It’s with great pride we announce FORTUNE has named Ultimate Software one of the Best Companies to Work For in America for the fifth consecutive year, after having also ranked Ultimate the #1 Best Large Workplace in Technology.
We hold these prestigious honors close to our hearts because, from the beginning, we’ve focused 100% on people—every day, innovating and implementing new ways of putting them first.
That effort starts with our employees, and it extends to our customers. Over the past 25 years, we’ve created and nurtured a culture of care at Ultimate. We do all in our power to care for our people and provide the best workplace. This environment empowers our employees to take care of our customers, by developing the best technology and providing the best service, so people everywhere can achieve their best.
As Ultimate’s Chief People Officer, I’m often asked what it really means to be a “Best Company.” The truth is, there’s no single answer. It’s a combination of many factors, values, and traits. But we at Ultimate do believe Best Companies are built on C.H.A.R.A.C.T.E.R.
Best Companies are committed to their people, their customers, and their community. They equip their employees with the tools and resources necessary for success, and have programs in place that promote professional and personal growth. They consider their customers lifelong partners, remaining available to lend a helping hand at any time and going the extra step to provide proactive support. They treat philanthropy as a top priority, and focus on making a difference in the community through companywide service.
Best Companies believe honesty’s the best policy. They have honest people at all levels, and thrive on transparency. Their executives speak openly about the company’s past and current performance, communicate short- and long-term objectives, and give insight into the future direction of business. Managers share honest expectations of and with their team members. Employees are honest with each other, exchanging thoughtful feedback and working together toward success.
Best Companies hold themselves accountable for their actions, and for the outcomes of those actions. They recognize and admit when they’re wrong, but they don’t spend time dwelling on momentary setbacks. Instead, they go right back to working on a viable solution capable of solving the problem and preventing similar issues from occurring in the future.
Best Companies respect, accept, and value all people from all backgrounds. They respect the opinions and beliefs of others, including those different from their own. They solicit, listen to, and learn from people’s ideas, constantly asking, “How can we do even better?” They treat all people equally and know how each person’s unique talents and experiences contribute to the big picture.
Best Companies understand attitude makes all the difference—and they always keep it positive. Positive energy is contagious. It permeates the company and helps create the kind of amazing workplace culture that fosters innovation, productivity, and overall success. The people at Best Companies are happy, and everyone knows it. They greet strangers with smiles and trade handshakes for hugs.
Best Companies have courageous people who are willing to take calculated risks, and who are eager to present new ideas rather than settling for “the way it’s always been done.” They’re composed of doers—people who are constantly developing and enacting ways to make their coworkers, their company, their customers, and themselves better. They’re not afraid to fail, because they know failure is just a brief stop on the road to success.
Best Companies trust in the ability of great people to achieve greatness. They have leaders who establish a solid foundation and set a core mission, and then trust their people to take action and bring that mission to fruition. They trust in their people to always do the right thing. Likewise, employees trust in company leadership to always do right by them, always treat them fairly, and always tell them the truth (remember: honesty’s key).
Best Companies adopt a specific set of ethical standards that correspond with their intrinsic values. Their people are moral, they have integrity, and they all adhere to these virtues. They always uphold company values and they never compromise personal principles, especially when challenged or faced with adversity. They comply with all governmental laws and regulations, and conduct themselves with nobility.
Best Companies have people who won’t shy away from responsibility. They take the lead, assume ownership of projects, and see these initiatives all the way through. They’re dependable, ever-present, and can always be called upon, even long after a program’s been implemented. Because Best Companies have the best people, and the best people know their work is never truly finished.
Becoming a Best Company is a comprehensive process that requires ongoing effort and focus. It’s an evolution that won’t happen overnight. But the inherent results of being the best serve to benefit your people, your customers, and your business for years to come.