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I’m a big fan of Edgar Schein’s pathfinding research into the business and human value of a strong culture. In our current disturbing social pattern of divisiveness that devolves into incivility, one of the surest ways to sink the corporate ship is a destructive workplace culture.

Schein, Professor Emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management, is famous for his quotes on organizational culture, which are often recited in the world of HR and organizational design. “The only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and manage culture,” is one of my favorite Schein quotes. “If you do not manage culture, it manages you. And you may not even be aware of the extent to which this is happening.”

I consider the work of “managing culture” akin to guiding and fostering the people, philosophies, and practices of an organization in a direction that is authentic and ideally a positive force toward the company’s vision. Yet when we consider the typical management structure of organizations, strategy and being strategic seems to pull everything else behind it. It’s truly one of the most overused and poorly understood set of expressions in the world of work today.  Strategy tends to be equated with a company’s secret sauce—the means by which it will best the competition, win the marketplace, and make owners, investors and shareholders do cartwheels.

But strategy is not the same thing as culture, much less vision. To quote another academic theorist, Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” The inference is that a happy workforce is a productive workforce, correlating directly with business success.

Words, Words, Words

Regrettably those three words: “strategy,” “vision” and “culture,” while vital to an organization’s success, are in the wrong order of importance to the business and the people within it.

Here’s my quick glossary of what each of these words means:

A “vision” is a compelling picture of a future state and goal, a clear, simple, aspirational statement of where an organization needs to go and what it needs to become to succeed and differentiate in its marketplace. Often, a company’s vision is articulated in a statement. For example, Oxfam envisions “a just world without poverty.” It can be daunting to create a vision, as we often fail to see ourselves as visionaries, or we may fear that our vision will not be realized, or worse, might be wrong. But I believe we all have the capacity to create a vision, and the value it creates is far greater than the alternative, a strategy with no vision, a ship without a compass.

A “strategy,” by contrast, is a bit easier to define, it takes discipline to execute, but anyone can roll up their sleeves and build the steps to achieving a goal and vision. A strategy is simply the broad plan of action taken by an organization to achieve the vision it has in mind (tactics, on the other hand, are the means by which the strategy is carried out).

Now let’s turn to “culture,” a word that means slightly different things to different people. In a business context, culture is the collective beliefs and behaviors governing how management and employees share knowledge and interact. These activities are often a byproduct of the organization’s history, leadership values, and management style—such as hierarchical command and control management methods or more free-thinking and collaborative ones.

Schein refers to culture as a “pattern of shared basic assumptions that … has worked well enough to be considered valid … passed on to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems.”

Some business academics refer to a company’s culture as its personality, unifying force and soul. Other theorists describe it as the sum of what it is like to work in an organization—the aggregate experience of all stakeholders culminating in a sense of collective purpose, belongingness, and identity.

Our definition at Ultimate also focuses on people. We see culture as a self-re-enforcing framework of thoughts, actions, and philosophies that determine how people experience their work lives, and how the organization treats and interacts with employees and customers.

When Cultures Collapse

I appreciate these varied descriptions, in part because they underscore the fact there is no one perfect culture that fits all organizations. Each culture must be hinged to a clear vision depicting where the organization is headed. Some cultures prize trust and loyalty, while others elevate autonomy and recognition. The point is that all cultures have specific attributes that influence organizational behaviors.

When workers are clear about the company’s vision and feel their work has purpose and meaning, the business generally flourishes. For example, at companies where employees feel senior leaders regularly listen to them, 86 percent define the business as having a “strong culture,” according to a CultureIQ survey.

While the best cultures do tend to satisfy members’ needs, those that are destructive do not. In such cases, people often are unclear about the organization’s vision, giving them feelings of disengagement and distractedness. Productivity declines, reverberating at the bottom line.

Why am I so caught up in culture? The answer is that workforce cultures are under extraordinary pressure today, in part due to digital transformation. Organizations of all sizes are seizing market opportunities and solving business problems using new technologies, which can be fantastic for business and will create many new opportunities for people… provided we are thoughtful about the changes and their impact on our organizational cultures. Machines are expected to handle more than half of workplace tasks by 2025. Jobs, not people, will be redundant, according to The Future of Jobs 2018 report.

In their eagerness to change current operating models, my apprehension is that companies will fail to consider the lasting technological implications of these investments on culture and the quality of employees’ work. Will the work they do be meaningful, purposeful and valued?

I recall a quote attributed to Marshall Goldsmith, author of the best-selling business book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” “If you know what matters to you, it’s easier to commit to change,” said Goldsmith. “If you can’t identify what matters to you, you won’t know when it’s being threatened. And in my experience, people only change their ways when what they truly value is threatened.”

If culture is swept under the rug as leaders focus primarily on the strategic value of digital and data transformation, people will feel threatened—to the detriment of the organization. A new culture without historic antecedents, expectations, and loyalties could surface—one not necessarily as productive as the prior culture. But there are alternatives, in fact, Prof. Schein writes, “In most organizational change efforts, it is much easier to draw on the strengths of the culture than to overcome the constraints by changing the culture.”

A New Order

To be fair, many companies’ digital and data transformation create the means to rethink culture for the better. By understanding the impact of change on the workforce, steps can be taken to reinvent the culture to be more relevant to employees’ work needs and career aspirations.

Given the value of culture, it makes sense to reposition those three words from their traditional order. Here’s my take: Once an organization’s vision is articulated, the unified efforts of the workforce culture guide a winning strategy to achieve superior outcomes. Vision, culture and strategy. A new order.

The post Why Vision and Culture Eat Strategy appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

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How would you define your company culture? What are the elements, traits, and pillars that describe a typical day for your employees—whether they work at headquarters, a regional office, or from home, maybe thousands of miles away?

So often, when starting up or even as they grow, companies focus mainly on defining their missions: what they do, the products or services they provide, the industries they serve. That should definitely be a priority, as knowing your what is crucial to overall business success.

But it’s just as vital to know your why, your greater purpose. Why do talented, hard-working people want to join your company and carry out your mission every day? Why do organizations want to partner with you and use your products or services? There are likely many reasons why.

That’s culture. And that’s what can ultimately set you apart from all others.

From day one at Ultimate Software, we made it our mission to put people first—always. This founding principle shapes the workplace culture we’ve created, the HR technology we design, the comprehensive services we deliver to customers, and our personal focus on making a difference in our communities.

Over 29 years, we’ve grown from a four-person startup with a vision to a $1 billion company with more than 5,100 employees worldwide. As we’ve evolved, we’ve recognized the importance of distilling Ultimate’s core values and defining what really makes our company and culture unique. Throughout the course of a year, individuals from teams across Ultimate collaborated to identify six words that define us. Words that capture what we’re all about.

Together, we are S.T.R.O.N.G.—Selfless, Thinkers, Relentless, One, Nimble, and Genuine.

These core values have always been part of our company. They are personality traits that all of us—from our leadership team to our new hires to our tenured employees—strive to embody, every day. We believe these six core values describe the passion and commitment we all bring to work—no matter where we work, or the work we do within Ultimate. We’re all working together and focused on keeping us S.T.R.O.N.G.

So, how would you define your company culture? What intangible feelings are ever-present companywide? More importantly, why are you here, and why are people proud to be with you on this journey?

No matter which industry you serve, how many years you’ve been in business, or how big you’ve grown, I encourage you to take time and truly think about your company’s core values. Start by asking your employees what it means to work at your company, and how they feel at work each day. What words would your people use to define your culture? Then, ask your customers. How does it feel to interact with your people? How would they describe your company if it were a person? See whether the answers are consistent.

Culture may be a feeling from within your walls, but it’s certainly felt beyond the workplace.

By defining a set of core values for your company, you can help ensure everyone—from your employees to your customers (current and future) to your communities—knows who you are, what you’re about, and why you’re here.

The post Defining Your Company’s Core Values appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

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At Ultimate Software, we’re proud to partner with incredible female athletes who are working relentlessly to change the world and chase their dreams. In honor of #InternationalWomensDay, award-winning professional golfer Brooke Henderson shares her experience with us about everything from finding motivation to ignoring the naysayers. Here’s her story.

Has anyone ever told you your dreams or goals were unreachable?

Along every journey, there are always going to be naysayers—people who doubt your vision or ability. Honesty from others is always appreciated, but despite what they might say, or what they might think, you need to believe in yourself and dream big. Throughout my career I’ve tried to use others’ negativity as motivation to prove them wrong.

How did you keep yourself motivated when the journey seemed daunting, or insurmountable?

I have learned that life is a process. Patience is a virtue and it’s really important when things seem to be against you. Every day, I am trying to be a better person and a better golfer. I set small goals along the way to help me stay motivated and moving in the right direction towards my big goals.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

To focus on the three F’s:

  • Family: Always have a close-knit family and strong supporters behind you. Choose unconditional love.
  • Friends: Always enjoy and have fun along the journey with the people you’re with.
  • Faith: Always be grateful for what you have and believe in your future.

Who’s had the biggest impact on your career, and why?

My parents and my sister have had the biggest influence on my career. My Mom is my biggest cheerleader. My Dad my favorite coach. And my sister a huge role model. My parents made so many sacrifices so that I could live my dream out on the LPGA Tour. I couldn’t ask for better people to share the journey with. I will be forever grateful for their support.

What women inspire you, and why?

Two women that inspire me are Morgan Pressel and Simone Biles. Morgan Pressel has had a successful professional golf career while making huge charitable contributions through her Foundation. Her passion and drive to raise money to fight Breast Cancer is amazing. And Simone Biles is just such an incredible athlete. It is so inspiring to watch her break records and crush barriers while staying humble and kind.

What advice would you give to women or girls who want to follow in your footsteps?

My advice to women or girls wishing to follow in my footsteps would be to have strong values. Persevere with a no-quit attitude when things get tough. Have integrity and always be true to yourself. Work hard while having fun along the way.

When do you feel the strongest?

I feel my strongest hoisting a trophy on Sunday afternoon, knowing I gave it my all.

The post In Her Words on #InternationalWomensDay: Brooke Henderson appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

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A recent Harvard Business Review article pointed out something startling – whistleblowers are a good thing for companies. In fact, according to the HBR article, “The more employees use internal whistleblowing hotlines, the less lawsuits companies face, and the less money firms pay out in settlements.” Seriously.

If we step back from this for a moment, the conclusion doesn’t seem as counterintuitive as it first appears. Companies that use and champion their internal reporting structures have opportunities to learn about problems faster. Employees feel like they actually can and should report irregularities and problems, even if those problems aren’t really problems after all. When employees do speak up, they know that their organizations will actually do something about it.

Fostering this in every organization is not that easy. While it does not require fancy-schmancy, third-party hotline providers or more staff to answer employee concerns, it does require a culture that seeks out problems even if those who report them don’t have answers. This can be difficult, especially where organizations are stuck in one way of doing things. Here are a few things any HR team can do to foster an environment on the lookout for concerns:

Create reporting infrastructure. Organizations need to have ways for employees to report bad behavior, including  , financial irregularities, and conflicts of interests. There shouldn’t be only one way to report. There can be a hotline, for sure, but you should also allow employees to talk to Human Resources or any manager. By creating multiple ways for people to report, employees are not searching for ways to report.

Talk about the reporting infrastructure. Once you have created reporting structure, you have to tell employees about it. Put it in your handbook. Post it in the breakroom. Talk about it in trainings. Put reminders in employee newsletters. According to the famous Marketing Rule of Seven, the average person needs to hear something seven times before it really sinks in, so extolling the virtue of your reporting infrastructure over and over can’t hurt anyone.

Train managers on how to ask about concerns. Managers need to be curious about their teams and how team members interact within the team and with others. However, managers are often not trained on how to be curious or how to ask questions to determine if everything is going smoothly. So, we have to train them. Give them scenarios that are close to what could happen, and then train them to ask questions about the scenario. During this, they’ll learn how to ask the right questions and who to tell about the problems.

Train managers on how to listen. Knowing how to ask the right question isn’t enough – managers also need to know how to listen. They need to know some of the trigger words or phrases, such as leave, irregularity, doesn’t make sense, and not in line with policy. If a manager asks good questions and listens for the answers, your organization is half way to being problem free.

Take action. Once a concern is reported, do an investigation. Talk to people. Look at records. Determine if there is a problem. If there is, do something about it. Discipline. Make changes. If you do nothing, you are part of the problem.

Close the loop. Once you’ve taken some action, go back to the original employee and thank them. Tell them that action has been taken. Tell them that, if they see any more irregularities or have any other concerns, you want to know about them. Again, thank them. They have done the organization a huge favor by pointing out the concern. If nothing came of their report, explain why and again, thank them. Even if they are a perceived “Negative Nelly” who seemingly complains of everything, eventually, they will bring you something that will require action.

Moreover, by closing the loop, the employee gets some satisfaction that they helped. They made a difference. This is more valuable than any bonus you could ever pay. It will also foster more reports for the particular employee and their compatriots. This is what you’re hoping for.

We used to cringe at the word “whistleblower.” We should welcome it. If the HBR study described above means anything, we should celebrate those who come forward by listening, taking action, and then thanking them.

The post Whistleblowers Are a Good Thing appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

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For more than 70 years, Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) has hosted Canada’s largest human resources conference, the HRPA Conference & Trade Show, to bring HR and business professionals alike together for a massive meeting of the minds. With the 2019 HRPA Conference & Trade Show just around the corner, we hope you’ll join us in Toronto, Canada from January 30th to February 1st.

Need convincing? Here are a just a few reasons you can’t miss the world’s second-largest human resources convention this year.

Big Conference = Big Presence

With over 160 HR professional development sessions and networking events, it’s easy to understand why HRPA’s annual conference draws in crowds from across the globe. The conference is bursting with opportunities to network with industry peers and learn from key voices at the forefront of business innovation and societal change.

Hear from the founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, and the many voices that are echoing the call for change. And Mel Robbins, the bestselling author and award-winning commentator, will also be delivering her speech on a different kind of “5 Second Rule” that you certainly won’t want to miss.

We’ll Be There!

As an official conference sponsor, Ultimate Software will be in Toronto in full support of the betterment of the human resources industry that HRPA’s conference is all about. We’ll also be on the tradeshow floor at Booth #719 to provide information and demonstrations of our best-in-class HCM solutions.

We promise that your visit to our booth will be sweet—literally. Swing by our booth and step into our Ultimate Cookie Lab to walk away with a delicious cookie personalized with your smiling face etched onto it. We’ll also be hosting several giveaways with opportunities to win some exciting prizes you won’t want to miss.

Explore the State of Work

The theme for this year’s HRPA Conference & Tradeshow is Work Climate, or “the shared perceptions, mood, and attitudes about an organization.” You might be wondering how work climate is any different from work culture. While they are relatively similar, work climate focuses on the daily experiences of employees rather than the overall set of workplace norms.

As businesses far and wide adopt and embrace automation and increased diversity, those daily work experiences are experiencing a shift. As employees begin to feel the effects of these shifts, HR and business leaders will be called upon to help them navigate this new work climate.

Join nearly 5,000 of your peers this year to be a part of this groundbreaking conversation. We hope to see you there!

Click here to learn more about the HRPA 2019 Annual Conference and Trade Show.

The post You ALMOST Missed Us at HRPA’s 2019 Conference appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

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International Women's Day #IWasTold - YouTube

In honor of International Women’s Day, we wanted to highlight the strengths and successes of women who refused to let what they were told impact who they became. We didn’t have to look far. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

“Being a shy person, public speaking was always a struggle. So when someone told me that all I would ever be is a pretty face, all I could think was, “That’s not true. I have so much more to offer.” That was a big moment in my life where I made the decision to do the things that make me uncomfortable – speaking up and making sure I was being heard, even if people didn’t want to listen. It was hard, but I tried my best. And then I came to Ultimate where people, both women and men throughout the organization, were really interested in what I had to say and what I could contribute. It’s truly an amazing feeling, knowing that my voice matters, my opinion matters, and my looks and gender have nothing to do with it.”

-Reannah Gilenson, Product Marketing Manager

“There are plenty of studies suggesting that women are less likely to take risks or apply for stretch positions. That honestly does not represent my experience. I value taking risks, and so do many of my female (and male) team members. I can make an educated decision, make a mistake, and correct that mistake before most people can make a decision. Action is fundamental for success, and this is perhaps especially true for women. Be bold! You are stronger than you know.

In terms of leadership, I do not like the stigma of ‘female leaders’ versus ‘male leaders.’ There are great leaders, mediocre leaders, and bad leaders (and everything in-between). It has nothing to do with gender. If you are in a leadership position, it is your responsibility to improve your relationships, strategy, and approach to achieve great business results while taking great care of your people. If you can learn to be your authentic self, take educated risks, and seek connection with both your team and your customers, it is truly a game-changer.”

-Julie Dodd, Chief Services Officer

“I’ve been in software technology for many years and over those years I’ve been told many things.  From I’m not visionary enough, or technical enough, to even not been nice enough and one thing that I’ve finally come to terms with is none of those negative thoughts or views matters. Others’ opinions can give you insight on your direction or where you are going, but end in the end you just have to be you.”

–Montra Ellis, Director, Product Innovation

“It’s about finding that magic place where you can turn up every day and be yourself. Ultimate has given me an environment in which I have grown in confidence to become a passionate and creative leader. We value diversity more than any other company I’ve worked for. Being from a different Continent and a woman doesn’t matter here, it’s the respect for each other that makes us strive to do our best work because we’re doing it for the collective whole. No one is out for themselves.”

-Christie Lemon, Creative Director

“In a past life five years ago, I started a new role to lead a team of 42 software engineers. My first meeting with my entire team, a room full of only male engineers, coincided with 37 weeks of my pregnancy. That was the day when it stuck me how much I would love to lead a diverse team to not only not feel as an odd one out but also leave behind a more diverse world of software development. Since joining Ultimate Software, I have focused a good portion of my energy towards this endeavor. I lead the Women in Technology committee at US where we focus on advancing women who chose STEM careers from classroom to the boardroom.”

-Pragya Malhotra, Director, Product Management

“When we first started Ultimate Software in 1990, there were four of us: two women and two men. We worked together as one team, helping with whatever needed to get done. We had each other’s backs. It wasn’t about being women or men. It was just US. Fast forward 29 years, and that’s still the Ultimate way. We have more than 5,000 employees, half women and half men. But we’re all members of one Ultimate family. We work together every day to design the best HR software, deliver the best customer service, and make a meaningful difference in our communities. We have each other’s back. It’s still US.”

-Viv Maza, Chief People Officer

The post International Women’s Day: I Was Told, But I Persevered appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

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Before we can talk about HR Service Delivery technology, let’s first get familiar with HR Service Delivery. If the term is new to you, fear not: the function it serves is anything but.

HR provides a wide range of services to various stakeholders throughout the company. Whether an employee wants to know the company policy on acceptable attire or has a more complex issue that requires a personalized touch, HR is responsible for making these services accessible throughout the organization. All of these services fall under the HR Service Delivery umbrella.

What is HR Service Delivery technology?

HR Service Delivery technology is just one possible answer to the question of how HR services will be delivered. While many HR departments rely on phone calls, emails, and office hours to serve their workforce, HR Service Delivery technology is the technological infrastructure that allows managers and employees to easily access the HR information they need, right when they need it. HR Service Delivery technology makes this happen in a seamless and intuitive way—it’s the missing piece of the HR Service Delivery puzzle.

Why is HR Service Delivery technology important?

With the numerous services that HR must provide to their workforce, relying on email threads and phone calls alone can be cumbersome and downright confusing—especially as your workforce continues to grow. HR Service Delivery technology simultaneously reduces administrative clutter and the number of incoming requests. For example, providing company-wide self-service access to relevant documents and company information can immediately eliminate many calls to HR. Beyond that, empowering your workforce to see the history and status of HR-related questions they need resolved can put them at ease knowing that their situation is being addressed.

Who benefits from HR Service Delivery technology?

Like all valuable HR solutions, HR Service Delivery technology aims to increase efficiency and reduce administrative overhead while simultaneously creating a better work experience for your employees. With less to worry about on the administrative front, HR is free to focus on their core functions and strategic vision.

Additionally, HR Service Delivery technology in the cloud is accessible to everyone from anywhere. With 43% of the American workforce spending some time working remotely, HR services are no longer restricted to in-offices use. Employees throughout the organization, whether they are working from the comfort of their couch or another country, all need the support of the HR department. HR Service Delivery technology makes that possible, while ensuring that the experience is both seamless and enjoyable.

The post What is HR Service Delivery Technology? appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

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Decision-makers love data.

In fact, in the sixth annual “Big Data Executive Survey” representing senior executives from 57 large corporations, 99% of responders reported transitioning to a more data-driven culture and a full 97.2% had invested in Big Data and AI initiatives. Yet only one-third considered themselves successful in developing a data-driven organization, a disconnect that’s been apparent since the first survey in 2012. And while nearly half of 2018 respondents cited people challenges as their greatest barriers to becoming data-driven, I think there’s another factor at play here: data variety.

All data are not created equal and most organizations are not even tapping into some of the most important data they have. Up until recently, organizations have primarily relied on structured data—i.e. highly organized data sets that are easy to analyze using predetermined parameters. Relational databases, spreadsheets, and clearly defined workforce trends like attrition are examples of structured data.

Unstructured data, however, does not follow a predefined data model and does not fit into relational databases. Think emails, videos, social media posts, and document copy. Due to its variability and lack of traditional organizational structure, unstructured data requires special software (and occasionally hardware) to organize, analyze, and understand it. As a result of these complications, it’s been largely ignored by businesses.

Gartner researchers estimate that less than 20% of all enterprise data is structured. Can you imagine making crucial business decisions based on 1/5 of relevant information? If that thought gives you heart palpitations – it should. The sheer volume of unstructured data makes it a crucial player in long-term organizational strategy.

Unstructured data also provides rich, detailed, qualitative insight into what’s truly happening within your organization. Consider traditional employee satisfaction surveys. On a scale of 1-5, how happy are you with your employee benefits? These surveys don’t provide answers – they provide numbers. Which would you prefer: knowing that 67% of your employees are at least somewhat unhappy with their benefits program, or knowing that 35% of your people have a hard time meeting their deductibles and another 55% desperately want more PTO?

Open-ended questions let respondents talk about what truly matters to them, ultimately providing you with much more detailed and actionable insights. When you know exactly what’s on your employee’s minds, you can make strategic decisions to improve employee morale, retention, and performance.

In the past, unstructured data necessitated manually analyzing massive amounts of free-text data – a process that’s both lengthy and expensive. But recent advances in natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning are cutting through previous limitations and making unstructured insights available to business leaders instantaneously.

Perception by Ultimate Software was developed by computational linguistics researchers from Stanford University, leveraging data models that can both interpret and intimately understand human language. These paradigm-breaking models can accurately classify free text into more than 100 emotions and 140 different themes, including both workplace topics and performance competencies.

What’s more, these models don’t rely on static keywords, which can become clunky and ineffective when put to the “natural language” test. Instead, Perception’s statistical approach uses part-of-speech tagging, dependency parsing, and preprocessing to break text into coherent phrases. These templates are backed by years of linguistic research and can actually translate text into vectors, seamlessly identifying themes and emotions and applying machine learning to continuously improve.

The result? Organizations receive honest, detailed answers to their most crucial employee questions – learning what their people are saying as well as how they actually feel. These insights can be applied to holistically improve the employee experience as well as predict employee behaviors and workforce trends.

When you’re finally able to analyze 100% of your workforce data, incredible things begin to happen.

You can take my word on this: employee surveys are just the beginning.

The post The 80% Blind Spot: Are You Ignoring Most of Your Organization’s Data? appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

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The technology industry is at the helm of innovation and forward-thinking initiatives. From basement-run incubators to aspirational open-source computing, technology is fueled both by dreams of “what if” and a passion for change. Attend any tech conference and you’ll overhear discussions on how to reverse climate change, shatter societal limitations, and establish a future of what could be.

But there’s also a stark reality of inequity within the industry. Despite the collective push towards a better future, many tech organizations are limited by rampant inequality.

Calling All Female Technologists

Even with growing media attention on the underrepresentation of women in tech, there’s been little headway in increasing female prevalence within tech companies. Women make up just 28 percent of proprietary software jobs, and only a quarter of IT jobs are filled by women. What’s worse, about half of these women leave at the peak of their careers, drastically reducing female retention and upward mobility.

There’s no easy solution, as the issue stems from complicated issues that are deeply rooted (both consciously and unconsciously) in business practices. But there’s been a major push toward a more inclusive tech industry, and tech companies are more than capable of changing the narrative by committing to change, recognizing biases in recruiting, holding themselves accountable, and prioritizing an inclusive culture.

 Community outreach and events also play a pivotal role when it comes to changing the gender parity narrative. Major strides toward a more inclusive workplace occur when we walk the path together.

2019 Events and Partnerships

At Ultimate Software, we’re proud to partner with various organizations dedicated to elevating the role of women in tech and increasing female representation. In addition to nonprofit community programs such as Girls Who Code and The Crockett Foundation, we also collaborate with various professional organizations.

We’re honored to support the ngAtlanta Foundation, which shares our mission to develop a diverse and inclusive software industry by paving the way for female technologists. The foundation helps develop underrepresented individuals through training programs, technical conferences, internships, and partnering with other nonprofits that directly serve those individuals. While the foundation is relatively new, it’s already made a profound difference in the lives of many.

In 2019, ngAtlanta will provide 200 full scholarships to its flagship ngAtlanta conference; sponsor 75 ngGirls attendees; offer up to 20 full-time paid internships of at least three months in length; grant 10 developer boot-camp scholarships; and provide multiple mentorship opportunities with successful tech-industry professionals.

Consider joining Ultimate at the 2019 ngAtlanta conference, and be sure to stop by our recruiting booth to ask about open opportunities. Ultimate will also be represented onstage: employees Tariq King, Maham Boghani, and Mike Brocchi will be speaking and/or leading workshops during the event.

Other can’t-miss gatherings for women technologists include the Grace Hopper Celebration (where we’ll also be recruiting), the Women in Tech Summit, and Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit. These events provide great opportunities for learning, networking, and celebrating. They remind us that we’ve come a long way—but there’s still a long way to go.

The movement toward gender parity in tech is well underway. Jump in and join us!

The post Partnering for a More Inclusive Tech Industry in 2019 appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

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You may have heard us talk about emotional intelligence (EI) in the past. It’s mysterious. It’s catchy. And as it turns out, it’s an extremely valuable skill to have at work.

Emotionally intelligent managers make more money

You read that right. Your ability to understand yourself and others can translate into actual dollars. Don’t believe me? Believe the numbers. One study found that the most emotionally intelligent professionals earned roughly $29,000 more each year than others. We’ll place our bet on emotionally intelligence any day.

Emotionally intelligent managers have higher retention rates

The fact of the matter is that most employees who leave an organization aren’t leaving the organization at all. It’s more likely that they’re leaving a bad manager—which speaks volumes about the effectiveness of emotionally intelligent leadership. Although 75% of managers say they care about the wellbeing of their employees, 47% of employees don’t believe this to be true. This gap between managerial intention and employee perception demonstrates a clear miscommunication—one that can be solved by injecting more emotionally intelligence into our day-to-day lives.

Emotionally intelligent managers are more engaging

Leaders who exhibit a high level of emotional intelligence create a work environment centered around trust—allowing employees to be their authentic selves at the workplace. Freed from the pressure of maintaining a buttoned-up façade, these employees can spend even more time focused on the task at hand. Applying more focus to their roles and business objectives albeit ensures a more engaged and innovative workforce.

But how do I raise my emotional intelligence?

Those three benefits are great, but the fact still remains: professionals won’t be able to enjoy these benefits without putting in the work to become more emotionally intelligent leaders. That begins with education.

To learn even more benefits of emotionally intelligent leadership, and uncover some exercises you can implement to get there, read our full whitepaper on EI here.

The post Is Emotional Intelligence Standing Between You & Career Success? appeared first on Ultimate Software's Blog.

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