Technology – Ultimate Software's Blog https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:11:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 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 http://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 http://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 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1022 Anyone familiar with Ultimate Software knows that our core mantra is “People First.” From our employees to our customers to their employees, everything we do is focused on caring for people. And it makes an impact. We’re honored to frequently rank on a variety of “best workplace” lists, including being named Fortune’s #7 Best Company […]

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Anyone familiar with Ultimate Software knows that our core mantra is “People First.” From our employees to our customers to their employees, everything we do is focused on caring for people. And it makes an impact. We’re honored to frequently rank on a variety of “best workplace” lists, including being named Fortune’s #7 Best Company to Work For in 2017, and the #1 Best Large Workplace in Technology the past two years. Today, I’m proud to announce another accolade: Computerworld magazine has named us the #1 Best Place to Work in IT among midsize tech companies.

Computerworld Magazine Best Place to Work in ITThere are several fundamental beliefs that set US apart. We believe in helping our employees—and their families—stay healthy by covering 100% of their healthcare premiums, including medical, dental, and vision. We believe in nurturing our people’s futures by offering a 401(k) retirement plan with a 40% company match on every dollar, with no cap. And we believe in trust, communication, and flexibility to accommodate life. These core values enable our employees, our culture, and our company to thrive. I believe any company, in any industry, would benefit from taking care of people the way we do.

But as a technology company that specializes in human capital management (HCM), there are other unique factors to consider. Constant industry upheavals are standard, along with steep competition for top talent, constant innovation, and growing market share. Technological advances are occurring faster than ever, and companies must keep ahead to remain successful. Developments in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and an ever-growing gig workforce are forcing HCM software providers to grow and adapt. Fortunately, at Ultimate, we’ve learned that the same techniques that encourage our employees’ innovation also help foster an exciting and unique culture contributing to overall happiness and satisfaction.

Here are some ways we bolster creativity, driving the creation of our award-winning products, services, and culture.

48 Hours

We once asked, “What can be done in 48 hours?” and learned, with the right people, more than we could have imagined. Twice a year, we run a highly anticipated coding event called “48 Hours.” Developers spend two consecutive days brainstorming and actualizing ideas enhancing UltiPro’s features and functionality. Sometimes, they even work on ideas completely unrelated to their current projects and roadmaps. Fueled by copious amounts of coffee and energized by the exciting (and competitive!) atmosphere, our developers thrive on the challenge and complete freedom to invent new solutions. This is a great testing and proving ground for our development staff to showcase new technologies. Several times, these projects have enhanced our current roadmap or provided such an increase in value to our clients, we added it directly into the UltiPro solution.

Leverage Advanced Technology

We invest in our employees by providing the best technology possible. We even have our own in-house tech support team complete with onsite TechSpots, where employees can take their devices for tune-ups and troubleshooting. Our innovative UltiLab features a variety of the latest products and technologies for employees to program, test, and experiment with. By experimenting with the latest and greatest platforms and technologies, our people are continuously inspired to create innovative solutions that help people solve problems.

Continuing Knowledge Transfer

Another way Ultimate promotes innovation is by providing each department a budget for attending employees’ choice of learning workshops and conferences. Agile, ISSTA, Lean Kanban, SHRM, QCon, and others are all frequently attended by our employees—and it’s common to find our people leading conference sessions and workshops. Developers are highly encouraged to take development courses, and teams have even created customized learning paths specific to their needs on various platforms.

Professional Development

We continually invest in ongoing learning opportunities for our employees, a passion that is now being offered to our customers through UltiPro Learning. In addition to Ultimate offering tuition reimbursement and covering costs associated with certificate training, our internal learning portal encourages all employees to improve their current skill sets and potentially grow into new roles. The site offers videos, Web tours, and courses employees can select to achieve their personal goals. Employees are also encouraged to take ownership of their own learning and growth as they advance in their careers.

Developing Leaders

Our comprehensive LeadUS program was created to develop all managers and potential managers into world-class leaders. Drawing on Ultimate’s leadership principles, skill-, trust-, and team-building sessions prepare the next generation of Ultimate’s leaders for success, while cultivating creativity and innovation among our people. Three separate learning tracks are available, from aspiring managers to senior executives.

In my experience, one of the best aspects of working at a technology company is the camaraderie and hunger for continual improvement. By fostering a culture of innovation, we’re not only supporting our employees’ individual careers, but developing a workforce that runs on inspiration and ingenuity. We’ve built an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and challenged—a workplace that’s definitively the “best in tech.”

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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 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1011 Technological innovation is occurring at breakneck speeds, and our world—and successful businesses—are transforming just as fast. Technical skills, such as computer literacy and basic coding, are often prerequisites even for service and administrative positions—and for good reason. Companies unable to keep pace with the digital revolution risk becoming obsolete, and employees must continue honing their […]

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

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

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

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

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

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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 http://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 http://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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Ultimate Unveils New Ways to “Elevate” Employee Experiences at Connections 2017 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/connections-2017-new-products/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/connections-2017-new-products/#respond Wed, 12 Apr 2017 10:00:05 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=953 Last month marked Ultimate Software’s largest-ever Connections customer conference, with more than 3,000 HR professionals, analysts, and leaders gathering in Las Vegas for the four-day event. Connections 2017 centered on the theme of “Elevate” and featured a dual keynote presentation by Ultimate’s Chief Technology Officer, Adam Rogers, and VP of Products, Martin Hartshorne, who showcased […]

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connections 2017Last month marked Ultimate Software’s largest-ever Connections customer conference, with more than 3,000 HR professionals, analysts, and leaders gathering in Las Vegas for the four-day event. Connections 2017 centered on the theme of “Elevate” and featured a dual keynote presentation by Ultimate’s Chief Technology Officer, Adam Rogers, and VP of Products, Martin Hartshorne, who showcased Ultimate’s latest human capital management solutions designed to elevate the employee experience.

Here’s a special look at how Ultimate plans to help organizations better understand their people, support their development, and increase their productivity in 2017, and in the years ahead.

Improving Understanding with Smarter Surveys, Advanced AI

Because understanding employees starts with good listening—and 75% of American workers say they’re more likely to stay with a company longer if their concerns are heard and addressed—Ultimate is excited to introduce UltiPro Perception™. Using advanced natural language processing (NLP) and machine-learning algorithms, UltiPro Perception delivers a smarter employee survey with sentiment analysis to uncover how people truly feel about work. Perception interprets open-ended responses in real time and delivers instant insights to managers and leaders, so organizations can better listen, understand, and act on employee feedback to improve satisfaction and increase retention.

Taking the power of Perception and UltiPro’s suite of analytics even farther is Xander, Ultimate’s “People First” artificial intelligence (AI) platform and its next step in HCM data science. This portfolio of advanced AI technologies combines analytical intelligence and emotional intelligence to support organizations in every aspect of HR. Built on NLP and machine learning, Xander will enable Ultimate’s solutions to automatically understand, predict, prescribe, and act on all relevant HCM data.

Supporting Development with Modern Learning Experiences

Three out of four people in the workforce say professional development is necessary to remain satisfied at work, according to The Center for Generational Kinetics. To help organizations shift from offering employees one-time training to providing continuous professional development, Ultimate introduces UltiPro Learning. This solution delivers a modern learning experience and a compelling, person-centric approach to development, in which people learn in ways they find most convenient and helpful—from traditional courses to short, user-generated content. With the ability to conveniently share knowledge among teams and communities, users are empowered to become educators, teaching their peers while learning from one another.

Through UltiPro Learning, organizations can provide employees with consumable, on-demand content, social and collaborative tools, and mobile access to educational resources—so learning and professional development can continue to take place, even in workplaces where desktop computers aren’t always available, such as in retail stores and restaurants.

Increasing Productivity with a New Native Mobile App

Soon, employees will be able to do much more than learn on their preferred devices. This summer, Ultimate officially launches UltiPro’s new mobile app. Natively available in the Apple and Android app stores at no extra cost, this mobile app puts the most frequently used and relevant UltiPro functionality in people’s hands, elevating employee productivity with better notifications, easier collaboration, and enhanced interaction. Employees can sign in with a simple touch ID or pin code, clock in and out of shifts, view schedules, request time off, and more.

Another standout feature of UltiPro’s mobile app is its Pay Insights feature. Organizations on average receive 1,150 calls and emails from employees about their pay annually, according to Bloomberg BNA. Pay Insights helps prevent pay-related confusion and distractions by breaking down an employee’s paycheck, so they can better understand how earnings and deductions will affect their pay.

With convenient access to critical information and tools, UltiPro’s enhanced mobile app will help employees stay productive at work, in the field, and on the go.

For more Connections 2017 coverage, follow #UltiConnect on social media, and visit Ultimate’s Facebook and Instagram pages for exclusive photos, videos, and insight from the event.

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How Big Data and Analytics are Shaping the Future of HCM https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/big-data-prescriptive-analytics/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/big-data-prescriptive-analytics/#comments Thu, 06 Apr 2017 10:00:56 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=945 We’re officially in Q2 of 2017, and it’s clear that some of the same industry-leading trends that having been influencing HR for years have continued to advance and will remain hot topics for the foreseeable future. Big Data and its natural counterpart, analytics, showed the potential to impact nearly every aspect of HCM–and recent advancements […]

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We’re officially in Q2 of 2017, and it’s clear that some of the same industry-leading trends that having been influencing HR for years have continued to advance and will remain hot topics for the foreseeable future. Big Data and its natural counterpart, analytics, showed the potential to impact nearly every aspect of HCM–and recent advancements have made them increasingly instrumental for today’s HR and business leaders.

Leveraging Yesterday’s Data to Change Tomorrow

Big Data provides a staggering wealth of quantitative information, often mined from millions of complex data points to shed light onto patterns, trends and outliers that can significantly affect organizations. Because of Big Data’s sheer enormity, advanced analytics are necessary to glean any usable insights from these massive collections, and current technology is capable of much more than simply detecting organizational trends (although this alone is quite valuable, too).

prescriptive analyticsToday’s analytical HCM solutions can predict everything from performance success to retention risk, using unbiased mathematical algorithms to forecast future scenarios with tremendous accuracy. What’s more, the development of prescriptive analytics takes predictive measures one step farther, offering fact-based, real-time suggestions at key decision points to assist employers in making their most crucial leadership decisions. These prescriptive analytics solutions are part of a new generation of insight-driven tools that enable organizations to easily harness the power of Big Data and gain a competitive edge for the future.

HR leaders and executives are empowered to proactively plan for and protect against obstacles, instead of responding retroactively. American Fidelity Assurance Company, for example, benefited significantly from implementing UltiPro’s data-driven predictive analytics, and an in-house curriculum that guides managers through step-by-step strategies to motivate high-risk, high-performing employees. In addition to improving retention, American Fidelity was able to concentrate on developing their high-potential and top-performing individuals and increase engagement among employees (and management) as a result.

The People Factor

As human resources professionals, it’s important not to forget the human aspect. Let’s face it: people can be complicated and unpredictable. While data analysis has come incredibly far in its evolution from real-time to predictive to prescriptive, a common criticism of Big Data is its inability to recognize the emotions and motivations behind why people acted the way that they did.

Understanding what inspires employees and what they care about most is a crucial aspect of building a workplace that values, engages, and retains its people. Annual performance reviews and exit/stay surveys simply aren’t effective enough at recognizing the actual employee experience. That’s why I’m extremely excited about new sentiment-analysis technology, which combines natural language processing (NLP) and machine-learning algorithms to interpret and analyze comprehensive open-ended surveys and reveal underlying employee emotions. These surveys, which can be sent out at regular intervals and completed on both desktop and mobile devices, reveal not only what your employees are saying, but also the underlying emotions they’re feeling. Here’s a glimpse of how it works:

Using prescriptive analytics and sentiment analysis means that today’s leaders can review both quantitative and qualitative data to understand past trends and future developments. Even better, they’re supported by real-time, actionable insights to improve every aspect of the employee experience while pinpointing future high performers and flight risks. Big Data and analytics may be the same buzzwords we’ve been using for years, but they’re anything but yesterday’s news.

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More Employees are Voluntarily Leaving Jobs – What it Means for HR https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-feedback-retention/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-feedback-retention/#respond Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:00:31 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=882 The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for December 2016, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in February, reported there were 1.4 million more quits than layoffs and discharges for the month. These numbers mirror the November 2016 report, which also determined that the difference in number of quits—defined by the BLS […]

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The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for December 2016, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in February, reported there were 1.4 million more quits than layoffs and discharges for the month. These numbers mirror the November 2016 report, which also determined that the difference in number of quits—defined by the BLS as “generally voluntary separations initiated by employees”—and number of layoffs and discharges has increased since April 2010.

employee feedback Said another way: more and more people are feeling more and more comfortable about voluntarily leaving their jobs. While this development shows signs of a strengthening economy, it also spells fresh challenges for HR professionals and business leaders.

Fortunately, the number of technological tools and resources available for preventing turnover—that is, forecasting flight risk, measuring workplace happiness, and taking meaningful action to enhance the employee experience—also has increased in recent years.

Advances in predictive and prescriptive analytics have given HR the ability to easily analyze millions of data points to uncover workforce trends and, even more importantly, act upon the results. Assisted by unbiased metrics, today’s managers have increased insight into their teams’ performance and can better determine which individuals might be thinking about leaving. Maybe one employee feels undervalued, and another overworked. A third, meanwhile, craves more responsibility. All three employees could benefit from leadership stepping in and having that all-important, two-way conversation—before it’s too late.

But, as with any productive conversation, the key is to listen.

New employee feedback software is empowering organizations to do just that. These solutions not only help managers collect valuable employee feedback, they also measure how people truly feel about their jobs, teams, leaders, and organization as a whole. The latest offering in this realm revolutionizes the staff-engagement survey, drawing upon machine learning and natural language processing to analyze open-ended responses and gauge individuals’ perception of the organization.

Survey results are even delivered in real time. Because time is of the essence.

These new numbers from the BLS suggest it’s perhaps now more important than ever for organizations to renew their focus on the employee. After all, people drive business, and retaining top talent is crucial for continued success.

A recent study by The Center for Generational Kinetics found that three-quarters of American workers reported they’re more likely to stay with a company longer if their concerns are heard and addressed. By listening to and acting upon employee feedback, companies of all sizes can help ensure their people choose to grow their careers with their organization, instead of deciding to develop their skills elsewhere.

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How Unified Employee-Feedback Tools are Revolutionizing HR https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-feedback-perception/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-feedback-perception/#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2017 19:30:05 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=864 Nearly all HR leaders agree that long-term organizational success is dependent upon building and retaining a happy, engaged workforce. While a litany of factors influence workplace satisfaction, the data on this are clear: three out of four employees say that the one thing employers can do to improve retention is to listen to and address […]

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Nearly all HR leaders agree that long-term organizational success is dependent upon building and retaining a happy, engaged workforce. While a litany of factors influence workplace satisfaction, the data on this are clear: three out of four employees say that the one thing employers can do to improve retention is to listen to and address their concerns. This deceptively simple concept, however, is easier said than done. Yearly reviews are invaluable snapshots of each employee’s experience and performance, but they’re limited in their ability to provide real-time feedback throughout the year.

It turns out that the best way to learn what motivates your employees and how they feel about work is to just ask them. Regularly. Some companies have begun investing in employee-feedback technology, but those that do usually struggle with time-consuming manual analysis, complex integration work, and far-too-simplistic surveys that fail to uncover any meaningful, actionable insights.

So, what’s the solution?

It’s HCM Software, Only Better

We’re thrilled to be unveiling UltiPro Perception this year, one of the newest features of Ultimate Software’s award-winning, cloud-based HCM solution. Developed by a team of statisticians, mathematicians, psychologists, and , this sophisticated sentiment-analysis technology uses customizable surveys to measure both quantitative, scalar data and unstructured, text-based data. It’s a statistical approach, but grounded in human psychology, and it’s capable of recognizing more than 100 emotions and over 70 themes, including workplace topics, values, and performance competencies.

The analysis of open-ended data supplies specific information about how employees are actually feeling—are they sad about lack of manager recognition? Worried about developmental opportunities? Grateful for benefits updates? Perception interprets their responses and understands data with upwards of 97% accuracy, compared with human-level accuracy of 65%–75%, and HR leaders enjoy a 99% reduction in expended time and effort. Instead of waiting weeks—or months—to go through a complex analysis process, results are delivered within seconds of survey completion. Instant insights mean you understand how your employees feel today, not how they felt three months ago, all with the click of a button.

unified technologyThe technology cuts through extraneous information to focus on the key insights that matter most to businesses, such as performance and attrition. These data-driven results leave no room for bias or favoritism and make decision-making easy. Finally, because Perception is part of our comprehensive HCM solution, employers can match scores with crucial employee metadata while incorporating UltiPro’s predictive and prescriptive analytics functions.

And this is where the magic happens.

The Power of One

As part of a unified HCM solution, sentiment analysis tools seamlessly integrate with existing employee data, with no down time and no room for user error. Perception’s survey- and result-distribution lists are automatically synced with information changes in UltiPro, so as people join, leave, or move around the organization, they’re guaranteed to receive only the most relevant material without any additional input from IT or HR. Data is further safeguarded using UltiPro’s enterprise-level security and role-based access.

Templates exist for every step of the employee journey, from new hire to exit, and automated surveys can be triggered by regular intervals or workplace events. Because UltiPro houses all employee data, it’s easy to select survey participants based on information such as location, department, or tenure. Any data element within the solution can be leveraged to fine-tune surveys, which means you can send a satisfaction survey to all California-based salespeople who’ve been with the company for less than a year—and then filter and compare their responses based on their supervisors or performance. Interested how a certain team’s engagement scores have changed over time, or whether Marketing’s average tenure is improving alongside engagement? Historical benchmarking is an absolute breeze.

Sentiment analysis uncovers people challenges, insight that is even more valuable when used alongside predictive and prescriptive analytics to forecast outcomes based on current feelings and recommend specific actions to mitigate risk. This enables leaders to respond with timely action that drives real change within an organization, improving morale alongside performance and retention. Managers can even link unsatisfied or under-performing individuals directly to UltiPro’s action planning and learning-development courses.

The seamless ease of use provided by a unified sentiment analysis solution is a game-changer for HR professionals and the industry at large. Today’s leaders can leverage massive amounts of unstructured data to receive instant analysis and insights, empowering the data-driven decisions central to every successful strategy.

It’s machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence, and HCM—all in one. Most importantly, it’s easy, so you spend less time analyzing and more time achieving.

It’s a revolution. And we’re paving the road.

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