Ultimate Software's Blog https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Wed, 12 Sep 2018 16:27:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Where to Find Ultimate Software, PeopleDoc at HR Tech 2018 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/where-to-find-ultimate-software-peopledoc-at-hr-tech-2018/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/where-to-find-ultimate-software-peopledoc-at-hr-tech-2018/#respond Mon, 10 Sep 2018 11:09:57 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1508 It’s that time of year! Tomorrow marks the 21st Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition, and all of us at Ultimate Software are excited to once again join the thousands of HR professionals, tech innovators, and industry experts convening in Las Vegas to explore the latest advancements in HCM and preview what’s to come. This […]

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It’s that time of year!

Tomorrow marks the 21st Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition, and all of us at Ultimate Software are excited to once again join the thousands of HR professionals, tech innovators, and industry experts convening in Las Vegas to explore the latest advancements in HCM and preview what’s to come.

This year, we’re especially thrilled to celebrate with and welcome Paris-based PeopleDoc, who joined the Ultimate family in July.

If you’re headed to HR Tech, here’s where you can expect to find Ultimate and PeopleDoc on each day of the premier conference.

 

Tuesday, September 11

Highlighting the first day of HR Tech 2018 is a panel of accomplished HR and product executives, featuring Ultimate’s VP of HCM Innovation, Cecile Alper-Leroux. Cecile and her colleagues will share their expert insights about building the business case for a new enterprise HR technology solution. Don’t miss “The Power of a Pilot Program.”

 

Wednesday, September 12
On a jam-packed day two, you’ll find Ultimate’s Senior Director of HCM Innovation, Jarik Conrad, and Bill Jensen, CEO of the Jensen Group, sharing new and amazing 21st-century stories of brave HR pioneers—and the lessons that can be learned from them. Check out “The Future of HR—Disrupting and Establishing New HR Norms in Putting People First.”

Later, Ultimate’s CTO Adam Rodgers and Yessica Cancel, COO at PACE Center for Girls, an Ultimate customer, will present “1,200% ROI Achieved with End-to-End HCM Cloud Technology” detailing PACE’s impressive results with UltiPro®.

Then, join Ultimate and PeopleDoc for a special presentation on how to “Transform the Employee Experience with ‘People First’ HR Service Delivery.” We’ll demonstrate innovative HR service delivery technology that enables organizations to provide faster, more responsive support to its people, and reduce the administrative burden on its HR and payroll teams. Space is limited, so reserve your spot for this HR Tech experience now.

HR Tech Ultimate Software and PeopleDoc demo

 

Thursday, September 13

The excitement continues on Thursday with “The Most Interesting Companies in AI for HR Tech.” John Sumser, founder and principal analyst at HRExaminer, will showcase four intelligent software products, explain how they can be deployed, provide examples of how these artificial intelligence technologies are impacting the practice of HR today, and make the connection between cutting-edge AI technology and better people and business outcomes.

But, the AI conversation doesn’t end there. Armen Berjikly, senior director of growth strategy at Ultimate, will also deliver an insightful demo titled “AI for HR: Hype, Hope, Reality.” See how Ultimate’s “People First” AI platform, Xander®, powers UltiPro to automatically understand, predict, and prescribe personalized actions from all relevant HCM data, from text to demographics.

And, PeopleDoc will participate in HR Tech’s “Awesome New Technologies” event, highlighting leading HR technology companies and their newest innovations. PeopleDoc’s live demo will show how Robotic Process Automation orchestrates complex processes across HR and non-HR systems without human intervention, saving companies significant time, reducing errors, and providing a superior employee experience.

 

Friday, September 14

On the final day of HR Tech, Cecile returns with our “Vision for HR Technology: Ultimate Software,” presenting Ultimate’s point of view of the HCM landscape, how we see HR technology as an enabler of business success, and our ideas for what the future of work will look like and how workplace technologies will evolve and advance to help create that future.

To wrap up the conference, join Jennifer Paske, HR manager at Waterstone Mortgage Corporation, an Ultimate customer, for a panel of veteran practitioners who’ve been through multiple launches of new cloud solutions. They’ll share key lessons and hard-won advice in “Setting Up and Sustaining Success in SaaS.”

 

All Week

With HR Tech’s wall-to-wall agenda, you’ll probably want to take a few minutes throughout the week just to rejuvenate and reset. Remember to visit Ultimate at Booth #1510 and PeopleDoc at Booth #2350 to say hello, learn more about our solutions, and play our new interactive HR Tech game for a chance to win some great giveaways.

If you can’t attend HR Tech, or just want to stay connected during the conference, you can always follow Ultimate on social media—including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—for live updates and continuous coverage. Remember to use #HRTechConf.

 

We’ll see you at HR Tech!

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Employee Engagement in the Augmented Age https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-engagement-augmented-age/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-engagement-augmented-age/#respond Tue, 14 Aug 2018 13:08:58 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1494 Fretting about the security of your job because of the Fourth Industrial Revolution? In our marvelous age of cognitive computing technologies, the good news is that people will perform less boring and repetitive manual tasks. The bad news is that individuals may lose their jobs as a consequence. The widening knowledge of human displacement by […]

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cognitive computing employee engagementFretting about the security of your job because of the Fourth Industrial Revolution? In our marvelous age of cognitive computing technologies, the good news is that people will perform less boring and repetitive manual tasks. The bad news is that individuals may lose their jobs as a consequence.

The widening knowledge of human displacement by robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning, augmented intelligence, natural language processing, and image-recognition tools is sending shivers across some workplaces. Not just administrative, entry-level, or task-based roles are at risk of being replaced by robots; business professions like accountants, loan officers, and insurance underwriters also are vulnerable.

One cannot blame companies for deploying technologies that make their organizations and operations more efficient and competitive, executing work at much greater speed, consistency, and quality. Since the Industrial Age, anytime a new technology is introduced, there are always labor implications. The difference now is the breadth and scope of potential job displacement and wide-scale awareness of its imminence—even if this is many years in the future.

Businesses avow that their investments in cognitive computing will free up people to provide them with more interesting, value-added work. There is much truth in this. A case in point is Finance, where RPA is being widely deployed to perform account reconciliations and journal entries. Rather than crunch the numbers, accountants are now liberated to make sense of them for strategic decision-making purposes—certainly more interesting work.

While not the dystopian picture that some critics of robotics paint, the truth is that, over time, some jobs will disappear. People know this: According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans (67%) predict that, within 50 years, robots and computers will do much of the work they currently perform.

Since we’re human beings, we like to think the worst won’t happen to us. The Pew survey underscores this quirk of human nature, noting that 80% of the respondents believe their own jobs to be safe. Obviously, there is a disconnect here.

Since my passion is workplace transformation and its impact on human beings, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a future in which bots of one form or another are ubiquitous in the workplace. How might this affect employee engagement as we move forward?

My work entails helping companies create work experiences that enable all people to find and engage in productive jobs and meaningful careers. If people are worried about retaining their jobs—even many years in the future—how can they possibly perform their roles today with passion and diligence?

To delve further into this subject, I reached out to Jeremy Scrivens, whose life’s work has involved liberating people to be all they can be at work. Jeremy is a respected work futurist and collaboration catalyst. He’s the director of The Emotional Economy At Work augmented again in Western Australia, where he focuses on guiding organizations and teams to create exceptional collaboration capabilities through a highly engaged workforce.

Jeremy is highly tuned in to the emotional qualities of people in their work. “The problem with work today,” he told me, “is that people who have been the operators of processes since the Industrial Age are suddenly dispensable. If people are going to be displaced to some extent by robots in future, why they need to work at all must be reappraised.”

Cognitive computing technology, Jeremy believes, is not just a way to free people from being cogs in a machine—it is also an opportunity for companies to liberate people to make deeper connections, augmenting our abilities to be more fully human at work. It requires businesses to start with a fresh sheet of paper that accepts that certain tools are now available to humans that were not available before. The question then becomes: How can a business reimagine itself to provide meaningful and consequential responsibilities to people for them to make the world a better place?

For one thing, Jeremy advocates that companies replace their current organizational paradigms of flat, hierarchically structured work responsibilities with collaborative engagements in which everyone co-innovates a shared future. This is the work he does in his projects for companies and governments. In all cases, he creates a physical “appreciative inquiry summit” and a virtual “social room.” Both call for bringing together people in open discussions.

I am a huge fan of involving people more directly in these changes by having a say in their reskilling, future roles, and work—something we don’t do enough of today in corporate America. As Jeremy explains, “The future of work must begin and end with the restoration of the individual.”

Jeremy recently put his concept of open discussions to collaborate and create the future of work on behalf of Acivico, a Birmingham, England-based provider of design, construction, facilities cleaning, and catering services. The company wanted its next chapter to be one of greater collaboration and social good. “You can’t innovate without collaboration,” Jeremy explained.

Recognizing that social good and business success in today’s Digital Age can easily co-exist and are preferable to many younger workers, Acivico’s CEO at the time, Trevor Haynes, asked Jeremy to work with a core team of employees to create a social room. This room would serve as a virtual meeting place for people in the company and the local community to engage more personally with one another through social media. A social native himself, Jeremy first connected with Haynes (who continues to serve on Acivico’s board) via Twitter.

The collaborations gave rise to #ACIVICommunity, a Birmingham Social Room hosted by Acivico. People who participate in the social room have the opportunity to engage in social-good projects and collaborations across Birmingham. “They can use the platform to initiate or follow social-good projects they believe in,” said Jeremy. “These projects are open to the community to join with Acivico employees to enable more social good and business to be done at scale.”

One example is to leverage the social room to collaborate on solutions to the city’s homeless crisis, providing every homeless person with daily sleeping accommodations and meals. Other examples include working with local businesses to create job opportunities for ex-offenders who struggle to get second chances, and engaging schools and students to become more involved in social activities. Certainly, the latter would assist the early development of the next generation of community and business leaders. The possibilities are inspiring and endless.

What does all this have to do with robots? In the new Augmented Age, the efforts of a single person or organization can reach far beyond what we could imagine in the past and can transform the experience of people for the better—as in the case of the people of Birmingham, who through social collaboration and the assistance of local business, are reimagining a more connected and positive future benefitting both business and society. Now is the time to seize the opportunity to create such an organization, one driven by people sharing their respective brilliance to create a better world for all.

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LightStarters: New Design Process Improves Product, Productivity, and Customer Satisfaction https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/new-design-process-constant-innovation/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/new-design-process-constant-innovation/#respond Fri, 27 Jul 2018 15:22:26 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1483   Inspired by a passion for constant improvement, three Ultimate Software employees are experimenting with an innovative design process at Ultimate Software. Business Analyst Gaby Antoni, User Experience Manager Marta Guerra, and Manager of Software Engineering Chris Patullo have reshaped a design framework and methodology to suit Ultimate’s unique needs and to enhance team collaboration. The […]

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Inspired by a passion for constant improvement, three Ultimate Software employees are experimenting with an innovative design process at Ultimate Software.

Business Analyst Gaby Antoni, User Experience Manager Marta Guerra, and Manager of Software Engineering Chris Patullo have reshaped a design framework and methodology to suit Ultimate’s unique needs and to enhance team collaboration.

The framework, named LightStarters, places fierce focus on customer-centric product design, reduces meetings, helps teams collaborate better, delivers a higher quality product for customers, and does it all faster and more efficiently than ever.

In other processes, product teams work on feature requirements, functionality and design. Later, developers begin building based on these feature requirements. But developers frequently raise valuable concerns or questions as they’re building, causing designers to re-evaluate and go back to the drawing board.

After researching an alternative design sprint framework approach and attending a Design Disruptors show, team members were inspired to tweak and test this process. “At first, we followed the original design sprint methodology with some modifications so we could complete the design sprint in two or three days instead of five,” Chris said.

In addition to expediting the design process, a key element to this new methodology is that all key stakeholders need to be present: Developers, QAs, Designers, BAs, PM, Engineering Managers. The session challenges participants to collaborate and achieve a consensus on the most important outcomes before any detailed planning or development begins. By the end of a LightStarters workshop, the team produces a final sketch of the best ideas with enough detail for designers to build an interactive prototype suitable to test with customers. This allows Ultimate to obtain quick validation straight from the customer before making costly commitments.

“From a team perspective, it’s super cool because everyone is engaged, shares their ideas and these ideas make it to the final solution. We also involve customers multiple times before the session takes place to understand their needs, use cases and expectations as well as after the session to validate our final solution,” said Gaby, who guides LightStarters teams through a series of activities designed to foster creative thinking and innovation.

There have been 30 LightStarters workshops to date, and many live features in UltiPro were born through these sessions. “The motivation to create LightStarters comes from the desire to share with others something that is working great for us. We want to give everyone the chance to participate in the solution process which always results in meaningful and engaging outcomes for employees, customers, and our products,” Marta said.

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Humanology: The Future of Humans, Technology in the Workplace https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/hr-smarter-technologies/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/hr-smarter-technologies/#respond Thu, 19 Jul 2018 12:13:51 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1477 by Janine N. Truitt From time to time, we invite guest contributors to provide their personal perspectives about trending HCM topics. The views, opinions, and comments expressed below are solely those of the author and do not represent Ultimate Software. This post was commissioned by Ultimate Software and the author has or will receive compensation […]

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by Janine N. Truitt

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

The fourth industrial revolution is upon us, and “disruption” is the theme. The World Economic Forum reports that this revolution, “includes developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology.” All of which are supposed to not only disrupt how we do business, but also usher in the need for an entirely different labor market within the next five years.

According to a MIT Technology Review article from 2016, the White House stated, “that it believes future presidents should try to shape how AI technology evolves and is deployed.” This sentiment was echoed in a recent Q&A with Mo Gawdat, former chief business officer for Google X, at UNLEASH 2018 in Las Vegas. In this discussion, Gawdat shared a similar sentiment: we are at an “inflection point”—you may even say, a reflection point. His sense and mine is that we need to reflect on who we are and what we have become in the past five decades or so. It is from that point of view that we need to envision the world we want. The inflection point, in some regard, is already upon us, but from some reflection we can start to think of some ways that working with smarter technologies can improve our way of life and work. Part of the concern Gawdat has expressed is cognitive technologies such as AI will be (and are currently) learning from us based on the information that lives in our systems and on the Internet. If we look at that information objectively, there are far more data points filled with fear, discrimination, poor practices, and anger on our servers than positive examples for the world we want for the future. The good news here is we have the ability to change it—by changing the way we do things now, instead of waiting for a prime time in the future.

“HR can’t afford to have change happen to it.”

I am encouraging my fellow HR practitioners to see this turning point in humanity and history as a prime opportunity for our profession. Yes, we will need to reskill and adapt to new expectations, but that’s true with every technological evolution and previous industrial revolutions. In return, we have also gained many degree fields, jobs, and sectors people couldn’t have dreamt of 30–40 years ago. The emergence of cognitive technologies is no different. We will gain new jobs, sectors, and ways of operating in business. In fact, the same World Economic Forum report states that, amidst the loss, we will add 2.1 million jobs in more “specialized” job families, such as computer and mathematical or architecture and engineering.

By the way, did you forget that these technologies are being developed by us humans? Remembering this fact means that how the emergence of cognitive technology proliferates is largely dependent on the latitude and capabilities we give them. In other words, we ought to define the moral and ethical limits to meet our expectations. Although, according to Gawdat, with smarter technologies, it’s not a matter of “if,” but rather “when” machines exceed human intelligence, which is reported to happen in 2029.

Here are some reasons why HR should be driving change as we continue to explore how we can best work with technology:

  • Assessing human capability. Do you know what the collective and individual capabilities, interests, and motivations of your workforce are? Chances are your answer is “no,” but this is a great place for us to start engaging AI products to assess organization-wide sentiment, so we can start solving for some of the more pressing workforce issues.
  • Clarity and efficiency. If we’re honest, we have never been able to control human behavior, nor have we been great at predicting it. All we really have success in is creating the best possible circumstances for our workforces to thrive. Our imminent partnership with smarter technologies means we can finally be better at using the data we have to predict, forecast, and model workforce outcomes.
  • HR and humanity still have a purpose. The human touch is still needed in everything we do, because humans haven’t altogether stopped being human. Let’s face it: many of the technologies reported to shift the way we work are not going to be great or reliable for a long time to come. That said, while they are becoming great and exceeding our ability to cognate, there is still time to decide what is best left to the machines to do and where our real value proposition lies in the future as an industry.

In a lot of ways, the things we fear about robots and AI are misguided. What we fear are not the actual technologies, but the change it is ushering in and the perceived lack of control we have to change the trajectory of humanity. You can’t manage what you don’t acknowledge or keep record on.

Here are some more ways to participate in the shift:

  • Educate yourself and your teams as much as you can on AI, natural language processing, robotics, virtual reality, and augmented reality. It’s less scary when you’ve assessed them yourself rather than relied on others’ fear-based anecdotes. The more you know about the technologies you will be interacting with, the better.
  • Speak up. Presuming that you are using technology in the way of an applicant tracking system or HCM solution currently, it is safe to think your respective vendor will start to implement any one of these smarter technologies as part of your current product suite. Be sure to communicate how they can continue to serve you best. It should not be about implementing smarter technologies for the sake of being cool—it needs to be applicable to the organization and practitioner’s needs.

There are no right or wrong answers in how we best partner with technologies going forward. The goal should be to move forward together for the better of everyone involved.

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“People First” Software Key to Merging People, Tech in Future of Payroll https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/apa-congress-future-of-payroll/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/apa-congress-future-of-payroll/#comments Mon, 14 May 2018 13:12:59 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1419 Payroll is like the heart of an organization: when everything’s running smoothly, it’s occasionally taken for granted; but if something goes wrong, the results can be disastrous. Considering the tremendous accuracy and coordination required, coupled with the daunting task of countless variables changing each pay period, it’s not difficult to understand how and why payroll […]

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Payroll is like the heart of an organization: when everything’s running smoothly, it’s occasionally taken for granted; but if something goes wrong, the results can be disastrous. Considering the tremendous accuracy and coordination required, coupled with the daunting task of countless variables changing each pay period, it’s not difficult to understand how and why payroll mistakes can happen.

Historically, payroll provided the perfect opportunity for organizations to begin experimenting with software technology, especially considering these substantial demands. Standard applications, which became more mainstream in the 1980s, used source code designed for rule-based and repetitive processes.

Over the years, these solutions have become increasingly sophisticated. Today, automation has reduced a significant amount of payroll’s manual strain, simultaneously improving overall accuracy. These systems can execute data transactions, generate reconciliations, and even draw conclusions from their findings. As a result, complex tax and payroll calculations are instantly simplified, and most tedious accounting tasks are eliminated.

These innovations were met primarily with excitement, but as AI’s evolution continues at breakneck speed (launching us into the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution”), some payroll professionals have grown concerned. It’s clear that jobs will be impacted—just like they’ve been in every industrial revolution—but most agencies predict that AI, and other emerging technologies, will create far more jobs than they disrupt.

Millions of individuals, including payroll professionals, will require new skills, additional training, and more support during this process. But rather than becoming intimidated by emerging solutions, payroll should focus on learning to optimize these solutions, reskilling teams, and homing in on strategy.

This week, we’re thrilled to be attending our 20th annual APA Congress, where our product and industry experts will discuss AI and a variety of payroll-related topics. If you’re attending, please be sure to visit Ultimate Software at Booth 523 throughout the conference and attend Thursday morning’s general session, “The Future of Work and Pay: How Will Artificial Intelligence, Data, and Predictive Analytics Change the World?” featuring Ultimate’s VP of Products, Martin Hartshorne.

The future of payroll is coming. At Ultimate, we’ll continue delivering the best HCM technologies, so your people—and your business—can grow at the speed of technology.

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Shattering Stereotypes and Ceilings Along the Way https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/shattering-stereotypes/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/shattering-stereotypes/#comments Wed, 07 Feb 2018 15:03:31 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1232 Women in the world of business have long complained about barriers to their professional advancement. So have many minorities (and justly so). While there are laws that prevent discrimination with regard to job promotions, these career obstacles often are hard to prove, much less enforce. Many companies make it seem like the sky is the […]

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women glass ceilingWomen in the world of business have long complained about barriers to their professional advancement. So have many minorities (and justly so). While there are laws that prevent discrimination with regard to job promotions, these career obstacles often are hard to prove, much less enforce. Many companies make it seem like the sky is the limit for all smart, hard-working employees but instead some of us bump up against an invisible obstruction designed to preserve the generally male-dominated executive status quo.

I’m referring, of course, to the “glass ceiling.” Nearly 40 years after the metaphor was coined in a 1978 speech by Marilyn Loden, author of the book, “Feminine Leadership, or How to Succeed in Business Without Being One of the Boys,” the glass ceiling remains firmly in place, discrimination laws aside. A 2017 survey by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org of 30,000 men and women employees indicates that while both genders want to be promoted in approximate percentages, women are 18 percent less likely on average to actually receive one. This gap is even more pronounced for women of color.

“Women fall behind early and lose ground with every step they take (in the workplace),” the study states. Since women are underrepresented in line roles at every level of the corporate pipeline, by the time they reach the level of a senior vice president, they hold a measly 21 percent of these positions. “Since the vast majority of CEOs come from line roles, this dramatically hurts women’s odds of reaching the very top,” the researchers comment.

This lack of advancement is especially staggering for women in technical roles. According to AnitaB.org, the representation of women technologists declines by 50% from entry to mid to senior and executive levels. At this rate, researchers maintain that it will take 100 years for women in technical and non-technical roles combined to reach parity with men in the C-suite!

What is most bothersome to me is the message the study sends to young women and girls about their chances of becoming business leaders—not tomorrow or next year but in this century! So, I’d like to share a remarkable story of a customer I met who has blown up the glass ceiling with grace and aplomb! Few women have gone as far as Kim McWaters, who began her career more than 30 years ago as a temporary switchboard operator at Universal Technical Institute and has served as the company’s CEO and chairwoman since 2003, overseeing more than 1,880 employees today. Universal Technical Institute is a publicly traded nationwide provider of technical education for students seeking careers as automotive, motorcycle and marine technicians—what used to be euphemistically considered “guy jobs,” but now include many women.

Kim recently shared her remarkable journey with me. The irony, if that’s the right word, is that she had no big dreams of someday running a big company. As a favor to her uncle, she took a part-time summer job to operate the switchboard at Universal Technical Institute. She was 20 years old, a single mother needing the income to feed her one-year old son. “What I learned as a receptionist is that I liked helping people solve problems,” Kim said. “My job was essentially to coordinate someone’s needs with someone else who could assist them.”

Most of these needs came from students and their families. Gradually, Kim learned who in the organization could best handle each caller’s specific issue. “In a matter of weeks, I became very familiar with the entire organization; I got to know each person’s functional area of technical expertise,” she said. “More importantly, I learned that a business is like a village; to succeed there must be close interdependence. Every single person in a company is important.”

The summer she learned this, Kim also found meaning in Universal Technical Institute’s purpose. “Every three weeks a new group of students came in,” she said. “These were people who weren’t particularly successful in the traditional academic setting. Most lacked self-confidence, walking in with their heads down. By the time they graduated, the transformation in them was astonishing. The reason was our world-class facilities and equipment and especially our people. Everyone here is committed to changing people’s lives through education.”

I asked Kim what she thought about the fact that so many women eventually collide with their organization’s glass ceiling, knowing she had successfully worked her way up the ranks at Universal Technical Institute from the switchboard through admissions, customer service, marketing, and operations before blasting through the glass ceiling to become CEO. “Shortly after I became president, I launched an initiative called Breakthrough Performance, where we brought every one of our 900 employees at the time offsite for three days and nights, stripped them of their titles, and asked them to act like consultants in helping us make the company better,” she said. “We empowered them beyond their titles to provide constructive solutions.”

Kim learned that this was how the company should always be run. “Every employee must have a voice and every voice must have equal weight, irrespective of the person’s role, gender, nationality, and so on,” she explained.

I also chatted with Kim about the 2016 Gallup study stating that women leaders were better than men when it came to engaging employees, resulting in lower absenteeism and turnover, and higher productivity and profits. Was this consistent with Kim’s experience as a leader? “I generally believe that women are more nurturing and empathetic (than men) and are better able to tap into others’ talents,” she replied. “Women have a different way of motivating people to accomplish their goals. On the other hand, I also feel that some women can be very crippling to other women in the workplace because they’re trying to survive in a male-created business world. That’s changing now.”

I asked Kim to elaborate. “For one thing, many women now realize they don’t need to program themselves to act like men to become successful business leaders,” she said. “The extreme male traits that have made men successful don’t necessarily work for us because we’re different. Women also are learning that their feelings and emotions are positive characteristics in motivating others in the workforce. We’re able to be successful leaders because of our many dimensions.”

I couldn’t agree more. Female qualities are equally needed to manage today’s highly diverse workforce. Young people of myriad nationalities and cultures are self-defining their sexuality and gender. Women must simply refuse to believe it will take more than a century for women to match the number of men in the C-suite. We cannot wait. As Kim has proven in her life and work, everyone can have a chance, but we need to create more of them for women and minorities in order to level the playing field.

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How AI is Making Managers More Human https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ai-people-management-hcm/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/ai-people-management-hcm/#comments Fri, 26 Jan 2018 21:38:30 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1227 Note: This article from Adam Rogers originally appeared on Forbes. Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has been around for decades, but its capabilities, interest, and funding has skyrocketed in recent years. Machine learning functionalities are disrupting nearly every industry and our everyday lives, from self-driving cars to Facebook’s facial recognition. According to CB Insights, funding for […]

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Note: This article from Adam Rogers originally appeared on Forbes.

ai hcmArtificial intelligence (AI) technology has been around for decades, but its capabilities, interest, and funding has skyrocketed in recent years. Machine learning functionalities are disrupting nearly every industry and our everyday lives, from self-driving cars to Facebook’s facial recognition. According to CB Insights, funding for AI startups reached a record high of $5 billion in 2016. Further disruption is almost guaranteed as the exponential acceleration of AI technology continues.

This rapid progression is driven by advanced machine learning, systems that continuously consume and apply knowledge to improve accuracy and analysis. AI has already proven its potential for expediency and efficiency, completely redefining the way we live, work, and relate to each other. The prospect of AI actually improving human-to-human interaction, especially within the business environment, is particularly intriguing.

Human innovation paired with technological development is a powerful force. I’ve had a front-row seat to what that can accomplish in the HCM space, where technology has evolved from simply performing basic HR processes, to predicting future outcomes, to fundamentally restructuring how employers manage their people. Smart technologies powered by machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), and distributed data-collection interfaces are poised to completely transform the workplace for HR leaders.

Big Data Fosters Understanding

Running a business requires a substantial amount of data.

The term “Big Data” broadly refers to the staggering volume of information available at any given time. Today’s technology can digest these data mines with superhuman capacity and speed, applying advanced mathematical algorithms to find patterns, trends, and outliers. This insight can transform how managers approach everything from turnover to overtime, and provides an opportunity for leaders to better understand their teams and how to strengthen them.

Automation plays an important role in the data consumption process and is responsible for unparalleled advancements in convenience and productivity. Complex administrative functions have often plagued employers, particularly in HR, and these solutions alleviate the potential for human error while dramatically increasing completion speed. What used to take dozens (if not hundreds) of hours of human analysis is now achieved almost instantaneously.

This laid the groundwork for the game-changing power of prediction. Today’s leading HCM solutions leverage Big Data to forecast everything from performance success to flight risk, and these self-taught systems are incredibly accurate, extremely adaptive, and constantly learning. Rather than simply reporting on past trends, they predict future ones, empowering leaders to drive continuous improvement within their organizations.

Consider retention, for example. Turnover is a top priority for today’s leaders, as it can contribute to increased business errors, negatively impact culture, and cost up to twice an employee’s annual salary, according to Deloitte’s Josh Bersin. By automatically processing and analyzing a wealth of HCM data, predictive AI tools can identify the employees most at risk of leaving and alert their managers to proactively address the situation—before it’s too late.

This brings us to the next frontier for disruption: prescriptive analytics. Once again building on past innovations, prescriptive systems pull from predictive functions to suggest specific, personalized actions at key decision points. These AI-based recommendations can make managers better leaders, applying unbiased data to solve difficult decisions. The prescriptive functions can inform not only who to talk to and why, but how, based on what’s worked well in similar situations. Using the above example, the manager of a high-risk employee may be encouraged to take their employee to lunch, thank them for their continued contributions, and initiate a conversation about their career goals and aspirations. The additional support helps leaders coach and engage their people, leading to improved business outcomes, but the process also relies on the innate human traits of intuition, empathy, and kindness. It’s symbiotic, people-first AI.

Leveraging the Voice of the Employee

According to a 2016 study by The Center for Generational Kinetics, the best way for leaders to improve retention is listening to and addressing employee concerns. This seems basic, but it’s actually quite difficult to scale listening to the voice of the employee (VoE). Organizations have traditionally relied on annual performance reviews to accomplish this goal, but once-a-year discussions don’t always suffice (especially when tied to salary negotiations).

Employee satisfaction surveys are another alternative, but poorly designed (or executed) surveys won’t deliver impactful results. The most effective surveys offer a mix of qualitative and quantitative prompts, but these take significant manpower to analyze.

Fortunately, recent AI developments are solving this dilemma and improving employee-manager relations in the process.

Speaking Our Language

Despite the remarkable advancements AI has made in learning and prediction, users are often frustrated by its failure to understand the true meaning of words. Google Translate can instantly convert text from one language to another, and even basic Web-based chatbots can provide reasonable responses to basic queries. But until recently, these systems relied on literal translations and interpretations. Human language is incredibly complicated, brimming with context and subtleties, making it challenging for machines to decipher.

Enter natural language processing (NLP). This technology has improved incredibly quickly, and NLP solutions are learning to think and speak like humans. It’s the difference between a French 101 student and a native Parisian — the AI is actually speaking our language, not translating it. Machines can now discern emotion recognizing differences between sadness, anger, even sarcasm. It’s a breakthrough with incredible implications.

There are many potential opportunities to leverage NLP in the workplace, such as advanced customer service bots or email summarization software, but employee surveys are an obvious start. By applying NLP and machine learning algorithms to open-ended, text-based surveys, leaders receive feedback on what their employees are saying as well as how they’re actually feeling. Managers can keep a pulse on their team’s health and use these metrics to arrange one-on-one conversations, evaluate opportunities to increase satisfaction, and drive organizational change.

Improving Human Connection

Truly understanding how people are doing their jobs, what they care about, and what inspires them can improve nearly every aspect of the employee experience. Developments in automation, analytics, and NLP are making these insights possible and fostering authentic connection and understanding between managers and their employees.

In this way, AI has accomplished perhaps the last thing we expected: it’s making managing more human.

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2018 HR & HCM Technology Trends: Three Forces Reshaping the Future of Work https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/2018-hcm-trends/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/2018-hcm-trends/#comments Wed, 10 Jan 2018 14:58:31 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1219 Rapid advances in technology—from the distributed computing reality of the  Internet of Things (IoT) to artificial intelligence (AI) to increasing workforce fluidity (as described in our 2017 Trends Blog)—are combining to reshape today’s workplaces. In addition, there are some broad cultural trends that are impacting HR technology, pushing us well beyond the automation of traditional […]

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2018 hcm trendsRapid advances in technology—from the distributed computing reality of the  Internet of Things (IoT) to artificial intelligence (AI) to increasing workforce fluidity (as described in our 2017 Trends Blog)—are combining to reshape today’s workplaces.

In addition, there are some broad cultural trends that are impacting HR technology, pushing us well beyond the automation of traditional manual tasks and redesigning performance management processes, to rethinking the way we manage employees.

First, AI is everywhere, but not without its challenges (for example, machines learning from biased data)—so its newest incarnation will have to be focused on not just mastering the science of AI, but also on the art of collecting better, more accurate data. Cloud-based AI, machine learning, natural language processing, image recognition, and virtual reality experiences have already been changing the dynamic among people, work, and communication—and we’re going to see more application of these technologies in the workplace in 2018 and beyond.

Second, hyper-personalization—from designing your unique, one-of-a-kind Nikes, to M&Ms with personalized messages, to online shoppers for clothes and groceries that remember your preferences and customize recommendations for you—is coming to employee management in 2018, and HR must help its managers lead with a higher degree of personalization and understanding of each of its direct reports.

And, finally, with technological advancement comes the risk of becoming removed from the “messy” human work of fostering belonging and shared purpose for our teams. Creating and maintaining an inclusive culture requires knowing a lot about people, empathizing with them, and sustaining that commitment long term. Current diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts need to be redefined and updated to bring ongoing positive change for people organizations.

With this in mind, I believe there are three pivotal trends that must be of interest to HR and senior business leaders in 2018, each interconnecting with the others to transform the near-term future of work.

Megatrend #1: People-First Artificial Intelligence: Machine Learning and Human Intuition Combine Forces

In 2018, businesses will migrate from AI focused on automating tasks formerly performed by people to more complex AI technology that augments and amplifies human intelligence and capability. This next evolution of AI underlines the assistive role of the technology to enhance human performance, by allowing people to scale and undertake more rather than replacing human skills and experiences. The application of AI in the world of HCM reinforces the role of human intelligence in solving problems individually and collectively.

People-first AI means organizations and managers using machine learning to better understand what motivates employees, how to more effectively recruit and retain talent, and how to improve on the employee experience at work by using both their own skills and knowledge combined with the near-instantaneous analytical power of AI. This type of AI supplements the work that HR and managers already do, rather than replacing them—for example, by alerting managers to increasingly negative sentiment in employee feedback from one particular office that may have a morale issue, or by suggesting ways to reword a job posting to be more inclusive.

Megatrend #2: Hyper-personalization: Individualized Leadership Replaces “One-Size-Fits-All” Management

An astonishing 95% of people want to feel whole at work—free to be their authentically unique selves. Prior corporate leadership models frequently embraced a rigid, hierarchical “command and control” structure based on an employee’s perceived skills and capabilities, or encouraged managers to manage everyone on their team in the same way in order to be perceived as fair and equitable. Today’s workers prefer a culture in which leaders seek to develop the whole person, with a deep understanding that one-size-fits-all management is not an effective approach—and that different people need different styles of management to best motivate them. Some employees prefer public recognition and others prefer a private thank you or a handwritten note. Some employees thrive in complete autonomy while other employees work best when they receive confirmation from a manager or co-worker on each step of a project.

This obligation to lead and develop the whole person at work requires that leaders understand the needs, motivations, concerns, challenges, and goals of people in many dimensions. Leaders must nurture the cognitive and emotional development of people, beyond the typical physical-wellness offerings of many organizations, to help their people achieve meaningful, purposeful, and productive work and careers. The most effective managers will be able to flex and adapt their personal management styles to the individuals they manage in order to help their employees put forth their best effort and succeed at work.

Megatrend #3: Humanizing Work: Breakthrough Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Modern Age

A workforce culture in which all people can feel they belong and be themselves—and one that taps into the most powerful combinations of talent and experience—requires a broader consideration of the tapestry of human diversity, and a mind shift from compliance-driven D&I models. Many organizations recognize that human diversity generates unique perspectives that foster greater innovation, sustainability, and cultural competence. But today’s D&I must go farther than categorizing and measuring to more broadly recruit for differences in opinion, experience, lifestyle, and background, and to also ensure concrete actions and follow-through to drive progress.

Rather than consider D&I merely as a must-do initiative or a socially responsible action to become an employer of choice, modern diversity, equity, and inclusion will apply advances in virtual technologies and neuroscience that allow organizations to move beyond the talk and numbers, to evaluate and overcome unconscious bias in the entire work experience—from recruiting to performance management to pay equity—to help companies create workplaces that are truly inclusive beyond traditional categories of diversity. Impactful diversity, equity, and inclusion effort requires attention on individual, team, and company levels—not just looking at an organization as a collective whole, but analyzing and assisting the company at all levels and providing concrete guidance beyond just static reporting—to result in better business performance.

These three Megatrends—people-first AI; individualized leadership; and  diversity, equity, and inclusion—intersect in powerful ways. For instance, people-first AI is an enabler to leadership that is tailored to every person individually, allowing leaders to break out of the one-size-fits-all approach to development, and ensuring employees remain engaged in their work, feel good about their place in the organization, are physically and emotionally healthy, and are able to collaborate freely, openly, and confidently.

People-first AI also empowers leaders and organizations to gain an entirely new understanding of people and how their diverse perspectives come together to solve business problems. This new technology is poised to help organizations create more innovative and effective teams, as well as understand and respond to the needs of their diverse customers.

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Previewing the Top-Three HR and HCM Megatrends for 2018 – #12DaysofHCM https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/previewing-top-three-hr-hcm-megatrends-2018/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/previewing-top-three-hr-hcm-megatrends-2018/#respond Thu, 21 Dec 2017 11:00:47 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1209 As we wrap up an innovative 2017, HR technology is well on its way to expanding beyond the automation of traditional manual tasks. Cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, natural language processing, image recognition, and virtual reality experiences have already been changing the dynamic among people, work, and communication. Looking ahead, there are three pivotal […]

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artificial intelligenceAs we wrap up an innovative 2017, HR technology is well on its way to expanding beyond the automation of traditional manual tasks. Cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, natural language processing, image recognition, and virtual reality experiences have already been changing the dynamic among people, work, and communication.

Looking ahead, there are three pivotal trends I see impacting HR professionals, business leaders, and the workforce as a whole in 2018, each interconnecting with the others to transform the near-term future of work:

  • Artificial Intelligence: From AI to A2I (Augmented and Amplified Intelligence)
  • Hyper-personalization: Personalized Leadership
  • Humanizing Work: Breakthrough Diversity and Inclusion (D&I)

Stay tuned for an in-depth analysis of all three, and insight into how organizations can remain ahead of these HCM trends, coming soon to Ultimate Software’s blog.

Ultimate Software’s #12DaysofHCM is back by popular demand! For the rest of the week, we’ll continue recapping some of the most talked about topics from 2017, and previewing what’s ahead for 2018.

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Reducing Risk, Optimizing Productivity in the Finance/Insurance Industry – #12DaysofHCM https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/reducing-risk-optimizing-productivity-finance-insurance-industry/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/reducing-risk-optimizing-productivity-finance-insurance-industry/#comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 11:00:39 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1195 For finance and insurance organizations, the past decade has ushered in a whirlwind of change. Following the subprime mortgage crisis of 2006, scrutiny over financial management, risk assessment, and security measures vastly increased, and rate changes from the Fed have made tight profit margins even tighter for U.S. banks. Additionally, innovations such as Bitcoin, PayPal, […]

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finance and insurance hcmFor finance and insurance organizations, the past decade has ushered in a whirlwind of change. Following the subprime mortgage crisis of 2006, scrutiny over financial management, risk assessment, and security measures vastly increased, and rate changes from the Fed have made tight profit margins even tighter for U.S. banks. Additionally, innovations such as Bitcoin, PayPal, LendingClub, and Kickstarter are further disrupting the industry as they become household names and trusted, viable alternatives.

To remain competitive, finance and insurance organizations are doubling down to improve efficiencies. In many cases, this involves prioritizing their people and optimizing human capital strategies. Here are four ways advanced human capital management (HCM) technology can realize business goals for finance and insurance organizations in 2018, and in the years ahead:

  1. Optimize employee productivity. With such a significant percentage of operating costs going to human capital, productivity is essential. HR-related tasks—such as onboarding, time management, and compliance training—need to be conducted as efficiently and as transparently as possible.
  2. Reduce risk and improve security. Data security is a top priority. Automated data, role-based access, and multi-factor security measures help ensure adherence to Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) compliance and significantly reduce risk factors for financial organizations.
  3. Improve compliance. Dodd-Frank reform has changed the way most organizations work with auditors to address compliance. Advanced reporting capabilities make it easy to adhere to strict regulations, and leading HCM solutions can even create specialized ad hoc compliance reports.
  4. Increase Retention. Predictive analytics can forecast everything from performance to retention, allowing leaders to take proactive steps to keep their top talent.

Discover more on how leading finance and insurance organizations are using HCM technology to better serve their people and their business.

Ultimate Software’s #12DaysofHCM is back by popular demand! During these two weeks, we’ll recap some of the most talked about topics from 2017, and preview what’s ahead for 2018.

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