Ultimate Software launches smart tools to manage COVID-19 crisis

Ultimate announces tools to help companies and cultures "emerge stronger than ever" from COVID-19

Ultimate Software launches smart tools to manage COVID-19 crisis

HR tech giant Ultimate Software has expanded its range of human capital management (HCM) tools to help employers stay ahead while navigating challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists working in-house developed an AI-powered pulse survey, accessible anytime and on any device, which helps companies determine how the crisis is affecting their employees on an individual level and how they are coping with the restrictions on social and economic life.

Unlike other questionnaires that rely mostly on structured responses, Ultimate’s survey platform, Perception, welcomes open-ended answers and evaluates feedback using natural language processing and machine learning. This level of intelligence lets the software detect nuances in the respondents’ sentiments based on their free-form text answers.

READ MORE: The three forces shaping HR right now

Ultimate reported that usage of its Perception survey platform rose 65% in March, as more companies began practicing social distancing and managing remote and distributed teams.

“This increase in survey activity tells us our customers want to know how their employees are feeling – especially at a time when most aren’t working in the office,” said John Machado, Chief Technology Officer at Ultimate.

Perception collects and analyzes aggregate feedback data in real time and keeps individual responses anonymous to encourage honest feedback from employees.

The platform does more than gather feedback, however. It also provides suggestions for actions leaders can take, based on the feedback received from employees.

READ MORE: 'People First' culture nabs Ultimate Software accolades

Managing essential workers
Companies are also facing new communications challenges. As COVID-19 disrupts everyday business, there’s an urgent requirement to keep employees updated and informed of the organizations’ business continuity plans.

Updates of this nature can be tricky for organizations that are now managing different employee classifications. Essential workers, for instance, might require specific information and may be eligible for certain privileges and exemptions that don’t apply to non-essential personnel.

Because of these differences, Ultimate said its flagship HCM product, UltiPro®, has integrated a checkbox that allows HR and managers to quickly identify which employees are essential, setting their access to information and reviewing their HR requests accordingly.

Other critical updates and messages, on the other hand, can be distributed across the entire organization through a Community Broadcast tool designed for targeted communications via SMS or email.

With the right tools, Machado believes, “companies and cultures can emerge stronger than ever on the other side of this crisis.”

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