Ultimate Software Group (ULTI) Acquires Kanjoya

September 30, 2016 10:05 AM EDT

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Ultimate Software (Nasdaq: ULTI), a leading provider of human capital management (HCM) solutions in the cloud, announced today that it has acquired San Francisco-based technology company Kanjoya, Inc., a leading workforce intelligence and analytics platform for enterprises. Using the technology acquired through Kanjoya, Ultimate is launching UltiPro PerceptionTM to help companies collect, understand, and act on employee feedback. The acquisition underscores Ultimate’s commitment to optimizing the employee experience in order to drive employee performance and engagement.

As part of the acquisition, Kanjoya founder Armen Berjikly and the entire award-winning Kanjoya team is joining Ultimate Software, establishing an additional research and development hub for Ultimate in San Francisco. Kanjoya works with leading companies, including many Fortune 100 businesses, to uncover employee, manager, and team attitudes and performance traits from employee surveys and other sources of employee feedback. UltiPro Perception will be available as an option for Ultimate customers in January 2017.

UltiPro Perception will be launched at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Chicago, at an exclusive preview session on Wednesday, October 5, at 4:30 p.m. Central time. HR Tech attendees can sign up to attend this unveiling at www.ultimatesoftware.com/hrtech2016.

Ultimate expects that the acquisition will have no material impact on revenues in fiscal year 2016.

Business Impact of Employee Feedback

Traditional human capital management has focused most heavily on two areas: 1) tracking employee data and 2) improving employee performance. However, with competition to retain talent on the rise across all industries, today it is crucial for businesses to not just focus on boosting employee performance, but to also listen to the “voice of the employee”—and focus on understanding how the company can improve the experience of its workforce. According to an August 2016 study by The Center for Generational Kinetics, three out of four employees said that one thing employers could do to make them stay with the company longer is to listen to and address their concerns. Understanding employee concerns through feedback and survey tools—and acting on those findings—is directly tied to increasing talent retention and driving performance.

Going Beyond Traditional Employee Feedback Tools

To understand how employees truly feel about the work environment, culture, and leadership of the organization, companies need more than simple multiple-choice employee satisfaction surveys or costly consulting engagements, where the results can be delayed for many weeks or months after the survey. With the introduction of UltiPro Perception, Ultimate customers will be able to quickly and easily survey their workforce, collect employee input (through both quantitative and open-ended questions), understand employee sentiment, and track the effectiveness of teams and managers in seconds. With unparalleled speed and depth of insight, leaders can act on those findings to improve culture, retention, and performance.

Originating out of ground-breaking research conducted by leading linguistics researchers from Stanford University, Kanjoya’s highly advanced natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning work to uncover the feeling behind what employees are saying in open-ended comments and to transform that information into predictive solutions.

By introducing employee survey and sentiment analysis into its existing HCM solution, Ultimate will be empowering its customers to collect employee feedback from the right groups of employees at the right time, with the ability to select survey participants and send surveys based on factors such as work location, supervisor, department, tenure, or essentially any data element tracked in the UltiPro HCM suite. Combining these results with Ultimate’s industry-leading predictive analytics technology and Leadership Actions gives Ultimate customers a powerful resource to uncover people challenges, predict outcomes, and recommend actions to drive better business results.

Recognized Industry Leader for True Sentiment Analysis

With UltiPro Perception, businesses can ask conversational questions such as “What’s on your mind?” or “What advice would you give management?” and get real-time, actionable insights into employee attitudes, values, and feelings. Kanjoya’s proprietary technology uses Text Insights to identify the HR themes discussed (e.g., compensation, work/life balance, teams, etc.) and the emotions expressed (e.g., confused, sad, confident, etc.) to compute an Emotional Promoter Score. In an instant, managers know their teams’ top concerns and the intensity of how they feel, and can act on those findings to improve employee satisfaction and retention.

Kanjoya’s unique employee sentiment technology has been highlighted in Fast Company, Fortune, the International Business Times, and The Wall Street Journal; the company was recognized as an awesome new startup at the HR Technology Conference & Expo in October 2015; and Kanjoya was named as one of four “Cool Vendors in Human Capital Management, 2016” by Gartner.

“With this acquisition, we are gaining cutting-edge employee survey and natural-language processing technology, the perfect complement to the new generation of predictive talent analytics already embedded within UltiPro,” said Adam Rogers, chief technology officer at Ultimate. “Our acquisition of Kanjoya is consistent with our strategy to expand the value of UltiPro, with a focus on relentlessly improving the employee experience, and—just as importantly—we’re thrilled to welcome the talented Kanjoya team to the Ultimate family.”

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