Ultimate Software, a leading global provider of human capital management (HCM) and employee experience solutions in the cloud, announced today the company has created a number of HR and payroll-related product enhancements and resources to help customers navigate business challenges stemming from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
“Since the beginning of this crisis, we have been monitoring the evolving business landscape every day and have been in a dialogue with many of our customers about the human impacts of COVID-19 on employees,” said John Machado, chief technology officer at Ultimate. “It has never been more important for companies to put their people first, and Ultimate has launched resources and UltiPro features to support our people, our customers, and their employees. To that end, we want to help our customers navigate changing legislation, better understand employees’ feedback and needs, and communicate more effectively during this time of uncertainty, so companies and cultures can emerge stronger than ever on the other side of this crisis.”
Features for Navigating New Employer-Related Legislation (FFCRA, CARES Act)
Ultimate’s customers now have the ability to more easily handle taxes, payments, and leave management to comply with new legislation in the United States. This includes the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), impacting U.S. employers with 500 or fewer employees; the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act; and other state and federal legislation related to COVID-19.
To assist its customers in complying with these new regulations, Ultimate is:
- Providing the ability to configure new earnings codes for customers to grant paid FFCRA sick leave, and paid FFCRA family and medical leave
- Supporting new types of leave as they become available, with the ability to configure pay codes in UltiPro’s time solutions
- Offering Business Intelligence (BI) reporting to help process FFCRA sick-leave requests
- Allowing companies to elect to defer their portions of Social Security payments in 2020, under the CARES Act
- Giving customers the option to access critical Form I-9 and E-Verify processes without a physical presence—as outlined in the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations
- Enabling automatic generation of electronic documents and requests to support essential workers
Ultimate is monitoring legislative updates from the U.S. Department of Labor, and continues to offer new UltiPro features, tools, and related training to support its customers.
Template for Employers to Conduct Pulse Surveys
To support customers in gathering feedback and better understanding how a crisis impacts their people, Ultimate’s Perception survey solution now includes a new crisis check-in pulse survey, available at no additional cost to Perception customers. The questionnaire has been developed by Ultimate’s in-house industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologist specifically to address employees’ needs during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but leaders can also leverage the survey in times of crisis to support their people, boost morale, and preserve trust throughout the organization.
With UltiPro Perception, customers can:
- Provide a quick, easy-to-complete survey that employees can complete from anywhere, on any device
- Learn ways to better support their people during a crisis, by understanding where the organization should focus first to have the greatest impact
- Receive real-time, aggregated data and insights from open-ended responses, via natural language processing (NLP) and machine-learning capabilities
- Keep survey responses anonymous, if needed, to encourage more honest feedback
“During the month of March, Ultimate’s customers increased their use of Perception by 65%, based on the number of users taking surveys,” said Machado. “This tells us our customers want to know how their employees are feeling—especially at a time when most aren’t physically present or connected at the office. Since we have in-house I-0 psychologists whose expertise is in this area, we developed a survey specific to the current environment, that our customers could use to detect employees’ emotions, and then take the best action to serve their people. Perception offers technology that comprehends text in real time, so leaders can gain empowering insight and immediately start implementing necessary changes.”
Tools for Instant Communication and Notifications to Employees
Due to government COVID-19 guidance and regulations, many companies must now designate certain employees as “essential,” and provide them with required exception letters before workers can physically report to the workplace. Instead of manually tracking essential employees and creating new letters each time there is a status change, UltiPro customers can now use a configurable field in UltiPro to create an “Essential” designation checkbox. Through UltiPro, HR can tightly control access to those able to mark employees as essential, to ensure only employees with a genuine need receive permission to work in the office. In addition, organizations can instantly run BI reports to show all employees currently designated as essential, and automated reports can provide daily updates to identify new employees marked essential. Furthermore, a location-specific letter can be automatically sent to any new essential employees.
During this challenging time, communication and transparency are key to maintaining positive morale, ensuring employees are well-informed, and cultivating companywide trust. UltiPro’s free Community Broadcast tool, available to all UltiPro customers at no cost, provides customers with a convenient hub to send companywide or targeted communications via text or email. Recent enhancements to the Community Broadcast tool now facilitate COVID-19-related alerts to employees, with the ability to reach employees through email or text message.
Ultimate customers are already taking full advantage of the tool’s new features to improve companywide communication and increase transparency.
“We are communicating to employees very frequently, with messages that explain our ongoing business strategy and offer personal expressions of support,” said Laura Frederickson, CHRO at Village Health Clubs & Spas, noting that the UltiPro Community Broadcast tool has been helpful for communicating with a workforce that doesn’t sit behind computers. “We are leveraging as much technology as we can to preserve the human connection.”
In addition to UltiPro enhancements, Ultimate and Kronos Incorporated, which closed their merger on April 1, 2020, have also launched numerous free resources and a network of support for customers, employees, and the community:
- Ultimate’s COVID-19 Resource Center is a site for HR and payroll professionals to access live and on-demand webcasts, guides to effectively managing remote employees, and other useful content to support their people when they need it most.
- Ultimate & Kronos created a Kids’ Corner – available for free to the public – that contains resources to help employees balance working from home while caring for kids, including best practices, a calendar of no-cost live-streaming education and kid-friendly entertainment, and activities to keep children occupied while their parents work.
- Ultimate and Kronos have established an Employee Relief Fund for employees who are severely impacted by this pandemic, recognizing that partners and spouses may have jobs impacted or who might incur high medical bills. Ultimate and Kronos are funding this program with a minimum commitment of $1 million dollars, and employees are also contributing personally to the effort. Ultimate and Kronos are matching any employee personal donations to the fund dollar for dollar, up to another $500,000.
- Ultimate and Kronos are also committed to contributing towards global relief efforts to support healthcare workers and vulnerable individuals who are impacted by COVID-19. Ultimate and Kronos have committed a minimum of $250,000 towards the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s global COVID-19 Relief Fund, and will also match employee contributions dollar for dollar. To date, Ultimate and Kronos, in partnership with their employees, have contributed over $400,000 to the CDP’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) is acting promptly to bring fast and effective aid to the populations most in need around the world.
- Ultimate employees created and funded a campaign to help feed frontline healthcare workers and first responders throughout local communities. Together, the employees have already delivered more than 1,000 meals to hospitals in New York, South Florida, and Toronto.
- Employees from Ultimate and Kronos are sewing masks and using 3D printers to produce personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and essential employees around the
- Kronos introduced an automated employee contact-tracing tool to help customer organizations and their essential employees during the pandemic while providing new functionality to assist organizations in their planning for reopening facilities in the future. Leveraging data science to analyze labor records and time and attendance data, an organization can generate a report to quickly identify and communicate to employees who may have come in contact with a co-worker who has tested positive or is presumed positive for COVID-19, which can empower organizations to partner with health officials to ensure their people receive appropriate care, treatment, and proper direction to help reduce the risk of further transmission of the virus.
“In this time of uncertainty and unexpected change, our top focus is helping our customers and employees navigate this crisis, remain productive, and stay connected,” said Greg Swick, chief revenue officer at Ultimate. “From day one, we designed UltiPro as a platform to best serve people, to help them work more effectively and efficiently, and to achieve great business success together. We remain committed to our customers and our people, and we are confident Ultimate and UltiPro will continue to support organizations worldwide, and help them put people first—every day.”
About Ultimate Software
Ultimate Software is a leading global provider of cloud human capital management (HCM) and employee experience solutions, with more than 51 million people records in the cloud. Ultimate's award-winning UltiPro delivers HR, payroll, talent, and time and labor management, as well as HR service delivery solutions. Founded in 1990, Ultimate is headquartered in Weston, Florida, and employs more than 6,000 professionals. Ultimate merged with Kronos Incorporated on April 1, 2020, to create one of the most innovative HCM and workforce management companies in the world. To learn more, visit www.ultimatesoftware.com. Ultimate Software: People First.
About Kronos Incorporated
Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management (HCM) cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations—including half of the Fortune 1000—and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Kronos merged with Ultimate Software on April 1, 2020, to create one of the most innovative HCM and workforce management companies in the world. To learn more, visit www.kronos.com. Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.