#PeopleFirst – Ultimate Software's Blog https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Thu, 19 Oct 2017 12:49:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Inspired By People https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/inspired-by-people/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/inspired-by-people/#comments Fri, 10 Mar 2017 21:30:55 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=934 What inspires you? What wakes you up each morning and motivates you to face life’s challenges? At Ultimate Software, we’re inspired by people. It’s why we started our company more than 26 years ago, when we recognized an amazing opportunity to put people first: to provide the “ultimate” HR and payroll software that would inspire […]

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What inspires you? What wakes you up each morning and motivates you to face life’s challenges?

At Ultimate Software, we’re inspired by people. It’s why we started our company more than 26 years ago, when we recognized an amazing opportunity to put people first: to provide the “ultimate” HR and payroll software that would inspire people in the workplace and empower them to achieve more.

We’re humbled and honored to be named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For six years in a row, and the #1 Best Large Workplace in Technology the past two years. We’re fortunate to be here, and we know we’re here because of people—our employees, our customers, and our communities. They continue to inspire us, to better ourselves and to always do the right thing. So we look to pay it forward and inspire others in return. We wake up every day thinking of new ways to care for our people and to make Ultimate not just a great place to work, but a second home.

Establishing an Inspiring Home Away From Home

First, we focus on fostering a supportive, family-like environment where colleagues listen to one another, feel comfortable sharing ideas and taking risks, and work together to achieve their goals as a team. This positive, productive atmosphere inspires our employees to create innovative products that help people work more efficiently and effectively. They’re also motivated to constantly do more for our customers, providing extraordinary service and personalized, proactive support.

Next, we ensure our employees have the tools, resources, and technology they need to thrive as professionals. We’ve implemented a companywide performance management program in which employees set goals, track their progress, and have ongoing conversations with team leaders rather than a quick, once-annual review. We also offer a variety of flexible opportunities for continuous learning, from on-demand online training courses to hands-on leadership development workshops, so our people can gain new skills and grow their careers. This in addition to internship programs providing real-life experience, assistance for tuition and certifications, and specialized training for those in customer-facing service roles.

Supporting Our People’s Whole Selves

We also realize the need to support our employees not only as professionals, but as people. Since 2014, we’ve formed three diverse Communities of Interest: PrideUS for our LGBTQIA community; Women in Leadership for employees at all job levels; and UltiVETS for veterans and active service members. Each hosts several networking and social events throughout the year, including organizing Ultimate’s Inter-Office Pride Days, sponsoring seminars for Girls Who Code, and hosting barbeques for veterans. These groups bring us together to share and celebrate our unique personal experiences, and everyone at Ultimate is invited to get involved in some way.

No matter how much we do for our people, though, we’re always most inspired by what they do for others. Near and dear to us are the heartfelt contributions our employees continue to make in the community. Over the past year, 93% of our employees have participated in charitable giving. They’ve utilized their company service days to volunteer at nonprofit organizations. They’ve donated to charitable causes and helped those impacted by natural disasters, terrorism, and other unexpected events. They’ve stepped up to support colleagues and families who’ve endured personal tragedies. We are genuinely moved by the unending selflessness of our people.

From day one, we set out to create more than a successful HR technology company. We wanted to build a workplace that inspires people to trust, respect, and care. A company that encourages employees to bring their best selves—their whole selves—to work each and every day. A family that always looks after its own, in good and bad times, and makes a meaningful difference by giving.

I am extremely proud to say, that’s US.

Through our employee-centric culture, HR cloud solutions, collaborative customer service, and charitable efforts in the community, we hope we inspire others to become “People First” companies, too. Because we believe that when people succeed, companies succeed.

So, what inspires you? For US, we’re inspired by people.

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“People First” in Action https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/people-first-in-action/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/people-first-in-action/#respond Thu, 05 May 2016 10:09:28 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=568 By now, we understand that employee engagement gives way to the employee experience. Meaning, it’s time to focus on automatically creating an outstanding employee experience so engagement just happens. But, in order for that to happen, the employee experience cannot mimic the traditional employee lifecycle. It needs to focus on people. In a person-centered lifecycle, […]

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By now, we understand that employee engagement gives way to the employee experience. Meaning, it’s time to focus on automatically creating an outstanding employee experience so engagement just happens. But, in order for that to happen, the employee experience cannot mimic the traditional employee lifecycle. It needs to focus on people.

In a person-centered lifecycle, HR professionals aren’t spending their time developing processes. They are identifying and developing talent. They are helping the business set the priorities when it comes to talent strategy. And they are designing work that is open and accessible in order to maintain a competitive advantage.

Leadership Gaps Impact a “People First” Culture
Organizations looking to move toward a person-centered lifecycle must invest in their leadership teams. According to the Deloitte 2015 Global Human Capital Trends Report, 90 percent of respondents surveyed cite leadership as “important” or “very important.” However, the data also suggest that organizations have made little or no progress. The capability gap for building great leaders has widened in every region of the world, with only 6 percent of companies feeling fully ready to address their leadership issues.

Ultimate Software is so successful because the organization works with a great culture, creates award winning products, and delivers exceptional customer service. All three must be great in order for business to succeed. Putting People First
The key to a person-centered lifecycle is making people the center of organizational strategy. Think of it as a three-legged stool of sorts, with the legs being products, services, and culture. People touch each strategy, and without the right people…well, the strategy isn’t what we planned. Organizations need to align people with their products, services, and culture.

Make Great Products
Having the best talent and putting people first does not absolve a company from making good products. The best products come from the company’s efforts to find the best talent and treat them well. The challenge is syncing up business outcomes with talent strategy.

Organizations expect leaders to manage business outcomes through the performance management process. However, recent research has shown that performance management ratings are not accurate predictors of actual business performance—meaning, ratings have zero correlation with business unit performance.

A people-first product strategy embraces transparency and innovation. Work is open and collaborative. Employees feel connected to their work and understand its impact on the bottom line.

Deliver Excellent Service
This means not only deliver excellent service to customers, but also deliver excellent service to employees (who work with customers every day). Service needs to be extraordinary and efficient.

Today’s business leaders have to spend their time wisely. As reported in the Harvard Business Review article, “Reinventing Performance Management,” Deloitte tallied the number of hours it spent on performance management and found that completing the forms, holding the meetings, and creating the ratings consumed close to 2 million hours a year.

A people-first service strategy invests in development at every level of the organization. It supports employees becoming masterful in their roles, so employees can take care of customers.

Create a People-First Culture
A people-first company culture should support product innovation and respectful service. To make that happen, leaders need to be given the tools to properly hire, onboard, train, etc. It also means giving leaders performance management tools that add value. In addition to being a lengthy process, performance evaluations are also one of the costliest employee processes. The average organizational cost of a performance appraisal is $2,500 per employee, per year.

It’s time to give leadership a performance management process that puts people first. Leadership is ready to coach and mentor employees to do their best work.

The future of work is here. It’s centered around people who will take your business to the next level. It’s time to create a people-first culture by focusing on the future of people at work.

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Defining “People First” https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/defining-people-first/ https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/defining-people-first/#respond Mon, 07 Mar 2016 10:02:28 +0000 https://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=482 Ultimate Software began more than 25 years ago with a core belief: Always put people first. This founding principle drives all we do—from creating a culture that’s made Ultimate the Best Large Workplace in Technology; to designing our award-winning human capital management (HCM) platform, UltiPro®; to providing our customers with the HCM industry’s most valuable […]

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Ultimate Software began more than 25 years ago with a core belief: Always put people first. This founding principle drives all we do—from creating a culture that’s made #PeopleFirstUltimate the Best Large Workplace in Technology; to designing our award-winning human capital management (HCM) platform, UltiPro®; to providing our customers with the HCM industry’s most valuable service.

We know what “People First” means to US, but we wanted to know what it means to the people outside of Ultimate: those who’ve witnessed what happens when businesses put their people first.

So we asked several HCM influencers, “What does ‘People First’ mean to you?”

Here’s what they said:

Sabrina Baker: “Putting people first means leaders spend more time creating and cultivating relationships with employees than they do anything else. It means focusing on employee development more than product development. In a people-first environment, leaders understand that, by focusing on employees first, the innovation, efficiency, and productivity will follow.”

Steve Boese: “To me, putting people first in the workplace means that the leaders of the organization are committed to creating and maintaining a culture of caring, and, perhaps more importantly, of inclusiveness. It emphasizes that every employee at every level is important, not just for the skills they have and the work that they do, but also as individuals who are ‘real’ people and are valued members of the community. Putting people first shows everyone that they matter, they are valued, and they are supported—and that, in turn, should lead to thinking about and treating the organization’s customers in that same manner.”

Ben Eubanks: “When I think of ‘People First,’ my mind instantly turns to the policies and processes we use within our organizations. Many are set up for efficiency, compliance, or ease of use on the HR side, but they are unpleasant or downright awful for employees to navigate. Want to be an organization that puts people first? Think of them when you’re creating those tools and processes—if it’s making their lives harder, maybe you’re going in the wrong direction.”

Paul Hebert: “‘People First’ means assuming competency, commitment, and caring on the part of every employee. It means asking how you can help them—not how they can help the company. Putting people first means finding a way to link what the people find meaningful to the meaning of the company. It means caring about employees at a human level and not simply as resources to drive company value. It’s about enhancing employees, not engaging them.”

Sharlyn Lauby: “Putting people first means taking care of the employees who take care of the customer. As a human resources professional, I’ve always thought of that as my job description. When employees are happy and engaged in their jobs, then customers are happy, and it shows in sales and service. That’s how I connect what I do with the bottom line.”

Jennifer McClure: “To me, focusing on ‘People First’ in the workplace means ensuring that we communicate effectively with all employees about where we are headed as an organization, and how they (individually) fit into that vision. Employee engagement is an outcome of people feeling like the work that they do matters and that their efforts are noticed. So keep your employees informed, and ensure that they know how they fit into the company’s plans!”

Tim Sackett: “I’m a big fan of servant leadership. To me, putting people first means, as a leader, you’re doing everything in your power to make those people you work with successful. If they’re successful, our organization will be successful.”

Matthew Stollak: “Putting people first in the workplace means ensuring employee input is considered and valued. In addition, it means providing the appropriate resources so that employees can do what they do best.”

Janine Truitt: “Putting people first means seeing your employees as whole human beings and understanding the complexities, opportunities, and abilities that come to work with them every day. ‘People First’ means everyone matters and you regard people’s well-being and success as a priority.”

What does putting people first mean to you? We invite you to share your thoughts on social media using #PeopleFirst. Be sure to also visit Ultimate’s new #PeopleFirst page to learn what “People First” means to our employees—and what it can mean for your people and your business.

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