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HR chief at musical instrument maker in tune with Ultimate HR software

Tracy Bargielski overcame personal obstacles and helped implement UltiPro HR software to reduce paperwork and improve morale at Yamaha.

Shortly after Tracy Bargielski, the general manager of human resources, started at the Yamaha Corporation of America in 2008, she and the company experienced some seismic changes.

The economy dipped into a severe recession, triggering the company's first-ever, across-the-board layoffs and requiring Bargielski to take steps to shore up morale. Bargielski, a mother of then twin toddler girls, was also tested by a divorce from her husband of 15 years and later a serious illness that required two surgeries.

At Yamaha, she also helped select, purchase and lead implementation of Ultimate Software's UltiPro for human resources, payroll and talent management. The cloud HR software from Weston, Fla.-based Ultimate Software Group replaced paper forms, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and an archaic payroll service bureau at Yamaha Corp. of America, part of the world's largest manufacturer of a full line of musical instruments.

Bargielski said the Ultimate HR software enabled some needed changes and significant benefits at Yamaha, including increased efficiency in multiple areas and substantial time savings in HR.

The UltiPro software as a service (SaaS) application provides accurate and real time information about payroll and other data for the company to analyze and use, she said. The company uses the data to make decisions and identify trends in organizational changes, compensation plans, training and rewards, recruitment and much more.

The cloud HR software is also reducing errors, protecting confidentiality by limiting use of records and giving employees new access and visibility into benefits.

"It is a holistic system that took us in the right direction and clearly up a notch," she said.

Health scare brings new perspective

In December of 2010, Bargielski, who is 44, faced a life-altering event when she underwent back-to-back surgeries to remove a pelvic mass. She declined to be more specific about the diagnosis, but said she was out of work for eight weeks, back for a month and then out for another eight weeks.

One of her daughters, Tianna, may have saved her life.

"She said something to me one week," Bargielski recalled. "I was just making dinner. Her teacher was pregnant. She asked me if I was having a baby. I said, 'No, sweetheart, I am not having a baby.' She said, 'Well, your belly is big.'"

Bargielski did not think anything of it, but a week later, her daughter again repeated the comment.

"She started playing her guitar -- she would always make up her own songs -- [and] she started singing a song, 'I am worried about mommy. I think she is having a baby … She should go to a doctor.'"

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