Successfully and Strategically Linking CX And EX: The ‘People First’ Experience At Ultimate Software


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One company which has functioned with a people-first approach from its inception is Ultimate Software, an organization with which we have been able to develop a close working relationship. As stated on the ‘Our Mission’ page of Ultimate Software’s web site: “Simply put, people are your company. They control everything – your products, your services, and how you separate yourselves from the competition. Make no mistake….it’s your people that matter most to the success of your business. Winning companies put people first. If you focus on recruiting, cultivating, and retaining good people, you’ll see better results. Period.”

At Ultimate Software, based in Weston, Florida, ‘people first’ is more than their attitude toward customers or the design of their products and services. It’s a reflection of how the enterprise views the employee experience. As stated on their web site’s ‘Company Culture’ page: “At Ultimate, we take care of our employees, and we know it will show in the way they take care of you.”

It’s ‘People First’ At Ultimate Software

Ultimate Software designs human capital management solutions for clients, and they also service what they sell. The culture is built on innovation, as well as respect, trust, and concern for optimizing the employee job experience. Another statement from the ‘Company Culture’ page of their web site reinforces this: “We take great pride in our people and their accomplishments, foster their continued professional growth, and encourage their ideas.”

In a 2016 joint Beyond Philosophy-Ultimate Software webinar, Ultimate’s approaches to employee experience were on display to hundreds of participants. First, they stated that, according to an IDC 2015 Experience Survey, 81% of U.S. companies measure customer experience in some form or fashion, while nearly 70% do not measure employee experience. Employee experience clearly needs greater priority within organizations today, and Ultimate Software has developed what they identify as an “Employee Experience Playbook” to address this. This experience model has three components:

– Leadership role (coaching, caring, inspiring) front and center, and well beyond traditional approaches to management. Leaders must ensure, for instance, that employees a) feel connected to customers and b) understand their role in optimizing the customer experience

– Culture of transparency, listening, trust and action which challenges employees, supports communication, and shows compassion. This is supported by analytics which drives understanding of the company’s vision for customers, more positive employee perception of their contribution to customer success, connection of employees to customer experience outcomes

– Leverage technology as an “employee valet” to more efficiently complete tasks and contribute, supporting them so they can better communicate with customers and across the organization

Ultimate Software truly practices ‘people first, stressing meaningful work for employees, customer support, and value for all stakeholders. As a guiding principle, Ultimate has quoted noted leadership and management consultant Simon Sinek: “The employees must love the company before the customer ever will.”

Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC
Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC, specializes in customer and employee experience research/strategy consulting, and brand, customer, and employee commitment and advocacy behavior research, consulting, and training. He has authored seven stakeholder-centric strategy books and 400+ articles, white papers and blogs. In 2018, he was named to CustomerThink's Hall of Fame.


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