Women in STEM, Grace Hopper, Recognition
We met up with three ADP women in tech attending this year’s Celebration. They shared their experience and what it means to be a part of the incredible network.
Grace Hopper Celebration 2022 – Next is NOW
ADP was proud to sponsor our 13th consecutive year of AnitaB.org’s Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC). This year’s celebration was virtual and in person from September 20 – 23 in Orlando, Florida. The theme “Next is NOW” was reflected among women speakers who promoted a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
All attendees had opportunities to connect, inspire, and exchange ideas with thousands of women and non-binary technologists globally. We are even prouder to announce that AnitaB.org, host of GHC, named ADP 2022 Top Companies for Women Technologists Winner in the Large Technical Workforce category. The national program from AnitaB.org is the only benchmarking program that looks specifically at technical employees and awards companies embracing accountability and making the most progress toward women’s equity. Read the full press release here.
The annual Grace Hopper Celebration – now in its 29th year – has been designed to connect women in technology to discuss career and research interests. We met up with three ADP women in tech who attended this year’s celebration. They shared with us their experience at the conference and what it means to be a part of the incredible community.
Mina J., Director of UX Research, tells us it was her first time attending and presenting at the celebration. “As a minority woman, attending the conference as a leader meant a lot to me. It was an honor to represent ADP, helping others in their early career stage.”
Jyotsna M., Director of Product Management, was excited about expanding her network at the conference. “Grace Hopper was an incredible opportunity that brought together students, technical staff, and professionals to keep learning from each other. I was excited to meet next-generation talents at the event!”
Doreen C., Senior Director of Career Growth and Development, also spoke at the Grace Hopper Celebration. Her session was about combining strengths and careers at work, leading attendees in building elevator pitches. “It was my first time attending the conference, and I enjoyed meeting technologists who visited us at our booth!”
We also spoke to these women about their topics and experiences as technologists at ADP.
“Everything is digital, which transformed the world of work forever,” Jyotsna said. “As a woman in STEM, my topic on product management included the next ideas in the businesses and how we make a meaningful impact on users.”
This year marks Jyotsna’s 15th year at ADP. She talked about designing a happy career and loving one’s work in 2019. This year, she was happy to present the secret guide to driving career growth in product management.
Mina’s journey as a woman technologist has been incredible. She started her journey in tech in 2000 and often was one of the few women in the room of engineers. “I rarely had a network of women technologists around me. Fast forward now, I am grateful to have supportive women at all different levels across ADP.”
Her topic at the celebration was titled An Introvert’s Guide to Bringing Your Best to the Table. It was a diversity, equity, and inclusion topic. “One fun fact to share: 50% or more of the global population categorizes as introverts. When you look at the tech industry, the percentage may even soar higher,” Mina said. She spoke about her personal experience in helping others feel supported.
Doreen believed everyone has different definitions of career success today than we did years ago. Her topic was titled Foot on the Gas, Hands on the Wheel, and diving deep into actionable guidance and tips to drive one’s career. “Career growth and development at ADP is personal. We want our folks to move forward toward career accomplishments that excite and energize them,” she said.
As leaders representing ADP, we asked them what they would tell their younger selves.
“Who you are today is just a starting point; who you can be tomorrow is a world of wide-open opportunities,” Jyotsna said.
Jyotsna said she would tell her younger self to speak up about what motivated her and inspired her. She found her one-on-one time with managers helpful in talking about what she thrived on, which became her strength.
Doreen recognized every choice she made and every action that led her to where she is today. “I wouldn’t go back and erase anything, but I would remind myself to be my cheerleader. Find out what activates you love doing and do more of those as often as possible,” she said.
“Looking back, I was learning daily and year to year at work that would ladder up to an engaging leadership career,” Mina said. “Sometimes you don’t have the visible upward mobility of how much you are learning at the moment, and that’s okay. The experiences will prepare you for a rewarding career journey.” She encourages associates to keep growing and starting their own hustle.
In the future, ADP will continue providing opportunities for young talents and female technologists to connect and learn from industry leaders. We encourage all women in stem to support, inspire, and celebrate one another’s achievements.
Listen to the full stories on Life@ADP:
Click here to search for your next move, and visit Who We Hire.
JOBS & UNEMPLOYMENT
Bridging the Talent Gap With Data-Driven Technology
OCT 20, 2022 1:53PM EDT
You Could Grow Your Money Without the Stress of Stocks
By Don Weinstein, Corporate Vice President of Global Product and Technology at ADP
With their priorities shifted by the pandemic, today’s workforce wants more from their employers, including greater flexibility, better work-life integration and a heightened focus on diversity, equity and inclusion – and they are willing to make a change to get what they want. We’ve seen more workers re-evaluating their place of employment, with seven in 10 workers saying they’ve considered a career move in the past year. Despite anecdotes to the contrary, we remain in a tight labor market, and the best way to get in front of the ongoing hiring challenge is to start by holding onto your experienced workers. By leveraging new data-driven technologies to create engaging work environments, today’s business leaders can confidently bridge the talent gap and create a more engaged workforce.
In this age of the employee, it is critical HR leaders continually assess their employment brand to find ways to improve the worker experience. Is your workplace environment truly inclusive? Are you giving employees challenging work that leverages their strengths? Are you taking care of their health and welfare needs? Leaders need to ask themselves these questions, while deploying data-driven HR technologies that can help identify the right solutions. For example, personalized worker surveys can help employers better understand their workplace culture and predict potential retention challenges. Another important tool is skills mapping, which breaks down jobs into a set of inter-related skills, enabling employers to mine internal applicants for potential fits as well as career development opportunities. The same technology can also assist your external recruiting function, by broadening potential talent pools to look at all relevant candidates, including those from non-traditional backgrounds.
The evolution of HR tech accelerated when our ways of working were upended a couple years ago. But these changes have kept the industry dynamic and ignited new innovations. As we look to the future, we see a lot of promise in these areas of HR tech:
AI and machine learning for sourcing talent in hard-to-fill jobs: Algorithms are being deployed to find novel talent pools to source candidates through skills matching and retargeting. These algorithms also play a bigger role in upskilling tomorrow’s workforce, providing insights on skills-based learning and career pathing that can help guide and advance employees’ careers.
Technology-driven advancements for building more diverse and inclusive workforces: Skills matching can help uncover capable candidates from non-traditional backgrounds. Sentiment analysis can be used to assess employee perceptions on the overall level of inclusiveness in the workplace. And machine learning can help identify and correct workplace equity gaps.
Of course, these approaches will be effective only if companies remain agile during times of change. Leaders need to ensure that the right systems are in place to optimize their teams’ ability to deliver good work and to adapt as the environment shifts. Essentially, businesses need technology designed for how work gets done, so they can more easily adjust at the pace of change.
You can hear more about these emerging HR technology trends, what’s to come and how to stay agile in my Nasdaq TradeTalks interview below:
Impact, What We Do, Diversity
The pandemic has shifted many activities online, and if groups are not taking action to support those who need access, we are losing valuable opportunities to connect.
Accessibility: Designing for All People
By Amy H. Chiu, Tech Brand Content Developer
Through connecting with developers, UX designers, and product managers, I noticed one thing in common – our vision and efforts in designing and making tasks easier for people.
When we use the term “for people,” we go through mindful discussions on what it means to include everyone. We celebrate each other’s unique traits and identify our groups, shedding light on the stories behind every smiling face.
For a long period, my search history was filled with “what is inclusive design” and “why is accessibility important.” As a content creator, the best thing I could do is to educate myself and be mindful of every published word.
Why do I do the things I do? A sense of purpose behind every task, every connection, and every blog is essential. Ensuring people with disabilities have access to digital spaces is just as critical as writing the content itself. I learned accessibility is a group effort.
Practicing inclusiveness in today’s workplace is not a “have to do to make your image look better” instead, it’s making a difference in real people’s lives.
I had a long conversation with my engineering friend the other day. He drew one big circle on the left side of a whiteboard and a smaller circle on the right.
“This is the amount of information a person without a disability can get in our current world,” he pointed at the bigger circle.
“What about the small one?” I asked with curiosity.
“The small one is the amount of information currently available in the world for people with disabilities,” he said. “Designing a piece available for them and contributing to the smaller circle creates a huge impact.”
The conversation had almost gotten philosophical, but I got his points. In other words, many articles are not available to our friends with disabilities.
According to the 2022 WebAIM Million Report, 96.8% of home pages had detectable Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 failures. They analyzed over one million web pages and reached an upsetting percentage.
As human beings, we can do better for each other. The pandemic has shifted many activities online, and if groups are not taking action to support those who need access, we are losing valuable opportunities to connect.
I connected with Kelsey H., Head of Accessibility, to learn more about belonging. She leads accessibility efforts and the mission to ensure ADP’s product teams deliver fully accessible, disability-inclusive experiences to our users.
Kelsey is an anti-ableist accessibility professional and educator, living and thriving with several non-apparent disabilities and diligently working to ensure the idea of ‘belonging’ includes the disabled community.
“My journey to anti-ableism work and accessibility has been long and winding,” Kelsey said. “Ultimately, as a person with disabilities surrounded by the disability community, it is no surprise disability, accessibility, and inclusion work are at the core of my profession.”
Kelsey’s team works with designers, developers, product managers, and leaders at every level across ADP to bake accessibility into the fabric of our work and the products we deliver. Her goal is to shape ADP’s overall strategy in providing products that are not just always designed for people but always designed for all people.
“This is important for ADP’s product & technology teams with an opportunity to further drive thought leadership on disability and accessibility,” Kelsey said.
We look forward to having Kelsey share her work and career journey in an upcoming article series.
Women in STEM, Voice of Our People, Innovation
‘¡Bienvenidos! ¡Pase, Adelante!’ – Welcome, come on in! Feeling connected and belonging allows us to feel comfortable and bring our authentic selves.
ADP is proud to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM) by recognizing the cultures and the histories Hispanic Americans contributed through generations in this country.
This year’s theme is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation, which means making positive impacts together. We connected with Isabel Espina, Vice President of Product Development, WorkMarket. She’s a dog-lover, a traveler, and a leader who always focuses on paying it forward.
Here’s her lens on giving back to the community.
Moving Forward, Welcoming & Connecting: A Leader’s Journey
By Isabel Espina, VP of Product Development
Adelante, in Spanish, means to move forward. It is also commonly used to welcome someone into your place. ‘¡Bienvenidos! ¡Pase, Adelante!’ – Welcome, come on in! Latinos value family as a source of strength and protection. Welcoming others and making them feel at home is part of our DNA. The sense of family and belonging is intense and is not limited to the immediate family but the extended grandparents, cousins, friends, and friends of friends.
These families very often extend to our work families. Feeling connected and belonging allows us to feel comfortable and bring our authentic selves to the experience. ‘Estás en familia’– you are part of the family. You are safe, and we have your back. These values were core to my experience growing up.
I was born in Cuba during the height of the Castro Revolution. My parents were the first from their respective families to leave, seeking freedom of expression and opportunity. They left their homeland and family for a better life in the United States. They wanted their daughter to grow up with freedom and opportunities.
We arrived in Spain in December, a time of year meant to be joyous and surrounded by family. Instead, we were alone in a foreign country. Fortunately, we had kind neighbors who welcomed us into their homes, helped us with warm clothes, and invited us to ring in the New Year. They even showed up on January 6 (Feast of the Epiphany) with a small gift that ‘Los Reyes’ had left in their home for ‘Isa.’ This kind gesture from our Spaniard neighbors meant the world to my parents. We were not alone. We had support and felt a sense of belonging. The sense of inclusion gave us tremendous comfort.
This connection quickly grew into a community that gave us insight into navigating employment in Spain. Although we were not Spaniards, we connected to our neighbors through language, ancestry, and family values. With the help of the newly established community, we thrived in Spain and prepared ourselves for the next leg of the journey to the US.
The values ingrained in the Spanish culture of family, support, and solidarity translate directly to how we lead organizations.
ADP’s Research Institute has studied the data and developed a measure of Inclusion Measuring the ‘I’ in D-E-I. They define connection as one’s feeling of being seen, feeling heard, and feeling valued for their uniqueness. The study found that strongly connected people are 75x more likely to be fully engaged at work.
It’s been 25 years since I first came to ADP. Key to the culture here is the sense of inclusion, which is why I stay. I joined to create innovative products, and I did. Every time I hear there are millions of users now with the ADP Mobile Solutions app, I think of the days when I brought it to life with my previous team. Although the app has evolved beyond what we did, I find it rewarding to hear how much people love it today.
The more comfortable one feels with the team, the better the ideas flow. The creativity and excitement then lead to an amazing product. We must attract a workforce representative of our clients and the communities where we live and work. These communities allow us to understand and provide insights into building better products.
One way to gain a sense of community is to join and attend events sponsored by a Business Resource Group (BRG). I am an active member of Adelante, a Hispanic community that allows us to connect based on shared values. These may be direct connections because you are Latin American/Spanish or have shared interests in the music, the food, and the culture. What matters is we can come together and share in a community. I can’t think of a better way to grow one’s professional network and learn.
In the course of my time with Adelante, they invited me to do a panel to support STEM women and mentor young students. I also recently attended the Grace Hopper Celebration, where I met wonderful women technologists from diverse backgrounds working together to support each other. It was an extremely rewarding experience! I’m reminded of that sense of inclusion I felt when my family first came to the US. I’m inspired to give back to my support network.
As a technology leader, I always think about attracting great talent in this highly competitive environment. Digital transformation and advanced technologies continue to shape current and future jobs across industries. I encourage my team to grow together, meet other associates across different communities, and always support one another.
Giving back to our communities is good for not only our business but for all of us. I invite you to explore ADP and all we offer, including our BRGs. Be a role model, grow professionally, and pay it ‘Adelante.’
We look forward to continuing sharing stories from Latino and Spanish technologists.
Interested in Product Development?
Learn more about what it’s like working for ADP here and our current openings.
#nationalhispanicheritagemonth #givingback #careerjourney #productdevelopment #ADPTech
Innovation, Tech Trends, Machine Learning
If Picasso were to be alive in 2022, would he use Artificial Intelligence technology to make art?
AI Art: Will it Disrupt the World as We Know it?
By Amy H. Chiu, Tech Brand Content Developer
I can’t help but wonder, if Picasso were to be alive in 2022, would he use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to make art?
With a background in visual arts, I spent sleepless nights in the art studio, sketching and studying every brushstroke. Every step in the art creation was filled with unexpected beauty. A small drop of black ink could alter the entire canvas. In traditional art forms, there was no control + z key to undo changes.
I remember Adobe visited my art community years ago and showcased a variety of digital tools from Creative Cloud. The tutorials broadened my horizon and challenged my definition of art. I experienced the power of switching pen tools and colors on the screen, including the accuracy and consistency of texture in design. The techniques would have taken hours and days in a hands-on studio, considering mixing colors, cleaning the tools, and using multiple mediums come at a cost.
Little did I know, that was just the beginning.
Fast forward to 2022 – all it takes is a few keywords and programming languages to create art.
Several weeks ago, a Colorado-based artist sparked controversy when they submitted a piece created using artificial intelligence (AI) and brought home a $300 First Prize.
By harnessing the power of machine learning algorithms, artists can now create works that would have taken hours and years to complete with traditional mediums. That said, what are the pros and cons of relying on algorithms? Let’s look at what we know about AI art and its impact.
What Defines AI Art?
AI art is any artwork created partially or entirely by artificial intelligence. In most cases, AI art is generated by algorithms, meaning artists write code or use software for the machines to learn. The algorithm then captures the style and aesthetic the artists want by reviewing thousands of existing paintings before generating one.
One of the most famous examples is “The Painting Fool,” a software that generates artwork digitally and paints in various styles. It was created by Simon Colton of Imperial College, London. Further reading: Painting Fool’s portfolio reveals artificial artist.
The Algorithm to Make AI Art
When you make AI Art, you will encounter a class of algorithms called Generative adversarial networks, or GANs. They are composed of a generator and a discriminator. The generator creates images from scratch while the discriminator evaluates them and determines whether they’re real. Both the generator and discriminator get better at their respective tasks, resulting in increasingly realistic fake images.
In other words, one may generate photographs of human faces and realistic images of animals that don’t exist in the world. GANs also translate images from sketches to color photographs and texts to images. For example, users may put in: “a small bird is purple with green and has a very long beak,” and get realistic photographs that match the description in the output. Read more examples here.
If you want to try GANs, here are a few steps. Step one is selecting several authentic images for training. Next, generate a few fake images using the generator. Step three is training the discriminator to use both real and fake ones. Lastly, generate more fake images and train the full GAN model using only counterfeit images. You may find detailed instructions and working python code here.
The Scary Side of AI Art
Technologies are evolving. They are convenient yet dangerous.
My biggest concern as a creator is to see people lose their respect and appreciation for artists. Although one may romanticize and say art is about the process and the original ideas behind it, the result matters, especially for agencies that hire graphic designers and advertising experts.
“Art? I can do that in 20 seconds with a detailed description in AI.” Hearing comments like this has impacted the motivation and the reality of artists. That’s when I think about the cost and effort art students pay to attend art schools.
What will the Dean tell future art students on their graduation day? ‘Good luck finding an art job out there and doing better than AI’? Although this may sound a little extreme, the concern remains as there are already limited career opportunities in the field.
My best friend attended the Otis College of Art and Design to become a fashion designer. The annual tuition on a full-time basis for 2020/2021 is $69,532. She always drew fashion illustrations on tablets and paper. Every shade and every detail mattered. Handing in the illustration collection late could result in a lost opportunity in a competitive internship.
If AI could do what she learned in four years and at a much faster speed with more pattern selections, was it worth it for her to pay the tuition and go through the training?
The Cost of AI Art
With AI Art in place, how does one price the work? Is it based on the artist’s fame, artwork’s material, time spent, or simply how “good” the art looks?
In 2018, an algorithm-generated painting sold for $432,000 at Christie’s, one of the world’s largest auction houses. The ‘painting’ was created by a designer using a computer. The news sure sparked intense conversations in the art communities. How should AI impact the value of the art generated? Should it be worth less? Then again, look at the price of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). Need we say more?
AI-generated art challenges the definition of what we call ‘art.’ Consider how NFTs and AI art are created and sold. Both use algorithms, which are a set of rules. How they are applied can produce different and unique results, sparking inspiration and controversial debates. Only time will tell what else AI can do in the realm of art, but one thing is for sure: it has brought us closer to the future.
AI Art Continues to Evolve
AI art is still relatively new, and there’s much we don’t yet know about it. However, AI is profoundly impacting the art world—creating new types of artwork and how experts judge artwork in competitions.
“I see the power in AI Art, and that makes me want to support and protect traditional artists even more,” Srinivas P., the Sr. Mainframe Developer, said. “There could be a different category for AI-generated artwork in future competitions.”
Srinivas and I also connected with Sangeetha G., an artist specializing in character drawing. “Live art competitions would be great opportunities for people to see the value of traditional art. Creating-in-progress is something computers do not show.”
Computers didn’t develop the painting concept solely on their own. AI still requires human involvement before generating the result. The algorism can take a photo of a seascape and apply the style of van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” If the user is unhappy with the result, edit the input by changing a few words and generating the “perfect” one.
It’s fair to ask: are we creating art or playing a puzzle game?
For now, the ability to produce something entirely new from scratch separates us from machines. In the future? Maybe not so much.
Women in STEM, Grace Hopper, Recognition
AnitaB.org, host of GHC, named ADP a 2022 Top Company for Women Technologists Winner in the Large Technical Workforce category.
The nonprofit social enterprise AnitaB.org has named ADP a 2022 Top Company for Women Technologists for the third year. The national program from AnitaB.org is the only benchmarking program that looks specifically at technical employees and awards companies embracing accountability and making the most progress toward women’s equity. Read the full press release here.
“It’s an honor to receive this accolade from Anita B.org, as it reinforces the commitment ADP makes to advance opportunities and development for women technologists at all levels,” said Don Weinstein, Corporate Vice President of Global Product & Technology.
Our goal is to create a diverse workforce with individuals’ diversity of thoughts, experiences, and perspectives. AnitaB.org recognized ADP for providing opportunities for women in tech, driving better representation of women in the industry.
“This commitment shows in the products we develop to help our clients meet their goals, including our award-winning DEI Benchmarks, Pay Equity Explorer, and our entire global OneUX design system,” Don said.
We featured ADP women technologists attending this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration on our podcast Life@ADP. They shared their inspiration and what it means to be a part of this incredible community.
Listen to the full stories:
Minisode One – Grace Hopper Celebration with Mina J.
Minisode Two – Grace Hopper Celebration with Jyotsna M.
Minisode Three – Grace Hopper Celebration with Doreen C.
We value diversity in the organization and are proud of supporting women in technology.
Click here to search for your next move and visit Who We Hire.
Senior Leaders, Future of Work, What We Do
A podcast episode for those interested in the importance of data, humanization, and digital disruption trends in the workplace.
Humanization and Digital Disruption Trends in the Workplace with Don Weinstein
Don Weinstein, Corporate Vice President of Global Product & Technology, spoke on Now of Work, a weekly podcast hosted by Jason Averbook and Jess Von Bank.
The episode is excellent for anyone interested in the importance of data, humanization, and digital disruption trends in the workplace.
“We hire data journalists who took all the pay equity data that were hard to unpack and put them in infographic style,” Don said. “We didn’t advertise; instead, we stepped back and watched what happened. We had over 1,000 clients discover it.”
Imagine seeing two employees with the same job, skills, and experiences but different pay. Don’s team found more than 75% of the clients, meaning over 1,000 organizations, acted, and made pay adjustments for over 210,000 individuals.
The power of data collection and engaging apps are changing the workplace across generations. “We’d like to do our part and give back to the community,” Don said.
When it comes to conversations on current challenges, Don shared with hosts Jason and Jess his insights on hybrid work. The key elements to consider include getting the taxes and pay right when employees work in different cities and states.
On top of hiring remote workers, Don emphasized the importance of onboarding and engagement.
“We’ve been studying engagement for over 20 years,” Don said. “Last year was the first we’ve seen the honeymoon effect, meaning employees tend to have the highest engagements during their first-year arrival at the company, went away.”
As ADP continues to hire globally, Don encouraged the teams to be focused. The responsibilities include training managers, engaging, and providing for hybrid workers.
Welcome to PeopleTech, the podcast of the HCM Technology Report. I’m Mark Feffer.
My guest today is Bob Lockett, chief diversity and talent officer at ADP. He’s responsible for the company’s diversity and talent strategy and oversees performance management, leadership development, engagement and culture, among other things.
We’re going to talk a lot about data and its relationship with DEI, from helping determine where a company’s at, to initiating new programs. That’s on this edition of PeopleTech. Bob, welcome. It’s great to meet you.
How does one attack the task of leading on diversity for a company the size of ADP?
Well, Mark, the first thing I’ll tell you, it’s a very challenging task, because you have so many different constituents and everybody wants their own piece of the pie. What about us? What about us? What about us?
As you can imagine, DEI is a very emotional topic, for that reason. So, the approach that I’ve taken, that we’ve taken at ADP, is really tied to doing a couple of things.
Number one is using the scientific method. You know that thing, Mark, that we learned about back in middle school, that many of us did those experiments?
You would say, develop your hypothesis. Then from the hypothesis, you allow data to prove or disprove your beliefs. And then once you do that, then you really define the problem.
After you define that problem, then start to put plans in place to achieve the outcomes. You tweak as you go, as needed, based on feedback.
So what we’ve done is taking that exact approach and say, let’s take the emotion out of it as best we can. Let’s focus on the data. Let the data be our guiding light, to help us understand where we need to focus and what we need to do.
Now, this doesn’t just apply from a US standpoint. Think about it. This is a global opportunity that we’ve embarked upon. The way I view it is, there are needs everywhere, for people to feel like they are seen, valued and heard for all that they are.
So, not only do we think about diversity… You can measure diversity very easily. You can look at demographic data. How many of these do you have? How many of those do you have?
You can measure equity by looking at pay, but the key is also to measure inclusion. So, we take this holistic approach, all data driven.
The inclusion piece is all sentiment driven, but it’s really leveraging the scientific method and leveraging data, to help tell our story.
Can you expand a bit on how data is used in DEI work? I mean, you mentioned that this is a pretty emotional subject. It always strikes me as interesting when you apply data to an emotional subject. How do they work together? So can you talk about that?
Sure. I could tell you the stories of how we landed where we are, with some of our things.
The first thing that we did as an organization, when I took over the role, I wanted to understand how we looked, because I have a vision that our associate population in our company is reflective of the communities in which we operate and the clients that we serve. That’s very specific and very clear.
How do you test that, your hypothesis about that? How do you make it a realistic vision?
We looked at about three or four different datasets. One dataset was a census data. And as you know, the census data doesn’t mean that everybody’s working.
So, we looked at the census data and we say, “What’s the representation for African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, white women, everybody in our organization?” Let’s lay that out to understand it.
Then we looked at the Bureau of Labor statistics data. Of the people in the workforce, let’s take a look at how that compares and then let’s compare that against our information.
So, we compared it against our information, I’m talking specifically in the US and said, “Huh? Where do we have gaps?”
My hypothesis was that we didn’t look like the communities in America, but the reality of it was, we did. So, I was really impressed. I was like, wow, this is great news.
But as you look at the data, we also found that when you look up in the organization, you don’t have parity in representation for two populations in particular, which were African Americans and Hispanics.
We said, they represent 15% of the overall workforce in the US, for Hispanics. Let’s say it was 11% for African Americans.
Well, we noticed a gap in our company of about four percentage points each way, for African Americans and Hispanics.
We said, well, we should close that gap, because as you come to an organization, you also want to be able to see if there are opportunities for you to advance.
If you don’t see anyone that looks like you, in management level positions, then you start to wonder if you have a real future there. So, that was our quest.
This is how we use data to really understand and tell our story and to put plans in place to do it.
Now, notice the nuance here. Because again, if you go back to my original hypothesis, that we didn’t look like that, we did, but then we pivoted very quickly, because the data told us a different story. We said, that’s where we’re going to focus our efforts.
Now, some people use, Mark, data to try and boil the ocean. You can’t do everything. You can’t be all things to all people. That is a recipe for failure, particularly in DEI.
So, that’s why we have a very narrow focused approach. We have multiple initiatives that we work on, but suffice it to say, that was our main effort, for us to be able to say, we’re moving the needle when it comes to leadership representation in our company.
Now, do you think your company is an outlier in that, or do you think that more corporations are starting to get on board with the idea of using data in this regard?
Yeah. I think it’s a mixed bag, Mark, is probably the best way to describe it. Most organizations will take a look at their data. They’ll focus on where they think their opportunities are.
But it depends on where they are in their journey, their DEI journey, which I always talk about, that not everybody’s at the same place.
For us, I believe we’re an outlier. We’re an outlier because if you think about DEI, it’s one of our values. The things that really resonate in our organization, is that each person counts. In order for each person counts, by default, you have to have a DEI strategy.
Some organizations don’t put as much interest or effort into it, so there at varying stages.
It became a great corporate buzzword two years ago. Prior to that, many organizations weren’t making headway, with respect to that. So, my belief is, we’re certainly an outlier with our use of data.
Of course, Mark, that is our middle name. So, we use data to make sure that we can tell our story, to solve the problem, to understand all of those things. We’re all about measuring success. How do you measure the effectiveness of what you’re doing?
Having said that, I think we’re a bit of an outlier. I think there are other organizations that are doing great things, but I think there are some that are not doing anything because they don’t know where to start.
If that’s the challenge for them, then a great place to start is, understand your data at least. Then, think about where you want to have an impact.
Can you think of any particularly surprising things that you’ve learned from data?
I can give you a couple of examples of things that I think we’ve learned. Number one is that it’s never enough. Here’s what I mean. We had to put plans in place to do this.
I’ll just give you this example, Mark. We launched our talent task force. It was a specific focus on the African American and Hispanics/Latino community.
Well, as soon as we put that out, the first question that came was, hey, what about the Asian community? I said, “Huh? I’ve got a story for you. Asians represent 5% of our population, but yet they represent 8% of leadership.” So, there’s no problem there.
Then the next call came from the LGBTQ+ community. I said, “Huh? Tell me what the data says.”
The reason we couldn’t make a decision and put a plan in place to improve representation for that community, is because we didn’t have any data. So, that’s one of the things that will surprise you about that.
And when you don’t have enough of it, everyone wants to do these things, which is back to my point about, people get involved in this. They want to represent their constituents.
But at the same time, without the data, you can’t get involved and create corporate programs to improve something.
The second piece still ties to self-ID. If you take this to a global scale, so typically in numerous countries, they don’t collect the same data that we do in the US. They don’t collect it because their philosophies are different. It could vary, country to country.
However, there’s renewed emphasis on understanding your workforce and being inclusive. So, just imagine, you’re a multinational corporation and you don’t understand the dynamics that exist in operating in Tunisia or the dynamics that exist in operating in France or Italy and who the underrepresented groups are. So, we’re trying to capture new data.
That’s one of the surprising things, is that we’re beginning a journey globally, to do a self-ID approach.
It’s not just us, by the way. There are multiple companies now showing renewed interest in this, to say, how do we understand our workforce? How do we become more inclusive, so we can appeal to the needs of various communities where we operate?
Are you satisfied with the kind of data that’s available to you today? What could be better?
Yeah. I’m in a unique position, Mark. I tell people this all the time. At ADP, because we’re a data company… again, it’s in our middle name, I have the unique opportunity that we have our own department that does all of the analytics, pulls the data, does the comparative analysis, the sensitivity analysis to whatever we want to do.
Now, for companies that don’t have that, we do have a diversity dashboard, that gives them insights into their own information, that they may not have thought about before.
They may not have the luxury of having a large DEI department, like we do. They may not have the luxury of having the analytic capability, but we can provide them with some insights about how their organization looks, what their leadership makeup is. Oh, by the way, with pay equity too, we can take a look at that data as well.
So I think I’m in an enviable position. I’ve got all the data that I need. The key for me, is staying focused and executing, to ensure that we make a difference with our DEI efforts.
What are your overall goals for your DEI efforts? I mean, what kind of changes are you hoping to enable or enact? What has to happen for you to be able to get there?
Yeah, it’s a great question, Mark. I’ll go back to my vision. The vision that, we want our associate population to be reflective of the communities in which we operate and the clients that we serve.
That is the most important thing, because I believe that the efforts that we take to do that, will have a great cyclical impact on the environment.
Here’s what I mean. I’m not in the DEI business because I’m a social justice warrior. I’m in the DEI business because I believe that there are economic opportunities in a capitalistic society, that we can get everyone to participate in and grow the pie. I firmly believe that.
In many cases, it starts with employment. So, what do we do as part of our DEI, some of the work that we’re doing? Well, we want to hire in those various communities.
We have outreach efforts to every community, to make sure that we’re attracting the best and the brightest for our organization.
Then of course, once you get there, you have to walk the talk. So, culture is really important, Mark, in this space, to ensure that if you said you’re going to do it, then you have to do it.
My saying is, don’t talk about it. You have to be about it. So, if you’re about what you said you are, by bringing everybody together and giving everybody an opportunity, so they can be their true authentic selves, then that makes a tremendous difference.
So, that’s the talent piece of it. Getting them in, giving them the opportunities to grow and develop, and then seeing them get promoted and being able to contribute.
Now, I also talk about DEI from a business practice standpoint. Oftentimes in the past, organizations that I’ve worked for, DEI was all about some of the HR practices, which I just talked about briefly. It was all about talent practices,
But I also incorporate business practices. Business practices are really about, well, how do we tap into the ecosystem of businesses and communities?
Oftentimes, you have underserved communities, that don’t have the same opportunities to understand things.
Give you an example. We have a company that we partner with. What the founder shared with us, was the fact that for many minority-owned businesses, they only have one way to finance their business. That’s through loans from family members or debt.
So, they don’t get the full spectrum of how to do revenue-based financing for their business, or how to think about the debt market very differently, that others have had exposure and access to.
So, giving them exposure and access to the full gamut is really important, but that also requires some education. So, we partner with organizations, to do that, just so businesses can finance it.
Now, selfishly, because I am a capitalist, I believe that we should be able to capture some of that market.
We should be able to say, we’ll help them. There’s no guarantee that they’re going to come back and nor is there an expectation, but just imagine if we’re the ones that help them understand how to run payroll.
I said, “We want you to focus on your business. If you make pizzas or if you have a restaurant, we want you to focus on what you do best. Let us do what we do best, which is run payroll, help you do time and attendance and help you with all of those other things. That’s what we do”
So, I think it’s important for us to extend our reach into the underserved communities, such that we can help raise the tide for all boats. That’s really the impetus here.
Say, if we do this the right way, DEI becomes much more holistic, so it’s focused on the economic empowerment.
If you do that by getting people great jobs, what do they do? Well, they go spend money in their communities. If they spend money in their communities, businesses grow. And if businesses grow, for us it’s a great thing, because that means you have more people to pay from your payroll systems and the like.
So, this ecosystem approach that I think is really critical and important, when we think about DEI.
Now, the other piece, Mark, that I’ll share with you about DEI is, I’ll share two other avenues of this.
One is the environment. Our environmental practices now, have become relevant in the DEI equation.
Let me back up and give you the broader view. Most companies talk about ESG, environmental, social and governance. The environmental piece is really critical. That’s where you have, what are you going to do for greenhouse gas emission reduction?
This S is all DEI. The G is board governance or governance of whatever programs that you take a look at. So, that’s something else you have to consider as you think about DEI.
We have practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The good news for us is that, we don’t manufacture anything. Probably, our facilities and employees driving to work are our largest contributors to this. But what we also focus on is, what can we do to meet target? We put together plans to do that.
The last thing I’ll mention is what we’re doing as an organization, to make a difference, as we think about DEI and the like.
We have the ADP Foundation. We make contributions to a variety of 501(c)(3)’s nonprofits, to help support them in the communities in which they operate. So, there’s this holistic view that we have about, we can do well and do good at the same time.
Bob, thanks very much. We appreciate your time today.
My guest today has been Bob Lockett, chief diversity and talent officer at ADP. This has been PeopleTech, the podcast of the HCM Technology Report.
We’re a publication recruiting daily. We’re also a part of the Evergreen Podcasts. To see all of their programs, visit www.EvergreenPodcasts.com.
To keep up with HR technology, visit the HCM Technology Report every day. We’re the most trusted source of news in the HR tech industry. Find us at www.HCMTechnologyReport.com. I’m Mark Feffer.
Life @ ADP, Voice of Our People, What We Do
A podcast episode for applicants interested in the scale ADP operates at, including the leadership teams’ strategies and their focus on data security.
Life @ ADP S2EP4: Let’s Talk #ADPTech
Our hosts, Ingrid and Kate, invited Lohit Sarma, a Senior Vice President of Product Development, to the show to chat about what’s happening in #ADPTech.
Lohit’s ADP journey began in 2014 when he helped build our Next Gen team, Lifion, in New York City and scaled up the organization to about 700 associates.
“I can’t believe it’s been eight and a half years,” Lohit said. “It’s been an incredibly humbling learning experience, and I’m super excited for what’s ahead.”
The episode is great for associates and applicants interested in the scale ADP operates at, including the leadership teams’ strategies and their focus on data security. Lohit spoke about various areas in #ADPTech, from User Experience (UX), Security Engineering, to Site Reliability Engineering.
“Our clients trust us with some of the most sensitive information in the world,” Lohit said. “Security engineering is a huge focus for our products. Reliability DevOps is just across the board.”
You wouldn’t want to miss out on the episode, especially if you are interested in learning more about ADP’s Next Gen products and ADP’s role in the US financial system. From launching the iHCM, a cloud-based platform that simplifies Payroll and HR management in one scalable, compliant solution, to our next-generation time and payroll products, ADP has transformed into a technology company.
“We attract talents based on our adaptation of modern software engineering, product management, and UX practices,” Lohit said. “We’re able to not only hire but also retain and contribute back to the industry.”
From sponsoring the Grace Hopper Celebration to hiring female engineers and managers, ADP’s leadership team is building a culture that welcomes and nurtures tech talent. Further reading: Seramount Names ADP One of the Best Companies for Multicultural Women.
In addition, ADP is continually enhancing and evolving the way we do things. “We’ve been heavily investing across the board in pure engineering and management practices,” Lohit said. “That’s reflecting the quality of our products.”
Life @ ADP is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google, iHeartRadio, and Amazon Music. Listen to the full episode here or on your preferred podcast player!
Learn more about what it’s like working for ADP here and our current openings.
HCM Technologies, Women in STEM, User Experience, Product Management, DataCloud
Innovation, Tech Trends, Machine Learning
If buying an NFT does not give you the right to reproduce and sell copies, what exactly do you own?
NFTs: The Price of Bragging Rights
Why would someone spend $2.5 million on a Link to a JPEG?
You might have already seen examples of NFTs like funny ape drawings or celebrity avatars used as an account holder’s picture on Twitter. So, who would buy a personalized digital token of a dancing bear in a tutu? Is it worth $2.5 million dollars? What value are you really getting?
First, a quick definition of an NFT:
Non-fungible token (NFT)
Units of data that are stored on a blockchain. People can buy and sell NFTs; they can be associated with unique digital files such as photos, videos, and audio.
What is the difference between buying an oil painting at a gallery and buying a bunch of 2D digital pixels?
Here’s the definition of ownership.
If you purchase a painting from a gallery, you get to take it home and hang it up in the physical world we live in. You OWN the original painting. All others may have photos or even reproductions, but they will never have that one piece of unique physical canvas. For example, Picasso’s original artwork will always be Picasso. People cannot recreate the same exact painting.
If you purchase an NFT, which could be anything from JPEG to a screenshot of a tweet, it does NOT make you the owner of the “art,” it only gives you the right to claim partial ownership. Buying an NFT does not give you the right to reproduce it and sell copies. Buyers showcase immutable public transactions on the blockchain to prove ownership. Read more: NFTs – what exactly do I own?
It’s worth pointing out that although the owner has the right to use the NFT EXCLUSIVELY, a copy of the digital art can literally ‘look’ as good as the original when people take screenshots to copy and paste the images. With a right-click to save, the copies of digital files are precisely the same as the original NFT. It comes down to the owner bragging about whether they own the original NFT.
For NFT creators, you have the right to reproduce, distribute copies, and display the work in public. However, the NFT royalties work differently. Creators earn royalties through subsequent sales in the secondary market. The transaction occurs without the need for any intermediaries. Remember, not every NFT generates royalties. Everything needs to be written on the smart contract; otherwise, the creator has no claim. Read more: What are NFT royalties?
Why do people go crazy over these?
Let’s break it down.
An NFT gives you a token of ownership on the blockchain. Rather than supporting an artist by donating to them on PayPal or BuyMeACoffee, you can support them by purchasing their NFTs in exchange for documenting your purchasing record on a public, visible ledger. A second benefit, buying an NFT may appeal to collectors who gain pleasure from owning rare, digital goods. A third benefit is that each NFT has a market value, and anyone can buy/sell NFTs. For starters, it is more accessible than investing in the housing market. New to NFTs? Here are some options to store them.
Risks in NFTs
But before you dive right in, consider the risks of buying and selling NFTs. If you want to purchase one to support an artist, ask if the value you derive from ownership aligns with what it means to own an NFT. There are business opportunists who create NFTs from written codes, disregarding the meaning of art creation. For example, the 10000 Lazy Lions NFTs with different combinations of eyes, clothing, and mane are made from randomly generated codes instead of careful craftsmanship from artists.
Another danger is the way we are using NFTs. Before the pandemic, everyone from organizations to influencers jumps on trends trying to chase the cash. For example, agents have produced NFT from past photographs and artwork of the famous deceased to “celebrate” their legacy using them in the NFT market.
Many are predicting this could be the next housing bubble. Has it started to crash? What do you think? Something to consider before purchasing that dancing bear in a tutu.
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We’re hiring! Learn more about what it’s like working for ADP here and our current openings.