Ultimate Software – Ultimate Software's Blog https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Wed, 10 Jan 2018 18:43:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Talent Management’s Increasing Value in HR – #12DaysofHCM https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/talent-managements-increasing-value-hr/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/talent-managements-increasing-value-hr/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:00:57 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1178 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Surveys, employee quits have outpaced layoffs at nearly a two-to-one ratio since December 2016. While this is good news for the American economy, for employers, it reinforces the importance of developing and retaining your people, and talent management’s increasing value in HR. […]

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talent management hrAccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Surveys, employee quits have outpaced layoffs at nearly a two-to-one ratio since December 2016. While this is good news for the American economy, for employers, it reinforces the importance of developing and retaining your people, and talent management’s increasing value in HR. After all, once you’ve gone through the trouble of finding the right people, shouldn’t you do everything possible to keep them?

Fortunately, advances in technology are making it easier than ever for leaders to predict turnover and proactively retain top talent. Predictive analytics can forecast everything from performance success to flight risks, and prescriptive analytics help managers become better leaders with practical and timely advice on how to best support their people.

Meanwhile, open communication and transparency regarding an individual’s strengths, opportunities, and advancement potential encourage employees to take a proactive role in their development, such as through collaborative goal-setting and ongoing performance reviews. Moreover, advanced business intelligence reporting and analytics give leaders a clear, complete picture of their workforce and help make succession management a breeze.

At the end of the day, your people are the foundation of your success. Thoughtful talent management helps you engage, support, and reward them.

Ultimate Software’s #12DaysofHCM is back by popular demand! During the next 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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Ultimate Software is Prepared for the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/what-is-the-gdpr/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/what-is-the-gdpr/#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2017 11:00:38 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1143 What is the GDPR? The new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679) goes into effect May 25, 2018,  replacing the current EU Data Privacy Directive (95/46/EC) that has been in place since 1995. The main objective is to harmonize data protection laws throughout the EU.  The GDPR establishes a set of standardized data protection […]

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what is the gdprWhat is the GDPR?

The new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679) goes into effect May 25, 2018,  replacing the current EU Data Privacy Directive (95/46/EC) that has been in place since 1995. The main objective is to harmonize data protection laws throughout the EU.  The GDPR establishes a set of standardized data protection laws that apply to all EU member countries in order to “protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons and, in particular, their right to the protection of personal data.”

Although the GDPR will retain many elements of the 1995 Directive, it has been greatly enhanced and strengthened with additional obligations to account for the current technological society we live in.  The GDPR increases the rights for individuals and strengthens the obligation of companies. The GDPR will become the most progressive and strongest privacy and data protection regulation in the world and will impose stiff fines and penalties for non-compliance.

The GDPR applies to all organizations that store and/or process personal information of EU residents, who are defined as “data subjects.” The responsibilities of an organization vary depending on if that organization is defined as a “data controller” or a “data processor.” For the purposes of the services provided by Ultimate Software, our customers with employees who are residents in the EU are considered data controllers and Ultimate Software is considered a data processor per the GDPR.

What is Ultimate Software responsible for under GDPR?

The GDPR has specific requirements for data processors, regardless of whether they operate within the boundaries of the EU or not.  Ultimate Software has the following key practices in place which align with our responsibilities as a data processor under the GDPR:

Processing Based on ContractAll processing we carry out on our customers’ behalf is governed by our formal contract with each organization.   Ultimate Software has no ownership of employee personal data, and we only take processing actions that are defined in the contract and actions our customers instruct us to take.

Personnel Access based on Business NeedUltimate Software employees and subcontractors that are authorized to access customer employee personal data are governed by confidentiality terms. Access is granted only to personnel with a business need to carry out the contracted services and/or instructions provided by the customer.

Security of ProcessingUltimate Software has technical and organizational security measures in place that govern and protect our customers’ information and employee personal data.

  • Our systems and services are designed to provide ongoing confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of processing;
  • Customer data is stored on encrypted servers and transmitted via encrypted sessions;
  • We maintain systems and processes that allow us to restore the availability and access to customer employee personal information in the event of a physical or technical event;
  • We maintain processes and procedures for regular testing, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of technical and organizational measure that provide for the security of processing.

Demonstration of Compliance and Ongoing AssessmentUltimate Software utilizes a combination of internal teams and independent external parties for regular testing, assessment and evaluation of the effectiveness of our technical and organizational measures. Our current Service Organization Control (SOC) 1 and SOC 2 reports and ISO 27001 and ISO 27018 certifications can be viewed in our customer portal under the Compliance and Audit Reports section.  Our privacy policy with links to current privacy certifications can be accessed here.

Cross Border Data TransferUltimate Software has a formal privacy program and is certified and registered with the US Dept of Commerce to the EU-US Privacy Shield program.  This certification permits personal data of EU residents to be legally transferred to Ultimate Software data centers located in the United States. Our privacy policy with a link to our EU-US Privacy Shield registration can be accessed here.

For our Canadian customers implemented in our Canadian data centers, the European Commission recognizes Canada as having adequate domestic data protection laws in place, and permits personal data of EU residents to be legally transferred to Canada. The current adequacy ruling for Canada can be found here.

Breach NotificationUltimate Software will notify our customers after becoming aware of a personal data breach involving customer employee personal data.

Deletion of DataUpon termination of a customer’s contractual agreement with Ultimate Software, customer data, including employee personal data, is deleted after all contracted services have been completed, which may include subsequent governmental reporting, or other items the customer has requested of Ultimate Software.

What is an Employer responsible for under GDPR?

The GDPR will harmonize data protection laws, which will be helpful for employers established in multiple Member States across the EU.  However, the GDPR specifically states that individual Member States can implement additional or specific local rules for processing personal data in the context of employment.  It will be important for HR professionals with employees in the EU to continue to monitor local Member State laws’ impact on the workplace.

Your HR team, ideally with guidance from your legal counsel, will want to review internal business processes and policies to ensure they align with data controller responsibilities under the GDPR.  Below are some of the key areas your HR team and legal counsel will want to review:

Processing employee personal data based on “Consent” vs “Legitimate Interests”The GDPR requires there to be a lawful basis in order to collect and process personal data.  Under the GDPR, consent must be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous”, in addition to other requirements.  Many employers have commonly relied upon consent. However, there is often debate if employee consent can be “freely” given.  Employers that collect consent from employees should review those notices along with the processes in which they are communicated, captured, updated and maintained to ensure compliance with GDPR consent requirements.

Employee personal data may also be lawfully processed on the “legitimate interests” of the employer. Examples of “legitimate interests” may include (i) in order to fulfill the employment contract, (ii) to pay the employee, and (iii) payment of various taxes by the employer, etc.  Employers will want to ensure they have clearly captured why personal data is captured from employees and the reasons for each instance in which it is used.

Rights of Data SubjectsThe GDPR has enhanced and clarified the individual rights of data subjects. HR professionals will want to ensure they update any processes or procedures in order to provide employees with the ability to exercise their rights under the GDPR, without “undue delay” and in any event within one month.

Right of AccessEmployees have a right to access all personal data that the employer retains on them.  Access could be granted via a system if the data is stored in electronic form or in a way the HR professional has decided.

Right to Rectification—The GDPR allows employees to have inaccurate personal data concerning him or her corrected.

Right to ErasureThe GDPR allows employees to have personal data about them erased when it is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose it was collected or if consent is withdrawn.

Employers still have time to review their processes and procedures before the GDPR comes into effect on May 25, 2018, but the clock is ticking. Ultimate Software will continue to review all areas of UltiPro and make further enhancements as needed to assist our customers with their responsibilities as data controllers.

This information does not constitute legal advice. Employers should always seek independent legal advice regarding compliance with any laws, rules, or regulations.

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New HR Spark Episodes: Hitting the Road, Honoring Payroll Professionals https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/new-hr-spark-episodes-3-and-4/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/new-hr-spark-episodes-3-and-4/#respond Fri, 27 Oct 2017 12:00:01 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1131 Ultimate Software’s new video series, HR Spark, welcomes a bevy of industry experts for in-depth conversations on some of today’s hottest HCM topics and tomorrow’s most promising innovations. The underlying goal? To ignite ideas for your people and your business. In case you missed it: First, the series talked hearing the “Voice of the Employee” […]

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hr sparkUltimate Software’s new video series, HR Spark, welcomes a bevy of industry experts for in-depth conversations on some of today’s hottest HCM topics and tomorrow’s most promising innovations. The underlying goal? To ignite ideas for your people and your business.

In case you missed it: First, the series talked hearing the “Voice of the Employee” and using advanced survey solutions to better understand how people truly feel about work. The next episode covered fostering an employee-centric “Workplace Culture” and the importance of putting people first.

Going Remote

Fittingly, the third episode of HR Spark hits the road to explore “Working on the Go” and the rising number of remote employees comprising today’s workforce. Reporting seaside from beautiful West Palm Beach, HR Spark host Matt Mullan sits down with Ryan Bergstrom, vice president of product management at Ultimate, and Ben Eubanks, principal analyst at Lighthouse Research & Advisory, who joins the show via Skype.

The discussion hits on a variety of tools and technologies available to help remote workers remain productive, even if they’re hundreds of miles from the office. Ryan provides key insight into how advances like Ultimate’s new UltiPro® mobile app are helping companies deliver the same, engaging workplace experience employees expect when they’re working from home or in the field.

“When you’re on the go, and being able to work in the app now, it gives you a wholly different world of just ease of use,” explains Ryan. “The systems are much simpler to use. You can take and do what seems like maybe a really complex task and you can go into a more mobile experience and do it in a really simple way, and get your job done.”

Building on Ryan’s point, analyst Ben reminded viewers that, sometimes, people just want to be able complete routine tasks, such as updating their contact information or viewing pay history, without having to lean on HR. This is especially crucial for employees who are away from the office—and today’s HCM tech is giving them the power to do so, while further freeing HR to focus on more strategic initiatives. “Being able to make those changes remotely means one less hassle for HR, and a little less trouble for [employees], too,” says Ben.

“That concept of viewing your paycheck, it seems like an easy enough thing … but, in reality, that paycheck’s different every single week,” adds Ryan. “And that generates a lot of questions [from employees]: ‘Why is this earning different? Why is this deduction different?’ … Being able to access that [pay] information on the go really adds a lot of efficiency.”

Prioritizing Payroll
Whether you manage a remote workforce or a traditional office, running payroll is perhaps the most important component of your business. To that end, the fourth episode of HR Spark focuses on payroll. More specifically, it celebrates National Payroll Week and honors the hardworking professionals who help ensure all employees get paid accurately and on time, every time.

Joining Matt for an oceanfront chat this time were Andie Heffernan, manager of business analysis at Ultimate; Kate Bischoff, employment attorney and consultant at tHRive Law & Consulting LLC; and Justine Belt, payroll manager at RMH Franchise Corporation, the second-largest franchisee of Applebee’s restaurants in the United States.

In a one-on-one interview to kick off the episode, Andie and Matt point out some of the biggest challenges facing HR’s “unsung heroes” in payroll: from computing complex calculations to remaining compliant at the local, state, federal, and provincial levels.

“Most employees take for granted the amount of effort required to get payroll correct,” says Andie, though “technology has simplified the processes that feed into payroll, making it seamless to pay employees more accurately.”

But, getting payroll right isn’t just about ensuring employees get paid. When payroll goes wrong, there can be major legal ramifications for an organization—as discussed among the episode’s expert panel.

“There are so many [potential issues],” adds employment attorney Kate. “Imagine what the U.S. Department of Labor is going to say about failure to pay overtime and minimum wage? … When there is a payroll issue, that not only starts some litigation and agency action, but then it also can ripple into some of the big compliance areas.”

Fortunately, for Justine and her colleagues at RMH Franchise Corporation, powerful payroll software has provided much relief for administrators and peace of mind for employees by simplifying processes and enabling role-based access to essential pay information.

“RMH grows very rapidly, and, in the past, our providers could not keep up with us,” explains the payroll manager. “Switching to Ultimate, we no longer have those worries. We know we’re compliant with all our state and local payroll taxes. And to give our employees a self-service payroll module, where they can go in and see their paychecks and their W-2s—that was the deciding factor for us.”

There’s plenty more to learn in the latest episodes of HR Spark. Check them out today, and stay tuned for the recap of our October and November episodes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Ultimate HR Tech 2017 Preview https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/hr-tech-2017-preview/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/hr-tech-2017-preview/#comments Fri, 06 Oct 2017 21:35:15 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1115 The 20th Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition (HR Tech 2017) is just days away, and Ultimate Software will be joining 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. If you’re heading to HR Tech this year, […]

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hr tech 2017The 20th Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition (HR Tech 2017) is just days away, and Ultimate Software will be joining 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. If you’re heading to HR Tech this year, here’s where you can expect to find Ultimate on each day of the premier conference.

Tuesday, October 10 | Women in Tech
Highlighting the first day of HR Tech are two discussions sure to engage attendees, and inspire the industry at large. Join Ultimate’s Vice President of HCM Innovation, Cecile Alper-Leroux, and a panel of executives for “Women Leaders in Technology.” They’ll share personal stories of trials and triumphs in tech, and provide insight into how companies can create workplace cultures that empower women and organizations to succeed.

Also on Tuesday is the panel “Finding, Supporting, and Developing the Next Generation of Women Technology Leaders,” featuring Ultimate’s Chief People Officer, Vivian Maza, and Yasmary Diaz, an engineering team owner at Ultimate. Viv and Yasmary will join other industry experts to talk about the impactful practices leading HR tech companies have implemented to recruit, develop, and retain women in a variety of roles.

Wednesday, October 11 | Data-Driven HCM
On a jam-packed day two, you’ll find Ultimate’s Chief Technology Officer, Adam Rogers, and Jason Dorsey, president and co-founder of The Center for Generational Kinetics, presenting “Multi-Year Study Results Revealed: Surprising Drivers of the Employee Experience.” Discover new, enlightening research on what really drives employee engagement.

Also, Armen Berjikly, senior director of workforce intelligence at Ultimate, and a panel of experts will dive into a discussion on data and HCM analytics, attempting to answer the all-important “What do we do now?” question once an organization has access to millions of insightful data points. Don’t miss “Take That for Data! Reflections on Analytics, AI, and the Devaluing of HR Pros.”

Then, join Armen and Ultimate’s Principal Data Scientist, Moritz Sudhof, as they demonstrate Ultimate’s “People First” artificial intelligence platform, Xander™. This exclusive demo will showcase how Xander powers UltiPro®’s solutions to automatically understand, predict, and prescribe personalized actions from all relevant HCM data—from text to demographics.

Finally, on Wednesday, catch Cecile Alper-Leroux and Mark Simpson, vice president of human resources at Texas Roadhouse, as they discuss “Quantifying the Financial Value of HR Transformation: Speaking C-Suite and Business Leaders’ Language.” Hear strategies on how HR can become catalysts for organizational change and earn executive “buy-in” for technology-purchase decisions.

Thursday, October 12 | HR Tech Hackathon
Experience the exciting results of the Third Annual HR Tech Hackathon, one of the conference’s can’t-miss events. Teams of skilled engineers and developers will have only 48 hours to design and build a brand-new solution to help solve some of HR’s greatest challenges. Be there Thursday to see the created solutions and applications in action. You can even cast a vote for your favorite.

Friday, October 13 | Ideas from Innovators

The final day of HR Tech 2017, Ultimate’s Senior Director of HCM Innovation, Jarik Conrad, and a group of “Ideas and Innovators in HR” will share their cutting-edge concepts for companies of all sizes. Leave HR Tech with a new outlook and an inspirational list of initiatives you can start implementing to support your people and your business.

All Week | Relax, Recharge, Stay Connected

With HR Tech 2017’s wall-to-wall agenda, you’ll probably want to take a few minutes throughout the week just to rejuvenate. Be sure to visit Ultimate’s Relaxation & Recharge station located right outside the exhibition hall, where you can enjoy a free massage and charge up your mobile devices. And remember to visit Ultimate at Booth #1619 to say hello, learn more about our solutions, and enter to win some great giveaways.

If you can’t attend HR Tech 2017, or just want to stay connected during the conference, remember to follow Ultimate on social media—including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter—for live updates and continuous coverage.

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Changing Lives in Our Communities—Together https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/changing-lives-communities-together/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/changing-lives-communities-together/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 15:02:57 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1108 I’m extremely proud to share that, this week, Ultimate Software teamed up with the nonprofit Rebuilding Together to help change the lives of seven families across the United States. In three consecutive days of service, more than 200 employees from our offices in Atlanta, Alpharetta, Santa Ana, and Weston spent their time painting, landscaping, gardening, […]

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I’m extremely proud to share that, this week, Ultimate Software teamed up with the nonprofit Rebuilding Together to help change the lives of seven families across the United States. In three consecutive days of service, more than 200 employees from our offices in Atlanta, Alpharetta, Santa Ana, and Weston spent their time painting, landscaping, gardening, and completing other beautification work on homes in our local communities.

Rebuilding Together is one of the many great organizations we’ve had the privilege of partnering with for several years now. It brings together volunteers throughout communities to improve the lives of veteran, elderly, and low-income homeowners, individuals and families who need major home repairs (such as roofing and retrofitting for accessibility) but can’t afford or otherwise commission these crucial services. Rebuilding Together enlists licensed professionals to handle the main repairs, while allowing everyday volunteers to complete complementary household projects.

Adding a personal touch to the service experience, Rebuilding Together volunteers learn about the people they’re helping when they sign up to participate. Some volunteers even get to meet the homeowners in person—an opportunity that leaves a lasting impact, as we’ve heard from several of our employees over the years.

To US, that’s the true heart of community service: people taking care of people. It’s why, from day one, we’ve made giving a cornerstone of Ultimate’s company culture. So much so that we provide every employee with two paid service days each year, which they can use to volunteer or support any charitable cause of their choosing (though, for many employees, the hours of service extend far beyond these two days).

At Ultimate, we encourage our employees to always “do the right thing.” Community service is that principle in action. It’s a natural extension of our companywide core value, “People First,” which drives everything we do, from the design of our cloud HR solutions to the delivery of our personalized customer support.

When we set out 27 years ago, with just four employees, two cubicles, and one clear focus on people, we could’ve never envisioned what Ultimate would become. Today, we’re more than 4,000 employees strong, each dedicated to helping others. They’re so passionate about people, whenever an opportunity to make a difference arises—whether within our walls, in our local communities, or across the world—it’s our own people who are often first to spring into action and start the movement. They set up online fundraisers, they organize drives (and hand-deliver truckloads of supplies to those in need), they run races and complete challenging obstacle courses for charity, they cycle miles and miles to raise money for a cure. They do more than we even know, because they prefer to stay out of the spotlight.

We are very fortunate. We have the opportunity to pay it forward, to continuously help so many in our communities. It’s Ultimate’s greater purpose as a company, and it’s our greatest responsibility as a society.

We give to help others. We share to inspire others.

We put people first, and this reminds others: Together, we can all make a difference.

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U.S. Wrestlers Capture World Title in Latest #UltimateTeamMoment https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/u-s-wrestlers-capture-world-title-latest-ultimateteammoment/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/u-s-wrestlers-capture-world-title-latest-ultimateteammoment/#respond Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:11:24 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1099 Today’s #UltimateTeamMoment proves wrestling isn’t always an individual sport. Read how a team of eight elite athletes from the U.S. men’s freestyle wrestling team put aside their college rivalries to compete for America. In the end, six wrestlers brought home medals and, together, the team won its third world title—Team USA’s first in more than […]

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Today’s #UltimateTeamMoment proves wrestling isn’t always an individual sport. Read how a team of eight elite athletes from the U.S. men’s freestyle wrestling team put aside their college rivalries to compete for America. In the end, six wrestlers brought home medals and, together, the team won its third world title—Team USA’s first in more than two decades.

Close-Knit U.S. Wrestlers Turn in Ultimate Team Effort in Paris for First Team Title in 22 Years

With six of eight wrestlers medaling, the U.S. men’s freestyle team won its third team world title ever.

By Craig SeskerUltimate Team Moment USA Freestyle Wrestling

 

PARIS – Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder, Iowa’s Thomas Gilman, and Penn State’s Zain Retherford competed for three of the best college wrestling teams in the country this past season.

Snyder and Retherford finished their junior seasons with national titles, while Gilman completed his standout career as a three-time All-American.

This summer, the three elite wrestlers became teammates with even bigger goals.

This wasn’t about scarlet and gray, black and gold, or blue and white.

This was all about the red, white, and blue.

Snyder, Gilman, and Retherford were teammates on Team USA for the world championships. And they were part of a men’s freestyle wrestling squad that had an ultimate team moment on the international level when they won the men’s freestyle team title on Saturday in Paris.

“We’re all loyal to our college programs, and that won’t change,” Gilman said. “But when we compete for our country, we’re all about winning for the United States of America. We live in the greatest country in the world, and we’re proud to represent it.”

Even though wrestling is considered mostly an individual sport, as athletes pursue titles in their own weight classes, the team aspect also is important. That was evident when a close-knit U.S. squad captured its first team title in 22 years in dramatic fashion at AccorHotels Arena.

Snyder, an Olympic and world champion, edged Olympic and two-time world champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia 6-5 in the final match of the tournament at 97 kg. That broke a 53-53 tie in the team race and gave the U.S. an exciting one-point win over Russia.

Champions in each weight class are awarded 10 points, with silver medalists earning nine points and bronze medalists collecting eight apiece. American Jordan Burroughs won his fourth world title. Gilman and James Green earned silver medals, with Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox and first-time world team member Nick Gwiazdowski adding bronze medals.

“During training camp, we talked about wanting to win the team championship. I wanted to have that championship trophy in my hands,” Burroughs said. “It’s a goal all eight guys on the team had. We knew it was going to be a tough battle with Russia. It’s so awesome to finally win this.”

Gilman comes from the tough, hard-nosed Iowa Hawkeye program, where they have an us-against-everybody-else mentality. But Gilman’s perspective changed after making his first world team this year.

“I learned so much being around the other guys on the world team this summer—it really helped a lot,” Gilman said. “Being around Olympic and world champions like Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Snyder, and Logan Stieber helps a lot. You can pick their brains and ask them questions, and you can watch how they train and go about their routines. It’s great having a chance to do that.”

Many of the wrestlers on the world team battled each other in practice. Burroughs and Retherford trained together, as did Snyder and Gwiazdowski.

Green also embraced the team concept.

“These guys not only are my teammates, but we’re close friends and we have a tight bond on this team,” he said. “We get along great, and we support each other and pull for one another. That makes a big difference in a tough, grueling sport like wrestling.”

The matchup between Snyder and Sadulaev lived up to all the pre-match hype. Snyder erased deficits of 3-1 and 5-3 en route to the win in a battle of mega-talented 21-year-olds. Snyder scored a dramatic takedown with 24 seconds remaining to win 6-5 in a thrilling bout in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 8,000 fans. Snyder pounded his chest in celebration while Sadulaev collapsed on the mat and held his hands over his eyes.

“I wasn’t even that nervous—I was more excited than anything,” Snyder said. “I put every ounce of energy I had out on the mat.”

For the first time since 1995, and for only the third time, the U.S. won a world team title in men’s freestyle wrestling.

“It couldn’t have been a more hyped-up situation with everything coming down to the last match and the team title on the line,” Snyder said. “It was an amazing day.”

For Burroughs, it was the first time he had been a part of a team championship on the international level.

“It was huge to win against Russia in the finals with the team title on the line,” Burroughs said. “I came in here wanting to win the team championship, and our guys really came through. It was awesome to be a part of a great team with a bunch of great guys.”

The six U.S. medals in Paris were the most by an American team since the 1995 squad won six medals at the world championships in Atlanta. That was the last time the U.S. won the team title. The other title came in 1993.

Bill Zadick guided the U.S. to the title in his first season as the program’s national freestyle coach.

“This team was very talented, but also very close-knit as well. We had great chemistry, on and off the mat,” Zadick said. “When you do it with eight athletes, and a lot of people dedicating their lives and committing everything they do to this sport, it is pretty amazing.”

Craig Sesker is a sportswriter based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has covered three Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Partner with Your People: Scott Shares His Entrepreneurial Advice with Fortune https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/scott-scherr-entrepreneurial-advice/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/scott-scherr-entrepreneurial-advice/#respond Wed, 09 Aug 2017 13:05:36 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1048 At Ultimate Software, we put people first. Period. We owe a lot of that to the example set by our CEO, Scott Scherr, and his commitment to not only taking good care of his employees, but treating them as true partners. Scott recently shared his words of wisdom in a guest post for Fortune, discussing […]

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At Ultimate Software, we put people first. Period. We owe a lot of that to the example set by our CEO, Scott Scherr, and his commitment to not only taking good care of his employees, but treating them as true partners. Scott recently shared his words of wisdom in a guest post for Fortune, discussing some of the perks that set Ultimate apart—like our 40 percent no cap 401(k) plan and guaranteed company equity—and how other entrepreneurs can foster their own people-first culture. In Scott’s words, “take care of everyone, every day, and they’ll return the favor many times over.” Check out the piece on Fortune, or read more below:

Why the Most Successful Companies Think Like Sports Teamsscott scherr

Note: this post originally appeared on Fortune’s Insiders Network

Everything I know about building a business, I learned from my father. As a kid in the Bronx, I watched him build a successful company from the ground up. His straightforward approach to business just made sense: The people were there to take care of the business, and the business was there to take care of the people.

Many young entrepreneurs focus mainly on the business plan, profit margins, and mastering the investor pitch. While all of that matters, it’s important to remember the fundamental questions: What kind of company do you want to run? And who do you want to help you build that business?

Remembering my father’s advice helped guide Ultimate from day one: Take care of everyone, every day, and they’ll return the favor many times over. To me, the “secret sauce” isn’t in the best-laid marketing plans—it’s in having the right team to execute on them.

Here are a few ways you can foster business growth and success by focusing on your people:

Make a big investment in your people

In our early days, one of my “non-negotiables” was 100% paid-for health care benefits for employees and their families, and 401(k) matching for every employee. That’s uncommon for startups today (only 14% of companies with 100 or fewer employees offer a 401(k) plan) and it was virtually unheard of 27 years ago.

Think of the ways you can walk the talk so your employees know you’re truly invested in them. Catered lunches and group celebrations help preserve your culture, but remember what cultivates your core values. Maybe it’s flexible hours or generous PTO to support employees’ work-life balance. Running a successful business has many highs and lows. But when you’re relentless in putting your people first, they’ll continue on the journey with you, weathering the good times and bad.

Think like a (sports) team

As a former athlete and lifelong fan, I see many connections between sports and business. The best teams that consistently win are not simply teams with good players. Championship teams have the best players and are coached by leaders who are fully committed and know how to get the most out of their players who are equally focused. Not every person you hire has to be a star athlete or accomplished coach, but it helps to have that team mentality.

Every person counts and must be working toward the same goal. No matter what business you’re in, if you find and keep the best, most committed talent, and coach them, you’ll make it to the playoffs every year—and bring home championships.

Promote from within

When businesses are looking to grow, they’ll usually look to the competitive market to find top talent. However, many times, the best people are already on your team. Focus on building leadership from within, rather than hiring the first outsider with the right skill set, but who may not be a cultural fit. Your existing employees have a greater knowledge of the company, a deeper connection to its values, and a more personal investment in its long-term success (especially when you’ve shown you’re invested in theirs). Developing your current people also helps foster stronger relationships and business growth as your employees build their careers with your company. Some of Ultimate’s highest-ranking—and most successful—people were our very first employees.

The business strategies that work best often seem simple, but they’re also the most powerful. Like I learned from my father: Your people keep you inspired, and keep your business moving forward. To achieve continued success as an entrepreneur, keep your eye on what matters most. Always remember to invest in your people first.

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U.S. Triathletes Take Silver, Look to Tokyo in Today’s #UltimateTeamMoment https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/u-s-triathletes-take-silver-look-tokyo-todays-ultimateteammoment/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/u-s-triathletes-take-silver-look-tokyo-todays-ultimateteammoment/#respond Fri, 04 Aug 2017 19:00:37 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1070 In today’s #UltimateTeamMoment, read how a tight-knit group of U.S. triathletes worked together in the recent ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships in Germany to take the silver medal. Building off the momentum of its strong performance in Hamburg, the confident team now sets its sights on Tokyo and the triathlon mixed relay’s 2020 Olympic […]

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In today’s #UltimateTeamMoment, read how a tight-knit group of U.S. triathletes worked together in the recent ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships in Germany to take the silver medal. Building off the momentum of its strong performance in Hamburg, the confident team now sets its sights on Tokyo and the triathlon mixed relay’s 2020 Olympic debut.

U.S. Triathletes Bask in Ultimate Team Experience in Winning Mixed Relay World Silver Medal

Triathlon mixed relay will make its Olympic debut in 2020 in Tokyo.

By Doug Williams

 

As Matt McElroy was warming up to race Sunday, he was having trouble keeping to his normal routine.

For the first time in his career, McElroy was part of a team event, the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. Scheduled to do the anchor leg for the four-person U.S. team, McElroy couldn’t pry his eyes from the nearby course or the giant video board as he warmed up.

“I was cheering and I was warming up, and I was cheering and I was trying to get into the zone and focus on what I needed to do,” said McElroy, 25. “Normally when you’re racing for yourself, to get ready for your race, you try to block out those elements of who you’re going to race and what’s going on. … You’re in your zone. But in this case, I was cheering and getting updates.”

When McElroy finally got into the race, he did just fine. Following strong performances from Kirsten Kasper, and 2016 Olympians Ben Kanute and Katie Zaferes, McElroy crossed the finish line second to earn silver for the U.S., just behind Australia.

Each team consists of two men and two women, who alternately negotiate a short course—300-meter swim followed by seven-kilometer bike and 1.6K run—and tag the next teammate for his or her leg. The fastest combined time wins.

For McElroy and Zaferes, it was a chance to try something new. Neither had ever taken part in the mixed relay, an event that will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020. The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has held the championship event each year since 2009. This was just the third time the U.S. has medaled. The Americans took bronze in 2013 and gold in 2016, when Kasper and Kanute teamed with 2016 Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen and Olympian Joe Maloy.

Zaferes, like McElroy, wanted to try it before the Tokyo Games to see if it suited her. Each gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.

“It’s fun and exciting and it feels like a little more’s on the line because you don’t want to disappoint your team or your country,” said Zaferes, 28. “It’s so fun to have the camaraderie between teammates, because sometimes—because of Olympic selection and things like that—the USA athletes are the ones you’re most competitive with. But in the relay, you’re all working for the same goal.”

Kasper did the first leg and had the U.S. tied with Australia when she tagged Kanute. Kanute put his team out in front, along with France, when Zaferes’ turn came. Her strong third leg produced a lead for McElroy. He was caught on the swim—his weakest leg—by Canada’s Alexis LePage, but then fought back on the bike to catch him. The two briefly worked together in the lead, until the Canadian crashed, leaving McElroy about 6K to cycle on his own, without drafting help, while the pack behind him could gain while rotating leaders.

“By the time I got to the run, I had dead legs from cycling by myself, and these guys caught me,” said McElroy. “Their energy was saved because they efficiently rotated on the bike.”

Australia finished in one hour, 22 minutes, and 38 seconds, four seconds ahead of the U.S. The Netherlands took bronze, five seconds back.

Zaferes said doing the relay was one of the most enjoyable events she’s ever experienced. She thinks it’s a terrific addition to the Games’ 2020 lineup, not just for the athletes, but the fans, who get to see a fast duel of teams over a short course.

“The format itself is exciting and fun,” she said.

She said she’d been “timid” to try it, but is glad she did. Getting to compete with men and women was a kick. It takes an ultimate team effort and everything to go right to get to the medal stand.

“It was nail-biting,” she said, “but it was definitely fun. He (Matt) did a great job and it was great we got to watch together (at the end), me, Kirsten, and Ben, all cheering together.”

McElroy says it makes a fun change-of-pace from individual racing. He said he hadn’t felt that sense of team since he ran cross-country for Northern Arizona.

“I went in pretty blind, and then, what I realized, is that the crowd and the athletes—because there was this team aspect—got way more into the race,” he said. “There was more pressure involved, more tactics involved. This type of racing was honestly better than racing for myself.

“To be excited for someone other than yourself, to see them do good and then have that impact your result … it’s really a great feeling.”

 

Doug Williams covered three Olympic Games for two Southern California newspapers and was the Olympic editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He has written for TeamUSA.org since 2011 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

 

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10 Places to Find Ultimate this Quarter – Q2 2017 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/10-places-find-ultimate-q2-2017/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/10-places-find-ultimate-q2-2017/#comments Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:00:25 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1063 Earlier this year, we shared the first post in our new “10 Places to Find Ultimate This Quarter” series, designed to showcase the latest Ultimate Software mentions and news in the HR community. Check out the latest places to find Ultimate: At #SHRM17, HR expert and influencer Mike Haberman experienced UltiPro Perception™ for the first […]

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Earlier this year, we shared the first post in our new “10 Places to Find Ultimate This Quarter” series, designed to showcase the latest Ultimate Software mentions and news in the HR community. Check out the latest places to find Ultimate:

  1. places to find ultimateAt #SHRM17, HR expert and influencer Mike Haberman experienced UltiPro Perception™ for the first time. He shared his thoughts on the product and the importance of development and learning in his post, Future Friday: Lessons from the SHRM conference.
  2. Adam Rogers, chief technology officer at Ultimate, explained why trust matters at work and how technology can help. Read his post on Janine Truitt’s blog.
  3. Maren Hogan, CEO and founder of Red Branch Media, attended and spoke at our San Antonio Workshop. She discussed the event in her post, Ultimate Workshop Learns: Why Roadshows Resonate with HR.
  4. HR Influencer Sharlyn Lauby recently explored the impact of employee discount programs and taxes on recruiting and candidate experience. The article Recruit Better: Employee Discount Programs and Taxes features Ultimate’s Kellie Jones, senior director of products.
  5. In Giving a Voice to the Voiceless with Technology, Janine Truitt describes how survey tools incorporating AI and sentiment analysis can help organizations effectively listen to and act on employee feedback.
  6. Janine also included US in one of her Ask Czarina Live Periscope events where she highlighted the importance of managers and organizations listening to employees. Tune in for her insights and applicable use cases.
  7. HR consultant and expert, Sabrina Baker, shared a guest post from Adam Rogers on the Top 5 Ways HCM Software Supports Your Small Business.
  8. Jennifer Miller, leadership development consultant and influencer, featured Cecile Alper-Leroux, vice president of HCM innovation at Ultimate, in her recent InPower Coaching article, “Leadership Tips for the Modern Fluid Workforce.”
  9. Jennifer McClure, founder of Unbridled Talent, recently celebrated 100 DisruptHR locations. As she continues to encourage HR disruption worldwide, Ultimate is pleased to participate, share, and sponsor these great events including DisruptHR San Diego and DisruptHR Detroit.
  10. Employment lawyer Kate Bischoff, of Thrive HR Consulting, provided her expertise and best practices on how to create an employee handbook that people actually want to read in a recent post, Employee Handbooks: Your Ultimate Guide.

For the latest Ultimate news, updates, and happenings, visit www.ultimatesoftware.com, look for Ultimate on your favorite HR blogs, or connect with US on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

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