Posts

« All Blogs

video: ADP - Unite Message

ADP’s Caron Cone, DVP of Human Resources, shares the genesis of ADP’s UNITE video, and what companies can do to fight inequality

Caron Cone, DVP of HR for ADP’s National Account Services and Chairperson of the Cultivate BRG at ADP tells what began as an internal-only video to encourage Black employees’ candid expression of frustration toward racial injustice, became a torch that further fueled the flames for ADP’s Diversity & Inclusion philosophy.

It started as a needed call to “check in” with members of Cultivate, ADP’s African American business resource group (BRG), amid the unrest gripping the country over racism and police brutality. Almost immediately, the discussion ignited intense emotions from Cultivate members sharing their own stories and perspectives.

“What we heard during the call is that discussions about systemic racism can no longer be muted, and that includes inside the workplace,” said Debbie Dyson, President of ADP National Account Services and Cultivate’s co-founder.

Debbie and I took the feedback to heart and especially liked one suggestion to create a video that takes an honest look at the everyday realities of Black associates – in their own words. We wanted those associates to speak from their hearts, so why not let the world hear directly from them? It’s their story to tell, not ADP’s.

While creating a safe and supportive environment for people of color has always been a key tenet of ADP’s strong stance on diversity and inclusion, the reality for many Black associates is that it’s impossible to separate the toll systemic racism takes on their personal lives and how it can also impact them professionally.

The goal of the video is to ignite a companywide conversation about race and how ADP can unite. That position of unity is driven home by Dyson in perhaps one of the most powerful statements in the video: “When this becomes not just us, it becomes real justice.”

Associates submitted their own footage, straightforward without any fancy bells or whistles, and through the magic of editing, we successfully captured a united, powerful human story featuring Black associates sharing who they are and what they experience every day. The video was released internally to all global ADP associates during a time when race relations, racism and the plight of the Black male continued to generate headlines. The internal response was so moving that ADP executives decided to share the video message externally.

“I look forward with hope to the day when racism, bias and injustice are things of the past. We need change now, said ADP associate Scott Bohn after watching the video.

“Count me among your allies and know you are seen,” said ADP associate Heather Heiberg.

ADP associate Terri Hoover said she was filled with emotion after hearing Cultivate members talk so candidly. “Your video was very heartfelt and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for doing this. It makes me sad and confused that we live in a world where any life is judged to be less or more valuable based on appearance. I stand with this movement,” said Hoover.

The unrest has forced many companies to take a hard look and examine their own track records of diversity, inclusion and fostering an environment in which employees of color feel like their voice, presence and ideas matter, too. That also extends to recruiting, promotions and compensation.

So, what can organizations do to support a culture change?

Encourage Black and brown employees to find their voice. Real understanding occurs when people of color are courageous and willing to share their experiences, and when non-minorities are open, curious and willing to listen without being defensive. Organizations must invite their Black associates to use their voices to express clearly and specifically what changes they need and what a positive shift would look like to them. The environment must be safe and supportive for this exchange to occur.

Develop active allyship. We know that an ally is a friend who is sympathetic to the cause. But active allyship means using the privilege you have to support someone without that privilege. For example, if you make hiring decisions, active allyship means considering a diverse slate of candidates from a variety of schools, businesses and locations to ensure your candidate pool is truly representative of your market. The key word in all of this is “active” — what can you actually do to serve someone who may be marginalized with less opportunity to influence change in the same way you can?

Show an authentic willingness to change. For leaders, making the necessary changes requires more than simply being willing to say the right thing or communicate the right message to associates, clients and the external market. As the head of your organization, department or team, this change will require you to stand on the front line. And as you stand there, you must hold yourself and your leaders accountable for delivering on the promise of a more diverse and inclusive organization.

Beyond the moral and ethical reasons driving culture change, there are business drivers, too. For instance, when you have a diverse and inclusive team, you can better represent and meet the needs of your constituency. Multiple research sources point to empirical evidence that organizations with diverse teams perform at a higher level, are more innovative and exhibit stronger financial performance.

Examine your organization at every level and stage. It’s not just about bringing diverse candidates in; it’s also about how you treat your employees once you hire them. It’s time to ask the tough questions, such as: “As we go up the chain of leadership, do we maintain the same degree of representation at all levels? Are we promoting a diverse group of individuals to our board?” If these questions don’t yield responses that demonstrate support for a diverse and inclusive culture, then there is still work to be done, and that work can’t wait.

Make the change sustainable. While the topic of race relations and lack of diversity and inclusion has gotten well-earned publicity, we must make sure the outrage we feel toward these long-standing injustices doesn’t fade when our attention is drawn to a different crisis. Instead, this moment must serve as the spark for revolutionary and lasting change. We must be honest with ourselves about whether we are achieving the changes we have committed to making, and we must hold each other accountable.

Act with a sense of urgency. Expectations about meaningful change are high, and businesses must capitalize on the urgency of this moment to improve their organizational culture to the greatest possible extent. If change doesn’t occur or isn’t sustained, the step back will be significant. There will be a greater level of disappointment and more dissatisfaction with the status quo, and the resulting impact on race relations could be substantial, so we must follow through.

The same courage and honesty displayed through the lens of Black associates is the same courage and self-reflection organizations must undertake to create a monumental shift. It’s the right thing to do for humanity, for society and for business.

« All Blogs

Employees of color rated their CEOs. These are the top 10 for large companies

Employees of color rated their CEOs and ADP makes the list

Everyone wants to work at a place where they feel like they belong. And often, that kind of culture is set at the highest levels of an organization. With that in mind, Comparably polled employees of color to find out the best CEOs to work for. The top 10 from companies with more than 500 employees are:

  1. Satya Nadella, Microsoft
  2. Vlad Shmunis, RingCentral
  3. Sundar Pichai, Google
  4. Eric Yuan, Zoom Video Communications
  5. Carlos Rodriguez, ADP
  6. Steve Bilt, Smile Brands
  7. Sid Sijbrandij, GitLab
  8. Tim Cook, Apple
  9. Mike Walsh, LexisNexis
  10. Chris Caldwell, Concentrix

This is the third year that Comparably gathered anonymous feedback from nonwhite employees from 60,000 American companies of all sizes. Employees were asked how their CEO would rate as well as to measure other culture factors like trust in their employer.

Among the findings:

  • Satya Nadella is the first CEO of color to rank No. 1 among large companies over the past three years.
  • This year’s top three CEOs are all immigrants. Nadella and Pichai were born in India, and Shmunis hails from Ukraine.
  • Nadella is one of five CEOs who made the list for three consecutive years. Others are Accenture’s Julie Sweet, Apple’s Tim Cook, Fanatics’s Doug Mack, and Google’s Sundar Pichai.

“This year the topic of diversity and inclusion has gained even greater significance, and it has never been more important to reflect the positive workplace experiences of underrepresented—and historically discriminated against—people,” the report’s authors wrote. “After all, studies show that leaders who inspire, encourage, and support diverse voices and contributions benefit business growth, creativity, and innovation.”

« All Blogs

One person helping another climb up a mountain (all in silhouette)

Mentorship and Allyship: Navigating Toward Diversity and Inclusion

Mentorship and allyship are critical considerations for any business aiming to be viewed as an inclusive, best-in-class workplace.

If there were ever a time to address allyship and mentorship it’s now. Social unrest in response to blatant injustice, specifically toward the Black community, has moved many organizations to new levels of action toward improving diversity and inclusion within the workforce and in communities where those organizations are operating. Companies are asking – What can be done to foster increase diverse demographic representation, nurture the careers of employees from underrepresent groups and create a greater sense of inclusion and belonging?

For organizational leaders, the importance of mentorship and allyship to employee development cannot be understated in addressing these and similar questions.

How Diversity and Inclusion Can Factor Into Mentorship

The importance of mentorship — that is, a formal or informal program that pairs a seasoned professional (a mentor) with another (a mentee) for the purpose of sharing their professional knowledge, skills and experiences — can be demonstrated in a number of ways. In a successful mentorship, a mentor can help their mentee learn the ins-and-outs of a role, department or organization faster and more effectively. A mentorship program can also serve as a way to develop historically underrepresented talent for leadership roles.

From a diversity and inclusion (D&I) standpoint, mentorship can give underrepresented employees exposure to opportunities and create a springboard for future sponsorship. For example, if data demonstrates that women or people of color are not well represented in the ranks of leadership, a mentorship program can be designed with specific development goals, coaching and/or advice on stretch assignments with career progression to more senior leadership roles in mind.

Mentorship, with a diverse lens, can also help foster a culture of inclusion. A mentor and mentee have an opportunity to cultivate a deeper relationship with someone who might be very different from them. So it’s not just about the representation statistics. It’s about literally making space for people to show up in an organization in the fullness of who they are.

At ADP, we are deeply committed to diversity and inclusion. For example, we have specific goals for representation of women and people of color in the executive ranks. We’re also deeply committed to driving associate inclusion and belonging, which allyship and mentorship are integral to.

Mentors are expected to be inclusive leaders by doing the following:

Evaluate their own respective professional networks. Who are the people that help you round yourself out, help you get your job done and help you with your career progression? Assess this group, and if the people in your network are mostly similar to you, you’re likely doing yourself and those you mentor a disservice. As leaders, we are charged with examining our networks in this way and encouraging others to do the same.
Disrupt unconscious bias. While there is no singular definition for this term, unconscious bias is generally thought of as the assumptions a person might unknowingly make about a person or group of people. These biases show up with us every day and we must do the work to ensure our unconscious biases do not impact how we view talent. Mentors should educate themselves on the subject matter and take steps to “disrupt” those unconscious biases.
It’s important that mentors remain vigilant around not letting their biases — unconscious or not — interfere with how they provide guidance to their mentees. Organizationally, ADP has made a commitment to broaden education on unconscious bias. ADP’s CEO, Carlos Rodriguez, signed the CEO Action Pledge in October, 2017. As of this writing, we’ve trained roughly 800 leaders within the organization, and have a goal of reaching all leaders over the course of our next fiscal year. This is being done to create awareness, as well as to provide the tools and resources needed to disrupt unconscious biases.

What Allyship Can Mean for an Organization

In the context of the workplace, allyship refers to support and advocacy for colleagues from underrepresented groups, including LGBTQ+, women, the differently-abled and people of color. Mentorship often focuses on strengthening workplace relationships centered on career progression, and allyship can function similarly. At its core, allyship is about consciously taking steps to eliminate individual and systemic barriers that underrepresented groups face in the workplace.

For example, ADP recently formed a “Men as Allies” network. This initiative will help support mentoring and targeted leadership development programs through greater advocacy and sponsorship for women and people of color. Allyship is critical to business success, as it promotes a culture of inclusion that extends beyond the D&I function where leaders drive performance and innovation through higher engagement and employee belonging.

Business leaders can also create and execute on allyship strategies that make sense for their particular areas of responsibility. These are a must-have, as executive buy-in is necessary for any program — D&I-centered or otherwise — to be successful. A commitment to allyship is a commitment to use your voice and create greater equity in the workplace.

Mentorship and allyship are critical considerations for any business aiming to be viewed as an inclusive, best-in-class workplace. Well-crafted programs driven by executive support and accountability can help organizations achieve this.

« All Blogs

Group of people dressed in rainbow colors in front of a Pride sign

“Better to Best” — ADP’s Diversity and Inclusion Road Map

The best organizations embody an inclusive culture that extends beyond the D&I function. Their leaders drive performance and innovation by demonstrating to their employees and to the world that people belong and are integral to the organization’s purpose.

For many organizations the question, “Why is diversity important in the workplace?” is a top-of-mind concern. Companies that struggle to answer this question may find it difficult to accomplish business objectives that focus on recruiting and retaining employees.

A lack of diversity and inclusion (D&I) can have significant negative effects on an organization and its workforce. This can manifest in the form of pay inequity, limited representation in leadership roles, or a perception in the market that the organization is an undesirable place to work.

While some businesses struggle with addressing D&I-related challenges, others are making great strides in this area. To reach the level of best in class for D&I, an organization needs to leverage a variety of methodologies, partnerships and strategic insights to demonstrate why diversity is important in their workplace.

At ADP, we aim high when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Here’s how we turn “better” into “best” when it comes to accomplishing our D&I objectives.

Diversity and Inclusion in Action

To be clear, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating, let alone sustaining, a diverse and inclusive organization. And the challenge only becomes greater the larger a business is. A Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) in charge of D&I efforts should therefore consider the following key points:

Buy-in from senior leadership: Ideally, everyone within an organization would understand, believe in, and value the impact of D&I on the business. This has been the case at ADP, where our CEO, Carlos Rodriguez, signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to demonstrate that D&I is of utmost importance to the organization. It also helps that a C-suite-level role focused on diversity had already existed at ADP for a number of years prior to my own onboarding. Crucial buy-in from ADP leadership has helped our organization become recognized as an industry D&I leader, ranked at number three on DiversityInc’s 2019 Top 50 List.
This isn’t the reality at every organization, however. Getting buy-in from senior leadership starts with providing a vision that they can see, understand and get behind. It may be helpful to illustrate how D&I initiatives could alleviate organizational pain points, such as high turnover for women in leadership roles. Or low engagement/organizational sentiment scores for underrepresented demographic groups. Senior leadership should hold their teams accountable for working to achieve positive HCM metrics that are enabled by D&I goals.

Using data to inform efforts: Data should be used to make decisions that may affect the health of an organization, and issues of D&I are no exception. Some types of data which organizations should focus on in this regard include:
Hiring and promotion statistics for women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ employees and employees with disabilities
Retention rates by demographic to assess disparities between majority and non-majority groups
Engagement level scores and results from culture surveys reviewed by demographic and geography
Employee demographic data, with a focus on reviewing the differential between majority and non-majority populations
Having champions throughout the organization: Even within organizations that have a person or a department focused on diversity and inclusion, there’s no way their work can reach the entire organization without active support from other stakeholders. Champions can help expand the reach of D&I in a variety of ways. At ADP, I engage with about 30 global champions on a monthly basis. Their objectives are to influence others and share best practices, serve as role models and mentors, and help hold others accountable. When champions are also members of a majority group (e.g., white men) and are genuinely invested in workplace equality, it helps amplify the organization’s D&I efforts considerably.
The “Why” of Diversity and Inclusion

Numerous studies have demonstrated that workforces with greater diversity have the potential to be more profitable, innovative and resistant to disruptive market forces than less diverse workforces. For example, according to McKinsey and Company’s Delivering Through Diversity report, “Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.”

Individuals looking to do business with a company are now examining that organization’s higher purpose with greater scrutiny than ever before. Beyond earnings, people will seek answers to their questions about D&I at your organization, and they might make their decision about whether to deal with or join your organization based on your D&I efforts and reputation — as well as your initiatives around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and philanthropy. Every organization must care about the perception of its brand in the marketplace, and it pays to be known as a business that cares deeply about creating and maintaining a culture of inclusion.

Organizations must also understand and evolve with approaches to communication that individuals concerned with D&I expect to see. For example, when an organization leader expresses their gender pronouns (e.g., during introductions at meetings or in company email signatures), it can send a signal that a company cares about the LGBTQ population — not just internally, but also in the community at large.

Going From “Better to Best”

The best organizations embody an inclusive culture that extends beyond the D&I function. Their leaders drive performance and innovation by demonstrating to their employees and to the world that people belong and are integral to the organization’s purpose.

With the support of leadership, data and metrics, and champions around the world, ADP has moved beyond measuring itself against industry practices and standards alone. Our focus now is to embody diversity and inclusion in our culture.