Northgate Improves Business Processes with Ultimate Software

Northgate Markets, the owner and operator of approximately 40 supermarkets, has improved people management processes and addressed HR business issues related to diversity, communications and operational effectiveness using the UltiPro solution from Weston, Fla.-based Ultimate Software.

Headquartered in Anaheim, Calif., and founded in 1980, Northgate Markets is a rapidly expanding retailer that caters to the Hispanic community. The independent supermarket chain has more than doubled in size within the last six years and needed sophisticated human capital management (HCM) technology that could accommodate employees with preferred languages, cultural backgrounds, age, education and experience with technology. The company replaced the service bureaus and spreadsheets it had been using for payroll and HR with UltiPro in 2011.

“We have a multicultural, diverse demographic of employees, so we need to meet them where they are with our HR technology, which we have with UltiPro,” said Teresa Anaya, senior talent manager at Northgate Markets. “We have a strong family culture at Northgate, which is extremely important to us. We have employees with 35 years of tenure and people who just started today, and we want them all to be happy and engaged. With UltiPro, our people can select the language of their choice, access information at their convenience, and manage many processes on their own—which says a lot about UltiPro’s person-centric capabilities since some of our employees had minimal computer experience.”

Even with the diversity of its workforce that uses UltiPro for job applications, onboarding, benefits enrollment, and access to their personal HR and payroll details, Northgate reports that adoption of UltiPro has been high and the project is marked as a success, according to the vendor. Anaya credits UltiPro’s flexibility, ease of use and direct access for employees for its high adoption rate.

“We are proud that our technology is attractive to the newer generation of workers, but yet not too complicated to deter our people who might have less exposure to technology,” said Anaya. “UltiPro can accommodate each person and his or her preferences, background, or experience. Because we have one single solution for all of our HCM processes, the consistency of our operations has improved and communication across our many locations is better. Our employees know that they should go to UltiPro for all things related to people.”

Additionally, UltiPro is improving communications among Northgate’s dispersed workforce, enabling instant, 24-7 access to employee pay, benefits and HR details. This eliminates many inquiries to HR and payroll, provides strategic HCM metrics to decision-makers, and delivers a positive user experience by allowing employees to select personal preferences and individual settings, such as language.

Before going live on UltiPro in 2011, Northgate had more difficulty communicating with employees and managing information. The grocer used a service bureau for payroll, and Anaya and her team had to rely on paper, emails and spreadsheets for HR, which created extra manual effort and costs. Data was not consistent from location to location, and accurate, real-time reporting was difficult. Today, paper-laden processes like onboarding, benefits enrollment and performance management are automated while employee data is consistent, reliable and immediately available for analysis at any time.

“UltiPro has really helped us become more efficient in our HR roles,” said Anaya. “We’re able to do our work better. For example, UltiPro Onboarding has been a huge win for our business because we can do so much in a fraction of the time with so little paper and with more accuracy—which adds key business value with the kind of expansion that we have experienced and that we have planned."

Ultimate is a cloud-based provider of people management solutions, with more than 10 million people records in the cloud. Its UltiPro was developed to deliver HR, payroll, time and talent management solutions that connect people with the information and resources they need to work more effectively.

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