Since its founding in 1894, the mission of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has always been to promote safe living and working environments for people around the world. Headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, UL has a corporate campus that spans 153 acres.
Take a tour of the testing facilities and you will see some of the interesting ways in which they test everyday products. In one area, there is a huge machine stress-testing furniture by applying repetitive pressure to the seats and backrests. In another area, you’ll see a Christmas tree being set on fire to test for flammability. Heat and electricity are also used to test the lithium-ion batteries that are used in hoverboards.
UL has continued to evolve with innovations throughout the decades – the company was the first national organization to certify airplanes for flight and tested early-model consumer products like dishwashers and televisions in the 1930s. Recently, UL celebrated its 125th anniversary and is continuing to lead the charge in creating a safer world.
Operating in 148 countries globally, UL employs 14,000 people spanning across numerous areas of work. “We employ every position, from executives, engineers, research scientists, lawyers, communicators, educators, financial analysts, data science, and the list goes on. There is not a discipline I can think of that is not employed by UL. We even have our own certified post office,” explains Barb Gutherie, UL’s VP of Corporate Sustainability.
UL works to ensure industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and construction are employing safety standards to meet today’s complex regulatory environment. “Our key competitive advantage is our relationship with our customers and the trust that we bring. They always know with UL that it's going to be the highest quality standards, and we're going to work with them to not only meet their needs, but to give them additional insights into how they can drive their products on the global market,” says Todd Blevins, Vice President of Global Business Services at UL.
With such a diverse, widespread workforce, UL’s payroll operations need to be seamless.
“Payroll is much more than just paying your people. Payroll is processing your deductions to make sure your medical coverage is intact. Payroll is taking care of child support. Payroll is ensuring that all of your investments are done on time. Payroll is a resource to our employees,” says Chrissi Steffani-Wardlow, Payroll Manager of Global Business Services at UL.
The payroll process, however, needed a refresh to meet the demands of the growing workforce. “Our payroll processes, prior to Dayforce, were very manual. We did taxes in-house, we required double the resources to complete payroll, we did a lot of checking and double-checking and triple checking, to get to that level of trusting the data. We needed to look for a better solution than what we had,” explains Steffani-Wardlow.
“We were looking for a system that was robust enough to handle our complexities here at UL. We were looking for a system that would help us to streamline a lot of our processes and to reduce the staff we needed to get those processes done.”
UL also had its employee experience in mind when thinking about implementing a new solution. “UL's values center around competitiveness, collaboration, and integrity. So, it's important that anything we use in our organization that supports our employees exhibits those same characteristics,” says Blevins. “We want to make sure we have a system that's easy to collaborate with our employees on, and that employees have a lot of confidence in. We want a system that's competitive in the marketplace, bringing new innovations and new ideas to us on a regular basis.”
UL decided to partner with Ceridian to implement Dayforce Payroll. Dayforce has helped UL ensure that they are offering the best experience to employees when it comes to their pay.
“Today, the demands on our company are stronger than ever. We are competing for the best talent, and we need to be first and foremost a technology-savvy company, offering the best products to our employees. UL has to stay ahead of their needs, and work to build partnerships like we have with Dayforce,” says Gutherie.
Dayforce Mobile has also given employees access to their information from anywhere. “The mobile app gives them the opportunity to have the information immediately when it's available, as opposed to having to come into the office to get it. This has given them one more thing to help with their work-life balance,” says Steffani-Wardlow. “Since mobile has been introduced, our payroll team doesn't have to send paper earnings statements anymore.”
Since adopting Dayforce, UL has gained more confidence in their data accuracy and reporting around payroll.
“We're a data-driven company, not only in the services that we provide to our customers but also how we operate our organization. We measure everything. It's important for us to have quick and easy access to the data in Dayforce, to be able to leverage it in forecast planning,” says Blevins.
As a global company, there are many regional tax complexities the payroll team must manage. Dayforce has simplified this process for UL.
“We have 10 companies under the UL umbrella that create many complexities. With acquisitions and mergers, we often have to do a lot of tax re-filing, set up new states, and work with previous owners to get all of the taxes up to UL standards. We have been able to rely on Dayforce during each implementation, and Ceridian has ensured that everything rolls out smoothly and is successful from day one,” says Steffani-Wardlow.
Since partnering with Dayforce, UL has seen improvements in the accuracy and efficiency of its payroll processing.
“My first year here we had approximately 1,000 errors on our wage and tax report. Within one year of using Dayforce, we reduced that number to less than 10. Last year, we had less than five,” says Steffani-Wardlow. “We have also been able to reduce the number of staff needed to process payroll by half, from eight to four.”
Steffani-Wardlow says she knew they’d made the right decision choosing Dayforce when she saw that Ceridian’s level of attention to detail matched their own. “I knew that we had made the right choice when we went through complex implementations after an acquisition. Ceridian partnered with us and was just as concerned as we were about ensuring everything was perfect for our employees.”
UL and Ceridian have a lot in common, and these commonalities have made for a long-lasting partnership. As with payroll, safety testing is generally something that, if successful, remains in the background of people’s daily lives. If you are receiving your pay accurately week after week, or are always using safe products, the job has been done right.
“Ceridian is an essential partner for UL. They make certain that our employees are taken care of from a financial standpoint, in the same way we make sure the public is taken care of from a safety standpoint,” says Gutherie.
“It's important when we select a vendor that they share our DNA of competitiveness, integrity, and collaboration,” adds Blevins. “In Ceridian and the Dayforce product, we have that match.”