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Introducing HR Spark: Igniting Ideas in HCM

Looking for an engaging, informative, and entertaining way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in HCM? Look no farther: Ultimate Software has launched a new Web series, HR Spark: Igniting Ideas in HCM, where we’ll tackle relevant HR topics with a variety of industry influencers and subject-matter experts.

Each month, host Matt Mullan will moderate a panel discussion covering the most pressing issues facing HR leaders today—from payroll and workplace culture to advanced HR technology and the growing remote workforce. Viewers can expect an interesting combination of perspectives on the latest challenges and opportunities in today’s HR and business environment, as well as potential tools and solutions worth optimizing. Each episode is streamed online and runs about 10 to 20 minutes.

HR Spark: Episode 1

The HR Spark series premiered on June 11, with an in-depth talk on listening to the voice of the employee (VoE), featuring guests Janine Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer at Talent Think Innovations, and Armen Berjikly, Senior Director of Strategy for Workforce Intelligence at Ultimate.

Did you know that three out of four employees said that the #1 thing employers can do to get them to stay longer with a company is to listen to and address their concerns? Tuning in to the VoE is a complex endeavor, but the ROI is truly significant, including a reduction in turnover, improved culture, and an increase in employee trust and engagement.

“Employee engagement is really the byproduct of employee experience, so that’s really the wrong thing to focus on initially,” said Armen. “That’s because the experience is as much emotional as it is statistical. It’s as much IQ as it is EQ; as much left brain as right brain. That experience is the root of all the outcomes you’re going to have for the employee. Yet, the methods employers have typically used—if they are listening to their employees—has totally ignored the fact that we are human and we feel as well as think. It’s that true sentiment of the workforce, including emotions as well as facts, that’s the voice of the employee.”

The downfalls of traditional employee surveys are discussed, including the shocking statistic that only 35% of employees feel that the surveys they take have any value at all. This led into a high-level conversation with thought leader Janine Truitt about the importance of trust in the workplace, and how employees feeling safe to speak freely at work is crucial to their employers receiving honest, useful feedback.

“There’s a lack of trust and a lot of fear on the part of the employee,” said Janine. “Even when you’re doing things like surveys, oftentimes you’re not going to get the root of that sentiment, because people don’t want to be seen as a whistleblower or ‘Negative Nelly.’ [The focus should be] really trying to foster a true sentiment of trust within the organization, so that employees can feel empowered to speak up when they’re asked, no matter how they’re asked.”

The “gold bar” of building trust and listening to VoE is described by Armen as taking every employee out to coffee to really get to know how they’re doing and what they’re feeling. But, of course, that’s tougher to do as organizations grow in size. That’s where technology can help. Armen and Janine discussed the role of AI, pulse surveys, and other technological advances that help HR leaders scale their VoE initiatives in a strategic and meaningful way to foster trust and improve the employee experience.

“People go into HR to help people reach their potential and deliver on their promise, and these tools are there to help,” said Armen. “That’s what I’m excited about: you have a sort of people-first artificial intelligence.”

Or as Matt put it, “It’s bringing the ‘human’ back to human resources—with AI.”

Welcome to Ultimate’s new web series, HR Spark. Watch the full #HRSpark premiere episode today.