Technology – Ultimate Software's Blog https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Wed, 15 Nov 2017 15:32:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 The Power of API Integration and HCM: Less Time Managing, More Time Strategizing https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/api-integration-and-hcm/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/api-integration-and-hcm/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 11:00:19 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1146 As an HR practitioner, you may not be intimately familiar with how application programming interfaces (APIs) work, but you’re certainly interacting with them. The information shared between applications is how you can find a restaurant on Facebook and immediately get directions through another application, such as Google Maps, or read its recent reviews on Yelp. […]

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api integration and hcmAs an HR practitioner, you may not be intimately familiar with how application programming interfaces (APIs) work, but you’re certainly interacting with them. The information shared between applications is how you can find a restaurant on Facebook and immediately get directions through another application, such as Google Maps, or read its recent reviews on Yelp. Well-developed APIs increase convenience, save time, and maximize what’s possible when compared with a single application’s capacity. They completely transform our app experience and are cornerstones of popular consumer technology.

API Integration and HCM

Most organizations use multiple products as part of their HCM strategy. UltiPro is a unified solution encompassing everything from human resources to payroll to talent management, but our customers frequently need to exchange data with external systems they use to operate their businesses. APIs present the perfect opportunity to streamline this process, and I’m thrilled to announce the release of UltiPro Connect, our new integration ecosystem that empowers our customers and partners to tailor their UltiPro experiences to meet their evolving business needs.

Essentially, UltiPro Connect is engineered to simplify, standardize, and automate UltiPro integrations with third-party solutions or services. The benefits extend for our partners, who can easily build integrations between their solutions and UltiPro, as well as our customers, who can browse pre-existing integrations or build one themselves. Data flows freely (and securely) between UltiPro and other connected API systems.

The result? You spend less time managing shared information on disparate systems, and more time leveraging that information to support your strategic initiatives.

How it Works

Like everything else in life, for API integration and HCM, quality matters. The development process and architectural framework used will dictate how easy to use and effective these integrative solutions are.

We announced UltiPro Connect during HR Tech last month, and for its initial rollout, we are focused on helping our partners develop the best app-to-app integrations possible. With access to sample code, comprehensive articles, fully functional sandboxes, and our API Explorer (which enables developers to actually interact with the APIs instead of viewing static documents), our partners have everything they need to create, test, and tailor their API integrations before releasing them on the UltiPro Connect marketplace. As part of our constant commitment to quality, Ultimate will review and test each API integration before publishing it for customer use.

Access to UltiPro Connect is free for customers and enables them to browse, research, and filter the partner apps and services to find ones that best accommodate their business needs. Alternatively, customers can easily build their own custom integrations, drawing from the extensive information, simplified framework, and established community support available.

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What is the Best Way to Lead? https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/great-leadership/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/great-leadership/#respond Thu, 19 Oct 2017 12:48:40 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1126 What are the traits of great leadership for the future of work? It’s a question I am often asked by audience members during my varied speaking engagements. It’s a great question, since leadership—like everything else in today’s blistering pace of change—must be dynamic. Leaders must evolve as employees do, to direct organizations that operate and […]

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leadershipWhat are the traits of great leadership for the future of work? It’s a question I am often asked by audience members during my varied speaking engagements. It’s a great question, since leadership—like everything else in today’s blistering pace of change—must be dynamic.

Leaders must evolve as employees do, to direct organizations that operate and are managed differently. I’m referring to the movement in many companies toward project-based teamwork involving both full-time and non-permanent employees, tasks performed on a mobile “anywhere” basis, and the positive trend toward employee inclusiveness, in which each person’s self-defined uniqueness is seen as the asset it is. (See my related post, Are You Ready for True Workforce Fluidity?) Certainly, this is not your grandfather’s business to lead.

Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, companies were often run with military precision. During World War II, 10 high-ranking management theorists were recruited by the U.S. Air Force to enhance operations. When the war ended, Ford Motor Company snapped them up. They inserted the military’s “org charts” into Ford’s structure, creating divisions, departments, and jobs based on a person’s specific expertise. This ensured work was appropriately doled out, supervised, and completed. Other companies soon incorporated similar structures across the industrialized world.

As one might imagine, leaders of these businesses were akin to military generals. They commanded the organization from the boardroom, rather than the war room. This structure was right (for the times) and proved its merit. American companies quickly became the best in the world. And then the Internet, smartphones, the cloud, cognitive computing, and the Internet of Things burgeoned to seriously change things—democratizing decision-making and communications.

So what is today’s definition of “great leadership”? To draw a clearer picture, I turned to the source of the last century’s business leadership model—the military. I asked Lieutenant General George Flynn, now retired, for his perspective on the subject.

Lt. Gen. Flynn enjoyed a distinguished career in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration and the Commanding General of the Combat Development Command in Quantico, Virginia. He is an advisor to Ultimate Software and many other corporations, and is a brilliant resource on leadership strategy.

You may know Lt. Gen. Flynn as the inspiration for a book by the best-selling author Simon Sinek. Sinek had interviewed him to learn more about the Marine Corps’ style of leadership. He boiled it down to these three words—“Officers eat last.” Sinek was so taken with the response he named his book after it (Leaders Eat Last). I recently sat down with George to ask what he meant by his comment.

“It’s really pretty simple,” he said. “If you treat your team as the most important resource in your organization, they become committed to you and the purpose of the organization. It shows your respect and the fact that you care so much about them that they deserve only the best. And that includes eating first, beginning with the most junior officer and ending with the most senior officer.”

He added, “That’s the ‘cost of leadership,’ as I explained it to Simon.”

This leadership philosophy seems at odds with today’s corporate guidance. Few CEOs know the names of employees other than their direct reports. Many of them eat with other senior executives in a separate part of the company cafeteria and have large offices away from the rest of their employees. Certainly, this is not an “officers eat last” approach. Rather, it suggests rank—people separated based on their perceived value and contributions to the success of the organization. There is a shift happening in some companies where CEOs are forgoing offices for shared office space, and the impact is significant for employees. As George put it, “Whoever is leading must form trusted relationships with those being led.”

Our discussion moved on to today’s millennial workers. George commented that this generation of employees tends to demand more from its leaders. “They want to know the ‘why’ before they buy into the project,” he explained. “When they believe in the value of what needs to be done, they’re very giving of their time and effort. They’ll go the extra mile if they understand the purpose behind the tasks and believe in that purpose.”

Without this understanding, millennials (really all employees) are more likely to search for new employment. To keep them, leaders must ensure they have meaningful work that leads to the development of new skills. “Millennials need to be trained and empowered to take risks on behalf of the organization, to progress in their careers,” George said. How can today’s business leaders, particularly those at the helm of large, far-flung organizations, ensure full buy-in from the “troops”? George responded that there are specific times on any given day when a leader can demonstrate valued leadership. “We call them ‘defining moments,’” he said. “The moments differ, but examples include how the person makes a difficult decision or handles a mistake. Word of mouth quickly spreads to form an opinion about the leader.”

These opinions are the basis for following the leader. “In my experience, I’ve come across three levels of leadership,” said George. “The first is when people follow you because you’ve been given the authority to control them. The second is they follow you because they trust you and will, therefore, take risks for you. The third level is they follow you because they believe in you and your mission. At that level, they’ll make personal sacrifices for you. Down deep, all people want to be part of something bigger than themselves.”

I couldn’t agree more. When we feel we are part of something important led by a leader we believe in, work becomes much more than just work. It becomes part of our purpose and identity.

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Live From #HRTechConf 2017: AI and the Future of HR https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/live-hrtechconf-2017-ai-future-hr/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/live-hrtechconf-2017-ai-future-hr/#comments Fri, 13 Oct 2017 19:31:34 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1119 “Artificial intelligence (AI) is the number-one technology you can’t afford to miss.” These powerful words came from Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research, as he led the “Looking Ahead: Where Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning May Take the Next Generation of HR” panel on Thursday, October 12, the second-to-last day of […]

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“Artificial intelligence (AI) is the number-one technology you can’t afford to miss.”

These powerful words came from Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research, as he led the “Looking Ahead: Where Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning May Take the Next Generation of HR” panel on Thursday, October 12, the second-to-last day of the 2017 HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas.

Ultimate Software Xander demo at HR Tech Conference 2017Mueller was not alone in his sentiment. AI and machine learning took center stage at the conference this year, with multiple sessions and panels dedicated to the burgeoning technology and its expected impact on HR and HCM. Subject-matter experts from organizations across HR tech agreed on AI’s revolutionary capacity, common problems facing developers, and opportunities for industry leaders to incorporate these futuristic technologies into their solutions.

AI-related topics such as Big Data, advanced analytics, natural language processing (NLP), and blockchain technologies were also discussed.

Many Ultimate Software representatives were invited to participate in panels and lead sessions, including Vivian Maza, chief people officer; Adam Rogers, chief technology officer; Cecile Alper-Leroux, vice president of HCM innovation; Armen Berjikly, senior director of strategy for workforce intelligence; Moritz Sudhof, principal data scientist; Jarik Conrad, senior director of HCM innovation, and Yasmary Diaz, engineering team owner.

Joseph Cutrono, manager of innovation strategy, and his team also participated in the conference as competitors in the annual HR Tech Hack-a-Thon. In just 48 hours, Cutrono’s team built a functional platform to help managers effortlessly evaluate competencies in their workforce and efficiently forge new teams based on desired skill set, emotional fit, salary requirements, and more. Audience polling confirmed Ultimate’s solution won by a landslide, both for the feature the audience would most like to have and what’s most likely to be incorporated into future HCM solutions.

While many session and panel discussions were speculative and future-focused, Ultimate’s representatives were able to speak on AI-powered solutions that are presently available. During the conference, Ultimate announced and demoed Xander™, its groundbreaking, “People First” AI platform that underlies UltiPro®’s ability to understand, predict, prescribe, and act on workforce data. Named after innovator Alexander Graham Bell, who improved relationships and brought people closer together using the technology of the telephone, Xander is the next frontier of meaningful people management (and, therefore, organizational success).

Coupling advanced NLP capabilities with machine learning, Xander can analyze open-ended text and decipher more than 100 emotions, 70 workplace themes, and overall sentiment with better-than-human accuracy. It’s as sensitive to emotions as it is to statistics, helping leaders to understand not only what their employees are saying, but how they’re actually feeling. Robust predictive capabilities can forecast everything from performance to retention, and prescriptive functions take this even farther by offering managers step-by-step recommendations at the most crucial decision-making points—all based on experience and what’s worked well in similar situations.

“Xander isn’t designed to replace people,” said Berjikly during the demo. “It’s designed to understand them and help them do their jobs better.”

Stay connected to @UltimateHCM on Twitter for ongoing updates and coverage from this year’s #HRTechConf.

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Confidently Navigating Uncertainty in the Healthcare Industry https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/hr-healthcare-industry/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/hr-healthcare-industry/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 15:32:11 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1104 Today’s HR leaders in the healthcare industry must be more agile than ever before, adapting to a variety of evolving policy, technology, and structural changes that continue to redefine the industry. In a world of widespread consolidation and ever-changing governmental guidelines, healthcare organizations must also cope with the shift to value-based reimbursement and steep competition […]

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hr healthcare industryToday’s HR leaders in the healthcare industry must be more agile than ever before, adapting to a variety of evolving policy, technology, and structural changes that continue to redefine the industry. In a world of widespread consolidation and ever-changing governmental guidelines, healthcare organizations must also cope with the shift to value-based reimbursement and steep competition for skilled talent. The good news is that HR technology can be a huge help. This post will detail some of the challenges and how HR technology can overcome those obstacles.

Despite the high cost of property management and machinery, labor is undoubtedly the most significant operating expense for most healthcare providers. For hospitals, salary costs often consume more than half of total operating revenue, and for smaller practices, this percentage can be even higher. Clearly, the need for strategic operations is paramount for today’s healthcare HR leaders as they navigate unique talent management challenges in a highly stressful and fast-paced field.

Recruiting in the Healthcare Industry

More than any other industry, healthcare HR leaders are faced with the importance of hiring highly skilled employees—with life-or-death consequences. High salaries and a shortage of specialized talent compound recruiting pressure. Despite fierce competition, managers must take their time during the hiring process to ensure candidates are a good match based on experience as well as behaviors, motivations, and aspirations—qualities that are more effective at determining long-term fit and success.

Retention and HR Technology

While replacing a lower-level hourly employee can cost just 16% of their salary, replacing a highly trained employee—like a doctor—can cost up to two times their annual salary. The implications of high turnover in healthcare can be disastrous, both financially and in terms of declining patient-care quality.

Fortunately, advancements in predictive and prescriptive analytics can harness the power of Big Data to identify everything from high performers to flight risks. These data-driven insights allow healthcare HR leaders to strategically target at-risk employees and take action to engage and retain them.

Compliance Made Easier with an HCM Partner

U.S. healthcare legislation continues to change with little notice, and healthcare HR leaders must be increasingly responsive to ensure compliance and avoid hefty penalties. Choosing an HCM partner with proven healthcare expertise and adaptability can be a lifeline for providers, who can then rely on receiving updates and the necessary knowledge, tools, and services to face any challenges presented by new regulations.

Flexibility Through Human Resources Technology

For healthcare providers, time-consuming HR processes are a significant drain on resources when what’s really needed is seamless flexibility to adjust to industry upheavals. Unified, cloud-based solutions allow leaders to easily scale talent management, addressing a variety of HR needs without increasing workload. The result is significant cost savings, improved accuracy, and personalized assistance and specialized advice through every step of the employee lifecycle.

To learn more about how healthcare organizations have overcome their human resources challenges, take a look at these real-life case studies:

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New AI Tools Key to Improving Engagement https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ai-key-improving-employee-engagement/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ai-key-improving-employee-engagement/#respond Wed, 30 Aug 2017 10:00:14 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1085 Employee engagement has been a hot topic for years, and its influence continues to make headlines. Gallup has been tracking U.S. engagement since 2000, and countless studies over the past 17 years have verified the tremendous impact engagement can have on corporate success. The most recent “State of the American Workplace” report found that high […]

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employee engagementEmployee engagement has been a hot topic for years, and its influence continues to make headlines. Gallup has been tracking U.S. engagement since 2000, and countless studies over the past 17 years have verified the tremendous impact engagement can have on corporate success. The most recent “State of the American Workplace” report found that high engagement levels are directly associated with lower turnover, absenteeism, and even workplace theft, as well as higher productivity, profitability, and sales. All these factors significantly impact the bottom line, so it’s no surprise that 85% of executives rated engagement as an important or very important priority for their companies.

What’s concerning, then, is the consistent lack of improvement in engagement statistics. In 2016, 34% of U.S. employees were engaged—compared with 31.7% in 2015, 29.3% in 2013, and 30.7% in 2011. In fact, Gallup’s U.S. employee engagement rate has remained relatively stagnant since it first began tracking these metrics, despite substantial corporate investment. Why the disconnect?

Unfortunately, many engagement initiatives have been unfocused and ineffective. It’s not uncommon for executives to roll out one-time surveys or a new workplace perk and feel like they’ve done their part for engagement that year. Even more thorough and thoughtful programs can focus merely on measuring engagement without offering tangible tactics to improve it, which provides insight but doesn’t enhance outcomes. In order for engagement programs to be truly productive, they need to be ongoing, data-driven, and capable of providing actionable feedback leading to lasting change.

For years, any attempts at developing this feedback loop were cumbersome and prohibitively time-intensive. But today’s new tech tools are changing that.

Through advances in artificial intelligence, HR leaders are now able to easily pinpoint their disengaged or flight-risk employees and leverage historical data to discern which leadership actions will have the greatest impact. The predictive and prescriptive functionalities of today’s leading HCM solutions have far-reaching implications for everything from performance to succession management, but the potential to improve engagement is particularly exciting simply because engagement influences so many other key HR metrics.

And since one of the most effective ways of tracking corporate engagement is through direct employee feedback, new developments in natural language processing (NLP) are game-changing, empowering leaders to easily deploy pulse surveys that can accurately and succinctly convey employee sentiment. These surveys can be scaled across entire organizations or targeted to specific workforce demographics, distributed at regular intervals, or triggered by certain events.

Armed with real-time data reflecting the most pressing issues for their people, executives can actively measure the impact of specific engagement initiatives and leverage predictive capabilities to decisively inform next steps. Essentially, today’s emerging AI tools enable leaders to have a powerful, strategic, and measurable impact on their engagement metrics—and nearly everything else in the process.

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HR for Manufacturing Companies: How Today’s Tech Can Help https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/tech-helps-hr-for-manufacturing-companies/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/tech-helps-hr-for-manufacturing-companies/#respond Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:00:35 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1076 The manufacturing industry contributed $2.18 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2016 and accounted for 11.7% of its GDP. On its own, U.S. manufacturing is considered the 10th largest economy—in the world. It’s also one of the largest U.S. employment sectors, accounting for 9% of the workforce and 12.3 million employees. With such a heavily […]

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HR for manufacturing companiesThe manufacturing industry contributed $2.18 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2016 and accounted for 11.7% of its GDP. On its own, U.S. manufacturing is considered the 10th largest economy—in the world. It’s also one of the largest U.S. employment sectors, accounting for 9% of the workforce and 12.3 million employees. With such a heavily populated workforce—many of whom are hourly employees, union members, or scattered throughout the country—it’s not surprising that manufacturing HR leaders face a variety of complex, industry-specific challenges. Thankfully, today’s technology solutions are increasingly alleviating these challenges.

To compete in today’s global economy, manufacturing companies must find innovative ways to strategically manage their human capital, streamline procedures, and attract investors. Fortunately, just as manufacturers are taking advantage of technology to improve their development and production, today’s HR solutions optimize the latest technological advancements to help manufacturing HR leaders recruit, train, and manage their employees.

Here’s an overview of some of the most common challenges in HR for manufacturing companies.

Recruiting difficulty

The sheer number of positions to be filled often poses challenges for manufacturing recruiters, and this problem is expounded by the industry’s widening skills gap. Deloitte predicts that from 2015 to 2025, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed, but 2 million of these will go unfilled due to a serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly skilled production positions. Already, 40% of manufacturers are citing the lack of skilled talent as a primary roadblock to investing in technology that could improve their businesses and products.

With talent shortage comes steep competition. Traditional recruiting systems can be tedious, repetitive, and complex, making it difficult for candidates to engage and often causing frustration and dropout. Many companies lose candidates during the process without even realizing it. But by making it easy for candidates to provide information and actually interact with prospective employers, manufacturers can attract the best talent and encourage them to apply—especially younger workers, who are sorely needed in manufacturing.

Compliance complexities

With an abundance of shift and union workers, overtime, and geographically dispersed employees, manufacturing payroll can be highly nuanced and brimming with complexities. Employers must consider shift premiums, overtime, and union membership while keeping track of constantly changing federal, state, and local taxes for each employee.

Seasonal work and turnover

Transitions in HR for manufacturing companies occur frequently due to seasonal changes, acquisitions, and mergers. The industry is also experiencing a significant increase in turnover as talent shortage provides more competition and opportunities for skilled workers.

Proactively managing talent with meaningful and unbiased metrics is crucial for manufacturers, as is identifying top performers and potential flight risks. By utilizing a variety of reporting, analytics, and business intelligence tools, managers can gain complete insight into headcount, turnover, and recruitment to make the most informed and strategic workforce decisions.

Click on the links below for some examples of how manufacturing companies have overcome their HR challenges:

Kawasaki (http://www.ultimatesoftware.com/UltiPro-Case-Study/Kawasaki)

HOLT CAT (http://www.ultimatesoftware.com/UltiPro-Case-Study/HOLT-CAT)

Armacell (http://www.ultimatesoftware.com/UltiPro-Case-Study/Armacell)

 

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Why “Best in Tech” Workplaces are Built on Innovation https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/best-place-to-work-in-it/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/best-place-to-work-in-it/#respond Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:04:29 +0000 https://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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Four Employee Training Trends to Keep on Your Radar https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-training-trends-2017/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-training-trends-2017/#respond Wed, 31 May 2017 10:00:13 +0000 https://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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Using Payroll Software to Alleviate Tax-Time Woes https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/payroll-software-simplify-taxes/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/payroll-software-simplify-taxes/#comments Fri, 28 Apr 2017 01:05:25 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=990 Just like how February is for sweethearts and November is for feasting, for many Americans, April is synonymous with one thing: filing taxes. Depending on your personal and financial situation, the process can be relatively smooth or plagued with technicalities, and the same is true for businesses. If you’re a small company with a few […]

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Just like how February is for sweethearts and November is for feasting, for many Americans, April is synonymous with one thing: filing taxes. Depending on your personal and financial situation, the process can be relatively smooth or plagued with technicalities, and the same is true for businesses.

payroll softwareIf you’re a small company with a few local employees, it’s possible that your tax services process can be reasonably handled by an in-house employee. But for most businesses, managing employee taxes is an extremely complex endeavor, as you’ll need to manually navigate through thousands of tax jurisdictions—there are 7,000 in Pennsylvania alone—to assign the correct tax code for each employee. And the price of non-compliance is steep; in 2014, the IRS issued 6.8 million penalties related to employment taxes alone, costing US businesses $4.5 billion. For these reasons, it often makes more sense to use payroll software and services that can meet your organization’s unique needs while conserving internal resources and ensuring IRS compliance.

How Payroll Software Can Help

Some payroll solutions offer a comprehensive tax management feature to help businesses handle all tax and compliance computations, including withholding requirements, multi-state taxing rules and reciprocity, and more. All U.S. federal, state, and local tax regulations can be updated automatically, as well as Canadian federal and provincial/territorial regulations. And to simplify things even further, these solutions often leverage the latest geographic information systems to automatically determine the correct tax codes for employees.

As a result, tax information is processed quickly and accurately, simplifying the administrative process and mitigating compliance risk. Technology providers can even provide services to print, seal, and send you your year-end tax forms, ready for immediate distribution. For Ultimate Software, tax services are just another way we’ve designed our solution to put people first.

Service: Putting People—and Their Taxes—First

In addition to UltiPro’s strong payroll solution, service has always been a differentiating factor. In an industry where 7 out of 10 HR decision makers report regretting their HCM provider choice, Ultimate stands proud with a 95% customer satisfaction rate. We’re in the people business, and we treat our customers as partners for life. This means that you’ll work closely with one of our dedicated representatives—throughout the entire process—to define and implement the strategies that make sense for your company.

To learn more about how Ultimate’s HR, payroll, and talent management software can fulfill your human capital management needs, join us for a live UltiPro Web Demo on April 27, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time.

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Ask Adam: Creating a Positive Employee Experience https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/positive-employee-experience/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/positive-employee-experience/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 10:00:13 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=974 “Employee experience” has become a standard HR buzzword, and today’s executives are increasingly recognizing and prioritizing its influence. In January, Forbes published “The Employee Experience Is the Future of Work,” and we now know that “ee experience” is the #1 driver of employment outcomes. Unfortunately, measuring—even defining—the drivers of positive employee experience can be tumultuous, […]

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“Employee experience” has become a standard HR buzzword, and today’s executives are increasingly recognizing and prioritizing its influence. In January, Forbes published “The Employee Experience Is the Future of Work,” and we now know that “ee experience” is the #1 driver of employment outcomes. Unfortunately, measuring—even defining—the drivers of positive employee experience can be tumultuous, primarily driven by a lack of data outlining exactly what contributes to employee happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment.

As an HCM technology company defined by our “People First” philosophy, pinpointing the key factors facilitating a great employee experience was necessary both for our own development and to add value for our customers. We partnered with the Center for Generational Kinetics to conduct a comprehensive study of U.S. working adults and found that two-way trust, nurtured through open and ongoing communication, was critical for a positive employee experience. Other important factors included organizational culture, professional development opportunities, innovative technology, promptly addressing concerns, and safety—both physical and emotional.

We recently presented these results in a webcast, and received so many great questions that I didn’t have time to answer them all. Here are a few of the most common questions, along with my suggestions. If you have any other questions about our research or the employee experience, please let me know in the comments below!

Q: How can I determine how employees feel?

A: Just ask them—and often. Today’s workforce values inclusion, coaching, and ongoing feedback. Instead of relying solely on formal performance management processes, which are certainly useful but have a slew of limitations, modern organizations are beginning to implement more frequent, informal positive employee experiencecheck-ins and pulse surveys. On-demand surveys allow you to gauge how your employees are actually feeling in real time, particularly when your solution uses advanced sentiment analysis technology to accurately dissect open-ended text. Armed with substantial data about the health of your organization, you’re empowered to quickly address areas of concern and dramatically increase positive employee experience.­

Q: How do you build trust?

A: At its core, trust is based around communication, transparency, and action. The goal is to develop managers into better people leaders who are in tune with their teams and empowered to take ownership of engagement. Technological solutions can provide structured and proactive coaching support, including practical suggestions for taking the most effective action.

Q: What investments should my company make to create a positive employee experience?

A: Fortunately, you don’t need to dismantle your entire organization to improve the employee experience for your people. Little things can make a big difference—but it’s crucial to invest in both career development and modern technology. Providing ongoing learning opportunities to your employees will challenge and motivate them while improving overall satisfaction. Employees are also heavily impacted by the tools they use to get their jobs done, as well as those they use to access their pay and benefits information. Even I was shocked by our research results regarding technology in the workplace—one in three employees said they would consider leaving their jobs because of outdated technology.

Implementing these strategies will help positively influence all manners of the employee experience, including fostering ongoing communication, providing career clarity, and—most important of all—building trust between your organization and your employees.

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