Tech & Innovation Blog

Podcast Launch: Life @ ADP


Life @ ADP, What We Do, Voice of Our People 

Life @ ADP Podcast

Always Designing for People.

Life @ ADP will give you a look into our associates’ stories, our culture, and our company.

Podcast Launch: Life @ ADP

ADP is proud to launch its monthly podcast Life @ ADP, sharing with you our associates’ stories, featured interviews, and working culture. Season One is scheduled to have six episodes with content from technologists, talent acquisition, and industry leaders.

We released Episode One – Life @ ADP on September 22, introducing hosts Kate and Ingrid with their ideas behind launching the podcast. Episode Two celebrates Grace Hopper and Hispanic Heritage Month, featuring Giselle Mota. As the Principal of ADP’s Future of Work, Giselle shares with us her journey to ADP, experience with the company, and impacts on the community.

Our podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google, and Amazon Music. Don’t forget to subscribe to both the show and the blog!

Learn more about what it’s like working for ADP here and our current openings.

Tech & Innovation Blog

Innovating Retirement: How ADP Uses Machine Learning to Plan for the Future 


How We Work, Culture, Team Collaboration

Innovation Retirement Header

At ADP, people don’t have to be a leader by title. If there is an idea, and you can think big and innovate, that’s all you need.

Innovating Retirement: How ADP Uses Machine Learning to Plan for the Future 

As one of the country’s leading HR technology companies, ADP uses its unmatched data in exciting and new ways. We had an opportunity to catch up with two people critical in recognizing the opportunity to innovate and create a machine learning product for Retirement Services.  

Hemlata R., Director of Product Development, oversees the entire product development process. In addition to managing scrum masters, architects, developers, and tech leads, she also heads web development, mobile development, and the machine learning strategy for the entire Retirement Services team.

Sanjay V.R. is the Lead Application Developer and oversees the machine learning practice within Retirement Services.  

We asked them how their small team creates cutting-edge technology to build data-driven solutions for their customers, and here’s what they said: 

First, let’s hear a bit of what brought you to ADP. 

Sanjay in front of the Harry Potter Train

Sanjay V.R.

Sanjay: I started at ADP as an intern while I was attending school in upstate New York. Once I completed my internship, I actually had multiple offers to join other companies. I chose to stay at ADP because getting good opportunities is one of the most challenging obstacles in today’s job market, and at ADP, if you put in the work, getting rewarded is the easiest thing.

Hemlata has been my director for 80% of my career, and I’ve been able to turn to her if I have an idea or if I want to pick up a new role or responsibility. She’s always encouraged me. My senior leaders make sure to recognize me for my hard work. I’ve been promoted three times in my three years at Retirement Services, and that speaks volumes.

Hemlata: I also had several offers when I was looking for a change after my last job. I was attracted to ADP because I’d heard that it was moving toward being more of a technology company that valued innovation—and that its leaders prioritized diversity and inclusion. I’ve seen first-hand that you don’t have to have an impressive title to be a leader here. You can be a leader at any level. You can innovate at any level, and ADP supports and invests on that front. I’m so happy and thrilled that everything I had heard about ADP turned out to be more than true.  

Speaking of innovation, tell us about the Retirement Services product you built. 

Sanjay: People Like You is a new feature based on machine learning algorithms; it helps participants better prepare for their retirement by offering benchmarks on how people similar to them are planning their retirements. For example, we can show you what percentage of your coworkers are contributing to their 401(k)s and how much of their income they’re contributing. Maybe you contribute 5%, and when you see that your peers contribute 8%, you have the confidence to invest more. 

In the retirement industry, advisors usually group people by age or salary and then start giving advice. We wanted to answer the question better and offer advice based on what others in similar socioeconomic situations are actually doing.  

Hemlata: ADP pays one out of six Americans; the amount of data we possess is unparalleled. When I joined the company, we discovered that many of our clients’ employees do not contribute to 401(k)s. Since we work for Retirement Services, we saw this as a problem. People often look at their peers and follow them, so we asked ourselves how our data could help create a solution. 

How did you go about building People Like You? 

Hemlata: We tried to combine the mind and the machine by leveraging our experts’ expertise at ADP and machine learning. 

Sanjay: We have folks at ADP who have over 20 and 30 years of experience in Human Resources and Retirement Services. As much as data is our strength, our people and their expertise are equally valuable. So first, we talked extensively with our internal stakeholders since they already know the ins and outs of the industry intimately. Then we conducted market research to understand people’s motivations and concerns better about retirement investing. 

After that, we went back to our data sets—everything we have from our payroll and retirement resources—and we started looking at this socioeconomic information to see any relevance between multiple parameters. For example, does age or compensation influence your retirement decisions? What if you’re married, single, or have kids? Based on our internal and external research, we were able to identify somewhere around 30 factors that make an impact; we then narrowed those factors based on the extent of their influence on an individual’s decision. Once we started analyzing that data and built models to create the personas, we realized that we had something worth integrating with our existing retirement products. 

When we began this project, it started on a small scale. It was just one other data scientist and me. The two of us created the machine learning part of it, but as we built specific pieces of code for the APIs, we pulled in engineers as we needed them.  

Were there any complications you had to work through? 

Hemlata R's Photo doing yoga

Hemlata R.

Hemlata: The tricky part for me was to make sure that we were compliant with all the security olicies. People trust ADP. It’s our brand. That’s why they come to us for payroll, compliance, workforce management, legal, and security solutions. ADP knows what to do and takes excellent care of its customers, and we take this to heart and always obtain the consent of our clients and employees before we include their data. We’re extremely careful to keep all the data anonymous and not look into any specific client or individual employee data.

Sanjay: Yes, ADP is very sensitive toward privacy laws, so we were very specific about reading only as much data as people were comfortable with. One of the biggest advantages we had was that we partnered with ADP’s DataCloud team. They acted like a data custodian in the project and were responsible for making the data anonymous. They also made it possible to identify an employee—only with their consent—if I needed to access that data to connect specific pieces of information.  

I’m a millennial, and I’m one of those people who always clicks on “Do Not Sell My Info” on websites. So, I’m particular about my data, and I think I always had that in the back of my mind. DataCloud made my job easy in that regard. 

How do you think machine learning will affect your future work? 

Hemlata: We are looking at leveraging this concept of combining the mind and the machine on other aspects of our business, such as compliance processes. As of now, we have used descriptive and prescriptive analytics. Next, we are planning to use predictive analytics to help our clients predict the upcoming required actions. ADP and our clients can solve any predicted problems upfront. We’re always trying to see how we can take our ideas and solutions to the next level.  

Sanjay: This is the beginning of an entirely new way of thinking about improving our clients’ experience. We want to look beyond traditional solutions to ensure our clients and their employees feel empowered by our products. ADP also has a general excitement to identify pain points to be resolved and processes we can enhance using machine learning. 

Speaking of your customers, do you see any results from People Like You? Are more people signing up to contribute to their 401(k)s? 

Hemlata: The results are way better than what we expected. Employee contributions and new enrollments have definitely increased. We also saw this product gain so much attention internally within ADP that several other teams contacted us to see how they could leverage similar solutions within their departments. It’s been fascinating to see the outcomes and the interest from all the other teams.  

Sanjay: It’s funny because a bunch of my peers was like, “Oh, I don’t really need a 401(k). I’m too young for that.” Then, two or three months after we released People Like You, someone remarked during lunch, “Hey, did you know that I just signed up for my 401(k)?” Then others joined in—four people also signed up. It’s just a wonderful experience when you hear people say your solution impacts their lives.  

After we launched, Don Weinstein pinged me on Webex Teams and said what a great job I’d done and that he was looking forward to what I’d build next. It was a total fanboy moment for me.  

Hemlata: This goes to show you what I was saying earlier. At ADP, people don’t have to be a leader by title. If there is an idea, and you can think big and innovate, that’s all you need. Once you have that, you can take it to any level, and people will be so open to talk to you, encourage you, and help support any of these thoughts. It’s really amazing to see that! 

Interested in a tech career at ADP?

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Tech & Innovation Blog

ADP – Diversity and Inclusion and CSR


Giving Back, Inclusion, Belonging

Video: ADP – Diversity and Inclusion and CSR

ADP consistently recognized for diversity, inclusion, and giving back to our communities. Some of the highlights!

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Diverse group of multicultural ADP employees

We All Want to Belong at Work

https://www.adp.com/spark/articles/2019/10/we-all-want-to-belong-at-work.aspx

 

“Finding commonalities and accepting differences is the key to belonging,” said ADP’s business anthropologist, Martha Bird.

When I started to consider belonging at work, I knew exactly who to call — ADP’s business anthropologist, Martha Bird [MB]. Here’s some of our conversation about why belonging matters and what organizations can do to create and sustain a culture of belonging.

HB: Having a sense of belonging seems so important to how we move through the world and how we relate to our work. What is belonging?

MB: Belonging almost strikes people as poetic. It seems like a feeling, so it can resist the critical lens we need to unpack it.

People think of belonging as a psychological state, but it is actually cultural. It’s the notion of being inside or outside and relates to enacted phenomena like what the cultural norms are around us and how we compare ourselves to those norms.

Everything cultural is nested in other things and is influenced by power, resources, how things have been done in the past, and what the expectations are for the people involved.

Kids can feel like they don’t belong because of their clothes. New employees can feel like they don’t belong because of the jargon used in the organization. I’m a social scientist surrounded by tech people and it’s not surprising that my sense of belonging is tested from time to time. Ultimately, I’m privileged to feel I’m part of something bigger than myself.

HB: What makes a culture of belonging? It seems like belonging is relational. It’s partly how I perceive the circumstances and culture, how people already in that culture see it, and what’s actually going on regardless of our individual perceptions and opinions.

MB: There are so many ways to feel like you don’t belong — socially, economically, intellectually, emotionally. It’s that sense of other. To make sense of it, we can look at othering, break it down, and pick it apart to see what’s happening. We identify the discreet instances where someone feels alienated and read the cultural cues about what is happening. This gives us information about the culture.

There is no universal recipe for what makes a healthy culture. There are many good and right ways to do things.

It partly has to do with a culture’s view of the individual and how the individual should relate to others. In the United States, belonging often evokes family, but we also have strong cultural values in individuality and being recognized and valued as an individual. In other cultures, a sense of harmony is highly valued and working toward common goals is more important than individual achievement.

A culture of belonging fundamentally has to do with common goals and values, respect for each other, and a sense of our shared humanity.

HB: How can we help people feel like they belong at work?

MB: We want workplaces where people feel like they can be themselves, but are also working with others to do the work. It’s less about fitting in and more about complementing. There has to be room for difference. It’s like an orchestra where the manager is the conductor and we have all these different instruments playing different parts in the same piece of music. We don’t want just the violins or the tubas. We need all the different sounds, rhythms and harmonies.

Belonging at work starts with leaders modeling the values and behavior for their teams. Is it comfortable to embody those values? Sometimes that means being vulnerable and asking for help.

I recently gave a big speech to a large group of people in a setting where I felt anxious. Walking up to the stage, I decided to tell the audience that and ask for help. So I explained how I was feeling and asked them to tell me, “It’s okay, Martha!” It was great, so I asked them to do it again. And they did! I felt so much better and they were all on my team at that point, because I was vulnerable and asked them to help me in a way they could.

In cultures of belonging, it’s okay to be honest about what’s going on, even if it’s that you don’t feel included.

HB: What are some specific things that managers or leaders can do to foster belonging at work?

MB: At the organizational level, it’s essential to ensure that the values of the organization exist at every level and in every manager without exception. It’s also important to consider how to structure teams and make sure they can communicate effectively, based on where and how people work.

At the team level, good manager training is key. Managers need skills in working with teams, allowing for different views, and figuring out how to handle disagreements and how decisions get made. When people can weigh in on something, there is a sense of being in it together.

It’s important to see each other as people, not work roles. Connecting in person and outside of work makes a difference. We need to tell and know each other’s stories and create opportunities for sharing. Have lunch, have informal video meetings where everyone gets to tell something about themselves. I was in a meeting recently where we all told the story of our names. I learned a lot and felt like the people who heard my story knew me a little better, too.

We need more awareness and cultural consciousness by design. People are fundamentally creative and want to learn. We all have different experiences and different lives.

Finding commonalities and accepting those differences is the key to belonging.

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Podcast: ADP’s Martha Bird on the Post-Pandemic Dynamics of Work

Mark Feffer: Welcome to PeopleTech, the podcast of the HCM Technology report. I’m Mark Feffer.

Today, I talk with Martha Bird, business anthropologist at ADP Innovation Lab. Her job is to make sure that the human element is accounted for when new digital products are designed, so that, for example, software intended to tackle a specific HR problem can be put to use by HR staff in the real world as they go about their actual work. I began by asking Martha how she thought the COVID-19 pandemic would impact the way people work.

Podcast: #HRTech after #COVID-19: “Things that would normally take months or maybe even years to implement are now talking weeks to turn around.” @ADP #HR #HRTribeCLICK TO TWEET
Martha Bird: Well, I think this is such a huge topic. One of the things I think about is imagine that we’ve been working largely in the U.S. with a very, very low unemployment rate. Now all of a sudden there’s this massive degree of unemployment. Now, in the past when there’s been a tight labor market, certain policies are put into place in order to attract the talent that you want. Now, when you have a flood of unemployed people, what is that going to look like in terms of those mechanisms? I don’t know. But to me that’s a consideration, right? It’s that we’ve gone from very robust, healthy unemployment to a very, very high degree of unemployment from healthy employment. So I think that’s going to be an interesting thing to monitor that’s around talent and talent acquisition.

I think also it’s going to be about the discussion around urban and rural, right? So if people are working more remotely, what does that look like for the person who lives in a rural space who has not had access to perhaps the same economics of job that one would have in a larger metropolitan area. And so if it’s indeed the case that people will begin to work more remotely, that can open up a whole, I think potentially positive economics for rural areas and rural workers. So that’s going to be, I think, very interesting.

And then I think there’s also going to be, for employers, much greater awareness now of really what health actually means in terms of the economy. So, a healthy society, and I mean healthy as in well-being, I think is directly corollary to the economy being robust.

So I think there’s a lot of things going to be continued from where we are now. I certainly hope that’s the case. I hear such wonderful stories about people reaching out with altruistic intent and I think that’s just the way we need to go. But you also hear the stories of individuals vying for advantage. And so my hope is that those will not be the ones who will continue to influence our consciousness as humanity.

Mark Feffer: You work for ADP, obviously, your customers are employers and they make certain demands on you. What new demands do you think you’re going to start to hear? Are the priorities going to shift among what employers expect out of their technology solutions?

Martha Bird: Well, I think this whole… To carry on, on the mobile trajectory is going to be key, right? Because that’s all part of the story, about remote. I think too that there’s going to be… I think there’s going to be, at least for ADP and for those in our industry, there is an expectation that we stay completely agile when it comes to major legislative activities related to the COVID-19. And one of the things that I’m aware of is that indeed we are actually keeping up with these things. And that’s no small matter when you think of all the municipalities, jurisdictions, state and federal level legislation to be able to do that and to be able to provide our clients with security of knowing that we are the most up to date on those matters.

So, that’s about speed, right? And it’s about being able to do things pretty quickly. Things that would normally take months or maybe even years to implement, you’re talking weeks now to turn that around. So I think probably this expectation around speed will continue across a lot of industries.

The other thing too, Mark, that I think is really interesting is this collaboration that’s going on between corporations in order to get things done. So, I think about the ventilator situation where there’s just a dire need for those and the largest producer of ventilators is partnering with GM or with Ford in order to switch the production lines in order to make ventilator and doing open source sharing of designs. I’m hoping, personally, that that will become not simply a response to an extremis, but something that maybe could be continued once this settles down a little bit.

Mark Feffer: My last question is, what is the biggest single dramatic change you expect to see in the workplace after the dust has settled?

Martha Bird: There’s so many things. I guess for me, because I’m an anthropologist, I’m thinking really about the way that we interact with our fellows. I hope that if nothing else this allows us to reset ourselves and to understand that it’s incredibly important to exercise respect, honesty, a decency and kindness, that we are all actually part of the family of humans here, and that everything is connected. And I think that wouldn’t be a bad takeaway, in my view, if people could come to terms with embracing that. And unfortunately it takes something as dire as this situation, but to me that would be a positive outcome.

Mark Feffer: Martha, thank you.

Martha Bird: Thanks, Mark.

Mark Feffer: Martha Bird is a business anthropologist at ADP’s innovation lab. And this has been PeopleTech from the HCM echnology report. To keep up with HR technology, visit the HCM Technology report every day. We’re the most trusted source of news in the HR tech industry. Find us at www.hcmtechnologyreport.com. I’m Mark Feffer.

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In New York City's Broadway District, a brightly lit, Richard Rogers Theatre marquee displays "Hamilton: An American Musical"

“Becoming” at ADP, one experiment at a time.

Tech & Innovation Blog

“Becoming” at ADP, one experiment at a time.


Career Inspirations, Pushing Limits, Becoming

Not too long ago (pre-COVID), my wife and I actually got a baby-sitter, made it out of the house (around perfect strangers and in Manhattan!), and caught a Broadway show. It was great! You may have heard of it.

In New York City's Broadway District, a brightly lit, Richard Rogers Theatre marquee displays "Hamilton: An American Musical"

Not too long ago (pre-COVID), my wife and I actually got a baby-sitter, made it out of the house (around perfect strangers and in Manhattan!), and caught a Broadway show. It was great! These days, getting out of the house often is rare for us – I know many others with young kids can relate! I can’t get over what a great time we had that night, seeing such an amazing show!

We saw Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York! Words can hardly describe our joy. A fancy night out for us, we got to enjoy a bit of American history while listening to Hip Hop (!), written by and starring a Puerto Rican guy (like me) from nearby upper Manhattan (“The Heights,” where my wife is from)! Despite my ‘Becoming’ at ADP, one experiment at a time. enthusiasm, apparently, I’m not alone as the show has gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize and several Tony Awards – including Best Musical in 2016! By the way, it’s streaming now on Disney Plus, in case you’ve been holding off on that free-trial.

The show, and its performers, were so gripping and inspiring that it has literally kept me up at night thinking of all the things I haven’t done yet – and how I might achieve more in my career (you know, “I’m not throwing away my shot!”).

The truth is that the last couple of years have been a period of enlightenment (I’ll get into that in a bit), in both my personal and professional life. Seeing Hamilton had sparked the reflection I needed to reach this epiphany and appreciate everything I’ve already accomplished.

Even so, as I played the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat, I became consumed with figuring out ways to do more, move faster, learn deeper, and make an even greater impact! It was all coming together, and this show helped me to see “the forest for the trees.” I realized that I had gotten too caught up in the details of my everyday work, and I needed to step back and see the bigger picture. In my case, the bigger picture was our company’s culture of experimentation, and how I could help take it to the next level!

The bigger picture was our company’s culture of experimentation, and how I could help take it to the next level!

Becoming

The last few years at ADP have been very enlightening for me professionally. I’m super passionate about what I’m working on right now, but this isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way in a role. I’ve been at ADP for over five years, and every season I find myself absorbed in my work facing more difficult challenges. Where more difficult = more rewarding, right?!

I recently joined the product team for RUN, one of our solutions that provides core payroll and HR to small businesses. My portfolio is pretty amazing! The team I lead focuses on adding capabilities for in-product marketing (IPM). I’ve had an opportunity to experiment, like a scientist, studying data, crafting hypotheses, executing small tests, and measuring results! Until now, the experiments I’ve run were more like mini-projects, similar to a Venture Capitalist’s approach to startups with series funding. In a startup, you build incrementally, proving continual growth and viability at each step and, in turn, justifying next round funding.

I’ve never seen rapid-fire a/b testing inside large corporations where I’ve worked before ADP. Many people in my “AgileNYC” network agree that the mini-project approach is ideal for agile teams and businesses but has not emphasized a/b testing as much. In practice, in many corporations, it’s a struggle to decide what and how to build something given limited time, budget, and resources within an annual corporate budgeting cycle.

In the companies where I’ve worked in product management, the focus of product managers and leadership has been on using an “agile” approach for delivery, running sprints to tackle endless backlogs of user stories. Less so around meaningful research and experimentation, which I’ve tried to bring it to the table, albeit on a smaller scale.

An example that comes to mind involves one of my prior roles at a music company, where we built a “rights” app for our synch-licensing team. We always faced constraints, hard deadlines, and zero budget for formal research. So, we did our own “gorilla research,” relying on subject matter experts (SMEs) and peers to give us feedback on ideas and designs. But that just resulted in us talking amongst ourselves without speaking with actual clients. Imagine that. We never had access to the voice of the customer! What’s wrong with this picture, you ask? You are correct! The focus was always on delivery, not the outcome. That left us creating products based on perceived customer needs, which may or may not have resolved their business problems. How would we know? We never asked or measured our results. But they got their solution on time! 🙂

These were the Dark Ages in my career, during which I mastered the art of delivery, backlog management, and Agile, and honed my leadership skills. But I learned little about the impact of the changes that were made, and rarely had the opportunity to go back and make any improvements. I lived in a culture of “on to the next one” (like that Jay-Z song).

When I joined ADP in 2014, people in our Small Business Services (SBS) division seemed pretty serious about Agile development and had started to look beyond backlogs and sprint cycles. Marquis projects like “REDBOX” and “TITANIUM” from our Innovation Center in Chelsea NYC’s Silicon Alley, led the way with new design standards and a new visual design language (VDL). They set up a usability research lab and engaged with people in new ways to inform their product backlogs. ADP shifted into a culture of learning, especially in SBS.

In SBS, we did this with an emphasis on market research, evaluating the strengths of our products compared to our competitors. Using market intelligence from our strategy team supplementing our own research, we spent weeks evaluating our products against competitors’ at the feature level. From there, we moved on to usability testing with clients to assess concepts and prototypes and to gather their feedback. Our SBS leadership team built a Discovery Lab in Florham Park, New Jersey, where we could engage clients outside of New York City. We migrated to Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) in place of goals to become more outcome-driven. This shift led to opportunities to attend conferences at the local and national level, and where I felt the first twinge of Imposter Syndrome.

In retrospect, my journey at ADP reminds me of a quote by Lin Manuel-Maranda about the fear and uncertainty you can feel when striving for your goals, and then ultimately the realization that you’ve been able to make an impact – after all. He said, “Anytime you write something, you go through so many phases. You go through the ‘I’m a Fraud’ phase. You go through the ‘I’ll Never Finish’ phase. And every once in a while you think, ‘What if I actually have created what I set out to create, and it’s received as such?’”

“Anytime you write something, you go through so many phases. You go through the ‘I’m a Fraud’ phase. You go through the ‘I’ll Never Finish’ phase. And every once in a while you think, ‘What if I actually have created what I set out to create, and it’s received as such?'”

I’m a Fraud Phase

In 2017, the head of our product team sponsored several of us to attend the 2017 AcademyOx NY Product Festival at the Museum of The Moving Image in Queens, New York. We were blown away by all of the great speakers from companies like Spotify, Google, Instagram, and Tesla, to name a few. Hearing Mindy Zhang of Dropbox speak about “Imposter Syndrome,” the struggle to internalize one’s accomplishments, and persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud,” left me speechless. Wow! Talk about timing! Having just heard Spotify and Instagram boast about the experiments they can run on their millions of users each day, I was pretty envious, and felt like a straight-up fraud! Luckily, I was able to take solace in a factoid the speaker offered, that we were all ‘Impostors’ (according to research she quoted, at least 70% of product managers admitted this)! She said it’s “OK” because this meant we were continually learning and that we had the skills to learn the “skills.” That made me feel better, but more importantly, it awakened me to new possibilities thanks to the collective of conference speakers and ADP for giving me the opportunity.

I took what I learned at the conference and was determined to apply it to my work. I made some advances! I used some of the tools I picked up and shared them with my stakeholders. I found that people were receptive to these new ideas. I even had the opportunity to experiment with some impressive results. For example, last year, we launched an experiment within the Retirement Services Team to migrate clients from a legacy product with one partner to a new product with another partner before the client’s legacy product subscription ended. Migrations can be risky since they allow clients to consider other vendor products. We didn’t want to lose the business, and we wanted to give our clients the best possible experience without disrupting their operations. So, we experimented with super-concise copy, and a very light UX (only two clicks). Clients converted fast, we met our goal of 50% client-conversion in less than 60 days, and eventually exceeded our goal and retained almost all our legacy clients.

Based on this win, I knew there was more we could do. We came across another opportunity with our digital marketing team. I felt like an impostor again when they presented a readout on their latest Marquis project. I realized what I’d been doing was on a small scale, while they had been operating at scale with full-fledged experiments, which they shared in detail with our entire product organization. At first discouraged, I remembered I had the skills to learn the “skills”! So, I networked with them, traded notes, shared my ideas, and asked them questions about their work!

Growth Mindset

ADP’s evolution and modernization over the last few years have been a true success story, which I attribute to the company’s culture. ADP went beyond agility and adapted a learning culture. Although I haven’t heard it described this way, ADP’s culture has been about adopting a “Growth Mindset.” In the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carolyn Dweck, the author describes her research and findings that support the belief that ability can be developed through effort and by embracing the challenge. The book describes the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. In her research, students with a fixed mindset believed their abilities, intelligence, and talents are fixed traits. While in a growth mindset, students understand that they can develop talents and abilities through effort, good teaching, and persistence.

ADP has cultivated a learning culture that is pervasive throughout every discipline, business unit, and region. For example, in SBS, Product Managers have gathered for “Lunch & Learns,” almost every month, to gain insight into other areas of the business, including our own. We also have gotten together for ‘book club’ meetings to share specific ideas and stories from popular books about product management, marketing, leadership, and psychology. As a larger Global Product & Technology organization, we have partnered with Audible for free employee subscriptions to “squeeze” learning in by listening to audiobooks. That’s how I read Mindset and about ten other books! In product management, we host a monthly “Stand up,” where our leaders review what they’ve been working on, which allows us to share with our peers, and host guest speakers from outside of ADP. Our most recent speakers included Marty Cagan and Chris Jones from the Silicon Valley Product Group (SVPG)! As part of my growth and learning, I’ve attended 4 ADP-Sponsored conferences since 2017, including Mind The Product 2019, in San Francisco. All of this has helped me shake “imposter syndrome.”

‘I’ll Never Finish’ Phase

I’m still focused on how I can take our experimentation to the next level. When I started working with the IPM team in RUN, I knew that I would use that domain to further the experimentation culture by setting a new example. I started strong, full of ideas after having read Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success by Sean Ellis. I developed a network of “Growth Hackers” with whom I can develop experiments. I continue to share my ideas with stakeholders and have scheduled ‘readouts’ of my experiments, explaining the hypothesis, setup, plan, and latest results. I now speak the same language as my digital marketing peers, setting up variables and controls for each test, identifying primary, secondary, and even tertiary conversion metrics, conducting funnel analysis, and demonstrating statistical significance.

It’s a journey. My IPM team is small and very scrappy, and we use all the tools we can get our hands-on. We frequently collaborate outside of our team to generate even more ideas. We’re crafting an architectural vision for how our a/b testing framework can operate using a combination of the latest and greatest experimentation tools, in collaboration with our current infrastructure.

Our strategic vision is to “Generate conversions with IPM by offering products and features that are the right FIT for a business, can add VALUE to operations, and help make a positive IMPACT for both the client’s bottom line as well as ADP’s.” We even have our own sticker!

As we enter the next fiscal year and set our objectives, many of my stakeholders have come to me about a/b testing capabilities. So, the word is out!

Also, as a response to the current Pandemic, I was asked to help design a UX for ‘Alex,’ a persona we created to represent our clients at the human level, to help her navigate the crisis and take necessary and relevant actions. We experimented with a non-native UX tool and iterated the design and implementation countless times during the early weeks of the crisis. Perhaps, if not for some of the work I’ve done with the IPM team, I wouldn’t have been asked to help on this significant and meaningful project? In the words of Lin Manuel-Miranda, have I created what I set out to create?

Adrian R Carrión is a Director of Product Management at ADP in New Jersey.