Tech & Innovation Blog

Being your Authentic Self: Out and Proud Technologist @ADP


Culture, Inclusion, Pasadena

Out and Proud @ ADP

Andrew Luria, Senior Director, Major Incident Response located in Pasadena, California, shares his personal journey about what it’s like to be LGBTQ+ in a technology company.

Andrew Luria, Senior Director, Major Incident Response located in Pasadena, California, shares his personal journey about what it’s like to be LGBTQ+ in a technology company and encourages anyone reading this to be open to the idea of being Out and Proud at work. At ADP, we stand behind our belief in bringing your authentic self to work as part of an inclusive culture focused on creating a safe space where everyone can thrive.

Andrew LuriaI wasn’t out when I first started at ADP back in 1995, not just to my coworkers but to anyone. I moved from Arizona to Georgia, not for a job but a fresh start. Living a ‘double life’ during college grew increasingly challenging to the point that hiding my authentic self started to take a toll on my health. After a while at ADP, I made friends with many of my coworkers. As with any friends, conversations steer from work to life outside the office. Before I was out, I had to edit what I told them, which made me feel like I’d never left Arizona. I finally said, “no more,” and decided to trust them and myself, and slowly came out.

I remember the first time I thought, “Wow, I really belong here at ADP.” In 2001, my husband and I hosted a Holiday Wine Tasting party in our home with all my ADP coworkers, who had become true friends. We shared an amazing, fun-filled night.

In 2016, I joined ADP’s Pride Business Resource Group (BRG) as a local Chapter Director for the West and ultimately transitioned into the VP of Chapters. As a member and leader for Pride, I have the opportunity to drive direction and connect with LGBTQ+ and Ally’s in an embracing community.

There are three things I learned personally and professionally on my journey:

First, in my twenty-five years here at ADP, mainly in technology, I can attest that my choice to be open about who I am has made my job easier and strengthened my relationships with my peers, leaders, and the people I lead.

I’ve chosen to be out and proud, regardless of the audience. I speak openly about my life and my husband. Outside of work, I spend all my time with him, so excluding him from the conversation would be like keeping a big part of my life hidden. Being able to speak openly about my life with my coworkers keeps us more connected, and that connection builds better and more genuine relationships. Those relationships have had a lasting, positive effect on my work and productivity.

Second, as a leader, I feel coming to work as my authentic self allows me to lead with a stronger sense of kindness and empathy than before. I can give my team 100%+ of my time and energy, knowing I’m not worried about people finding out I am gay. This authenticity provides the foundation of my health and happiness and makes me a better leader. Allowing me the ability to lead at my fullest potential not only gives the company the best leader I can be but has an immeasurable impact on the people who work for me.

Third, for anyone LGBTQ+ thinking about a career in technology, you are in a unique position to influence the downstream impact of new products and technologies that support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Recently, ADP enhanced several of our payroll products to include Self-Identification. The enhancement allows employees using our payroll products to self-identify as LGBTQ+. Just imagine decisions made about products and services without our input! As a technologist, we have a seat at the table.

John Luria with his husband seated in a carWorking in tech at ADP has been an incredible journey for me—one that contributed greatly to my personal success and the fingerprint of DEI at ADP.

I understand this isn’t an easy task for many members of our community. But at ADP, our strong commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by our CEO, our Executive Committee, and all our senior leaders across the globe have made it possible.

I’ve experienced a lot of support here. I never have to hesitate when speaking about my husband. There’s no need to hide who he is to me. I think ADP’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and respect for people of all backgrounds is one reason I love working at ADP and why I’ve built a long career here.

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Hands holding a white walking stick

Disability Inclusion in the Workplace

In this second blog in a series focusing on breaking barriers and influencing social change, we celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities and offer ideas for promoting disability inclusion in your organization and in our communities.

December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The annual observance was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness and disability inclusion in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation and places that are open to the general public to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

You are no doubt familiar with the need to comply with the ADA in all areas of your business, but disability inclusion reaches far beyond compliance with the law. Proactively supporting inclusivity in your organization can have important and meaningful impact for your employees, customers and communities. CEB, now part of Gartner, found that highly diverse and inclusive organizations had a 26% increase in team collaboration and an 18% increase in team commitment. A study by Harvard Business Review showed that companies with higher-than-average diversity had 19% higher innovation revenues. So, how can you effectively and respectfully promote disability inclusion in your organization?

These are our clients, prospects, coworkers, and employees. How can your organization think about greater equity and inclusivity, especially during these times?

– Giselle Mota, board member of the ADP BRG, Thrive

Practice inclusivity

Be sure that your staff and leadership includes a diverse a range of employees and perspectives. When developing anything from internal policies to new products to client-facing marketing campaigns, getting input from employees and clients with disabilities helps ensure that you are addressing their needs rather than operating on assumptions. Martha Bird, Chief Business Anthropologist at ADP says, “It is important to design WITH excluded and diverse communities, not FOR them. Seek their expert input in the process.”

Representation is key to meaningful and genuine inclusion. If you have Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) or Business Resource Groups (BRGs) in your organization, you can partner with them on inclusivity initiatives to get valuable firsthand perspectives. At ADP, the Thrive BRG has a mission to understand the diverse impact of disabilities, end the stigma, and bring awareness and education to ADP associates about people living with disabilities. Susan Lodge, a Thrive board member and mother to a son with a genetic disease says, “This BRG has given me a new appreciation for the company I work for and the people that I work with. I no longer feel like I am the only one who faces the challenges that disabilities can bring. We are all in this together.”

Work to overcome bias

Inclusivity isn’t an “issue” just for people with disabilities; it’s important for everyone in your organization. Once you set the goal and expectation for a diverse and inclusive organizational culture, follow up with education aimed at promoting understanding and awareness of unique challenges of people with disabilities as well as the importance of inclusion. For example, adopt a policy of using people first language (PFL). People first language is a way of communicating that shows respect for people with disabilities by focusing on the individual and not their disability. For example, if you were discussing modification to your retail space for your clients, instead of saying “disabled customers”, you would use “customers with disabilities.” This recognizes that they have disabilities and allows you to be inclusive and respectful in your planning but doesn’t use their disabilities to define them entirely.

Disability inclusion in post-COVID business

Inclusion is particularly important right now. The global health crisis has highlighted inequities for people with disabilities. Routine healthcare needs like diagnostic testing and therapies are no longer as easy to access. Virtual and masked communications also present challenges that disproportionately affect people with disabilities. As Giselle Mota, board member of ADP’s Thrive BRG, Principal Consultant at ADP on the Future of Work and moderator of an ADP webcast on disability inclusion said, “These are our clients, prospects, coworkers, and employees. How can your organization think about greater equity and inclusivity, especially during these times?”

Learn more

Register for or replay this webcast for more discussion of this question and tips from ADP experts: Disability Inclusion in the Workplace: Best Practices for Engaging and Supporting ALL of Your People.

To learn more about ADP’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, please visit our Corporate Social Responsibility site.

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Tech & Innovation Blog

ADP – Diversity and Inclusion and CSR


Giving Back, Inclusion, Belonging

Video: ADP – Diversity and Inclusion and CSR

ADP consistently recognized for diversity, inclusion, and giving back to our communities. Some of the highlights!

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All-Female 48-Hour Hackathon Attracted 200 Virtual Participants

All-Female 48-Hour Hackathon Attracted 200 Virtual Participants

ADP supports events such as this in an effort to encourage more young women to pursue STEM careers.

During a global health event with social distancing in full swing, is there any group better prepared to embrace a 48-hour virtual gathering than tech-savvy female students? Probably not. For the second time, ADP sponsored the Major League Hacking (MLH) Hack Girl Summer Hackathon to encourage female software engineers to pursue their dreams. But this was the first time the event was not held in person.

The June 19-21 virtual hackathon attracted more than 200 participants and at least 50 ADP associates volunteered as organizers, mentors, judges and participants for this event.

Daina Bowler, ADP Vice President of Sales and iWIN board chairperson, kicked off the event, delivering her remarks via streaming platform. Daina told viewers that the ADP iWIN business resource group is comprised of 5,000 ADP women from around the world who are dedicated to encouraging and preparing women and young girls to achieve successful careers in STEM.

After the welcome, participants quickly organized into 70+ teams and then started the creative process and coding effort to develop the best application. The popular gaming chat application Discord was used to find team members to work with and to find mentors to chat with while hacking.

ADP volunteer mentors had their own active Discord channel where coders could ask for guidance on project ideas or pose technical questions to troubleshoot issues. As the corporate sponsor, ADP also presented two well-received workshops.

ADP workshops

Workshops

Aini Ali, ADP Vice-President, SBS Operations and iWin Empower Board Chairperson; and Laura Colon, Senior Program Manager – SBS Operations; conducted the first workshop, “Up and Coming Technology” which described all the amazing ways technology has changed the world. She described the incredible advancements in robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation that will drive future innovation. It is a very exciting time to be a techie!

Ellen Hongo, ADP Senior Director of Strategy GSS, conducted the second workshop “Crafting a Chatbot People Want to Use.” Ellen described what goes into designing and creating chatbots using IBM Watson technology, and how they are used at ADP to improve client experience and support. Ellen’s workshop opened a new area in automations for the young women to consider as they prepare to enter the workforce of the future.

The ADP challenge “Happy at Home Presented by ADP” was to create a hack that helps folks stay happy at home. The participants’ project could be designed to tackle at-home productivity and entertainment, make working remotely easier, or help users connect with friends and family remotely.

After 48 hours of intense coding and a long sleepless weekend, it was time for the judges to see all the application demos and presentations by the students. There were 27 terrific submissions on DevPost for the ADP challenge. DevPost is a global community where software developers share their projects to inspire and learn from one another. The ADP volunteers on the judging panel evaluated and rated the projects on originality, technology, design, completion, learning and adherence to theme. There were so many fantastic projects made by women, for women. It was no easy task to choose the winner of the ADP challenge.

ADP happy at home challenge

Challenge Winner

During the closing ceremony, Aini Ali announced the ADP challenge winner which was the application called “Inspiration.” This creative iOS application was developed by a high school student who wanted to empower other young women to pursue their interests in STEM because diversity is important in the STEM field. The Inspiration app allows young girls to explore different STEM careers through simple objects.

Users point their phone’s camera at an object and take a picture of it. Using machine learning and object detection/image labeling, the app detects what object is in the photo. It then displays relevant careers in STEM involving the object and prompts the user to view an influential woman in the same career. Every day, the app’s home page displays a new influential female for girls to learn about.

The iOS app was built using Xcode and SwiftUI. For the front end, the student designed all the UI using Sketch. For the backend, she used machine learning API and Firebase. The machine learning API uses the ML Kit Image Labeling’s base TensorFlow model in order to predict the objects in the photos. The Inspiration app was truly a very creative and innovative application!

The Major League Hacking Organization (MLH) organizers truly appreciate ADP’s sponsorship and partnership. We look forward to doing many more hackathons together in the future. Thank you to all the ADP volunteers for the outstanding energy they brought to this event. We all learned so much about new technologies used to conduct a virtual event of this magnitude and it was an amazing experience.

ADP is proud to support women’s hackathons to encourage more young women to relentlessly pursue their dreams of changing the world using innovative technology. Through this hackathon sponsorship and our significant partnership with Girls Who Code – focused on closing the gender gap in tech — ADP demonstrates our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion by promoting and supporting women in technology careers.

Learn about STEM career opportunities at ADP by visiting tech.adp.com.

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video: ADP - Unite Message

ADP’s Caron Cone, DVP of Human Resources, shares the genesis of ADP’s UNITE video, and what companies can do to fight inequality

Caron Cone, DVP of HR for ADP’s National Account Services and Chairperson of the Cultivate BRG at ADP tells what began as an internal-only video to encourage Black employees’ candid expression of frustration toward racial injustice, became a torch that further fueled the flames for ADP’s Diversity & Inclusion philosophy.

It started as a needed call to “check in” with members of Cultivate, ADP’s African American business resource group (BRG), amid the unrest gripping the country over racism and police brutality. Almost immediately, the discussion ignited intense emotions from Cultivate members sharing their own stories and perspectives.

“What we heard during the call is that discussions about systemic racism can no longer be muted, and that includes inside the workplace,” said Debbie Dyson, President of ADP National Account Services and Cultivate’s co-founder.

Debbie and I took the feedback to heart and especially liked one suggestion to create a video that takes an honest look at the everyday realities of Black associates – in their own words. We wanted those associates to speak from their hearts, so why not let the world hear directly from them? It’s their story to tell, not ADP’s.

While creating a safe and supportive environment for people of color has always been a key tenet of ADP’s strong stance on diversity and inclusion, the reality for many Black associates is that it’s impossible to separate the toll systemic racism takes on their personal lives and how it can also impact them professionally.

The goal of the video is to ignite a companywide conversation about race and how ADP can unite. That position of unity is driven home by Dyson in perhaps one of the most powerful statements in the video: “When this becomes not just us, it becomes real justice.”

Associates submitted their own footage, straightforward without any fancy bells or whistles, and through the magic of editing, we successfully captured a united, powerful human story featuring Black associates sharing who they are and what they experience every day. The video was released internally to all global ADP associates during a time when race relations, racism and the plight of the Black male continued to generate headlines. The internal response was so moving that ADP executives decided to share the video message externally.

“I look forward with hope to the day when racism, bias and injustice are things of the past. We need change now, said ADP associate Scott Bohn after watching the video.

“Count me among your allies and know you are seen,” said ADP associate Heather Heiberg.

ADP associate Terri Hoover said she was filled with emotion after hearing Cultivate members talk so candidly. “Your video was very heartfelt and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for doing this. It makes me sad and confused that we live in a world where any life is judged to be less or more valuable based on appearance. I stand with this movement,” said Hoover.

The unrest has forced many companies to take a hard look and examine their own track records of diversity, inclusion and fostering an environment in which employees of color feel like their voice, presence and ideas matter, too. That also extends to recruiting, promotions and compensation.

So, what can organizations do to support a culture change?

Encourage Black and brown employees to find their voice. Real understanding occurs when people of color are courageous and willing to share their experiences, and when non-minorities are open, curious and willing to listen without being defensive. Organizations must invite their Black associates to use their voices to express clearly and specifically what changes they need and what a positive shift would look like to them. The environment must be safe and supportive for this exchange to occur.

Develop active allyship. We know that an ally is a friend who is sympathetic to the cause. But active allyship means using the privilege you have to support someone without that privilege. For example, if you make hiring decisions, active allyship means considering a diverse slate of candidates from a variety of schools, businesses and locations to ensure your candidate pool is truly representative of your market. The key word in all of this is “active” — what can you actually do to serve someone who may be marginalized with less opportunity to influence change in the same way you can?

Show an authentic willingness to change. For leaders, making the necessary changes requires more than simply being willing to say the right thing or communicate the right message to associates, clients and the external market. As the head of your organization, department or team, this change will require you to stand on the front line. And as you stand there, you must hold yourself and your leaders accountable for delivering on the promise of a more diverse and inclusive organization.

Beyond the moral and ethical reasons driving culture change, there are business drivers, too. For instance, when you have a diverse and inclusive team, you can better represent and meet the needs of your constituency. Multiple research sources point to empirical evidence that organizations with diverse teams perform at a higher level, are more innovative and exhibit stronger financial performance.

Examine your organization at every level and stage. It’s not just about bringing diverse candidates in; it’s also about how you treat your employees once you hire them. It’s time to ask the tough questions, such as: “As we go up the chain of leadership, do we maintain the same degree of representation at all levels? Are we promoting a diverse group of individuals to our board?” If these questions don’t yield responses that demonstrate support for a diverse and inclusive culture, then there is still work to be done, and that work can’t wait.

Make the change sustainable. While the topic of race relations and lack of diversity and inclusion has gotten well-earned publicity, we must make sure the outrage we feel toward these long-standing injustices doesn’t fade when our attention is drawn to a different crisis. Instead, this moment must serve as the spark for revolutionary and lasting change. We must be honest with ourselves about whether we are achieving the changes we have committed to making, and we must hold each other accountable.

Act with a sense of urgency. Expectations about meaningful change are high, and businesses must capitalize on the urgency of this moment to improve their organizational culture to the greatest possible extent. If change doesn’t occur or isn’t sustained, the step back will be significant. There will be a greater level of disappointment and more dissatisfaction with the status quo, and the resulting impact on race relations could be substantial, so we must follow through.

The same courage and honesty displayed through the lens of Black associates is the same courage and self-reflection organizations must undertake to create a monumental shift. It’s the right thing to do for humanity, for society and for business.

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Employees of color rated their CEOs. These are the top 10 for large companies

Employees of color rated their CEOs and ADP makes the list

Everyone wants to work at a place where they feel like they belong. And often, that kind of culture is set at the highest levels of an organization. With that in mind, Comparably polled employees of color to find out the best CEOs to work for. The top 10 from companies with more than 500 employees are:

  1. Satya Nadella, Microsoft
  2. Vlad Shmunis, RingCentral
  3. Sundar Pichai, Google
  4. Eric Yuan, Zoom Video Communications
  5. Carlos Rodriguez, ADP
  6. Steve Bilt, Smile Brands
  7. Sid Sijbrandij, GitLab
  8. Tim Cook, Apple
  9. Mike Walsh, LexisNexis
  10. Chris Caldwell, Concentrix

This is the third year that Comparably gathered anonymous feedback from nonwhite employees from 60,000 American companies of all sizes. Employees were asked how their CEO would rate as well as to measure other culture factors like trust in their employer.

Among the findings:

  • Satya Nadella is the first CEO of color to rank No. 1 among large companies over the past three years.
  • This year’s top three CEOs are all immigrants. Nadella and Pichai were born in India, and Shmunis hails from Ukraine.
  • Nadella is one of five CEOs who made the list for three consecutive years. Others are Accenture’s Julie Sweet, Apple’s Tim Cook, Fanatics’s Doug Mack, and Google’s Sundar Pichai.

“This year the topic of diversity and inclusion has gained even greater significance, and it has never been more important to reflect the positive workplace experiences of underrepresented—and historically discriminated against—people,” the report’s authors wrote. “After all, studies show that leaders who inspire, encourage, and support diverse voices and contributions benefit business growth, creativity, and innovation.”

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Diverse group of multicultural ADP employees

We All Want to Belong at Work

https://www.adp.com/spark/articles/2019/10/we-all-want-to-belong-at-work.aspx

 

“Finding commonalities and accepting differences is the key to belonging,” said ADP’s business anthropologist, Martha Bird.

When I started to consider belonging at work, I knew exactly who to call — ADP’s business anthropologist, Martha Bird [MB]. Here’s some of our conversation about why belonging matters and what organizations can do to create and sustain a culture of belonging.

HB: Having a sense of belonging seems so important to how we move through the world and how we relate to our work. What is belonging?

MB: Belonging almost strikes people as poetic. It seems like a feeling, so it can resist the critical lens we need to unpack it.

People think of belonging as a psychological state, but it is actually cultural. It’s the notion of being inside or outside and relates to enacted phenomena like what the cultural norms are around us and how we compare ourselves to those norms.

Everything cultural is nested in other things and is influenced by power, resources, how things have been done in the past, and what the expectations are for the people involved.

Kids can feel like they don’t belong because of their clothes. New employees can feel like they don’t belong because of the jargon used in the organization. I’m a social scientist surrounded by tech people and it’s not surprising that my sense of belonging is tested from time to time. Ultimately, I’m privileged to feel I’m part of something bigger than myself.

HB: What makes a culture of belonging? It seems like belonging is relational. It’s partly how I perceive the circumstances and culture, how people already in that culture see it, and what’s actually going on regardless of our individual perceptions and opinions.

MB: There are so many ways to feel like you don’t belong — socially, economically, intellectually, emotionally. It’s that sense of other. To make sense of it, we can look at othering, break it down, and pick it apart to see what’s happening. We identify the discreet instances where someone feels alienated and read the cultural cues about what is happening. This gives us information about the culture.

There is no universal recipe for what makes a healthy culture. There are many good and right ways to do things.

It partly has to do with a culture’s view of the individual and how the individual should relate to others. In the United States, belonging often evokes family, but we also have strong cultural values in individuality and being recognized and valued as an individual. In other cultures, a sense of harmony is highly valued and working toward common goals is more important than individual achievement.

A culture of belonging fundamentally has to do with common goals and values, respect for each other, and a sense of our shared humanity.

HB: How can we help people feel like they belong at work?

MB: We want workplaces where people feel like they can be themselves, but are also working with others to do the work. It’s less about fitting in and more about complementing. There has to be room for difference. It’s like an orchestra where the manager is the conductor and we have all these different instruments playing different parts in the same piece of music. We don’t want just the violins or the tubas. We need all the different sounds, rhythms and harmonies.

Belonging at work starts with leaders modeling the values and behavior for their teams. Is it comfortable to embody those values? Sometimes that means being vulnerable and asking for help.

I recently gave a big speech to a large group of people in a setting where I felt anxious. Walking up to the stage, I decided to tell the audience that and ask for help. So I explained how I was feeling and asked them to tell me, “It’s okay, Martha!” It was great, so I asked them to do it again. And they did! I felt so much better and they were all on my team at that point, because I was vulnerable and asked them to help me in a way they could.

In cultures of belonging, it’s okay to be honest about what’s going on, even if it’s that you don’t feel included.

HB: What are some specific things that managers or leaders can do to foster belonging at work?

MB: At the organizational level, it’s essential to ensure that the values of the organization exist at every level and in every manager without exception. It’s also important to consider how to structure teams and make sure they can communicate effectively, based on where and how people work.

At the team level, good manager training is key. Managers need skills in working with teams, allowing for different views, and figuring out how to handle disagreements and how decisions get made. When people can weigh in on something, there is a sense of being in it together.

It’s important to see each other as people, not work roles. Connecting in person and outside of work makes a difference. We need to tell and know each other’s stories and create opportunities for sharing. Have lunch, have informal video meetings where everyone gets to tell something about themselves. I was in a meeting recently where we all told the story of our names. I learned a lot and felt like the people who heard my story knew me a little better, too.

We need more awareness and cultural consciousness by design. People are fundamentally creative and want to learn. We all have different experiences and different lives.

Finding commonalities and accepting those differences is the key to belonging.

Tech & Innovation Blog

Cycle for the Cause: 150 riders, 4 days, 1 cause


Diversity, LGBTQ, Volunteerism

We put our helmets on and headed out on the 275-mile Ride – from Boston to New York City – to raise money and awareness in the fight to end HIV/AIDS.

ADP associates participating in Cycle for the Cause

This epic journey brought us to 20 different cities, putting our months of training to the test two years in a row. It wasn’t easy, but with ADP as an Endurance Sponsor for the Ride, we raised more than $900,000 over the last two years. Cycle for the Cause, The Northeast AIDS Ride, is an annual event that Team ADP proudly supports in body, mind and spirit.

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One person helping another climb up a mountain (all in silhouette)

Mentorship and Allyship: Navigating Toward Diversity and Inclusion

Mentorship and allyship are critical considerations for any business aiming to be viewed as an inclusive, best-in-class workplace.

If there were ever a time to address allyship and mentorship it’s now. Social unrest in response to blatant injustice, specifically toward the Black community, has moved many organizations to new levels of action toward improving diversity and inclusion within the workforce and in communities where those organizations are operating. Companies are asking – What can be done to foster increase diverse demographic representation, nurture the careers of employees from underrepresent groups and create a greater sense of inclusion and belonging?

For organizational leaders, the importance of mentorship and allyship to employee development cannot be understated in addressing these and similar questions.

How Diversity and Inclusion Can Factor Into Mentorship

The importance of mentorship — that is, a formal or informal program that pairs a seasoned professional (a mentor) with another (a mentee) for the purpose of sharing their professional knowledge, skills and experiences — can be demonstrated in a number of ways. In a successful mentorship, a mentor can help their mentee learn the ins-and-outs of a role, department or organization faster and more effectively. A mentorship program can also serve as a way to develop historically underrepresented talent for leadership roles.

From a diversity and inclusion (D&I) standpoint, mentorship can give underrepresented employees exposure to opportunities and create a springboard for future sponsorship. For example, if data demonstrates that women or people of color are not well represented in the ranks of leadership, a mentorship program can be designed with specific development goals, coaching and/or advice on stretch assignments with career progression to more senior leadership roles in mind.

Mentorship, with a diverse lens, can also help foster a culture of inclusion. A mentor and mentee have an opportunity to cultivate a deeper relationship with someone who might be very different from them. So it’s not just about the representation statistics. It’s about literally making space for people to show up in an organization in the fullness of who they are.

At ADP, we are deeply committed to diversity and inclusion. For example, we have specific goals for representation of women and people of color in the executive ranks. We’re also deeply committed to driving associate inclusion and belonging, which allyship and mentorship are integral to.

Mentors are expected to be inclusive leaders by doing the following:

Evaluate their own respective professional networks. Who are the people that help you round yourself out, help you get your job done and help you with your career progression? Assess this group, and if the people in your network are mostly similar to you, you’re likely doing yourself and those you mentor a disservice. As leaders, we are charged with examining our networks in this way and encouraging others to do the same.
Disrupt unconscious bias. While there is no singular definition for this term, unconscious bias is generally thought of as the assumptions a person might unknowingly make about a person or group of people. These biases show up with us every day and we must do the work to ensure our unconscious biases do not impact how we view talent. Mentors should educate themselves on the subject matter and take steps to “disrupt” those unconscious biases.
It’s important that mentors remain vigilant around not letting their biases — unconscious or not — interfere with how they provide guidance to their mentees. Organizationally, ADP has made a commitment to broaden education on unconscious bias. ADP’s CEO, Carlos Rodriguez, signed the CEO Action Pledge in October, 2017. As of this writing, we’ve trained roughly 800 leaders within the organization, and have a goal of reaching all leaders over the course of our next fiscal year. This is being done to create awareness, as well as to provide the tools and resources needed to disrupt unconscious biases.

What Allyship Can Mean for an Organization

In the context of the workplace, allyship refers to support and advocacy for colleagues from underrepresented groups, including LGBTQ+, women, the differently-abled and people of color. Mentorship often focuses on strengthening workplace relationships centered on career progression, and allyship can function similarly. At its core, allyship is about consciously taking steps to eliminate individual and systemic barriers that underrepresented groups face in the workplace.

For example, ADP recently formed a “Men as Allies” network. This initiative will help support mentoring and targeted leadership development programs through greater advocacy and sponsorship for women and people of color. Allyship is critical to business success, as it promotes a culture of inclusion that extends beyond the D&I function where leaders drive performance and innovation through higher engagement and employee belonging.

Business leaders can also create and execute on allyship strategies that make sense for their particular areas of responsibility. These are a must-have, as executive buy-in is necessary for any program — D&I-centered or otherwise — to be successful. A commitment to allyship is a commitment to use your voice and create greater equity in the workplace.

Mentorship and allyship are critical considerations for any business aiming to be viewed as an inclusive, best-in-class workplace. Well-crafted programs driven by executive support and accountability can help organizations achieve this.

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Group of people dressed in rainbow colors in front of a Pride sign

“Better to Best” — ADP’s Diversity and Inclusion Road Map

The best organizations embody an inclusive culture that extends beyond the D&I function. Their leaders drive performance and innovation by demonstrating to their employees and to the world that people belong and are integral to the organization’s purpose.

For many organizations the question, “Why is diversity important in the workplace?” is a top-of-mind concern. Companies that struggle to answer this question may find it difficult to accomplish business objectives that focus on recruiting and retaining employees.

A lack of diversity and inclusion (D&I) can have significant negative effects on an organization and its workforce. This can manifest in the form of pay inequity, limited representation in leadership roles, or a perception in the market that the organization is an undesirable place to work.

While some businesses struggle with addressing D&I-related challenges, others are making great strides in this area. To reach the level of best in class for D&I, an organization needs to leverage a variety of methodologies, partnerships and strategic insights to demonstrate why diversity is important in their workplace.

At ADP, we aim high when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Here’s how we turn “better” into “best” when it comes to accomplishing our D&I objectives.

Diversity and Inclusion in Action

To be clear, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating, let alone sustaining, a diverse and inclusive organization. And the challenge only becomes greater the larger a business is. A Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) in charge of D&I efforts should therefore consider the following key points:

Buy-in from senior leadership: Ideally, everyone within an organization would understand, believe in, and value the impact of D&I on the business. This has been the case at ADP, where our CEO, Carlos Rodriguez, signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to demonstrate that D&I is of utmost importance to the organization. It also helps that a C-suite-level role focused on diversity had already existed at ADP for a number of years prior to my own onboarding. Crucial buy-in from ADP leadership has helped our organization become recognized as an industry D&I leader, ranked at number three on DiversityInc’s 2019 Top 50 List.
This isn’t the reality at every organization, however. Getting buy-in from senior leadership starts with providing a vision that they can see, understand and get behind. It may be helpful to illustrate how D&I initiatives could alleviate organizational pain points, such as high turnover for women in leadership roles. Or low engagement/organizational sentiment scores for underrepresented demographic groups. Senior leadership should hold their teams accountable for working to achieve positive HCM metrics that are enabled by D&I goals.

Using data to inform efforts: Data should be used to make decisions that may affect the health of an organization, and issues of D&I are no exception. Some types of data which organizations should focus on in this regard include:
Hiring and promotion statistics for women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ employees and employees with disabilities
Retention rates by demographic to assess disparities between majority and non-majority groups
Engagement level scores and results from culture surveys reviewed by demographic and geography
Employee demographic data, with a focus on reviewing the differential between majority and non-majority populations
Having champions throughout the organization: Even within organizations that have a person or a department focused on diversity and inclusion, there’s no way their work can reach the entire organization without active support from other stakeholders. Champions can help expand the reach of D&I in a variety of ways. At ADP, I engage with about 30 global champions on a monthly basis. Their objectives are to influence others and share best practices, serve as role models and mentors, and help hold others accountable. When champions are also members of a majority group (e.g., white men) and are genuinely invested in workplace equality, it helps amplify the organization’s D&I efforts considerably.
The “Why” of Diversity and Inclusion

Numerous studies have demonstrated that workforces with greater diversity have the potential to be more profitable, innovative and resistant to disruptive market forces than less diverse workforces. For example, according to McKinsey and Company’s Delivering Through Diversity report, “Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.”

Individuals looking to do business with a company are now examining that organization’s higher purpose with greater scrutiny than ever before. Beyond earnings, people will seek answers to their questions about D&I at your organization, and they might make their decision about whether to deal with or join your organization based on your D&I efforts and reputation — as well as your initiatives around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and philanthropy. Every organization must care about the perception of its brand in the marketplace, and it pays to be known as a business that cares deeply about creating and maintaining a culture of inclusion.

Organizations must also understand and evolve with approaches to communication that individuals concerned with D&I expect to see. For example, when an organization leader expresses their gender pronouns (e.g., during introductions at meetings or in company email signatures), it can send a signal that a company cares about the LGBTQ population — not just internally, but also in the community at large.

Going From “Better to Best”

The best organizations embody an inclusive culture that extends beyond the D&I function. Their leaders drive performance and innovation by demonstrating to their employees and to the world that people belong and are integral to the organization’s purpose.

With the support of leadership, data and metrics, and champions around the world, ADP has moved beyond measuring itself against industry practices and standards alone. Our focus now is to embody diversity and inclusion in our culture.