Tech & Innovation Blog

Nicole, Senior Director of Operations, Translates Business to Technology  


Women in STEM, Voice of Our People, Innovation 

Women in STEM - Illustration Header

Nicole, Senior Director of Operations, shares how she transformed from business to product and technology throughout her career journey at ADP.

Coming to ADP  

Nicole’s career journey to Tech was an evolution. She has 20 years of experience in payroll and hadn’t thought about the technology behind it when she first started. “A mentor of mine changed my thinking. She reminded me what we did was software implementation, which changed my perspectives on projects and future opportunities,” Nicole says.

Nicole's Family

Nicole’s Family

When she came over to ADP’s Global Product and Technology (GPT) group, Nicole played a role in translation between business needs, operations goals, products, and technology. “With my background in payroll, I can put processes together and execute them,” Nicole says. “I proudly serve as a liaison between business goals and technology to build great products.” She felt accomplished when another ADP associate thought she came from a traditional product background. It was a defining moment for Nicole, knowing how much she transformed into a product and technology subject matter expert throughout her career journey.   

Designing for People   

“STEM is the foundation of our daily life, constantly changing and transforming how we do things,” Nicole tells us. “Working at ADP is exciting!” She loves how ADP always offers a variety of new projects. Even though we are a large corporate company, ADP values the individual voices of its people. There’s always an opportunity here to deliver impact and make a difference,” she says.

Early in Nicole’s career, she worked on a migration project for over three years with about 200,000 clients. She is currently working on projects Payroll Innovation (PI) and Next-Gen Technology. “The Next-Gen in payroll calculation and compliance is powerful. These are my favorites because they are at the core of how ADP operates,” she says.

Nicole looks for opportunities to lead others who come from similar backgrounds in operations and business sides, getting them closer to ADP’s products without feeling apprehensive. She also recognizes the value in bringing the operational and the business sides closer to technology. For those who have a traditional tech background, she makes sure they understand the impact. 

ADP: Transformation to Tech   

Nicole always likes to ask other leaders their thoughts on ADP’s transformation into a technology company. As an associate who’s been here for 20 years, she enjoys ADP’s blending of great service and technology. “We went from a traditional service provider to leading with technology, and eventually, we hope tech is the first thing that comes to mind in the future,” she says. “I enjoy watching the transformation, as do other long-tenured associates! Seeing them use innovative technology in new ways is inspiring.”

“I am blessed to have some incredible mentors who have shared valuable insights with me,” Nicole says. She also had the opportunity to mentor multiple talented individuals, and advocates organic mentoring relationships. “I’ve never met a leader who refused to spend time with associates. Be open and ask questions! Mentors are there to guide your learning experiences. It’s a growing process for everyone,” she says.

Everyone is a Leader 

Nicole at Banff National Park, Alberta Canada

Nicole at Banff National Park, Alberta Canada

Nicole thinks highly of her associates and recognizes people’s strengths and understands how they fit in her team. She likes letting someone develop what he/she is good at, providing all the support. “I ask questions: Is that skill an asset? Do we need the skill in the team? Job descriptions for my team are detailed and crafted with intention,” she says. Nicole loves learning about people’s passion and motivation behind the tasks.

“It takes confidence to be bold and conquer the fear of leaving your swim lane,” she says. Nicole encourages STEM women to speak up and offer ideas, even if the ideas are not mainstream. As she says: “Always be prepared to back up your opinions with a clearly articulated vision for the team! It is one thing to have an idea and another thing to execute it.”

Nicole has a 10-year-old daughter who loves robotics and electronics. She loves supporting her and getting involved in a lot of youth activities at her school. “It’s great to see children get creative and passionate about technology!” she says. To her, #ADPTech is creative, human, evolving, and diverse. The elements together create a culture that is inclusive and understanding. Regardless of experience and background, people take the time to listen to one another’s opinions and ideas.   

Recharge and Reset  

Nicole in Costa Rica

Nicole in Costa Rica

Nicole loves to travel. She books with a company that caters to women traveling alone, and gets to meet other amazing women during her trips. Some of places she has visited include Glacier National Park in Montana, Banff National Park in Alberta, Chile in South America, Calgary, and Costa Rica. Her next trip, a fitness retreat in Bali, is coming up next year. She can’t wait!

Nicole has always been an athlete, and her trips often involve outdoor activities. “As much as I love technology, I love to disconnect and travel solo,” she says. Traveling allows her to rest and recharge. When she comes back to work, she is filled with innovative ideas and so much energy. “Not to mention, these experiences make me a better person.”

Interested in a tech career at ADP?    

Click here to search for your next move and visit Who We Hire.     

Tech & Innovation Blog

Dr. Raji, Senior Director of Data Science, creates impact with data automation and transformation  


Women in STEM, Voice of Our People, Innovation 

Women in STEM

Dr. Raji, one of the pioneers bringing AI/ML to Pi-Payroll innovation products at ADP, shares her career journey and the different automated processes her team creates.   

Dr. Raji

Dr. Raji, Senior Director of Data Science

Dr. Raji came from a lower-middle-class family in which both of her parents did not receive high school diplomas. “I saw their struggles, and as a girl growing up, I also faced different social pressures. Then I soon realized my love for math at school.” As she says: “That was when I made the connection in my mind, and I believed a STEM career could make a difference.” 

From Bioinformatics to Automotive Industry  

Before joining ADP, Dr. Raji has worked in various industries, including three years in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she worked on H1N1 Vaccine strain selection models. Her team took serology, sequence, protein structure, and phylogenetic data; they compared whether the current vaccine strain covered the virus’s dominant circulating strain. Dr. Raji took a break from Bioinformatics and later joined a Cox Automotive company called Manheim to help roll out OVE, a product providing car recommendations for online users. She also worked at a healthcare fraud prevention company called Cotiviti that focused on claim overpayment, fraud predictions, and prevention.  

“When I first came to ADP, I was surprised to see the amount of data. We can produce so many innovative products from these. Every data scientist would love to work for ADP,” she says. “The second thing that surprised me was the freedom I got. The amount of support I got from the leadership teams was terrific. I got to be myself at work, knowing they welcomed innovative ideas.” 

Dr. Raji and her family

Dr. Raji and her family

Coming to ADP  

When Dr. Raji joined ADP a few years ago, the company didn’t have many data scientists. She built a team of full-stack Automation Intelligence Machine Learning (AI/ML) technologists from scratch. “We call ourselves PiBrain, and we solve use cases across different business units through an advanced state of innovative AI/ML products and solutions,” she says. “I built three notable products through Digital Transformation, using AI/ML algorithms and APIs.” 

“The first product involved automating digital implementation for some of our products, which eliminated manual processes and increased our net promoter scores, gave a better user experience, and increased client satisfaction,” she says. This process gave her team a more accurate data conversion process and saved costs for the clients. Dr. Raji introduced another automated compliance checkup product for pay statements, which eliminated the laborious process of scanning pay statements one by one and automating the process. The last project involved form digitization with a feedback loop that continuously learns from overrides. 

Deep Learning 

Dr. Raji’s team focuses on several key areas in their current work. The first product is Deep Learning, an authentication stack that identifies, extracts, and connects the documents. Another one is a Natural Language Processing stack that demonstrates transformation translation.  

Her team helped build API services that take company handbooks as inputs. They used Natural Language Understanding models and elucidated answers for questions such as “What holidays are offered?” and “What is the holiday pay for full-time/temporary employees?” The responses were automatically sent back to implementation systems as callbacks to fill out the guided interview process.   

Southern Data Science Conference

Dr. Raji and her team at the Southern Data Science Conference

Giving Back to Community  

Dr. Raji and her team attended last year’s GPT Connect and gave three presentations. The first presentation was open-source tools for AI/ML. Another one was Computer Vision and Deep Learning for naïve to advanced data extraction. “We also showed our Associates how to interpret Vendor Language and map those in ADP constructs,” she says.  

“My team and I looked for outside opportunities to create an impact. We attended the Southern Data Science Conference in 2019, where we used data to predict human trafficking.”  Her team successfully visualized and built models to predict trafficking. They identified “hubs,” where children were trafficked to and who trafficked them. An FBI director attended the presentation ceremony and found Intel helpful in targeting criminals. “The project gave me satisfaction because we worked for a cause. We wanted to make sure our knowledge continues to help others and give back to the communities,” Dr. Raji says.    

One STEM Education at Innovation Academy  

“People say it could be engineering, science, or math. But to me, STEM is a combination of all! It is an application of each field coming together to solve a business problem,” Dr. Raji says. She believes STEM is an applied field where interdisciplinary work is valued.  

This is especially important in Dr. Raji’s involvement with Innovation Academy, a STEM school ADP sponsored in Alpharetta. “The goal is One Stem Education. I was one of the ambassadors who helped set up the syllabi and influenced the type of education students received,” she says. Dr. Raji’s love for children and STEM made this a perfect opportunity for her to have conversations about STEM opportunities. She is looking forward to planning and creating lab spaces for more talents who are interested.   

Serene morning sunrise at St. Simon Island

Dr. Raji is also a painter. This is her work: Serene morning sunrise at St. Simon Island.

Best Advice 

“We talked a lot about my background and where I came from. My life is a lesson itself. If you have a dream, don’t give up,” she says. Dr. Raji believes the secret of life is to fall seven times and get up on the eighth. For those pursuing data science, she recommends thinking outside the box and approaching problems from different perspectives. “Keep in mind being a data scientist means spending substantial time in data prep, data cleaning, deployment, and data quality checking. Patience is critical as each of the tasks is essential in building a complete model,” she says. “There will be challenges and disappointments, but don’t lose faith. Keep learning and chase your dreams.” 

Dr. Raji is looking forward to inspiring more people and attracting more talents to ADP. To her, #ADPTech is innovative, supportive, and welcoming. Her team wants to mentor more women technologists and have more of them in leadership positions!  


Interested in a tech career at ADP?  

Click here to search for your next move and visit Who We Hire.   

Tech & Innovation Blog

Designing For All People: Inclusive UX at ADP 


UX Design, Inclusive Design, Voice of Our People

Amber's Header

Amber Abreu, Senior Manager of User Experience (UX) research at ADP, speaks with us about the essentials of inclusive design, educating with empathy, and the future of UX innovation at ADP. 

Designing For All People: Inclusive UX at ADP  

Amber Abreu, Senior Manager of User Experience (UX) research at ADP, has devoted her career to working in the field of inclusive and accessible UX design. She speaks with us about the essentials of inclusive design, educating with empathy, and the future of UX innovation at ADP. 

What are you working on these days?  

I just started a new role as Senior Manager of UX Research for the Growth team. ADP’s Global Product & Technology organization has three UX teams working under an “OneUX” umbrella: Our Generative team focuses on foundational understanding of our customers and internal associates, the Emerge team handles next-generation products, and the Growth team, my team, does boots-on-the-ground, day-to-day research for various product teams. OneUX is a huge effort with a focus on inclusive and accessible design. It’s a new initiative, and we’re all sort of holding hands as we move through this process together. 

As a team leader, I’m excited to support people who are making a positive impact. The work we do on this team really does help people in their lives. I like having a sense of purpose that gets me out of bed every morning, and I want to share that feeling with the rest of my team. 

You’ve had quite a career journey and came back to ADP. What brought you back? 

Someone I used to work with at ADP remembered me, told me they had an opening and asked if I was interested. I liked the people and thought it was a good fit. It was that simple. But I also saw it as a place where I could make a difference. In the 15 years since I’d previously worked at ADP, I’d worked on UX teams at companies like Delta and AT&T, where I’d been able to educate so many people about accessible design.  

I think lots of organizations don’t fully understand what inclusive design actually means, even if they think they do. They might have UX teams, but sometimes they’re just checking a box—though I see this less and less as more people become aware of what smart user experience design can achieve. I was happy to come back to ADP because their commitment to inclusive UX matches my own. 

Your passion for inclusive design is evident. How did you follow that career path? 

In art school, we had only one semester on inclusive design, touching only a small facet in the much larger field of research and design. Inclusive UX is very technical, but the way you implement and deliver technical requirements can be so innovative. I’ve always been drawn to the intersection between problem-solving and really technical aspects of design. Think of some of the technologies we take for granted, like Alexa or Siri. Those ideas came out of inclusive UX design trying to help people with different capabilities and needs. Now everybody uses them, not just people with disabilities. Also, consider people who, for whatever reason, can’t use a mouse. What’s their user experience going to be?  

My personal story is one of the reasons I’m passionate about inclusive design. I was paralyzed due to one of my pregnancies and lost the use of one side of my face. I couldn’t drink from a cup anymore. I couldn’t close my eye. I had to relearn how to do all sorts of things. My experience isn’t the same as someone who is permanently disabled or missing a limb or blind, but I think going through that and being willing to share the experience helps us talk about how UX can affect people and how it can help. 

Probably the most significant technological innovation in modern history has been computerized technology and the internet. Technology was supposed to make our lives easier—but an entire segment of the population wasn’t considered and was left behind, which is antithetical to the whole purpose. If anything, computerized technology should create more equity instead of causing a great divide. I’ve been working my entire career to close the gap. 

What’s your approach to inclusive design? 

I try to educate and create empathy. At previous companies I’ve worked for, I’ve tried to bring people from the community to help inform designers of their particular experiences. I’ve also taken designers to an exhibition called Dialogue in the Dark that simulates total blindness. When you go in, you’re in utter darkness. You can’t see the hand in front of your face, and you confront the challenges blind people face every day. People who aren’t blind know it must be challenging, but being exposed to their daily experience helps us understand what that means. 

It’s important to ask a lot of questions, seek knowledge, and share that knowledge. I tell this to people all the time: You’re not the first person to have this problem; someone has solved it. We just need to talk to each other.  

How do you see your work shaping the future of ADP? 

We’re still in the early days of evolving our UX teams. One area we are focusing on is the employee experience—if you’re an employee and you have to go out and check your payroll statement or your W-2, you’ll see changes there. We’re also updating our all-in-one platform for payroll and HR software targeted at mid-market clients. We’re working to make all of our visual design and interactive components accessible from a shared library. Once we get further, those changes will be visible across other products in our portfolio. 

In the next six months to a year, I would like to put in place a solid foundation for an inclusive research program. It would include recruiting partnerships to bring people into research who have different disabilities and language capabilities and people from communities outside of ADP offices. Long term, I’d like to stand up a dedicated research program focused on informing future-thinking designs so we can operate on an international scale in countries with stricter accessibility requirements like Australia, UK, and Canada. 

What excites you about what’s next? 

There’s this misconception that the accessibility guidelines are only for people with disabilities, which is not true. They are for people whose first language is not in the system language. They’re for people who are older or less educated. There are different tiers of accessibility. And the core fundamental principles are that this work should lift up everyone.  

There’s a lot here to be excited about, and because we’re all working together, we’re going to be stronger in the long run. Our team is growing, and we want people who care, who are willing to say, “I don’t know, but I’m willing to learn.” Every person who works on the project will say that they directly impacted someone with a disability in a positive way.  

Interested in a career as a UX Designer or Researcher?

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Tech & Innovation Blog

Oscar Valdes, Principal Application Developer, represents ADP at Render(ATL), the first major React Conference in the Southern US.


Career Journey, Voice of our People, Alpharetta

ADP’s Global Employer Brand team had the pleasure of catching up with recently promoted Principal Application Developer Oscar Valdes from our Alpharetta, GA tech team. Oscar has been a great brand advocate for ADP over the last couple of years, and we’re thrilled to feature him. If you’re attending Render(ATL), check out his story of ADP’s tech stack journey and meet him and some of our other technologists at our booth!

Render(ATL) is finally happening! I remember when you brought the sponsorship opportunity to us two years, now, during our focus group. And you’re our speaker, that so exciting! Time flies.

Can you tell us a bit about your career journey and how you ended up at ADP?

Yeah, so I went to the University of Georgia and worked all through college. I worked at the Home Depot with a lead that had come from ADP. When he came back, he brought me with him.

So, tell us a bit about your technical background and what you’re doing now. 

Well, I just got promoted to Principal Architect. My career has moved pretty quickly. Thankfully, I had a great mentor while I was in college. He was one of the trailblazers that helped get JavaScript going in the nineties. It was a unique opportunity to work with him. He did a lot of consulting. So, I was able to grab a lot of experience early on, just consulting with all kinds of backend and frontend technologies. By the time I graduated, I had consulted for over 100 companies before landing at Home Depot. I was there for about three years before I came to ADP. I’ve mainly worked on the MyADP product. I started working on the time-off feature and then moved to more architecture and infrastructure-related things. We recently rebuilt the whole application shell from the ground up, evolving it to a more high-performing solution. Today, I’m doing something similar, but for the mobile app. It’s super exciting!

How did you initially get involved with the Render Atlanta conference? Do you know Justin personally?

So, I worked with Mehul and Rederic, the co-hosts of the Peachtree Devs podcast. We met while working at The Home Depot. They told me about Render when they had me on as a guest for their podcast. Rederic is the CTO for Render, and they are both always advocating grassroots movements in the Atlanta tech scene.

“Leadership values technical input. That’s been a huge driver of why I’ve stayed and the fact that we are always innovating.”

I know why you came to ADP, but why do you stay here, and what was the biggest thing that surprised you about ADP?

I think the level of innovation surprised me the most, and I’ve stayed because leadership has been so responsive to technical input. Our leaders are willing to do the right thing and make the right technical decisions. Technical decisions don’t always align with the correct product decisions because sometimes, that means you have to take some steps back to go forward. But we have leadership that values technical input. That’s been a huge driver of why I’ve stayed and the fact that we are always innovating. We’re not just building for today. Many of the decisions we’re making right now are for things we’re thinking about five-plus years down the road. It’s exciting to hit milestones and see the things we thought about years ago come to fruition.

Awesome, well, it sounds like all your effort paid off with a new promotion.

Yeah, it’s been awesome, especially in my group, where everything is merit-based. If you produce, you can get promoted, and it’s not always like that at other companies. This promotion is my third in three years.

Impressive! Does ADP create a roadmap for advancing, or did you have to figure that out on your own? How did this happen for you? How do you see it happening for your peers?

In Alpharetta, every org is different, so there’s no set protocol. Leadership is very involved with 1:1s, and they’re very committed to letting their direct reports guide the conversations about their goals. I talk with my peers all the time, and everyone is different. Some people want to get promoted and want more responsibility. Some people are happy in their roles, and they don’t want to go into leadership. Some want to stay on the technical route. You know, there are so many different permutations of what people want, but really, it’s leadership, being aware of that, and catering to different roles and different people. At least, that’s what I’ve seen. It’s one of my favorite things about being at ADP. Leadership listens, and if getting promoted is your top priority, they let you know what you need to do to achieve that. There’s no mystery. It’s very straightforward.

So, what are you talking about at Render?

Yeah, so I was going to give a quick background of how I got involved in tech and what it takes to break through because a lot of people struggle with that. Then, I’m going to dive into our technical journey, taking a 10-year-old platform the size of MyADP and discussing the growing pains we’ve gone through.

What kind of skills do you think would make someone successful in the environment you’re working in?

The main thing is being an engineer who is a problem-solver at your core. Our environment gives engineers plenty of room to solution and come up with creative ideas. I think that’s something many engineers like, but it requires the engineer to enjoy and excel at problem-solving and solutioning.

What’s your one piece of advice for anyone entering this career, or a takeaway you would like them to have from your 10-minute presentation?

Probably that allies exist all over the place in the tech space, and if you’re struggling to break through, don’t be afraid to reach out or speak up because there’s someone to help. I’ve gotten to where I am extremely quickly, but it’s only because of the people who helped me along the way.

I’ve had amazing mentors who propelled me forward. For some reason, they wanted to help me. So, look for allies, and return the favor by being a helping hand to others.

See Oscar take Stage 1 live at Render(ATL) on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, at 4:30 pm for his talk, “A Tech Stack Journey.”

Interested in a tech career at ADP or just want to check out our blog? Visit tech.adp.com

Tech & Innovation Blog

Women Engineer Magazine Top 50 Company.


Recognition, Awards, Women in STEM

Woman Engineer Magazine: 2021 Readers' Choice: A Top 50 Employer

ADP is thrilled to earn a place on this year’s 30th Annual “Top 50 Employers” in Woman Engineer Magazine for a second year in a row.

Readers of Woman Engineer Magazine chose top US companies they would most like to work for and/or whom they believe would provide a positive working environment for women engineers.
They chose ADP as one of the Top 50.

ADP is proud to build diverse teams that represent the diversity of our clients to drive innovation. At ADP, we focus on inclusion and reflect a diversity lens within our products.

Our focus on such programs as our partnership with Girls Who Code and our Women in Technology Leadership Mentoring Program has led to distinctions such as AnitaB.org naming ADP a 2020 Top Companies for Women Technologists Winner in the Large Technical Workforce category.

AnitaB.org recognized ADP for making the most progress toward women’s equity among companies with large technical workforces. We know that having a more diverse organization makes us stronger, and we are proud of supporting women in technology.

Our Global Product and Technology (GPT) organization stays close to industry benchmarks and has adopted measures to continue to drive progress. ADP also supports philanthropic organizations that nurture the career development of girls and women in the technology field, helping them fulfill their potential as future tech leaders.

Our technology leaders are committed to driving diversity, including recruiting and developing women technologists while providing opportunities for them to grow their careers.

Some recent product examples include the ADP DataCloud Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Dashboards to help companies see real-time workforce demographics. Some other products to promote a diverse workforce include our Candidate Relevancy tools and the award-winning Pay Equity Explorer.

We strive to offer personal development opportunities through self-driven platforms, and our International Women’s Network and our Empower Committee focused on Women in STEM. Regardless of your role, we offer opportunities for women technologists. Meet Some of the Women of ADP DevOps and how they drive data-centric development.

Some recent product examples include the ADP DataCloud Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Dashboards to help companies see real-time workforce demographics. Some other products to promote a diverse workforce include our Candidate Relevancy tools and the award-winning Pay Equity Explorer.

Visit us at tech.adp.com and learn more about what we do.

Tech & Innovation Blog

ADP Wins 2020 Breakthrough AI Award


Recognition, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science

Video: AI and machine learning to help our clients

Congratulations to our DataCloud team! Recognized for its impressive capabilities and significant value it brings to businesses, ADP’s DataCloud won a 2020 AI Breakthrough Award in the “Best AI-based Solution for Data Science” category. Watch the video.

AI Breakthrough AwardsIn a constantly shifting world of work, businesses, now more than ever, are looking for a solution that helps them make informed decisions about their organization. Enter ADP DataCloud, a powerful people analytics solution.

Utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI), the solution analyzes aggregated, anonymized HR and compensation data from over 30 million workers in more than 730,000 organizations to allow companies to benchmark and compare compensation data, turnover rate, and overtime. Endless possibilities open for better managing a global workforce when pairing this empirical data with the power of machine learning (ML) and AI.

The AI Breakthrough Awards recognize the top companies, technologies, and products in the Artificial Intelligence industry today. As more and more companies join the growing global AI market, this awards program honors those that stand out among a crowded field of competitors. In other categories, winners included IBM, Capital One, NetApp, and others.

Congratulations to the team for all your hard work to deliver amazing solutions and real-time trends to our clients. Way to break through!

Tech & Innovation Blog

Next-Gen Payroll Captures the 2020 Top HR Product Award


Recognition, Awards

Human Resource Executive Winner 2020: Top HR Product

ADP’s products continue to earn awards at a time when our clients need our innovative products the most. We are proud to be named a “2020 Top HR Product” by HR Executive.

ADP’s products continue to earn awards at a time when our clients need our innovative products the most. We are proud to be named a “2020 Top HR Product” by HR Executive.

ADP’s Next-Gen Payroll Platform enables companies of all types – from local small businesses to global conglomerates – to pay their employees their way. This real-time global payroll platform gives clients and their employees unprecedented transparency into how they are paid, along with predictive insights and suggested actions. Companies no longer need to guess the impact of regulatory changes but can proactively model these changes in real-time and plan for the future. At the same time, employees, contractors, and gig workers all have complete visibility into how their pay is calculated along with actionable tips on improving their financial wellness. Who couldn’t use that?

Built natively on the public cloud, this real-time global payroll platform:

  • Gives practitioners and employees unprecedented transparency into how they are paid;
  • Empowers practitioners to more easily understand the effects of regulatory and policy changes, enabling a stronger strategic partnership with business leaders by demonstrating bottom-line impact; and
  • Delivers a breakthrough employee experience with predictive insights to model and understand the effect of potential life changes.

Winning solutions at the HR Technology Conference are selected based on several criteria, including their level of innovation, value-add to the HR professional, intuitiveness for the user, and ability to deliver on what they promise.

Read the full press release.

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Hands holding a white walking stick

Disability Inclusion in the Workplace

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practice inclusivity

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

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

Work to overcome bias

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

Disability inclusion in post-COVID business

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

Learn more

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

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

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Tech & Innovation Blog

ADP’s 2020 Distinguished Engineer: Jigesh Saheba


Recognition, Voice of Our People, Engineering

Q&A on his Career Journey, Being the recipient for one of ADP’s most prestigious awards, and a few things you might not know (+ a Surprise Video)

ADP's Distinguished Engineer: Jigesh Saheba

With that mindset on innovation, it’s easy to see why ADP named Jigesh Saheba as their first Distinguished Engineer.

This new honor recognizes leaders and individual contributors who are at the forefront of ADP’s transformation into a global technology leader. To be recognized as a Distinguished Engineer, one has to have achieved noteworthy professional technical accomplishments in an engineering role. Also, that individual must have created and fostered technical career paths for technologists that allow them to master their craft, innovate, and generates groundbreaking solutions that can transform the future of work.

We caught up with Jigesh shortly after being named the ADP Distinguished Engineer to learn about the start of ADP’s Marketplace and asked a few questions about his journey. Here’s what he shared:

A group of college graduates throwing their graduation caps in the airWhen did you start working at ADP?

I joined ADP in 2002 with the acquisition of AtWork Technologies, a benefits administration startup in Atlanta, GA.

Can you share your career journey at ADP?

I started at ADP as the Director of Application Development for Benefits eXpert system and later promoted to Senior Director role. In 2006, I briefly joined the Enterprise Architecture team and was soon assigned the CTO role for ADP Pre-Employment Services. There I played an essential role in the acquisition, assimilation, and growth of multiple products. I rejoined Enterprise Architecture in 2010 and started working on the mobile platform. Later that year, I joined the Roseland Innovations Lab, which delivered several groundbreaking technologies, including ADP Mobile Solutions, event-driven APIs, and semantic search. I received a promotion to Chief Architect in 2013. In the same year, I started working on building an integrated HCM ecosystem around ADP, which was the birth of ADP Marketplace. In 2015, I became the VP of Product Development for ADP Marketplace.

You are basically the cornerstone of ADP Marketplace. How were you able to develop such an integral part of the solutions we offer our clients?

For ADP Mobile Solutions, ADP systems exposed their data and services via hundreds of Web APIs.  I started thinking about how Web APIs can expand the reach of ADP to new channels such as third-party applications, partner networks, and integrated solutions.  I believed ADP could position itself in the center of a vibrant HCM ecosystem and drive higher customer engagement. I envisioned a business model expansion and new markets. I theorized that the app stores and marketplaces, a familiar notion of consumer-mobile ecosystems, could become essential tools for enterprise application innovation, discovery, and distribution.  I created a presentation to convey the concept and gained senior management approval.

We incubated the idea in the Lab and demonstrated the working platform in the summer of 2014, and then we started working with a handful of partners to prove out the model and platform. We received industry acknowledgment when ADP won two prestigious awards at the HRTech Conference in 2015. Don showcasing the award-winning ADP Marketplace is one of the proudest and most satisfying moments of my professional career.

Jigdesh, holding an award,with other associates around himHow did you learn you were going to be named ADP’s first Distinguished Engineer, and how did you feel when you were told?

I heard about the Distinguished Engineer role and my nomination from Rich Guinness, SVP of Product Development, Shared Services. I shed tears of joy when the announcement came and was so fortunate that I could share that moment with my family in person.  I am incredibly honored and grateful for the role and very thankful to GPT leadership for enabling an environment where innovation and quality engineering thrive.

What excites you most about the opportunity to be a Distinguished Engineer at ADP?

I am very honored and grateful for the recognition.  I hope I set an example of the role.  I am excited about the voice it offers, and I hope to amplify the voice of all technologists at ADP.

What’s a day in the life like for you and your team?

I am very fortunate to be working with some of the most talented people I know. We enjoy collaboration, and one often hears spirited discussions at “the wall,” an open collaboration space with a whiteboard wall at our Lakeview home. We are known for clapping a lot, which promotes camaraderie. The best days are when I work with the team to drive product decisions, design solutions, participate in reviews and demonstrations, and even troubleshoot issues.

What advice do you have for associates who may have ideas that they want to share?

Never give up!

What do you believe is the best reason to work at ADP?

ADP Culture – Integrity, inclusiveness, diversity, trust, and innovation.

What’s the last book you read?  

Something Deeply Hidden by Sean Carroll

What is your favorite TV or streaming show?

GOT (Game of Thrones)!

What is your favorite ADP value?

Integrity is Everything

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Ice cream. Yes, really! (Those who know me would agree)

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I started my career at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, working on navigation software for the Space Shuttle.

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Dog

Congratulations, Jigesh, on this amazing accomplishment. We’re excited to see what’s yet to come!

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