Life @ ADP, Career Advice, What We Do
“Sometimes your career may feel like a ladder and sometimes like a jungle gym, and that’s okay.”
Season 3 Episode 1: Talent Market Trends and What Candidates Want
Welcome back to Life@ADP, the podcast that offers career advice and stories from our associates and recruiters around the globe. We’re thrilled to kick off season three with our first episode, featuring Tracy S. and Glenn D. from ADP’s Talent Acquisition.
Tracy has been with ADP for 15 years, leading recruitment worldwide in sales and marketing; Glenn joined in 2016, leading recruitment for executive leadership and tech talent.
In this episode, they join our hosts, Ingrid and Kate, to share their career journeys, offer advice for job seekers, and discuss how ADP helps businesses navigate the modern workplace. Listen to the full podcast episode here.
“Sometimes your career may feel like a ladder and sometimes like a jungle gym, and that’s okay,” Glenn said. “Don’t be afraid to take on new responsibilities, learn new things, and challenge your way of thinking.”
“Be your authentic self and ask questions that are meaningful to you,” Tracy said. “This is how you get the answers and determine if the career path matches you.”
Hearing from the Recruiters
Tracy and Glenn also shared the trends in the job market and what recruiters look for in candidates, highlighting the importance of adaptability, positivity, resilience, intellectual curiosity, and a collaborative attitude. They noted that candidates are looking for good company culture, mental health support, flexibility in their work, and career progression.
“You’re seeing a shift in the market where it’s candidate-driven,” Glenn said. “While compensation is a key factor, culture has become the most predominant thing.”
Recruiters ask themselves: How will the candidates leverage positive traits into this role? They found successful employees take the time to learn, grow, and care about others across the team.
“We have a culture of collaboration and innovation here,” Glenn said. “People bring their full selves to work.”
“ADP values integrity, respect, teamwork, and innovation,” Tracy said. “Supporting each other is what ADP is all about.”
We take pride in creating an environment for associates from all backgrounds, putting diversity and inclusion into practice.
Learning and Growing Together
Glenn notes that candidates are taking the time to research the company and its culture before they even come in for an interview and are looking for consistency between what they see online and what they experience in person.
“As a large company, what can we do to help? Some of it may be environmental work, and some may be helping the communities we serve,” Tracy said. “We celebrate historical events by connecting with communities and diving into associates’ stories.”
Associates are encouraged to join a Business Resource Group (BRG) that is personal to them. For example, ADP’s International Women’s Inclusion Network (iWIN) has a mission to engage, equip and empower women to achieve personal and professional success.
From building career workshops to celebrate their individuality through outreach programs like International Women’s Month, Black History Month, and Pride Month, ADP’s talent acquisition has meaningful conversations internally and encourages external learning opportunities.
“Associates come together and share their experiences on BRG events, networking and exchanging feedback,” Tracy said. “We make sure everyone feels welcomed and valued.”
Life @ ADP is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google, iHeartRadio, and Amazon Music. Listen to the full episode here or on your preferred podcast player!
Interested in the unique culture and career opportunities at ADP?
Visit who we hire and our current openings.
Innovation, Future of Work, What We Do
We thrive on innovation and turning ideas into action. Anyone can be an inventor and an innovator.
When Roberto S. joined ADP, he never imagined how far he’d “Roll.”
He started his ADP journey by working as a Machine Learning Engineer. In May 2022, he moved from the Brazil Labs to the Innovation Lab in Roseland and was awarded the ADP 2022 Inventor of the Year.
ADP’s Inventor of the Year recognizes an associate who develops products with great features. Tech associates submit a summary of the invention to the ADP Patient Program, providing a unique solution to a challenge.
Roll is the first digital AI/ML HCM solution for small businesses, offering payroll, time and attendance, and more. Everything a small business needs for running HR & payroll in a simple chat-based mobile application. Roberto’s patents have driven Roll from an idea on a whiteboard to a real in-market offering.
“Roberto’s contributions to ADP and, specifically, Roll, has been invaluable, and how he focuses on driving technology forward and innovating to create new technology makes him so successful,” Roberto Masiero, SVP of Innovation, said. “It’s no surprise he’s been named the Inventor of the Year!”
ADP recognizes the hard work and innovative efforts that go into filing a patent application. Every inventor named on a patent application receives a monetary award for each utility and each design. Roberto was chosen based on his contributions, providing technically detailed and sound documentation.
Machine Learning in Roll
The machine learning models Roberto designed for Roll use a chat interface to interact with clients. In the process, Roberto and his team developed a variety of NLPS (Natural Language Processing) technologies for Roll in the intent classification, questioning, and answering domains.
On a weekly basis, the team meets to discuss strategic and tactical developmental ideas for Roll, including a technical paper reading session, in which they collectively brainstorm ideas to help make a better application.
“Developing technologies for Roll is a never-ending process of asking questions and learning,” Roberto said. “This is a team effort. I’m only the messenger and sometimes the guy poking everybody with links and technical articles.” On the team, he gives kudos to Guilherme G., Roberto C., Carlos N., and Juliano V.
The Team’s Patent Process
Roberto sees the patent process as a method to transform ideas into a formal document that will increase ADP’s innovative power on the market. “There is always a great team working behind the scenes to help engineers describe a solution and ensure this initial description will make it to a patent, with all the legal aspects covered,” Roberto said.
As the Inventor of the Year, Roberto encourages other inventors to keep in touch with the patent team to understand the process and give their ideas a try.
Advice for Technologists
“My career journey has been a remarkable, fun 5-year ride at ADP,” Roberto said. “If you’re considering a tech career, I’d encourage you to apply to ADP because this is where you can bring your ideas forward, receive feedback, and try new things.”
Transformation is at the heart of what makes ADP unique. With innovation rooted in our values, ADP continues to provide opportunities such as our patent program, showcasing ideas from associates at all levels.
“It is always important to ask yourself how the idea will benefit ADP,” Roberto said. “Keep your minds open and study new areas and domains. Sometimes the innovation happens in the intersection of domains of expertise!”
#MachineLearning #MachineLearning #HCM #Technologists #Roll #Inventor
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Innovation, Tech Trends, Career Insights
As a leader in the industry that collects a wide range of data from employees, we ensure the information is safe with us.
Say you met a technologist at a hackathon and want to connect with the person more. Instead of exchanging business cards like before, you’ll likely pull out your phone and exchange information digitally.
From LinkedIn profiles, Instagram usernames, hometown, and family relationships to mentions in articles from years ago, the internet and digital world do not erase one’s footprints in most cases.
With all information and data becoming digitalized in the 21st century, it’s time to utilize them in a way that’s never been done before. Data is not just your social media photo or where you went for vacation; it can be numbers and confidential information from financial to hospital records.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Xiaojing W., our Distinguished Engineer who advocates for data privacy and user-respectful interactions. She shared with us some ways she keeps applications safe and secured at ADP.
Why Data Privacy is important
By Xiaojing W., Distinguished Engineer
On September 7, 2017, a consumer credit reporting agency announced that it had breached the data of approximately 143 million U.S. consumers, including customers’ names, dates of birth, social security, driver’s license, and credit card numbers. These incidents resulted in a loss of consumer trust, therefore, future business opportunities.
ADP takes pride in building applications that put customers’ privacy first with holistic security and privacy practices. In fact, our Chief Data Officer developed a holistic privacy framework instilling the privacy culture and centrally managing the practices in daily data operations.
Here are some of our methods:
When it comes to creating a trusting experience for users, we have five best practices to share:
With over 1M clients (about the population of Delaware in the United States), ADP pays more than 38M workers worldwide (about the population of California in the United States), and just in the US alone, we reach nearly 20% of the private US workforce.
As a leader in the industry that collects a wide range of data from employees, we make sure the information is safe with us. At the same time, we pay attention to the design process, ensuring a safe, user-friendly experience for everyone involved.
Here are five design patterns for creating user-respectful and privacy-aware interactions:
Tech Trend: All about Data
Data is always changing, which means more people want ways to keep their information private. This has led to the development of new techniques that preserve user information in large datasets.
Here are four types of technologies that are getting attention in the industry:
You may ask, how does the new landscape in data privacy change our product design thinking?
To better understand our clients and the needs of their employees, we must have a comprehensive view of who they are (i.e., profile data) and what they do, and how that impacts their day-to-day (i.e. behavior).
By following HBR‘s new data privacy rules, our products will empower users with trustworthy technology solutions.
Our private permissioned blockchain also safeguards highly sensitive personal data while simultaneously allowing individuals complete control. This innovative technology enables ADP to craft new products and services that benefit employees and clients.
Data privacy isn’t the Privacy Officers’ job; it’s a collective responsibility. As engineers who are often tasked with the technical aspects of securing sensitive data, we must understand the landscape of privacy-enhancing tools and technologies.
Keep in mind that we must stay up to date with the changes in the data industry as our users trust us with their information. Taking care of the trust and protecting the data should be everyone’s top priority.
#Data #DataPrivacy #WomeninStem #Automation #UserExperience
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When faced with decisions to make — no matter the topic or implication — it’s human nature to seek data. We all want information to help us make the right choice, to prove our assumptions, to validate the courses of action we’re about to take. In business, data is driving important decisions in marketing, operations, logistics and other essential business functions. We’ve seen that the insights drawn from data can provide a reliable path to better outcomes.
But data about people has perhaps never been valued like it is today. People data is propelling better assessments about the workforce and the global economy. From hiring to compensation to promotion and everything in between, each data point reveals a truth that can help business leaders and human capital management (HCM) professionals make better choices when it comes to their workforce. Collectively, such data-driven decisioning can unlock the doors to a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world of work.
With the technological tools we have today, we can mine and use real-time data to track important HR metrics, but more importantly, we can proactively help solve HR issues like turnover and retention. Through aggregated and anonymized real-time data, we can start to see trends emerge and even predict the likelihood. Data detailing how long people stay at a job, how much they earn and how often they get promoted can help businesses get a clearer picture of where they stand against the backdrop of the global economy. For example, analyzing their people data enabled one company to discover the reasons for involuntary turnover in their organization. Using these insights, they changed processes, procedures, and policies, which resulted in a 20% reduction in turnover.
Benchmarking data – knowing what other businesses in your industry or geography are paying – can also mean the difference between attracting talent to your organization or losing them to a competitor. Today’s labor marketplace has more jobs than candidates and is in constant flux. Companies need to know how they compare to others on compensation, benefits, and other key employment factors. In this environment, having up-to-date HR intelligence is crucial.
There’s no question that having access to this level of detail in your people data can help make your organization more competitive in the talent marketplace. But perhaps more importantly, this transparency into your people analytics can help you identify gaps in representation and equity and take meaningful steps to close them. There’s a need in society to continue to push forward with creating an inclusive environment for everybody, and the first way to advance that goal is by measuring progress. If you can’t measure progress, then you can’t adequately assess whether you’re making improvements to people’s situations.
Examining a critical DEI challenge, let’s consider pay equity. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important than making sure that people are paid correctly and fairly for their contributions. In the past, it’s been difficult to accurately assess differences in compensation. We’ve known for some time about gender pay inequities but they’re often too high-level for companies to tangibly action against. The resulting discussions around the root of the issue and how to fix it also become too high-level in response. This doesn’t help leaders and HR professionals who want to reduce pay inequity in their organizations. By analyzing internal HR data and then comparing it to benchmarks across industry, demographic, geography, function and job titles, companies can now pinpoint where their organization is missing the mark.
One misconception is that hiring people at a better rate of pay will help close the gap. If you bring people in, you’re not actually creating upward mobility inside of the organization. By examining compensation across a wide range of job titles and companies and evaluating what it really means for somebody to move up, organizations can better understand where they might need to adjust course.
Pay transparency is another important and often forgotten element to closing pay gaps. Data can empower and giving employees more information about the pay of their colleagues and for similar roles in their industries can help workers across underrepresented groups gain negotiating leverage.
Data can help organizations resolve these inequities proactively, resulting in higher employee retention and better talent acquisition. Data helps you see around corners and acts as a flashlight into dark places on your path forward. We can use data to identify when people aren’t paid to the level that they should be paid. We can create tools to plan and budget to adjust for those pay gaps. Ultimately, the goal is to turn real-time data into actionable insights and workplace solutions that help businesses and people thrive. By February 2022, 75% of clients using the solution have shown improvement in pay equity, making a $1.1B impact on communities in the US.
It’s important for organizations to reflect on what’s visible within their people analytics, looking for the context and connections that create uneven effects. When patterns emerge, examine what happened earlier to understand potential causes and tailor proposed solutions. When it comes to creating a better, more equitable world of work, focus on removing barriers to progress and building programs and policies into your workplace culture that allow your employees to show up as their best selves. By using data to channel your efforts, you can effect meaningful change and become part of the benchmark that challenges others to follow suit.
Future of Work, Innovation, Why ADP
Accessible Video Controls
Video: The Story of ADP Design: Data, Insights, Simplicity
Narrator: More than 900,000 businesses rely on ADP for leading HR and payroll solutions. How our products are designed is just as important as what they can do. Today, we’re going to learn why purposeful design helps our clients and their people work smarter.
JOE: So we hear the word design used an awful lot. We hear it in development. We hear it in experience. We hear it in the UI. There’s a UI element but there’s much, much more than that. What is design to you?
VIPUL: Designing for people is just part of our DNA. Our clients feeling confident in what they’re using.
BRUNA: It’s more than the look and feel. Design is also about performance.
OSCAR: We want to be 100% focused on their experience. When they come in, this is what they need to do and they should be able to do it quickly.
BRUNA: I think ADP is doing a great job on that. Trust is one of the words that clients use a lot. They trust in ADP.
JOE: That’s exactly right. If you help and can build that trust, they’re going to be able to have confidence to do their job or to crush it.
VIPUL: One of the ways you actually crush it is by being simpler. That one button that says confirm.
JOE: That’s right. How do when you’ve got good design? How do you measure that?
OSCAR: I don’t think there is ever going to be a point where you’re going to be like, this is the final design. This is it. But I think you learn over time, it’s a dynamic thing. Is this better than what we had before? Continue to improve the design. Continue to improve the user experience.
BRUNA: I think that the most important thing is really try to test it as much as possible with clients that are going to use it.
JOE: Describe a little bit about the importance of everybody being involved in that design. Is it a single UX person or UI person but really, the whole business?
JOHN: I may have an answer. And it may be a perfectly good answer to a problem, but I’ll reach out to get other thoughts. Maybe there’s a better way. You can’t just rest on your laurels. Look at COVID in the pandemic. The way our clients and our end customers operated their businesses changed.
JOHN: And if that changed, then our products have to change.
VIPUL: We now release much smaller, digestible features and new functionality and new things into the system on a weekly basis. And it actually makes it much more easy for us to release it and more importantly our clients to be able to accept these things and consume them, and stay up to pace with us.
JOHN: That’s what we’re here for, empower the business to go at whatever speed it needs to go.
JOE: I think that, to us, is what the modernization experience has been all about with workforce now. Guys, I’ll tell you, if I had every day a chance to get to talk with folks like you in a conversation like this, it’d be a wonderful day to start– bringing developers together with UX folks, with executives, and product people. Thank you for your contribution.
Work is having a moment. Regardless of what you call the state of the talent market, it’s clear we need a better way to work that enables everyone to reach their full potential. ADP is all about designing a better way to work. We design experiences using an integrated design philosophy and approach that leverages: Data, Expertise, and Design innovations.
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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:
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.
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