Tech & Innovation Blog

Roberto Masiero, SVP Innovation, talks about his journey from entrepreneurship to founding ADP’s first Innovation Labs.


Senior Leaders, Innovation, Career Journey

Roberto Masiero, SVP of Innovation, talks about his journey from entrepreneurship to founding the first Innovation Labs at ADP

We decided to open the first lab in Porto Alegre, Brazil, with a specific goal: to develop new products as quickly as possible.

After starting his career as an entrepreneur in Brazil, SVP of Innovation, Robert Masiero first came to ADP 20 years ago through an acquisition—and he’s been building new technologies here ever since. Below, he reflects on what led to the founding of the ADP Innovation incubators in Brazil and the U.S., explains the beliefs that shape his leadership style, and shares the cutting-edge challenges the team is taking on next.

First, tell us about your background and what brought you to ADP.

I started working in technology while I was in college as a mainframe operator on the overnight shift. I didn’t get much sleep! After that, I learned to code and became a developer, then did mainframe support. I had this urge to start my own business—and I did a few times. The first two failed, but the third one, a consulting company that transitioned applications from mainframes to open systems like Linux and Unix, did well. Eventually, we decided to create our own software for things our clients needed, things like HR, payroll, and accounts receivable.

That software went through several iterations, from character-based to client-server, Windows-based to the web. That was the mid-90s, and it was unusual to have software that could run in a browser, so large companies started showing interest. We added team members, but eventually, our product outgrew our business—we needed to expand our sales force, distribution support, and ability to do on-site implementations. At the time, there was no venture capital in Brazil; your only options were getting a bank loan or finding a partner. So we started going to trade shows. At one of them, we knew ADP would be two booths down from us, so we made sure to get their attention—we had this big TV screen showing all our client logos, many of which were also ADP clients. That started a conversation, and ADP ended up acquiring the business.

What was it like to integrate into such a large company?

I remember thinking we had a massive opportunity to succeed because, back in those days, ADP had mostly manual processes—people called or faxed in their payroll. So, in our first six months, we took the software we’d built for our clients to use and built a layer on top of it that allowed ADP to run things on a client’s behalf. We were just this tiny new acquisition, and ADP was very conservative at the time, so when we presented the updated software we’d created, I wanted to put on a big show. I rented a hotel ballroom, even though I didn’t have the budget for it, and I invited the entire leadership team.

They gave us a couple of large clients, and that turned out to be transformative. After a while, ADP shut down their mainframes in Brazil and moved those clients to our software—including GPA, which is like the Wal-Mart of Brazil, and the largest single payroll we ran globally. The complete transition took a few years. When we were done, ADP’s U.S. leadership team sent their CTO down to take a look; I think they weren’t quite sure it was real. But he liked what he saw—clients were happier, costs were down—so they invited me to move to the U.S. and adapt the software from a new tax credit services acquisition.

You started the first ADP Innovation Lab around that time. What led to that one—and the second lab?

We decided to open the first lab in Porto Alegre, Brazil, with a specific goal: to develop new products as quickly as possible. At the time, I was more familiar with the talent there than in the U.S. In Brazil, I could build a team of people I already knew, who were already familiar with the technology we wanted to use. So, ADP’s primary development team handled payroll, while we had a small team that focused on the tax credit work.

After the project was over, ADP invited me to run a Shared Services team of 700 people who handle identity management, the enterprise service business, and our internal associate portal. Then I moved over to Enterprise Architecture for a while. But I still had an entrepreneurial drive. About a decade ago, I went to ADP leadership and said I wanted to build an Innovation Lab here in the U.S. to focus on incubating completely new ideas. They said, “Okay, let’s do it,” and they gave me a team of four to get it started.

Roberto sailing

Tell us about some of the projects that the lab has developed.

We launched around the time the iPhone came out, so our first project was ADP Mobile. We put it together in about a year, and we used modern database tools like MongoDB rather than the Java- and Oracle-based ones that were typical at the time. We also built it for everyone; small businesses and multinational corporations could use it, and it worked in every country and supported 40 different languages. It grew very well—I think we reached a million users in less than a year. But I’d said from the start when we created that lab. I wanted to keep it small and flat, never more than 30 people, which meant when a project reached a certain level of maturity, it would “graduate” from the lab and get a dedicated R&D team. That’s what we did with mobile, which now has something like 25 million users.

After that, we worked on the tablet application and then built out semantic search, which we now use across ADP’s core products. The most recent project that graduated from the lab is ADP Marketplace, a collection of HR solutions that clients can customize and integrate with our software. The latest product we developed is called Roll™, which required an entirely different way of thinking about our services. Roll™ is a 100% mobile chatbot platform that simplifies payroll using state-of-the-art AI and natural language processing technologies. It can intelligently alert a client when something needs their attention—it’s an unprecedented level of automation.

What do you think makes a good leader?

In part, I think it’s about completely understanding the work your team is doing. When you’re running a large organization, of course, it’s also about who you put in charge—you have to trust your direct reports to make the right decisions. But even when I was leading hundreds of people in Shared Services, I still wanted to be familiar with the processes and skills they needed to do their jobs.

I never want to micromanage, but I do want to be hands-on and in the know. It’s leading by example—if there’s a production issue, for instance, I’ll be on a late call with the team. People appreciate it when you’re committed to their ideas, and they can trust you to have an educated conversation about the decisions that need to be made, whether that’s around technology or go-to-market strategy.

A good leader also ensures everyone on the team has a voice, whether they have ten days of tenure or ten years. In fact, the untrained eye of someone who’s starting their career can be a phenomenal asset to the rest of us. If you have an opinion or see something we could do differently, it’s so important that your input be heard and considered. Ultimately, we have to be pragmatic in our decision-making, but I love debate. I love being challenged and being proven wrong. The push and pull from many different perspectives makes this work fun.

What’s challenging about your work?

The toughest thing for any leader is making difficult decisions that affect other people. If you’re letting someone go, for example, even if it will be healthier for everyone involved, that’s very hard.

ADP’s size can also be a challenge because change is difficult for any big company. But I see that as an opportunity: If something has been done the same way for decades, let’s ask why. How could we change that process to make it more efficient? ADP is exceptionally open to challenging the status quo. Our people have the incentive to challenge existing ideas and revisit how things are done to find opportunities to improve or design for better outcomes. Just as I like my team members to challenge my assumptions, we get the same message from the very top of the company: If you see a better way, a chance to transform the way you work, you should be able to do that.

What’s exciting to you about ADP’s future?

I’m excited for us to continue investing in new ideas to make the lives of our clients and ADP associates better. We’re going through a period of significant change, and that’s never without challenges. But the level of commitment I’ve seen keeps me hopeful. We’re doing our small part in the lab with products like Roll™, and that’s just a portion of a company-wide effort to deliver on new technologies and innovations. All of us are committed to success and meeting our clients’ and associates’ expectations with innovative products and technologies that will have a phenomenal payoff and carry us through many years to come.

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.

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Women in STEM

ADP Women in STEM Profile: Laurie Liszewski

“As a leader, I’m outgoing and have strong opinions. But when it comes to the team, I want people to feel comfortable challenging me. I want to create an environment of empowerment with diversity of thought and perspectives.” – Laurie Liszewski, VP Product Development

If you tell Laurie Liszewski she can’t do something, she will do it, take pictures, and show you how well she did it. “It’s my mantra!”

Laurie grew up in New Jersey and isn’t afraid to try or learn anything. She’s been a real estate agent, an emergency medical technician working on an ambulance, and now is a vice president of product development at ADP.

“Find what drives you. We all work so hard. You have to love what you do and work for people where you feel comfortable being yourself,” she says.

Coming to ADP

Laurie says she fell into a job at ADP. Her husband worked for the company in the “Total Time” area as a customer service rep. Laurie’s family had grown to three children and it was time to pursue a new work opportunity. So, she applied to work as an administrative assistant at ADP and says, “It was a great way to learn the business and get experience from the ground up.”

She started as an assistant to the business systems analyst team that managed ADP’s Autopay solution. “I was in awe of the people I worked for,” Laurie says. “They had such deep knowledge of both tech and business. I asked how they got there; it turns out no one there went to school to be a business systems analyst. It evolved from a core skill set.”

Laurie Liszewski

Above: Laurie Liszewski

For people who don’t know what business systems analysts do, Laurie explained, “they bridge the business need with the technology and design. You have to understand and speak both tech and business. Today, the title isn’t as prevalent as it was in the 1990s. The position has evolved more into product management, although we have a few core areas like compliance where the role is vital.”

It wasn’t long before the vice president in that area noticed and was impressed with Laurie’s work. She told Laurie she was very analytical and had a unique perspective, then asked her to consider a three-year training program to become a business systems analyst. Laurie jumped at the opportunity and says, “That’s where my true tech career started.” Laurie’s vice president was Bernie Sussina, her first mentor and sponsor. “I always aspired to be as well respected and valued as Bernie. She was truly an icon to me, an inspirational woman in leadership in a predominately male world of tech. To this day, I am forever grateful to Bernie for the opportunity.”

Laurie completed the program and moved into an associate systems analyst role, then worked her way up to senior systems analyst.

When ADP began working on the new platform for small business services (SBS), many people on her team moved over to the new product. Laurie ended up following them and took a role working on the design of a client-facing user interface.

“I learned so much because I was at the front end working with clients,” she says. “You can see how they actually used the system. I was able to attend trade shows and client user groups. I also had the opportunity to do ride-alongs with the sales team. It opened a whole new world for me and so much clicked. I realized that what they were doing was much more than just a series of tasks. I learned and understood what they needed to accomplish to run their business.”

Becoming a manager

When Laurie started thinking about the next steps in her career, she began to pay attention to how people were chosen for different roles. “ADP is great at seeing people’s potential rather than just their experience,” she says.

“I had great leaders who inspired me to become a leader. But it’s a big shift. You move from controlling your own destiny to your success depending entirely on the success of your team.”

She applied for her first leadership role and was pretty sure she wouldn’t get it because she didn’t have management experience.

“I scheduled a one-on-one with Rich Wilson, the senior vice president of SBS product development, and asked why I wouldn’t be qualified for the job. If I wasn’t qualified, I wanted to know what I needed to do. He had no idea who I was and was a little taken aback. I wondered if I had made a mistake. But he was impressed, and I got the position. I chuckle to this day because he loved to tell that story. Rich was my second huge supporter, mentor and sponsor.

“Don’t get me wrong, he was tough. I attribute much of my success to his rigor. As I reflect on my career, Rich pushed me to stretch and grow in ways I never had before. He always put me in roles I wasn’t sure I was ready for. It was the best preparation for my future because I kept learning the tools and skills I needed for the next step on the journey. I am forever grateful to Rich for believing in me.

“I was also very inspired by Regina Lee, division president for SBS, who explained it is a leader’s responsibility to help people grow in their ADP careers. Our obligation is to not only hold people to their current goals but also to empower our teams to hold us to the career goals they set for themselves.”

Next, an opportunity opened on the ADP retirement services team. Laurie talked to the new senior vice president about it, and he encouraged her to apply.

“I had my payroll wings, but only had a small idea of what the retirement business was based on my own personal experience with 401(k) plans,” she says. “That role gave me the opportunity to learn that part of the business and a new product. While I was there, one of my key responsibilities was to help the organization move from a waterfall development life cycle to the more modern agile methodology since we had done the transition on the backend of the RUN Powered by ADP® payroll solution a few years before.”

2019 GPT Conference

The above photo was taken in October 2019, at the GPT conference in Miama, FL. ADP associates shown, left to right, are: Karen Stavert, Erin Moss, Manish Bhatnagar, Laurie, Mike Ruangutai* and Ranjan Aggarwal. (*No longer at ADP.)

About the same time, ADP moved as an organization from business systems analysts to product managers.

“I had a choice to be the Senior Product Manager for ADP’s retirement services division or go back to the RUN team,” Laurie says. “I scheduled a meeting with Don Weinstein, ADP’s chief product and technology officer, and asked where ADP needed me most and where I could make the greatest impact. After talking with him about it, I decided to go back to the RUN team as a senior product owner.”

Eventually, Laurie moved from product management back to product development, where she focused more on compliance and statutory requirements and worked as a liaison with the legal team. Additionally, she led portfolio management for the Autopay solution and loved her team and work there.

For Laurie, it was like going home. At the same time, she could see how far she had come.

“I went from ordering pencils to leading the team I was in awe of when I started this journey,” she says. “I wondered how I would ever measure up and whether I would be strong enough to lead these amazing people. Earning their respect was the best thing I’ve done. I also love compliance work, and this gave me the opportunity to lead that for the major and national account services payroll engine.”

She landed in her current role as vice president of product development when the senior vice president of ADP’s small business services division took a role in compliance services. Laurie loved working with him because of his transparency and honesty. It was also an opportunity to learn something new, particularly employer tax compliance, reporting, filing and payments.

“Tax is a whole other level of complexity,” Laurie says. “In every group I’ve had the honor to work in across ADP, each team thinks their systems are the most complex. And it’s true! It’s all complex.”

Girls Inc

The above was taken at a Girls, Inc. event in June 2019. Shown left is Alyssa Liszewski (ADP La Palma, CA office) with Laurie.

Laurie loves the challenge and responsibility.

“Here I am. Never, ever would I have thought that I would be leading a division responsible for managing all the tax liabilities for the clients we service,” she says. “It’s enough to keep you up at night, thinking about the impact you have on people and the economy. The value ADP brings to the economy and each individual we pay and employer we service has never been more amplified than these past 13 months with the pandemic. The number of stimulus plans and tax law changes all of the compliance teams had to react to are like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my career.

“As a leader, I’m outgoing and have strong opinions. But when it comes to the team, I want people to feel comfortable challenging me. I want to create an environment of empowerment with diversity of thought and perspectives. We need people who understand our clients and know what it’s like for employees as well as businesses – out of the box thinkers who evolve with the market.”

Ready for more?

Explore the stories of these and other ADP Women in STEM, and learn about careers at ADP.

Team building escape room

The above was taken at a team building event in October 2019. ADP associates pictured left to right are: Victor Mak, Erik Kachmarsky, Mike Plonski*, Laurie, Margo Dear, Ajit Kumar, Jordi Conrado, Maya McGuinness, Mat Saunders*, Mike Ruangutai* and Arjun Hegde. (*No longer at ADP.)

Tags: Tax and Payroll Reporting Diversity Equity and Inclusion Leadership Trends and Innovation Technology Articles

Tech & Innovation Blog

Being your Authentic Self: Out and Proud Technologist @ADP


Culture, Inclusion, Pasadena

Out and Proud @ ADP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tech & Innovation Blog

Meet (some of) the Women of ADP DevOps


Women in STEM, Voice of Our People, DevOps

Collage of Stella, Natalia, Tao, Monica

One group of women within our DevOps team share their story of camaraderie and making a difference at ADP. Every day, they work in close support of one another to tackle exciting technical challenges and to drive data-centric development across the company.

ADP is a 2020 Grace Hopper Award recipient for our commitment to diverse teams and the overall development of women, no matter where they are in their careers. One group of women within our DevOps team share their story of camaraderie and making a difference at ADP. Every day, they work in close support of one another to tackle exciting technical challenges and to drive data-centric development across the company. We recently caught up with Monica Bansal (Application Developer), Natalia Ermolayeva (Senior Application Developer), Tao Hu (Principal Application Developer), and Stella Jia (Senior Director, Application Development). It was clear from our chat and how they complement each other’s work why they’ve become such a tight-knit group. Below, they share what makes their collaboration work so well, their recent wins, and what they’re excited to learn—and build—in the months and years to come.

What do each of you do at ADP, and why did you join the team?

Monica sitting by a body of waterMonica: My job is a blend of application development and data analytics—I assist ADP’s data scientists with experiments and then build out the APIs. I’ve been with the company full-time for about a year now; I started as a summer intern while getting my master’s in data science and computer science. I knew I wanted to continue my career in this field, and I liked getting to work with real data and implement it in the real world. I did another part-time internship last spring while finishing my degree, and then I joined Stella’s team.

Tao: I’m a principal application developer, which means I build many of the libraries and components that allow our work to scale—they become the blueprint other teams implemented. I’ve been with ADP since 2013. Before that, I worked in finance as a Java developer. A friend of mine recommended ADP after my company moved farther from my home. I have two young boys, and I wanted to make sure I had time to take care of them. I knew ADP had a reputation for being a family-friendly employer.

When I started at ADP, my work focused on producing reports. But once Stella joined, our team shifted to more machine learning. I love problem-solving and simplifying processes, so it’s been really fun for me.

Natalia: I’m a senior application developer, and I see my role as keeping data safe and available—I handle testing and operations. I’m very new to ADP; I joined about four months ago. One big attraction was the level of collaboration between departments. I was very impressed with the people who interviewed me. Everyone was very professional, and they mentioned many modern tools that I was excited to use. I knew ADP would be a good place to broaden my skills across a lot of different areas.

Stella runningStella: I’m a senior director for application development. My job is to lead the Application Development team and make sure we’re delivering insights that will help ADP build better products. As Tao mentioned, that involves a lot of machine learning work and other statistical analysis, as well as data mining and visualization techniques. An intrinsic strength of this team is connecting the data to the real people we serve. When we look for patterns and anomalies, we’re trying to figure out how we can make people’s jobs easier as we ADP innovate and grow.

I joined ADP about four years ago; a mentor and friend I’d previously worked for recommended I apply. He had great things to say about the leadership and the vision for transformation from a service company to a technology company. The people were great, too, and I liked that I’d get to learn about a lot of domains I hadn’t worked in before. I think it’s an excellent environment for anyone who wants to grow by adding value and helping others.

How do you support each other’s work?

Tao: We’re helping each other every day, sharing results and ideas for new approaches. For example, we’ve been using a new data analysis tool to build some reports, and now we’re looking at other projects that might benefit from those same functionalities. Because of our roles, Monica and I work especially closely, but I feel like I can pick up the phone or message anyone on the team when I have something to figure out, and I’ll get help right away.

Natalia with a cat on her shoulderNatalia: Yes—I like that my teammates are always just a call or text away. Knowing each other as people, chatting and joking around makes it so much easier to communicate and work together. We’re comfortable sharing ideas freely and collaborating, even when we’re not in the same room.

Stella: Definitely. We’d love to hang out in person more, but even with everyone virtual, it’s turned out really well. And that collaboration is so important. I think of the team as a set of pillars—if any of them aren’t there, none of it works. Monica is doing the analytics and research, slicing and dicing the data. Once we’ve found something we want to build upon, Tao steps in to create that foundation. And then Natalia is there to make sure we’re not only maintaining privacy but keeping things sustainable from an operations perspective. We all need each other, and we’re all working toward the same goal and figuring out how to measure success, which could be a product’s stickiness, preventing errors, or saving people time.

Monica: I think everyone on the team is naturally very passionate about working toward what we all want to achieve. You can always go to someone with a question, and everyone pitches in when someone needs help to make sure we’re hitting our targets. Stella is great about making sure we’re all happy and doing the kind of work we want to be doing.

Tell us about some of the ways you’ve made an impact at ADP.

Tao in Death ValleyTao: We recently started using a new workflow manager tool, which has been a big win. Before, if we had a lot of ETL (extract, transform, load) jobs, we’d get files from other teams and load them into the database. With all the pieces and feeds, it wasn’t easy to see the status of any particular piece. That was frustrating. Stella recommended a workflow tool, which I hadn’t heard of at the time. After I got up to speed, we started building things out, adapting the data monitor and using the workflow manager to grab all the outputs, sending them to the monitor, and building the dashboards there. Now we have an accessible overview to see what’s working and what isn’t. It’s been so helpful.

Natalia: Due to the nature of my work, success isn’t always obvious. If things run smoothly, no one notices what happens in the background, which means I’ve done my job. As I get more familiar with how things work at ADP, I’ll have some opportunities to automate more daily, repetitive tasks. That’s a big priority.

Monica: We did an error-detection project recently where we built a model to help us flag problems on the back-end when a client runs their payroll and how users respond when they get those warnings. If we have a proper pipeline of data to run the model regularly, clients can see predictions for the entire week, and we can see whether they’re using or ignoring the information, which tells us whether we need to make some corrections.

More broadly, our team helps others understand the importance and potential of data, especially here at ADP, where we have such rich data. We want to drive data-centric development, which starts with data collection. Before we can do the analytics, our data needs to be clean. So we work with a lot of other teams, helping them understand how to use the tools and making sure they’re comfortable and up-to-date on everything they need.

Stella: We are part of a data-informed culture. Technology evolves quickly. At ADP, we want to stay ahead and be proactive rather than reactive. Data is a huge asset in that effort. It gives us much faster feedback loops and insights into our clients. We can quickly see when and whether a client’s hitting a milestone.

But to leverage that asset, as Monica mentioned, we need a certain level of data literacy throughout the business. If developers understand how data can help them build a better product, it will be much easier to scale. Part of our team’s job is to encourage data literacy. We also help establish standards, offer training, and get development teams running on an autonomous path to adopt a canonical format every team can follow. We find that it is contagious. Once a few teams embrace the data, other teams understand the benefits more quickly and have more colleagues to help them learn.

What are you excited to learn next?

Natalia: There are a lot of tools I’m excited to learn more about, including the ones my colleagues have mentioned. I’m looking forward to using new technologies in general, particularly machine learning tools. I think I’ll have many opportunities to code for our team’s internal purposes, for affirmation and monitoring, too. Because I’m new to the team, I’m also learning the big picture and how everything’s connected. ADP is great with documentation, so I can find almost everything I need on my own. But I can always ask my colleagues or get up to speed through a learning session with one of our senior team members.

Tao: I’m excited to keep learning new technologies, too. I’ll often jump over to educational resources to get a quick sense of something, then I come back and try to use it. The machine learning side of things is especially exciting. Besides learning new languages, I love new concepts for how to approach our work.

Monica: I feel like I’ve grown so much already! From the start of my first internship to now, I’ve been able to work on many different services and projects, from machine learning models to APIs to analytics. Whenever Stella says, “I have an idea,” we get excited. The technologies are always changing, and that helps us grow.

Stella: One thing I’m thinking about is how to give developers more visibility into what we do. As Natalia mentioned, most of our foundational work tends to happen behind the scenes. We look forward to building stronger connections with our frontend partners, which will provide even more opportunities to enjoy the results and get recognition for our work.

At ADP, our talent pipeline is so important. It’s about getting the right people and building a strong culture. We want the goal, in everything my team does, to be a better developer experience. We strive to make people happy, make their jobs easier, make their days more efficient. If we provide them with a platform that allows them to test and measure their ideas more quickly, they’ll have more time to explore new ideas and innovate.

Tech & Innovation Blog

“Building a World of Truly Inclusive Technology,” AnitaB.org Names ADP a Top Company for Women Technologists.


Women in STEM, Recognition, Grace Hopper

AnitaB.org Top Companies for Women Technologists Winner

AnitaB.org recognized ADP for making the most progress toward the equity of women 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. Hear from Krupali who describes her recruiting experience with ADP at Grace Hopper.

DylanAt this year’s virtual Grace Hopper Celebration hosted by the nonprofit social enterprise AnitaB.org, they announced ADP earned the distinction as a 2020 Top Companies for Women Technologists Winner in the Large Technical Workforce category. Read the full press release here.

AnitaB.org recognized ADP for making the most progress toward the equity of women 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 to 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.

KrupaliSince we are celebrating Grace Hopper, let’s check out a post about one of our attendees and hear from Krupali as she describes her recruiting experience with ADP & Grace Hopper.

#WomenInTech #ADPLife

To learn more about our Campus Programs, visit Who We Hire.

Tech & Innovation Blog

Stronger Together


Video, Culture, Pandemic

Video: Stronger Together

2020 has been a challenging year, and during challenging times, we are tested the most. At ADP, our associates never wavered in their commitment to our clients, our communities, and one another. We want to share what it means to be #ADPStrong and never to stop spreading hope. Watch our story.

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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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Urvashi

Women in STEM Profile: ADP’s CTO, Urvashi Tyagi

At Urvashi Tyagi’s first job after college, there were no other women in the company. None. ADP’s Chief Technology Officer knows first-hand how challenging the path can be for a woman in STEM.

Urvashi Tyagi grew up in India. She and her three sisters are all engineers; her oldest sister paved the way. When her sister told the family she wanted to become an engineer, Urvashi’s parents, aunts and uncles were worried no one would want to marry a woman engineer. And besides, it wasn’t even a good career choice with barely any job opportunities for female engineers. After an extended family meeting resulted in an unfavorable outcome, her parents had a change of heart and let Urvashi’s oldest sister join the engineering program. When it was Urvashi’s turn, no one questioned the decision. (And she and her sisters are all happily married and enjoying their professions.)

The Only Woman

While both technology and culture had changed a lot, there were still many challenges for women engineers. When Urvashi was a college undergrad, she was one of only four women in a class of 90 engineering students.

As she was graduating, most companies were not interested in recruiting women. So, she didn’t get a job from campus interviews. But Urvashi noticed an ad in the newspaper at a company that developed machine tools and wanted to hire college grads with design and computer numerical control programming experience. She was invited to interview and was delighted to get the job.

Show up, keep learning, and often it works out better than you could have imagined.

– Urvashi Tyagi, Chief Technology Officer at ADP

When she showed up on her first day, there were no other women in the company. There had never been a women’s bathroom. “Someone printed out a sign that said, ‘Women Only’ and taped it to one of the bathrooms for me,” She says. Grateful, Urvashi overlooked the fact her bathroom was in a different building than where she worked. “I had to figure out how to co-exist on the shop floor and focus on the work. Most of the time it was good. I learned a lot about solving complex engineering problems.”Urvashi-profile-pic

Urvashi Tyagi

Later, she found out the hiring manager never had the permission to hire her. He sent the offer letter because she was one of the top two candidates selected based on test scores and interviews. His boss was not entirely pleased. “I got the job because of one individual who did not see things in a stereotypical way and was focused on finding the right person for the role.”

While working full time, Urvashi went back to school to earn her MBA. From there, she decided to teach operations management and information systems. As an academic associate for a couple years at the premier Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, she had the opportunity to work and connect with top professors all over the world. But she realized she enjoyed solving problems more than being in a classroom. One of her colleagues encouraged her to apply to a master’s of science program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Worcester, MA. Urvashi wasn’t sure she wanted more school or how she was going to pay for it, but she looked up the program. The customizable curriculum and the focus on applied learning swayed her. She learned that the deadline to apply had already passed, but after speaking with a professor at the school, she submitted her application and was admitted.

Her family didn’t want her so far away. Once again, her older sister supported her and encouraged her family to let her go. Urvashi’s sister was also moving to the United States with her husband and promised to keep an eye on Urvashi. Her parents scraped together the money to purchase their first-ever airplane ticket and a couple months of living expenses. She arrived in Massachusetts with two bags, one full of snacks.

Learning and Solving Problems

Since graduating from WPI in 2001, Urvashi has worked for many of the big names in technology, including IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon. She’s led global engineering teams doing product strategy, architecture, and development. When you download an audiobook or send an Outlook email, know that Urvashi was involved with the engineering and teams that made that possible.

Urvashi-With-family

Lockdown birthday celebration at home (left to right): daughter Riya, husband Shishir, Urvashi and son Tanish.

Today, she is ADP’s Chief Technology Officer, taking on that role in 2019. “I had no idea that I would be a CTO three years ago,” she says. “I didn’t plan it. I try to live in the moment and put all my energy into what I am doing and the problems I am working to solve. That drives the next things that happen.”

Urvashi’s approach is to make sure she is always learning and delivering in her role. “While the foundations of engineering and technology may not change that often, the applications are evolving constantly,” she says. “The only way to keep up is to be a lifelong student.”

It’s also essential to understand your own value to the organization. “Always know how the work you do will impact the company’s bottom line and how your work is adding value and taking the company forward.”

This can be challenging for women of color who often experience more scrutiny of their work, more criticism, and less credit for their accomplishments. “The one area where I have experienced unconscious bias is with criticism,” Urvashi says. “I have to listen carefully and know when the feedback is genuine and when it is more about the person giving the feedback. When I understand that, I can embrace the situation and not take it personally.”

Urvashi’s best advice is to live in the moment. “Things don’t have to be planned or the way you think they should be. Show up, keep learning, and often it works out better than you could have imagined.”

Ready for more?

Explore the stories of these and other ADP Women in STEM, and learn about careers at ADP.

Related Video: How ADP Walks the D&I Talk

One way ADP encourages diversity and inclusion (D&I) among its associates is through business resource groups (BRGs). ADP’s iWIN BRG is the company’s largest with 5000+ members (male and female) from 19 countries across the business. Learn how iWIN engages, equips and empowers its members to achieve personal and professional success through networking, professional development, and other educational opportunities.

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Close up of lights on computer devices in server room

How to select, gather, clean, and test data for machine learning systems

https://explore.adp.com/spark3/how-data-becomes-insight-the-right-data-matters-454FC-31577B.html

 

How Data Becomes Insight:

The Right Data Matters

By SPARK Team

What goes into selecting, gathering, cleaning and testing data for machine-learning systems?

It’s not enough to have a lot of data and some good ideas. The quality, quantity and nature of the data is the foundation for using it effectively.

 

We asked members of the ADP® DataCloud Team to help us understand what goes into selecting, gathering, cleaning and testing data for machine-learning systems.

Q: How do you go from lots of information to usable data in a machine-learning system?

DataCloud Team: The first thing to figure out is whether you have the information you want to answer the questions or solve the problem you’re working on. So, we look at what data we have and figure out what we can do with it. Sometimes, we know right away we need some other data to fill in gaps or provide more context. Other times, we realize that some other data would be useful as we build and test the system. One of the exciting things about machine learning is that it often gives us better questions, which sometimes need new data that we hadn’t thought about when we started.

 

Once you know what data you want to start with, then you want it “clean and normalized.” This just means that the data is all in a consistent format so it can be combined with other data and analyzed. It’s the process where we make sure we have the right data, get rid of irrelevant or corrupt data, that the data is accurate and that we can use it with all our other data when the information is coming from multiple sources.

 

A great example is job titles. Every company uses different titles. A “director” could be an entry-level position, a senior executive, or something in between. So, we could not compare jobs based on job titles. We had to figure out what each job actually was and where it fit in a standard hierarchy before we could use the data in our system.

Q: This sounds difficult.

DataCloud Team: There’s a joke that data scientists spend 80 percent of their time cleaning data and the other 20 percent complaining about it.

 

At ADP, we are fortunate that much of the data we work with is collected in an organized and usable way through our payroll and HR systems, which makes part of the process easier. Every time we change one of our products or build new ones, data compatibility is an important consideration. This allows us to work on the more complex issues, like coming up with a workable taxonomy for jobs with different titles.

 

But getting the data right is foundational to everything that happens, so it’s effort well spent.

Q: If you are working with HR and payroll data, doesn’t it have a lot of personal information about people? How do you handle privacy and confidentiality issues?

DataCloud Team: We are extremely sensitive to people’s privacy and go to great lengths to protect both the security of the data we have as well as people’s personal information.

 

With machine learning we are looking for patterns, connections or matches and correlations. So, we don’t need personally identifying data about individuals. We anonymize the information and label and organize it by categories such as job, level in hierarchy, location, industry, size of organization, and tenure. This is sometimes called “chunking.” For example, instead of keeping track of exact salaries, we combine them into salary ranges. This both makes the information easier to sort and protects people’s privacy.

 

With benchmarking analytics, if any data set is too small to make anonymous ― meaning it would be too easy to figure out who it was ― then we don’t include that data in the benchmark analysis.

Q: Once you have your initial data set, how do you know when you need or want more?

DataCloud Team: The essence of machine learning is more data.

 

We want to be able to see what is happening over time, what is changing, and be able to adjust our systems based on this fresh flow of data. As people use the programs, we are also able to validate or correct information. For example with our jobs information, users tell us how the positions in their organization fit into our categories. This makes the program useful to them, and makes the overall database more accurate.

 

As people use machine-learning systems, they create new data which the system learns from and adjusts to. It allows us to detect changes, see cycles over time, and come up with new questions and applications. Sometimes we decide we need to add a new category of information or ask the system to process the information a different way.

 

These are the things that both keep us up at night and make it exciting to show up at work every day.

 

 

Learn more by getting our guide, “Proving the Power of People Data.”