between employee financial wellness and financial returns for employers. Since then, there’s been an explosion of research showing the direct correlation among overall employee wellness and reduced healthcare costs, improved productivity and retention, and lower absenteeism. The data […]

The post Holistic Well-Being Was a Hot Topic at #HRTech2018 (And it Should be in Your Org, Too) appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
wellness programsI first came across the term “The Wellness Effect” in an investment article discussing the symbiotic relationship between employee financial wellness and financial returns for employers. Since then, there’s been an explosion of research showing the direct correlation among overall employee wellness and reduced healthcare costs, improved productivity and retention, and lower absenteeism.

The data are convincing. Harvard University found that medical costs fall approximately $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs, combined with a $2.73 ROI for every dollar spent due to decreased absenteeism. According to the CDC, productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers an average of $225.8 billion each year. There’s also evidence that instituting workplace health programs can reduce the average sick leave, health plan, and workers’ compensation and disability insurance costs by approximately 25%.

As a result, corporate wellness programs have become an $8 billion industry in the United States alone, a figure that’s expected to grow nearly 10% by 2021. 90% of U.S. organizations offer at least one wellness initiative, and 60% of U.S. businesses offer employee well-being programs that go beyond traditional benefits.

Yet, despite these impressive ROI markers and substantial corporate investment, holistic workforce wellness, particularly when it comes to stress management, doesn’t seem to be improving. In fact, two-thirds of all full-time workers experience burnout on the job and three-quarters of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than they did one generation ago.

Employee wellness was certainly top of mind at this year’s HR Tech, a highly-anticipated Las Vegas conference and exposition spotlighting the latest in HR trends and technologies. Throughout the conference, I was struck by how the conversation continued to circle back to holistic wellness – in keynotes, breakout sessions, and conversations with attendees.

Randi Zuckerberg – Mark’s older sister – spent much of her keynote session urging employers to help their employees maintain a healthy tech balance and to encourage unplugging from work to rest, recharge, and de-stress.

These insights were echoed the next day by Arianna Huffington, who discussed the worldwide epidemic of burnout due to the pressure to “have it all.” She maintained that exhausting ourselves never helps our organization and theorized that, while we’re living in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, our societal obsession with machines and productivity is reminiscent of the original Industrial Revolution. She warned that while automation can be a great thing, we’re headed down a dangerous path if we don’t simultaneously prioritize human health and well-being.

In recent years, a shift has occurred in the way we view overall well-being. While wellness could be defined as a non-smoker with a healthy BMI, well-being is much more complicated than that. Thanks to the “always-on” workforce, increasingly blurred lines between work and personal life, the uncertainty surrounding Social Security, and vanishing of company pensions, today’s workforce is dealing with a variety of stressors that go far beyond (yet certainly contribute to) chronic disease.

The limited scope of first-generation wellness programs is no longer enough. Employees crave holistic well-being. In addition to health insurance, employees are seeking customized health coaching, incentives, and interactive support. Along with a retirement-savings account, employees want access to counseling or educational resources to ensure they’re making the right financial choices for themselves and their families. Beyond paid vacation, they want the right to disconnect on nights and weekends. Besides job security, they want to play a role in career development.

If this seems like a lot of “wants,” remember that the proven ROI of employee well-being is improved business performance. Workplace culture sets the tone for employees, and supportive work environments powered by sound wellness strategies lead to healthier and more engaged, motivated, and productive workforces.

When your people thrive, your business thrives. Take good care of them.

The post Holistic Well-Being Was a Hot Topic at #HRTech2018 (And it Should be in Your Org, Too) appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-wellness-programs/feed/ 0
Three Mega Trends to Watch For in 2019 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/three-mega-trends-to-watch-2019/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/three-mega-trends-to-watch-2019/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 13:39:55 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1533 Maybe it’s the changing of the seasons. Maybe it’s the inevitability of the rapidly evolving world we live in. But, each year, I spend a good amount of time with colleagues thinking about how the major economic, sociological, technological, and cultural trends we are experiencing will impact us, our leaders, our employees, and HR professionals […]

The post Three Mega Trends to Watch For in 2019 appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
future of workMaybe it’s the changing of the seasons. Maybe it’s the inevitability of the rapidly evolving world we live in. But, each year, I spend a good amount of time with colleagues thinking about how the major economic, sociological, technological, and cultural trends we are experiencing will impact us, our leaders, our employees, and HR professionals in the coming year.

We like to explore multiple topics, always looking at issues through the lens of putting people first. Through these discussions, we extend and expand the ideas until we see emerging patterns everywhere we look. The value of analogous fields is never lost in this process, as we gather innovative and nascent solutions to the problems posed by these trends in unexpected industries and contexts.

Throughout 2018, our team focused on artificial intelligence, in particular “People First” AI, hyper-personalization and its necessity in leadership, and humanizing work with breakthrough diversity and inclusion initiatives. The growing research and attention paid to these topics by organizations globally has certainly advanced our understanding of these trends and has brought new solutions to the market from Ultimate Software and others.

So, we turn now to what 2019 will bring us.

The three mega trends below are not brand-new concepts, but they will take on a critical urgency in 2019 due to a convergence of technological, economic, and socio-cultural factors.

Well-being at Work

With the dizzying pace of change and the mind-blowing exponential growth of data and technology available to us showing no signs of letting up, we are all facing new levels of overload. The impact of this overload is manifesting itself in unanticipated ways. Our emotional, social, and physical well-being at work is directly impacted by the stressors associated with overload, and organizations will struggle to help employees cope and, more importantly, thrive in such environments without a new approach. Far beyond wellness programs, organizations will have to explore creative new workspace concepts, design work with overall employee well-being in mind, and offer transformative technologies to help monitor and change employee behavior. In addition, the work of inclusion and belonging will take on even greater importance for business success. 

Preparing People for the Future of Work

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. Yet, when we bring it up and read about it, it’s generally in terms of job loss due to AI and automation, the primary drivers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The urgency in 2019 comes from the fact that, to date, we have done more talking and less doing – and action is needed before we reach a global skills crisis. HR and business leaders have done little to prepare people for the future of work by systematically and intentionally reskilling and upskilling them.

The future workforce is a blended one, with humans and machines working side by side. We cannot leave the future success of our businesses to chance, yet that is precisely what many organizations are doing by leaving reskilling entirely up to employees. We must ensure employees’ voices are heard throughout this daunting learning process, and every employee should contribute to defining their development paths, but not without guidance and support from their employers. The shift has to start with understanding a new hierarchy of needs for employees, in which we deeply understand their motivations and dreams and actively include them in their future performance development – all of which result in helping drive better performance for organizations.

Creating the Connected, Collaborative Enterprise

The third major force impacting our workplaces and workforces is the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT manifests itself differently in the workplace compared with in our private lives, with our smart lights, thermostats, and connected kitchens. At work, we have new opportunities to create a highly connected and collaborative enterprise. With the IoT at work – smart work apps that might recognize when praise is given and record it, smart meeting spaces and wearable devices that pick up on stress and stressors – we can elevate the traditional employee and manager self-service models to completely new levels (at last) and transform the Digital Employee Experience into an insightful and interactive one.

With data democratization that both fosters higher levels of trust between employees and employers while enabling people to make better and smarter decisions for the enterprise and themselves, organizational outcomes will improve. We must also be aware of and balance the ethics of capturing new kinds of interaction data and the flow of information that moves between and within the connected and collaborative enterprise in the era of boundary-less organizations. It will be crucial to ensure we respect how people work and honor their private data while helping them thrive.

While these mega trends are not entirely new to the world of work and HR, they have certainly not been addressed to the extent they need to be to ensure our people can maximize their contributions to our organizations while achieving more meaningful levels of professional and personal growth and success.

For the sake of our organizations and, above all, our people, let’s make 2019 the year that changes it all!

The post Three Mega Trends to Watch For in 2019 appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/three-mega-trends-to-watch-2019/feed/ 0
Teaming with Rebuilding Together, Miami HEAT for National Week of Service https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/national-week-of-service/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/national-week-of-service/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 18:01:37 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1530 Every day at Ultimate Software, we’re reminded of just how fortunate we are, not only as a company, but as people. It’s part of what drives our companywide commitment to community service, and it’s why, since our founding 28 years ago, we’ve made giving a cornerstone of Ultimate’s “People First” culture. Throughout the year, we […]

The post Teaming with Rebuilding Together, Miami HEAT for National Week of Service appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
national week of serviceEvery day at Ultimate Software, we’re reminded of just how fortunate we are, not only as a company, but as people. It’s part of what drives our companywide commitment to community service, and it’s why, since our founding 28 years ago, we’ve made giving a cornerstone of Ultimate’s “People First” culture.

Throughout the year, we partner with a variety of nonprofit organizations to support local, national, and global causes that help our communities. Most recently, we had the privilege of joining Rebuilding Together for our second annual National Week of Service.

Rebuilding Together works to improve the lives of low-income homeowners, including veterans and the elderly, who are in need of major home repairs, such as roofing and retrofitting for accessibility. The 30-year-old organization works with professionals and volunteers across the United States to provide fixes and complete other beautification projects, so these individuals and families can continue to live safely and comfortably in their homes.

This year’s National Week of Service was even more special, as we teamed up with members of the Miami HEAT basketball organization—part of our multi-year partnership with the three-time NBA champions. Together, we spent four consecutive days painting, landscaping, and gardening.

We started on Monday in South Florida with the HEAT (even team mascot Burnie got involved). Then, Ultimate employees in San Francisco and Santa Ana, California, and in Atlanta and Alpharetta, Georgia, continued volunteering throughout the week to make a difference for local homeowners.

In all, hundreds of employees from Ultimate, the Miami HEAT, and Rebuilding Together joined forces for a collaborative national week of service that helped change the lives of nine families forever. It makes us so proud to see the selfless acts of humanity and the great lengths that people are willing to go to care for others, most of whom they don’t even know and will probably never interact with again.

Selfless service results in amazing connections. There are signs of the meaningful difference made, and not just in the completed work or home restorations. Sometimes, it’s a simple smile. Other times, a joyful tear. And always, an intangible feeling.

At Ultimate, we know how fortunate we are to be where we are today. We are extremely grateful for all the people and circumstances that have impacted us over the years. And knowing that we have the opportunity to return the favor, by helping and serving others, provides a greater perspective on the work we do every day.

It’s not just about creating HR software that enables thousands of people to perform better at work. It’s about delivering a positive outlook, and a hopeful future, to those most in need.

Putting people first means recognizing the many ways, big and small, we can all help others around us. When we look out for one another, real change takes place.

The post Teaming with Rebuilding Together, Miami HEAT for National Week of Service appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/national-week-of-service/feed/ 0
Customer Service Week 2018: Continual Innovation https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/customer-service-week-2018/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/customer-service-week-2018/#respond Thu, 04 Oct 2018 10:00:29 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1526 It is the first week of October, also known as Customer Service Week 2018! Designed to celebrate the importance of customer service as well as provide organizations with an excuse to honor service reps, Customer Service Week also serves as a reminder to seek constant improvement and innovation in service offerings. Putting Employees and Customers […]

The post Customer Service Week 2018: Continual Innovation appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
It is the first week of October, also known as Customer Service Week 2018! Designed to celebrate the importance of customer service as well as provide organizations with an excuse to honor service reps, Customer Service Week also serves as a reminder to seek constant improvement and innovation in service offerings.

Putting Employees and Customers First

Ultimate Software was founded 28 years ago on a “People First” philosophy, and this core principle has shaped every aspect of our organization ever since. Every employee is a member of our “Ultimate Family” and supported by a workplace environment that fosters both personal and professional development. Likewise, our Support department strives to treat every customer as a “Partner for Life,” recognizing that every interaction matters and that it’s our responsibility to provide a positive, memorable experience every time. A key aspect of this commitment to taking care of all people is striving for constant innovation in a fast-paced, constantly changing world.

Over the past decade, customer expectations have evolved, as has fierce industry competition. Customers want more personalization, interaction, responsiveness to feedback, and knowledge-capable support. At Ultimate, our goal has always been to be the undisputed leader in HCM customer experience by delivering both the best technology and the best service to our customers. While many providers focus on either product or service, we’re wholly invested in both. In fact, approximately 85% of our employees directly serve our customers in either support or development roles, with 53% in services. We are fully committed to providing industry-leading services that exceed our customer’s expectations and proactively anticipate their needs.

Award-Winning Service

Earlier this year, our customer service program was recognized by both the American Business Awards (ABA) and the National Customer Service Association (NCSA). The NCSA named us the Service Organization of the Year in the Large Business category, and we earned three Stevie Awards for customer service from the ABA. I am honored to announce that, in July, we were also presented with the Gold Award for Customer Service Department of the Year at the Silicon Valley United States (SVUS) Awards.

These recognitions highlight our team’s dedication to a people-centric services approach. I am extremely proud of our conversion to a collaborative support model, which decreased total resolution times by 60% over a 12-month period. We have also completely redesigned our Customer Service Portal (CSP), which plays a pivotal role as Ultimate’s first line of interaction with our customers. As one of the most completely iterative projects to date, we listened to the “Voice of the Customer” through focus groups, surveys, and user testing, then implemented a complete redesign of our CSP in order to provide a more self-service experience. Our new CSP has achieved a 100% adoption rate and established important new baselines in terms of an 80% increase in the portal’s ease of use, 50% increase in self-service satisfaction, and 40% increase in self-service searches.

Award-Winning Leaders

This commitment to industry-leading innovation resonates throughout our entire organization, thanks to best-in-class leaders who create best-in-class products. Our CEO, Scott Scherr, recently earned a SVUS Gold Award for Most Admired Leaders based solely on consolidated feedback from industry professionals. This was not a nominated entry. Other Most Admired Leaders award recipients included Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Larry Ellison, Melinda Gates, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Ultimate’s Chief People Officer, Viv Maza, was also recognized with a Women in Business and the Professions World Award at the SVUS Awards ceremony based on her development and execution of Ultimate’s revolutionary Women in Leadership program, one of our companywide groups that help employees connect with one another, grow as people and professionals, and better serve our communities. Also at the SVUS Awards ceremony, our cloud suite UltiPro® was recognized with a Gold Award for Best HCM Solution for its unified structure, rich workforce insight, and people-centric design.

At the end of the day, the best companies, best teams, best products, and best services are developed by adhering to several key guidelines: Take care of people, strive for improvement, and never stop innovating.

Happy Customer Service Week 2018!

The post Customer Service Week 2018: Continual Innovation appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/customer-service-week-2018/feed/ 0
Women in Technology: United We Stand https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/women-in-tech/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/women-in-tech/#respond Thu, 06 Sep 2018 10:00:11 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1503 It’s conference season and at Ultimate Software, we are excited that preparations for our participation in the HR Technology Conference & Expo and the Grace Hopper Celebration—the world’s largest gathering of women technologists, produced by AnitaB.org—are in full swing. I am honored to be part of the Women in Technology track at HR Tech again […]

The post Women in Technology: United We Stand appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
women in techIt’s conference season and at Ultimate Software, we are excited that preparations for our participation in the HR Technology Conference & Expo and the Grace Hopper Celebration—the world’s largest gathering of women technologists, produced by AnitaB.org—are in full swing. I am honored to be part of the Women in Technology track at HR Tech again this year, and to be working with so many dedicated women and men who are committed to elevating the role of women in tech. All this activity gives me an opportunity to share some thoughts on the state of women in technology in a broader context.  Being a woman in today’s male-dominated technology industry (with persistently inequitable salaries, limited leadership opportunities, and all-too-frequent harassment) can be an exhausting challenge. I find myself reflecting on how women come to be leaders in their organizations—and on the barriers that keep them from doing so. Despite many of my peers in the tech sector sharing our stories and readily offering sponsorship and advice to other women through informal and more formal programs like Ultimate Software’s Women in Leadership program, we have work to do.

The statistics on this subject paint a vivid—and troubling—picture of these barriers. While women make up 46.8 percent of the American workforce, fewer than five percent of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. According to McKinsey & Company, women are 18 percent less likely than men to get promoted to management positions. This percentage drops even further for women of color and women in tech: as of 2015, the proportions of Black and Latina women in computing occupations were 3 and 1 percent, respectively.

Even though these numbers have been widely circulated in HR circles, I continue to come across corporate annual reports that feature a variety of diverse employees on the cover page. The subtext of this imagery, inferring that the organization behind the report champions diversity and inclusion, could not be more clearly at odds with the difficult reality the above statistics reveal. How do the distressing stories and statistics on women in tech (and in business as a whole) keep coming at a fever pace, when virtually every company today claims D&I as an important issue or initiative?

Interestingly, many companies appear to be downplaying their D&I initiatives of late, according to a recent report by software provider Atlassian. The report chalks up the backpedaling to what it calls ‘diversity fatigue’. A key factor in this inactivity is an over-focus on increasing diversity statistics, instead of creating truly inclusive workplaces, the report concludes.

“People are tired of talking about diversity and inclusion, frustrated by talk not turning into impactful action, and overwhelmed by the number of issues to address and the scope of what must change,” the report states. “While respondents continue to say that they care about diversity and inclusion, action declined across the board.”

As a woman whose work involves helping companies design superior experiences for employees to achieve purposeful and productive jobs, I am committed to finding ways to break down the barriers that keep women from rising to the ranks of tech industry leadership. This task will not be easy, but I do have a few suggestions:

  • An employer that offers competitive compensation packages and great benefits to all new employees, does not always have a truly diverse and inclusive work culture.
  • Enviable diversity statistics are positive but don’t mean the company is also inclusive. Ask the recruitment officer for evidence of inclusion—real examples demonstrating that the contributions of all people are valued and that women and other under-represented groups are staying.
  • Ask for promotion statistics across different job types and demographics. If they can’t offer up the goods when asked, proceed with caution.

Companies that hope to weaken the glass ceiling must make inclusion more than a priority, it must become the fabric of their business’ success. They must take bold action now to promote women and men of all ethnic and racial backgrounds at similar rates, ensure that incidences of discrimination are met with real consequences, and create simple and confidential processes to empower their people to report evidence of unfair treatment and harassment.

What’s in it for businesses that take these steps? That’s easy. They will become employers of choice, successful companies composed of workforces that are the envy of their competitors. They will foster within their organizations the sense of disarming comfort that I experienced when I first went to the Grace Hopper Celebration—and realized I was not a minority in the tech ranks. Now is the time for all companies to turn the statistics around and reap the benefits of truly diverse and inclusive leadership… because at the end of the day, putting all people first is the key to business success.

The post Women in Technology: United We Stand appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/women-in-tech/feed/ 0
Helping End Hunger Nationwide with Feeding America https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/partnership-feeding-america/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/partnership-feeding-america/#respond Thu, 28 Jun 2018 12:28:20 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1471 Giving has been a core part of Ultimate Software’s “People First” culture since our founding more than 25 years ago. Life can take many unexpected twists and turns, and we at Ultimate feel extremely fortunate to be where we are today. Serving our community is not only an ongoing opportunity to do the right thing […]

The post Helping End Hunger Nationwide with Feeding America appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
Feeding AmericaGiving has been a core part of Ultimate Software’s “People First” culture since our founding more than 25 years ago. Life can take many unexpected twists and turns, and we at Ultimate feel extremely fortunate to be where we are today. Serving our community is not only an ongoing opportunity to do the right thing for others—we also consider it our greater purpose in life.

All this week, we’ve partnered with our customer Feeding America to help fight hunger across the country. Hundreds of Ultimate employees have volunteered at over 25 Feeding America-affiliated food banks near our offices in South Florida, Georgia, and California, as well as in several U.S. cities—from Orlando, Charlotte, and New York to Houston, Phoenix, and Los Angeles—to accommodate our many virtual employees. We also had a team of employees who served in Toronto, partnering with Daily Bread Food Bank.

Together, our people sorted more than 100,000 pounds of food and packaged nearly 75,000 meals to distribute to local families in need.

For many of us, food is an expected daily resource, with hundreds of tasty options available at a moment’s notice. We excitedly wonder, “What’s for lunch?” and joyfully share photos of our meals with friends on social media, as we prepare to indulge. Occasionally, we might even “overdo it” and throw away the leftovers without thinking twice.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone. Hunger is a real issue that still impacts one in eight Americans. Every day, millions of people across the country are forced to choose between buying food and other necessities, such as medication.

Even in the most challenging of times, it’s important to remember what you’re most grateful for, what you do have, and what more you can for others. Ultimate is proud to team with Feeding America to provide hope to thousands of families and help put an end to this epidemic.

For more information and to find out how you can help support this crucial mission in your own community, please visit www.feedingamerica.org.

The post Helping End Hunger Nationwide with Feeding America appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/partnership-feeding-america/feed/ 0
A Culture of Real Inclusion https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/diversity-inclusion-work/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/diversity-inclusion-work/#comments Thu, 21 Jun 2018 10:00:45 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1464 Diversity and inclusion (D&I) has hit the mainstream and moved beyond the realm of HR of late, in part due to many highly publicized cases highlighting the persistence of inequities in the workplace. In fact, D&I is increasingly becoming a component of companies’ employee-recruitment and customer-branding strategies. Businesses promote their D&I statistics to candidates in […]

The post A Culture of Real Inclusion appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
diversity & inclusionDiversity and inclusion (D&I) has hit the mainstream and moved beyond the realm of HR of late, in part due to many highly publicized cases highlighting the persistence of inequities in the workplace. In fact, D&I is increasingly becoming a component of companies’ employee-recruitment and customer-branding strategies. Businesses promote their D&I statistics to candidates in online recruiting solutions, noting the percentages of employed women, African-Americans, Hispanics, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented employee groups, while those organizations that do not must answer to candidates who want to know how diverse their potential workplaces are. Progress has been made.

The problem is that these statistics focus on diversity, which is fairly easy to tally up. Inclusion, on the other hand, is harder to measure and prove, yet is just as important a component of D&I. One without the other is only half-baked.

A workforce of diverse individuals can show that a company is committed to creating a well-balanced team or has an openness to people’s differences. Inclusion—the feeling of belonging that comes about when employees are treated equitably and are free to bring their authentic selves to work—indicates the company welcomes their ideas, perspectives, and opinions.

Tremendous business opportunities are available to companies that value the contributions of all employees, whether they’re gay or straight, black or white, American or foreign by birth. The more extensive the diversity of people in an organization, the greater the possibility of generating unique ideas and innovating.

While diversity is valuable to the business, due to government regulations and the social conscience of business leaders, many workforces have become diversified. Energy now must be put into creating cultures of inclusion.

These thoughts were top of mind during a recent lunch discussion I enjoyed with a colleague I deeply admire, Viv Maza, Ultimate’s chief people officer. Viv has been the heart of the company since its inception in 1990, when the workforce consisted of four people in two cubicles and not the 4,300+ employees we have today. While inclusion is a buzzword today, Viv has always been using the word—long before she was part of Ultimate’s founding team.

Viv agreed with me that diversity and inclusion are two different things, yet many companies tend to lump them together, believing a diverse workforce is an inclusive one.

“Inclusivity is one of our core principles at Ultimate,” said Viv. “Since day one, my job has been to take care of all our people, regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation. This is deeply embedded in my DNA and defines who I am.”

As the mother of two gay children, Viv has a personal connection to the need for all individuals, LGBTQ employees in particular, to be fully themselves at work as they are in life. “When someone comes out as gay, telling their parents or their employer, they’re so nervous,” she said. “I recall this one employee who came out to me. I told him that being openly gay didn’t change the dynamic of the special person he was. I wanted him to be as comfortable with himself as I was with him.”

Viv pointed out that the company has many other talented and gifted employees who are gay, but not all of them are out. “The decision to come out, of course, is up to them, but I can promise them that this is a safe place of belonging for all our amazing people,” she said. “We value each and every person’s contributions, regardless of their differences. In fact, we cherish their differences.”

Viv’s feelings about inclusion extend to other aspects of personal self-identification. She recalled a job interview with a young woman last year that mentioned her previous employer had fired her because she had purple-colored hair. “I told her purple hair looks amazing and if that is how she defines herself, bring it on,” said Viv. “Twenty years ago, we might have questioned her choice. But this is a new age in which things that weren’t acceptable at work are now seen as liberating. Work cultures used to be so conformist. Today, they’re dynamic, and that’s a good thing.”

Viv’s point resonated with me. I’ve come to see corporate culture not as a fixed set of standards, but as a living, breathing, and evolving entity. When a new person joins a team, the culture of the group changes and expands, enriched by the new person’s experiences and perspectives. If the individual feels he or she has to conform to the dynamics of the team, the group suffers the loss of the person’s unique viewpoint. The new employee might feel uncomfortable expressing a novel thought or a different opinion without fear of embarrassment or, worse, humiliation and eventual exclusion. Yet, all it takes is one extraordinary idea to upend the status quo and move the business forward.

We’ve always prioritized and valued our remarkable culture at Ultimate. We all know that an optimal culture reflects an organization’s strengths and reinforces its brand, reputation, and ability to attract the best people and deliver industry-leading solutions and support. But what exactly is an “optimal” culture?

One way to find out is by assessing the reality of an organization’s culture today, as well as where the organization’s culture might go in the future depending on key decisions and strategies. I refer to this as “Culture Casting,” and it has three components, the first of which is to take an honest appraisal of the current culture—casting a bright spotlight on it.

The second component is to identify the culture’s “cast of characters”—the different people within the organization—to understand what drives them and what impact they have on the culture. Are they detractors or promoters? And the third component is to project and communicate a vision of the ideal culture the organization wants to have in future. It is particularly important to include employees in the vision of the future to ensure the discussion is authentic and realistic, and addresses perception gaps between leaders and employees.

What does this have to do with inclusion? Certainly, by knowing each person, their perspectives, and their perceptions in a scalable fashion, the organization can ensure their contributions are accorded equitable weight and value, with respect to what is most important to the organization itself. Without this understanding, inequities and biases come into play and can erode inclusivity in a culture.

As we finished our lunch, Viv commented about a future in which every employee feels their unique selves are making a difference in their shared journey to designing innovative solutions and providing meaningful service. “Labels are meaningless,” said Viv. “What’s crucial is to create an environment where people feel safe and supported to be who they are.”

We are beyond fortunate to have her as our Chief People Officer!

The post A Culture of Real Inclusion appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/diversity-inclusion-work/feed/ 1
Rewriting the Gender Bias in Tech https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/rewriting-the-gender-bias-in-tech/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/rewriting-the-gender-bias-in-tech/#comments Thu, 07 Jun 2018 18:45:28 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1455 As a woman with a longstanding career in technology, I’ve had a front-row seat to the industry’s incredible innovations, but also to its unbalanced gender representation. This important issue has received significant media coverage in recent years, but it’s been a very real problem I encountered throughout my pre-Ultimate career. That’s one of the many […]

The post Rewriting the Gender Bias in Tech appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
gender bias in techAs a woman with a longstanding career in technology, I’ve had a front-row seat to the industry’s incredible innovations, but also to its unbalanced gender representation. This important issue has received significant media coverage in recent years, but it’s been a very real problem I encountered throughout my pre-Ultimate career. That’s one of the many reasons why, when we founded Ultimate Software more than 27 years ago, we were determined to take care of all of our people and foster a workplace based on equality, respect, and empowerment.

I’m extremely pleased to share that Ultimate was ranked the #1 Best Company for Women by Fairygodboss, a popular resource that provides women with honest answers to hard-to-ask questions and authentic insights into salary, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility at various companies. This recognition is particularly notable because the rankings are based entirely on anonymous reviews that female employees share with Fairygodboss. It’s an honor and a great source of pride to be recognized as a company that truly values and prioritizes the contributions of women, because that is 100% who we are as a company.

Our Women in Leadership (WIL) group is one of four companywide Communities of Interest that promote inclusivity and equality, perfectly aligning with our “People First” philosophy and culture. Open to women of all job levels, WIL hosts a variety of events throughout the year, ranging from keynote speakers and networking events to wellness retreats, book clubs, and community service projects. There’s even an online WIL community, where employees can discuss their goals, ask questions or receive feedback, and brainstorm opportunities to positively impact future women leaders at work, in schools, and in the community.

About half of our workforce is made up of women, and approximately 42% of our female employees hold leadership positions of managers or above. We truly walk the walk.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve as a leading example that encourages companies, especially in the technology space, to witness the essential role women play as leaders and innovators. We put our people – all our people – first, and the results are indisputable.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all our people who gave Fairgodboss their feedback, and to all our people everywhere who continue to contribute to Ultimate’s award-winning culture and make US a great place to work. You inspire me each and every day.

The post Rewriting the Gender Bias in Tech appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/rewriting-the-gender-bias-in-tech/feed/ 1
Equity at Work: “No Excuses,” Please https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/gender-equality-at-work/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/gender-equality-at-work/#comments Tue, 10 Apr 2018 13:53:08 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1303 As a mother with a daughter entering the workforce, I wonder if, and hope that, she will receive career opportunities on par with what men in the same job will receive. I try to be optimistic, but the reality is that statistics on the inequitable income of women in the workplace are staggering. They also […]

The post Equity at Work: “No Excuses,” Please appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
equity workplaceAs a mother with a daughter entering the workforce, I wonder if, and hope that, she will receive career opportunities on par with what men in the same job will receive. I try to be optimistic, but the reality is that statistics on the inequitable income of women in the workplace are staggering. They also strike to the heart of an issue that is much deeper than pay. Still today, in many organizations around the world, women are not treated equitably when it comes to promotions, access to leadership positions, and, worst of all in my opinion, having their voices heard. Their ideas and perspectives are all too often not given equal standing with the views of men, adversely affecting their career progress. Don’t get me wrong. There are companies that value people equally and serve as great role models for what can be. I’m fortunate to work for one!

According to a 2016 study from McKinsey & Co., more than 75% of CEOs list “gender equality” as one of their top 10 business priorities, yet women are less likely to receive a promotion or be on a path toward leadership. U.S. companies promote men at 30% higher rates than women during their early career stages, and entry-level women are significantly more likely than men to have spent five or more years in the same role, the study states. Take the practice of “skipping” giving women a merit increase when they are on maternity leave because they are “not present at work, so why give them an increase?” This is more common in countries with extended maternity leave benefits, but in happens in the United States as well. That practice alone can result in women being paid 10% less than men over time if they have two or more children!

There are other unsettling facts to consider. For example, women attend college at higher rates than men, yet they earn less. Men working in financial services firms receive double the bonuses received by women in the same businesses. And women account for two-thirds of all national student debt, in part because pay-equity gaps make it more difficult for women to pay off their loans.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Gender inequity is systemic, and although getting better in some sectors, remains a serious socio-economic issue. What’s truly disturbing is the message this sends to young women and girls—that no matter how hard they try, no matter how well they excel, they may never get their fair due in the workplace.

These thoughts were top of mind as I sat down to chat with Martin Paz, a respected HR leader in the healthcare field, about his daughter Dana, who is close to receiving her master’s in mechanical engineering at Stanford University. It’s a profession that requires topnotch mathematical skills and practical experience. It’s also a career heavily populated by men.

Through a colleague, I was introduced to Martin, who grew up in South Texas in the 1970s and witnessed the corrosive effects of racial discrimination firsthand. He used the experience as a form of fuel in a relentless drive to better himself.

“I was constantly reminded in middle school and high school that I was different,” said Martin. “I developed a very competitive attitude. To play and excel on the basketball team, I had to determine how to overcome a height disadvantage. I simply would not allow myself to make excuses. If you think you can’t achieve something, you won’t achieve it.”

Martin passed on his “no excuses” mantra to his three children. “If homework need to be done, or music practiced, we said ‘go get it done—no excuses,’” he said.

As the kids got older, he and his wife encouraged and supported them to push past their comfort zones and take on more challenging levels of achievement—academically, artistically, and physically. “Obviously, we loved them above all else, but we also had very clear expectations of their behavior and accountability,” he explained. Martin also shared a great story about when the family watched the Disney animated film Mulan. In the movie, Mulan’s father, a leader in the Chinese military, becomes ill. Mulan, the young protagonist, wants to fulfill her father’s obligations, but as a girl in the patriarchal regime, she is technically unqualified to serve. So, she impersonates a man.

The key word here is “impersonates.” “In saving China, Mulan does not use brute strength as a man might; rather, she deploys her cleverness,” said Martin. “In our discussion of the film afterward, I emphasized this feature to my children.”

Martin, as many of you do, strongly encouraged his children to explore their interests. Dana was creative, intensely curious, and very hands-on. She loved to make and do things that required organization and following detailed directions, such as craft, sew, woodwork, bake, and play sports. “Or do whatever her older brother Jordan was doing,” said Martin.

These skills extended to her aptitude in math. Martin was concerned that, in high school, teachers would not treat her math skills with the same attention they provided boys with the same skills. He instructed Dana to sit up front in class, ask questions, and express her opinions.

Ultimately, Dana caught the attention of a high-school physics teacher, Dr. Danielle Kayal, an industrial engineer and mentor, who recommended she consider a career in engineering. She took the advice, subsequently majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Last summer, she interned at SpaceX, one of the companies founded by Elon Musk. When Dana graduates from Stanford this year, she plans to land an engineering position at an advanced, cutting-edge tech company. “My hope is that they look at her broad practical experience and technical bona fides, not her gender,” Martin added.

I hope so, too, and I’m optimistic. The world needs people like Dana who don’t let the statistics on workplace inequities drag down her ambition. The world also needs companies that speak out on the issue of gender-based imbalances and then walk the walk, as does Ultimate. With close to half of our managers being women, it’s something we take very seriously.

There is simply no excuse—work performance and pay should be judged on how well we leverage our skills to the benefit of the organization, irrespective of our gender.

I hope this is an issue we continue to think about and tackle as a society, not only today on Equal Pay Day, but every day moving forward, until we’ve ended the pay gap for good.

The post Equity at Work: “No Excuses,” Please appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

]]>
https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/gender-equality-at-work/feed/ 2