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Inside DataCloud: How ADP Shapes the Future of Work

Amin Venjara, General Manager, Data Solutions.

By Amin Venjara, General Manager, Data Solutions, ADP DataCloud 

Over the past two decades, fields like marketing and finance have seen an explosion in data-driven decision-making. Data informs everything from measuring performance to the microtargeted ads we see in our social media feeds. Data and analytics have even reshaped the world of professional sports as a “Moneyball” approach to building and deploying teams are now deeply integrated into most management teams and coaching staff.

In a similar vein, a data-driven approach to HR and talent decisions, known as people analytics, has grown rapidly over the past decade. As one of the largest providers of human capital management offerings, ADP has the data assets to lead in the people analytics space. Last year, we processed 69M W2s and moved over $2.3T—that’s over 10% of US GDP. With over 920K clients, we pay more than 38M workers worldwide, and just in the US alone, we reach nearly 20% of the private US workforce.

This rich data foundation explains why our monthly National Employment Report is considered a key indicator for the state of the US economy. It is also why economists from the Federal Reserve and leading universities are using ADP data to create more real-time measures on the state of the workforce. In a 2019 speech, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell described the Fed’s partnership with ADP: “We began to collaborate with ADP to construct a measure of payroll employment from their data set, which covers about 20 percent of the nation’s private workforce…. We believe that the new measure may help us better understand job market conditions in real-time.”

Our Data Solutions business unit and the DataCloud product team aim to amplify ADP’s data value, creating a more meaningful work experience for all employees. As one example, organizations are always looking to find and keep their best talent. Similarly, workers are looking for opportunities that best leverage their strengths and create opportunities to grow and thrive.

Taking a data-driven approach to these connections, we built ADP's Skills Graph, a proprietary data structure based on more than 30 million employee records, 50 million resumes, and 5 million job postings across more than 20 industries and 500 geographic areas.

Skills Graph extracts, aligns, and normalizes key information such as skills, job titles and levels, education, and qualifications from non-structured data and infers missing skills and qualifications from context. Skills Graph powers ADP’s Candidate Profile Relevancy tool to help score, assess, and predict candidates who are the best fit for a job opening. While the model is not an algorithm that tells someone which candidate to pick, it helps identify those who are not the right fit, speeding up the application review process. This way, recruiters and hiring managers can focus more time on the human side of recruiting, having deeper, better conversations with candidates.

We have also used our data and analytics capabilities to help organizations address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) questions. From the earliest days of our analytics journey, we have included metrics that help organizations quantify and baseline their DEI. We have previously won the HR industry’s top technology award with our Pay Equity Explorer, which helps organizations understand pay equity gaps based on gender and race. Over the past year, we have continued to grow our DEI toolset, adding a question-based DEI Dashboard that helps organizations create and maintain turn-key answers to question like “How diverse is your workforce?”, “Which areas of my organization are not diverse?” and “How diverse is my organization’s leadership distribution?” from their HCM systems.

And what’s more – our focus on DEI with our clients has driven real outcomes. We’ve seen over 50% of our DEI solution’s active users act and realize a positive impact on their DEI measures. Active clients have seen pay equity gaps decrease by an average of 25% or more than $700K per client, making this a real investment for our clients based on our insights to enable equal pay for equal work.

The power of our data also extends beyond the world of HR. It is a powerful, real-time signal on the state of consumer demand, demographics, and the broader economy. Using our anonymized and aggregated data, we can construct views of migration patterns at the county level. For example, we found that before the pandemic, less than 3% of San Francisco and New York high earners making $100K or more moved out of the cities during the 12 months that ended in January 2020. After the pandemic, that number leaped to 14%. Those high-wage employees moved to the surrounding suburbs with a manageable commute to job centers. Large retailers and state governments use this data to shape their demand forecasting and to optimize their organizational agility in this rapidly changing world.

By putting our clients first and applying one of the richest data sets in the world to some of the most pressing societal and business issues of our day, our teams make a real impact every day at work. The client-obsessed and data-savvy product managers, engineers, UX designers, and data scientists that fuel our teams are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology to solve problems for our clients. At ADP, we are always designing for people, and in DataCloud and the broader Data Solutions team, data is the beating heart of everything we do.

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