Ultimate Software's Blog https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Fri, 20 Jul 2018 14:24:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 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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Helping End Hunger Nationwide with Feeding America https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/partnership-feeding-america/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/partnership-feeding-america/#respond Thu, 28 Jun 2018 12:28:20 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1471 Giving has been a core part of Ultimate Software’s “People First” culture since our founding more than 25 years ago. Life can take many unexpected twists and turns, and we at Ultimate feel extremely fortunate to be where we are today. Serving our community is not only an ongoing opportunity to do the right thing […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chicago Bound: Join US at #SHRM18 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/shrm18/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/shrm18/#respond Fri, 15 Jun 2018 17:21:03 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1459 The 2018 Annual SHRM Conference & Exposition starts this Sunday in Chicago, and we’re packing our bags! Attendees will enjoy a series of internationally-renowned keynote speakers and a variety of networking opportunities, both in-person and online. And with more than 200 seminars, workshops, and sessions, including two led by Ultimate Software’s own subject matter experts, […]

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#SHRM18The 2018 Annual SHRM Conference & Exposition starts this Sunday in Chicago, and we’re packing our bags!

Attendees will enjoy a series of internationally-renowned keynote speakers and a variety of networking opportunities, both in-person and online. And with more than 200 seminars, workshops, and sessions, including two led by Ultimate Software’s own subject matter experts, there’s a plethora of educational opportunities for HR professionals at every stage of their careers.

Here’s where you can find US at #SHRM18:

“How to Use AI and Data-Driven Insights to Better Understand Your Employees”—Armen Berjikly, senior director of strategy at Ultimate, will demonstrate how HR leaders can improve employee experiences with HR-driven artificial intelligence (AI) that is as sensitive to statistics as it is to emotions. Visitors will see that, by complementing human insights, they can better understand and take care of their people. Register now.
Time: Tuesday, June 19, 10:00 a.m. Central time, located at the HR Technology Solutions Theatre (Booth #463)

“Don’t Let the Best Ones Get Away! How to Entice and Engage the Best Candidates with Pre-Boarding”—Cecile Alper-Leroux, VP of HCM innovation at Ultimate, and Claire Schooley, consultant on learning, recruiting, and employee engagement, will offer tips for companies to ensure that signed candidates make it to the first day on the job. Attendees will learn how they can use technologies and techniques typically associated with onboarding to prepare their candidates and have them feeling good about the decision to join the company, by creating lasting connections that help them become passionate, productive team players—from day zero.

Time: Wednesday, June 20, 10:00–11:15 a.m. Central time

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago! If you can’t make it, be sure to follow #SHRM18 and @UltimateHCM on Twitter for real-time updates from the conference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Business Case for UltiPro Perception at SPS Companies, Inc. https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/drivers-of-employee-engagement/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/drivers-of-employee-engagement/#respond Wed, 06 Jun 2018 10:00:01 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1451 by Corey Kephart, VP of HR, SPS Companies, Inc. At SPS, we have thrived for 80 years by maximizing value in our business and by investing in our people. When we selected UltiPro for our human capital management in 2016, we found a platform that would do both—help us save costs and increase productivity, and […]

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by Corey Kephart, VP of HR, SPS Companies, Inc.

drivers of employee engagementAt SPS, we have thrived for 80 years by maximizing value in our business and by investing in our people. When we selected UltiPro for our human capital management in 2016, we found a platform that would do both—help us save costs and increase productivity, and elevate our employees’ work experience.

When I discovered UltiPro Perception in 2017, I saw endless opportunities to harness value from the tool and drive transformational change in our organization. The business case for UltiPro Perception is clear: if we can understand the drivers of employee engagement, we can make the right investments to boost engagement, and these investments will lead to better business results. I was excited to get started, and we launched UltiPro Perception in about two weeks.

To date, we have used UltiPro Perception to power surveys on almost 20 topics, such as benefits, engagement, and leadership development, through more than 30 surveys overall. Our ability to receive instant feedback through the solution has helped our leaders take action quickly, and be responsive to the needs of our employees.

Beyond the ability to impact organizational performance, my favorite part of UltiPro Perception has been the positive response and genuine enthusiasm from decision makers at SPS, from the chairman and the CEO, down to the senior managers that oversee our different facilities. They often describe the UltiPro Perception reports as the best resource they have ever seen from an HR department, and I take great pride in the ability to provide this level of value.

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The Employee Experience Imperative: Q&A with David Johnson https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-experience-imperative/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/employee-experience-imperative/#respond Thu, 31 May 2018 12:19:31 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1445 From time to time, we invite guest contributors to provide their personal perspectives about trending HCM topics. The views, opinions, and comments expressed below are solely those of the author and do not represent Ultimate Software. This post was commissioned by Ultimate Software and the author has or will receive compensation for their work. Earlier […]

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

employee experienceEarlier this year, David Johnson, principal analyst for Forrester, joined Cecile Alper-Leroux, Ultimate’s VP of human capital management innovation, for a comprehensive webcast detailing some of the disruptive trends reshaping the future of work. Today on the blog, he’s offering a deep dive into one of the most significant issues facing employers today — the employee experience — including common pitfalls and suggestions backed by the most up-to-date analyst research.

1. How does employee engagement/employee experience have an impact on business success?

In Forrester’s view, the engagement is an outcome of the employee experience. And employee experience is a combination of what each employee brings with them to work each day (emotions, perceptions, motivations, etc.) and what they experience while there. Our research has identified four outcomes of a better employee experience that significantly improve business results, including financial performance and growth.

  • Better work performance. A 2016 IBM study showed that 96% of employees in the top quartile of employee experience report high levels of work performance, as opposed to 73% for employees in the bottom quartile. Positive employee experience leads to higher job performance and productivity. Several other studies prove the links between EX and objective performance measures as well.
  • Higher discretionary effort. The IBM study also showed that 95% of employees reporting a positive experience with their company say they engage in activities that are beneficial to their organization but aren’t necessarily part of their job. The number drops to 55% for employees reporting a poor employee experience. And discretionary effort makes the difference between typical and extraordinary business results. An academic study summarized in the Harvard Business Review found that when employees are willing to go beyond their formal roles and engage in “extra-role behaviors,” companies are more efficient and effective.
  • Lower employee turnover. The factors that affect employee turnover vary by industry and job role, but excessive workload is a top culprit across the board. Conversely, several studies show that when employers pay close attention to employee workload and help employees balance the demands of their jobs with key resources such as technology and training, they can sharply reduce burnout and employee turnover. When Starbucks rolled out mobile ordering, it analyzed how the initiative affected employee workload. Starbucks enjoys an annual employee turnover of only 65%, in an industry that averages 150% to 400%. Industry data pegs the cost of replacing store employees at 16% of annual pay, so the company saves $3,000 for every employee it retains. With 162,000 store employees, every 1% increase in retention saves the company $1.7 million.
  • Improved customer experience. Dell found that the customer Net Promoter Score (NPS) was twice as high for experiences delivered by highly engaged employees.* Similarly, a 2016 Yale study with a large rental car company showed that employee engagement has a positive and statistically significant effect on NPS: “Going from low employee engagement to high employee engagement will increase the likelihood of a customer being highly satisfied by 2.5 percentage points.” In addition, the study found that satisfied customers are more likely to keep doing business with the company and that employee engagement programs should focus on building customer centricity.

2. How is employee experience linked to customer experience?

As far back as the service-profit chain theory in 1994, firms have understood that happier employees correlate with happier customers — and happier shareholders. Research by Aon Hewitt reveals a statistical correlation between employee engagement and revenue growth: a 5% improvement in employee engagement leads to a 3% increase in revenue. And many firms, like Maersk Line and Mercedes-Benz, quantify the impact of engaged employees on their own customer experience (CX) delivery and business outcomes and use the insights to guide investments in technology.

And there are many other studies that show these links. Insights from Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) prove that, with few exceptions, CX leaders outperform CX laggards in revenue growth because customers find it more effective, easy, and enjoyable to do business with them. Studies show that that this is most likely to happen when employees feel that they can get their work done, their companies do a good job of facilitating their success, and they have a strong personal connection to their work.

3. What are the key factors that drive employee engagement?

Recent studies show that the single most important factor in a positive employee experience is employees’ ability to make progress, every day, toward the work that they believe is most important. There are many reasons for this, but from a psychological perspective, it’s tied to safety. It’s also tied strongly to intrinsic motivation, which stems from the love of the work itself, and not necessarily pay or benefits. Adequate pay and good benefits matter, of course, but they are not the source of engagement. Intrinsic motivation is, and that is driven most by being able to make daily progress toward it.

Most companies fail by not thinking about the employee experience at the daily journey level. Thus, they’re not aware of what’s inhibiting their ability to make progress. If they’re not aware of those factors, it’s difficult to target them for improvement. This is why it’s so important for companies to be listening carefully to their employees about what they are experiencing and what they need to be successful. Gathering employee feedback, interpreting it correctly, and taking it seriously is vital.

4.Why do many employee engagement initiatives fail?

Part of the problem is that HR often leads efforts to improve employee engagement without the help of key groups like tech leaders, who significantly influence the tools and resources that help employees be more engaged (or not). Studies find that:

  • Employers usually analyze engagement at only the organizational level. Researchers now distinguish between organizational engagement and job engagement because people often report feeling engaged with their companies but not with their daily work. In other words, employees can be happy with the company but still not productive because something is wrong at the job level. Accordingly, employee engagement efforts that focus only on the organization as a whole will fall short.
  • Companies don’t listen to employees or remove obstacles. In a Medallia Institute survey of 1,000 frontline employees, 78% report that their leaders claim customer experience as a top priority, but nearly 60% feel that their ideas for improving customer satisfaction often go unheard. And fewer than half believe they can count on leadership to remove obstacles to delighting customers. Net-net: Employees are frustrated by work environments where they feel prevented from doing more to deliver better CX. For example, call center employees who are measured on call resolution times will feel more stress if the applications they rely on are running slowly.
  • Employees don’t believe that their employers appreciate their work. A recent study conducted by the Cicero Group asked 9,600 people on six continents what one thing their employer could do to help them do great work. The top response (37%) was “recognize me.” That insight about the importance of recognition inspired B2B accounting services firm Crowe Horwath to create a new program called Pay It Forward on top of its existing client experience survey process. Now, employees mentioned by name in client surveys get an automated alert to highlight which other colleagues, particularly behind the scenes, contributed to good client experience. In the year after Crowe Horwath implemented Pay It Forward, it recognized 50% more employees for their efforts in delivering an exceptional client experience. Unfortunately, too few firms provide this type of consistent recognition to employees.
  • Leaders recognize the problem but don’t think they can solve it. Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends Report 2015 offers another reason for persistently low engagement scores: Most business and HR leaders believe that they lack the capabilities to meet the challenge of engaging employees. This skills gap is even more alarming because executives cite culture and engagement as two of the most important challenges facing their organizations.What can HR and business leaders do to improve employee experience and foster employee engagement in their organizations? 

5. What can HR and business leaders do to improve employee experience and foster employee engagement in their organizations?

In Forrester’s view, the most important thing they can do is become more attuned to the factors that affect employees’ daily journeys. That requires gathering a lot more feedback from employees not only through surveys and discussions but also through structured exercises like employee journey mapping. These exercises can help them find not just obvious factors but also systemic factors outside of any employee’s individual control, like how the wrong metrics may have unintended consequences that make it harder for employees to succeed in their daily work.

This level of attunement requires not only listening but also building powers of analysis to strip away the noise and accurately identify the most important factor.

6. What tools and methods can HR and business leaders use to establish an employee experience benchmark and continue to improve?

The timing for this is excellent, as vendors are now able to use technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to analyze employee feedback from surveys, voice of the employee program interviews, and even email and verbal communications to gain more insight into how employees perceive their organizations and what can be done to improve their experience with their organizations.

But even without advanced AI and NLP technologies, gathering employee feedback through surveys, interviews, and journey mapping exercises — and using it to improve employees’ experience in their daily journeys — will pay significant dividends.

 

* Net Promoter and NPS are registered service marks, and Net Promoter Score is a service mark, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

Sources:

“The Employee Experience Imperative” Forrester report, December 15, 2017.

“Engineer Your Technology Environment To Improve Employee Productivity And Flow” Forrester report, December 15, 2017.

 

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It’s Everyone’s Job to Care About Job Descriptions https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/its-everyones-job-to-care-about-job-descriptions/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/its-everyones-job-to-care-about-job-descriptions/#respond Tue, 22 May 2018 10:00:54 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1440 by Kate Bischoff From time to time, we invite guest contributors to provide their personal perspectives about trending HCM topics. The views, opinions, and comments expressed below are solely those of the author and do not represent Ultimate Software. This post was commissioned by Ultimate Software and the author has or will receive compensation for […]

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by Kate Bischoff

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

job description“That’s not in my job description.”

It’s the response that irks almost every every manager on the planet. The manager then goes to her HR business partner, engages in a whole-body eye roll, and then complains about the employee’s lack of team spirit. While we’ll empathize with the manager about the employee, we may mumble to ourselves about how long it has been since the manager has actually updated the employee’s job description. Then, we get pulled in 100 other directions—all fires demanding more of our attention than job descriptions.

The job description (JD) may be the most out-of-date and inaccurate document in all of human resources. The problem is, we know it. We know that JDs are on the bottom of our priority list and only come up when we need to recruit for the position. We know that JDs help us determine market salary comparisons. We know that employees look at their JDs. We know that candidates look at JDs. We know that JDs can protect us in a disability-discrimination case.  We know that JDs provide the basis for classification analysis under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

So, why don’t we update JDs regularly? Here are four reasons we should.

JDs outline responsibilities and expectations. It’s not rocket science, but employees want to know their responsibilities and what’s expected of them. From its engagement survey from 2016, Gallup discovered that the failure to set clear responsibilities and expectations is a foundational element to employee engagement. A job description, paired with expectations, can give employees the clear direction they want and help increase their engagement.

JDs repeat what you say. Psychologists (and advertisers) tell us that something needs to be repeated seven times before the human brain acknowledges it was said. This means that telling the employee once at the beginning of her employment isn’t going to cut it. A JD offers another way to repeat what you’ve said during onboarding. As a bonus, the employee can refer to the JD without fear of asking a seemingly embarrassing question. While an employee might already be trained in XYZ job, she may not know how your company operates specifically and might have questions. A job description offers guidance, and maybe even the answer. If it’s outdated or inaccurate, she won’t get help there.

JDs fascinate candidates. While I agree with many employment-branding experts that a vacancy announcement should not be your JD, candidates want to see the JD eventually. Having a JD that is both accurate and exciting can help seal the deal with candidates. So, have updated job descriptions for candidates to review once they progress beyond the initial screen.

JDs provide protection. Courts and jurors know to look at a JD for a list of essential functions of a job. If a JD doesn’t have accurate essential functions because the job has changed over time, there may be no proof backing a manager’s claims. This puts the employer in danger of losing a disability-discrimination case. Moreover, when the U.S. Department of Labor questions whether an employee is really exempt under the FLSA, it asks for the JD. When the JD isn’t accurate, the exemption could be at risk. When a race-discrimination plaintiff alleges his co-worker is similarly situated, the court will use a comparison of the two JDs to determine whether that’s the case. If the JD isn’t accurate, the employer could be liable.

Reviewing (and adjusting) job descriptions should be an annual practice. Though, when asked by HR for updates, many managers grumble, not at all concerned about JDs and even less concerned about why potential compliance issues stemming from the document itself.

If you’re reading this now, maybe you can be the one to suggest a companywide JD review. Even if that’s not in your job description.

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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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10 Places to Find US – Connections Edition https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/10-places-to-find-us-connections-edition/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/10-places-to-find-us-connections-edition/#respond Tue, 08 May 2018 10:00:16 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1399 Last year, we debuted our “10 Places to Find US” series, designed to showcase the latest Ultimate Software mentions and news in the HR community. Back by popular demand, we’re thrilled to share this special “Connections” update on the latest places to find Ultimate: Surviving Leadership is a blog authored by HR leader and Influencer, […]

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industry influencer ultimate softwareLast year, we debuted our “10 Places to Find US” series, designed to showcase the latest Ultimate Software mentions and news in the HR community. Back by popular demand, we’re thrilled to share this special “Connections” update on the latest places to find Ultimate:

  1. Surviving Leadership is a blog authored by HR leader and Influencer, Mary Faulkner, a renowned industry influencer with significant experience in leadership, management, talent, and more. She attended our Connections conference and shared her thoughts in several blog posts, including When Tech and HR combine: What I saw at UltiConnect. Additionally, Mary partnered with analyst Ben Eubanks (#8 below) to film an exciting conference introduction video. Take a look, and if you’re not already, follow Mary on Twitter at @mfaulkner43.
  2. Red Branch Media is a marketing company specifically designed to assist HR professionals! CEO Maren Hogan, @marenhogan on Twitter, is an awesome marketer, but she’s also an amazing HR pro. She shared her insight about recruiting for tough positions at the conference and discusses her Connections experience in this blog post, Making connections at the Ultimate Software user conference.
  3. Tim Sackett, author of The Tim Sackett Project, is a legendary HR influencer who makes a point to blog every single day. Make sure to follow him on Twitter, @timsackett, as well as his blog for daily doses of HR related content! He’s already shared some awesome Ultimate content, including posts like Are HR conferences responsible for ensuring you connect? #UltiConnect. HR blogging is about making HR connections #UltiConnect features a video with Tim Sackett and Ultimate Software customers and new blogger, Cheryl Nelson!
  4. Kolor Me HR is a new blog by up-and-coming influencer Cheryl Nelson, @CherylNelsonPHR on Twitter. We’re thrilled that Cheryl included us in her post Down Memory Lane, and can’t wait to see all she has to write about!
  5. If you don’t already know Robin Schooling, @robinschooling, she’s a great HR leader with a wealth of insightful HR stories. She authors com and manages a long-standing HR series, Carnival of HR. We’re honored to be mentioned in one of the posts mentioned in March Madness Circa 2018 #HRCarnival.
  6. HR expert, Janine Truitt, authors the blog CzarinaofHR and live streams on Periscope at #AskCzarinaLive. She speaks to a variety of HR and life topics, and recently shot an episode at our Connections conference. Make sure to follow her on Twitter, @CzarinaofHR, and online.
  7. Employment Lawyer from tHRive HR Law, Kate Bischoff, also attended Connections this year. She live tweeted her thoughts on Twitter, @k8bischHRLaw, and shared more thoughts in her blog post, UltiConnect. Be sure to take a look!
  8. UpstartHR is an HR blog authored by Influencer and Analyst, Ben Eubanks, @beneubanks on Twitter. Ben focuses on HR technology, leadership, and even innovation in HR. He attended Connections and shared his experience in AI means HR can be more human. Separately, Ben is writing a book on AI technology in HR. Check out the preview in LinkedIn post, What is your workforce thinking? Leveraging #AI for employee sentiment analysis.
  9. While at Connections, Ben Eubanks also led a podcast discussing the importance of the HR/IT relationship and steps these departments can take to achieve their mutual goals. Ben interviewed Gregg Paulk, CIO for Anderson Center for Autism and long-time UltiPro customer, who shared a plethora of insights into the importance of HR technology in the post CIO shares How HR Can Build Better Relationships with IT.
  10. Jason Lauritsen is an admired influencer and member of HRExaminer’s Editorial Advisory Board. Jason attended Connections and actually moderated our “Women in Leadership” panel, which featured Janine Truitt, Mary Faulkner, Kate Bischoff, and Maren Hogan. Read about his (somewhat uncomfortable) experience here in Gender at Work.

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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