Putting People First: Ultimate Software’s Unique Approach to Process

It’s definitely Spring. How do I know? Well, by looking at my travel schedule lately, I can see that conference and event season is in full swing.  While this means a lot more mileage on my luggage, as well as my feet, it’s always an exciting time of year for me. Not only is it the time for newness in nature, it’s the time of year that many of the HR solution providers share what they have been working on and release the new technologies, or versions, to the world.

Ultimate Software-gamecard and silver

Last week I visited with Ultimate Software as they held its annual Connections user conference.  Picture more than 1,600 of Ultimate’s 2,700 customers coming to Las Vegas for several days of learning, networking, celebrating and hopefully not too much “sin” in Sin City.  It was an amazingly polished event that also provided much anticipated product roadmaps and updates to the analysts.

If you’re not familiar with Ultimate or what makes the company unique, let me share that before diving into the details. Ultimate has a mantra of “people first” and when you talk with the CEO, CTO or members of the product strategy and development team, you quickly learn that it’s not just lip service.  They specifically build each process and module around people. First. Every time.

What does this mean to you if you’re in HR? The tools are designed with the end-user in mind, not the HR or recruiting leader. This is a shift from what many competitors do.  While it’s important to ensure the recruiting team, compensation analyst, or HR Director understands the functions and capabilities of the software, for Ultimate, the critical role is that of the employee or the manager. With a focus on simplicity in design and ability to use, Ultimate is able to add features without adding complexity.  Ceclie Alper-Leroux, VP of Product Strategy, talked with me about this and says it is critical so that the user groups will get the most out of the solutions.

What’s new at Ultimate in 2014?

  • New recruiting and onboarding solutions. These are important developments for Ultimate as it strives to provide the best HCM for the employee lifecycle. The ability for customers to have that one-stop approach to all their people needs is a desirable one.
  • Global HCM and Payroll updates. Notable changes include adding new languages and country localizations, single business processes for all people and countries, and the new, in-house designed, Geo-tax coding, which makes it easier to track employee information.  In addition, Ultimate has a new person rules engine.
  • A new Compensation Management solution. For leaders who may be new to seeing detailed compensation budgets, the benefit is that they will now have the ability to adequately and accurately plan for their compensation needs.
  • A performance measure that includes a high-potential predictor. This is a new tool that managers can use to ensure they are appropriately identifying and managing the employees that they most want to retain. User organizations will need to have enough data, though, — typically 3 years’ worth — or they may not be able to get accurate predictive data from the high-performer and retention prediction tools.

It’s energizing to see vendors stepping up in the HCM space to make changes that will impact managers, employees and HR in a way that simplifies the processes as well as allow for greater focus on metrics and ROI.  Stay tuned in the coming months as Brandon Hall Group conducts a solution briefing with Ultimate Software that will address both the pros and potential cons of the changes.

Trish McFarlane, VP of Human Resource Practice
and Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group



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