Taking Care of What Matters
Benefits. That one word draws potential candidates into your organization, and keeps current employees satisfied-but only if your benefits are, well, beneficial. Having standout benefits gives your employees a sense of belonging and helps take care of medical and familial needs, often during times of intense stress or uncertainty. This feeling of being cared for can go an enormous way toward retaining your people.
In fact, 44% of respondents in a LinkedIn survey said that benefits such as health coverage and paid time off (PTO) will likely keep them at their current company for at least five years. So, what do employees care about the most?
- Health coverage & PTO
- Work-life balance & flexibility
- Good company culture
- Getting a chance to make a positive impact on society1
What does this mean for you?
As an employer, you have to evaluate what your employees want and value. It can be done through surveys or talking to your employees one-on-one. By listening to your people, you can create a culture of inclusivity and a benefits strategy that your employees will appreciate.
At Ultimate Software, we strive to create an environment of inclusivity with an emphasis on work-life balance. This includes prioritizing the benefits that are most valuable to different types of employees. In this guide, we're going to look at four employees who have benefitted from Ultimate Software's benefits and even created some of their own.
“When it comes to life-and-death health insurance benefits, fertility treatments
are really the only kind that focus on giving new life. And they're so rare."
- Karina S. media writer
Karina has been with Ultimate Software since December 2016 in her role as media writer. As a mother, she's always appreciated the emphasis on work-life balance and the flexibility to work from home when her daughter is sick. She also emphasized how much Ultimate's 401(k) benefits impacted her family; at her previous job, 401(k) benefits were paltry and neither she nor her husband were able to save much for retirement. But when she started at Ultimate-which matches 45% of employee contributions up to the federally mandated cap of $19,500-she and her family were able to double-down on actively saving for the future, significantly reducing financial strain and stress.
“It sounds cliché, but Ultimate’s benefits have completely changed my family life, in more ways than one,” she says.
One of the most uncommon benefits that Ultimate offers is comprehensive infertility coverage, including up to six rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and three complete cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. Conceiving a child through IVF can cost upwards of $30,000 on average to cover testing, egg retrieval, implantations, and medications-and sometimes much, much more. The costs add up quickly during a vulnerable time already fraught with emotion, and for many couples these interventions would not be feasible without insurance coverage. But, when successful, this benefit completely changes an employee's entire life.
After struggling for years to conceive their second child, Karina and her husband eventually turned to IVF. Following nearly a year of testing and three different surgeries, Karina's first transfer was successful. She is currently pregnant with her second child, due in July 2020.
The process was extremely challenging, but thanks to Ultimate's benefits, Karina and her husband were able to focus on supporting each other rather than stressing about how they would afford it-or if they could at all. What's more, Karina felt fully supported throughout the lengthy process, which included frequent doctor's appointments and surgical recovery.
"My manager went out of her way to provide the utmost care and support and was there for me every step of the way. I never, ever felt that my job was in danger or that it was frowned upon to have so many appointments; instead, I felt trusted to manage my work-life balance and knew that she truly cared about me and what I was going through. She was one of my biggest cheerleaders and she was one of the first people I told when I found out I was pregnant."
Karina says she can't thank Ultimate enough for all that they have given her and her family. She also points out that these benefits make employees like her even more fiercely loyal and committed due to their gratitude for the company's life-changing culture and benefits.
"When a company truly cares about and invests in you, you truly care about and invest in the company. I can't wait to see what the future has in store, both in terms of my growing family and our growing organization," she said.
“I believe we have created an atmosphere that honors
and values our veterans.”
- Tiffany B. strategic development manager
Tiffany has been at Ultimate Software since January 2016 as a strategic development manager for our sales team. But more importantly, she served in the United States Marines from 1995-2001. Since returning to civilian life, she has worked tirelessly to help veterans with finding jobs, adjusting to normal life, and feeling appreciated at work.
Tiffany expresses her sense of duty often. "After the military, I had an innate desire to continue to serve others," she says. At her previous job, she wanted to start a community for veterans at work, but she was told "no" by her management team multiple times. She was told it's not part of her job; so, nothing was done to embrace veterans or provide a community of support or belonging.
In her 2nd week at Ultimate, while attending new hire training, she heard our former chief people officer (CPO), Viv Maza, talk about different communities of interest for employees to join, and she was immediately inspired. After Viv's session, Tiffany asked if there was a community for veterans. Viv Maza replied, "There isn't, but you have my full support if you want to create one." With that, our veterans' community of interest, UltiVETS, was founded with Tiffany as the lead. UltiVETS stands for Ultimate Veterans Exemplifying True Service.
"Our acronym embodies what our mission is," says Tiffany. UltiVETS provides support to our veterans through a variety of different ways. When every veteran starts at Ultimate, they are shipped a letter and a branded welcome package and letter containing a shirt, a pin, a notebook, a hat, and more! The community has also accomplished so much outside of embracing new hires, such as partnering with US War Dogs, which, through fundraising at Ultimate Software, has raised $27,000 to provide safety gear for the dogs in the US military. UltiVETS has also donated to Fallen Patriots and Toys for Tots, cultivated a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) program, implemented VA hospital volunteer days, and more.
Ultimate Software currently employs 156 veterans (and counting) from multiple countries. Tiffany and her committee work diligently to create an enjoyable and engaging experience for all veterans both inside and outside of the company. She has also represented Ultimate Software at career fairs aimed at helping veterans find jobs. She spoke on a panel and guided vets on how to transform combat skills, such as attention to detail and handling high-pressure situations, into the workforce. Internal employees often email the board expressing their gratitude. Tiffany shared an example of the countless thank you notes the community has received: "Thank you for caring to put something together like this. No other company has ever done something like this to recognize my service."
We also celebrate veterans with an annual Veterans Week, full of different activities and recognition. UltiVETS often extends their efforts to include customers and prospective customers by making PTSD awareness bracelets available to continue to spotlight those struggling with the illness. Tiffany is also currently working on partnering with major insurance provider Aetna, and our corporate wellness platform to centralize Ultimate's health and wellness programs. This will help promote awareness and open a conversation on PTSD for both vets and their families. She has even helped our customers start their own veteran programs, to enable more organizations to give back to those who have given so much. Ultimate Software has offered Tiffany a sense of community and belonging that she hasn't felt since serving.
Members of UltiVETS continuously echo the same sentiment: "Thank you for remembering us." And in Tiffany's words, "It's both an honor and a privilege to work for a company that cares so much about the same things I care about."
“I’ve worked for many companies and I’ve never
had this work-life balance.”
- Cindy W. project manager
Cindy has been at Ultimate Software since March 2007. Throughout the years she has held many positions and is currently on the project management team.
In 2019, her second grandchild was born. Unfortunately, both of her grandsons live in Park City, Utah, while she works from the Ultimate Software headquarters in Florida. She wanted to be there for her new grandchild and further her bond with the family. She did some research and realized she could afford to move to Utah for a few months. She then approached her manager with this idea.
Her manager loved the idea of Cindy being able to spend more time with family and approved the idea. Shortly after, Cindy made her temporary move to Utah. For the next three months she lived just a few minutes from her son and two grandchildren. Every day after work, she'd pick up her eldest grandson from daycare, play fun games with him, feed him dinner, get him ready for bed and then drop him off at her son's at night. Her presence helped her son tremendously, as he was able to focus more on work while knowing that his kids were safe with his mom. She had the time of her life, loved being able to build a relationship with her grandchildren, and hopes to make the visits to Utah an annual tradition.
In her nearly 13 years of working at Ultimate, she has taken advantage of many other benefits including healthcare benefits to see a physical therapist. While in Utah, she went twice a week for two months. "I came back in so much less pain...the fact that you can take off and do what you need to do is incredible. It is just so non-stressful to be able to work here. The benefits for mental health are really great here too." Whether she needed time for doctor appointments or physical therapy, her team has been more than understanding.
"To know that the leadership at Ultimate cares enough about me at a company at this size, to write me a personal email within minutes, speaks volumes. This wasn't a task at the bottom of her to-do list."
- Zak B. content management specialist
Zak has been with Ultimate Software since September 2016 on our learning team as a content management specialist. He is a remote employee, based in Maine, and has enjoyed many of the benefits Ultimate Software has offered him.
Zak took advantage of our adoption leave that we offer to all employees. Parents can take four weeks paid time off to help adjust themselves and their new child. However, as Zak was designated the primary caregiver of their new child, he was able to take 10 weeks adoption leave. Zak's story is truly unique. He saw first-hand the type of culture and community Ultimate has to offer.
Zak and his wife were looking to adopt, and they matched with an expectant mother in Tennessee. However, they were matched five weeks before their child was due. This meant they had to figure out their work and travel schedules within five weeks, while also preparing for a newborn and filling out all the paperwork that comes with adoptions.
About a week before the baby was due, Zak had a meeting in Atlanta, one of the office locations of Ultimate Software. He spoke to his manager about his options to make sure he would be able to be there for the birth of his child. His manager said he was only a few hours' drive away, and if he needed to, he could leave the meeting and drive to the hospital. However, if she went on time, then his wife could fly down, and he and his wife could stay at their manager's house until they needed to go. "I felt incredibly relieved that I'd be able to pick everything up and go."
While at the meeting, he had the chance to thank his VP of Learning and VP of Talent and Learning for allowing him the opportunity to take the time to grow his family properly without having to stress about work. What Zak didn't know was his vice president spoke to our former CPO, Viv Maza. Minutes later, right before his meeting started, he checked his email one last time and sitting in his inbox was an email from Viv. She sent an email congratulating him on his growing family, saying she was so excited for him and to let her know when his child was born. "Those are the things that speak as much about Ultimate as our benefits do." When all the meetings wrapped up, Zak and his wife stayed at his manager's house for a few nights before renting a car to drive to the hospital where his new child was being born.
The birth mother delivered a happy and healthy baby, and Zak was excited to start a new chapter in his life. While at the hospital, a nurse urged him to immediately worry about his child's insurance coverage. Zak simply smiled and said, "I'm not worried, my company has my back." Another amazing perk that Ultimate Software offers is full medical coverage. Instead of worrying about coverage for his new child, he was able to focus solely on his growing family.
When they were discharged from the hospital, Zak's new family of three returned home and he was able to devote the next 10 weeks to his newborn child. Taking care of his new child became his full-time job for the next 10 weeks.
“My team was taking care of me, so I could take care of my family.”
Just a little over a year ago, he and his wife were on vacation when an email arrived in his inbox. The email was from Viv, announcing a new adoption assistance benefit for all UltiPeeps. Ultimate Software would reimburse up to $10,000 of the costs of adoption. Thanks to this assistance, his child's college fund got a great start. This assistance from Ultimate now has afforded Zak the opportunity to help his child to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.
The love and support Zak received from his team, manager, and C-suite could be summed up with one word-indescribable. He is forever grateful to work at such an amazing company and considers Ultimate to be his second family. In his own words, "I had nothing but full and unconditional support from everybody."
The above stories highlight scenarios in which employers can offer specific benefits that may set them apart, and approach work-life balance in a way that makes a real difference to employees. These important moments in their lives are often fraught with potential stress and worry over how life outside the office will impact their responsibilities, job stability, and finances. In these scenarios, employers can make necessary experiences simpler and easier for their people-removing the hassle and uncertainty at otherwise trying times when selecting and accessing benefits, approaching management for time off, or finding community support. Prioritizing uncommon and valuable benefits, simplifying processes to take advantage of them, and training managers to emphasize work-life balance can all contribute to boosting loyalty, retention, and future recruiting. Help create the moments that mean the most to your people, and they'll become the best possible spokespeople for your organization.
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