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

GPT’s Jesse W. Won Built In’s Inaugural Tech Innovation Award 


Lifion, Innovation, Award

GPT’s Jesse White Awarded Built In’s Inaugural Tech Innovation Award

Jesse joined ADP just over a year ago, and his work on the Engineering Reliability (EREL) team for Lifion had already created an impact. He shared insights on how ADP is pursuing new technologies to benefit the world around us. 

GPT’s Jesse W. Won Built In’s Inaugural Tech Innovation Award    

Jesse W., the Senior Director System Reliability Management, recently won Built In’s Inaugural Tech Innovation Award, honoring visionaries in tech space and making significant contributions to the world of tech.  

Jesse helped created a Global Reliability Operating Model that gives developers clearer direction, more agency, and improved job satisfaction while allowing them to deliver more innovative codes to customers faster and with fewer mistakes. His contribution to ADP represents a new culture of ownership-driven outcomes rooted in document-driven engineering, self-service onboarding, and human-centered designing.  

Jesse focused on his team, “I want to give credits to the teams we work with. Without them, we would not be able to execute this larger strategy.” He worked with engineering leaders from product-minded approaches to backend engineering, connecting technology capabilities to business goals. Together, they build faster and safer software.  

Jesse W. Giving Presentation

What are some fun facts about you?  

I am an innovation leader, a prop plane pilot-in-training, and a vintage Japanese watch collector.  

Could you tell us about the Engineering Reliability (EREL) team?  

The EREL team is a platform engineering group that builds tools and infrastructure with a vision to help enable an outstanding developer experience at Lifion. It offers capabilities for feature teams to manage their security and develop their cloud-native infrastructure. My team works with them to provide self-service incident and change management.   

A vital part of this success is the Global Reliability Operating Model (GROM), a holistic approach to building complex software in the cloud. GROM has allowed software teams to work autonomously, pushing collaboration to the max and minimizing complexity within Lifion’s systems. EREL is constantly building upon its systems, focused on feedback to understand what tools and pipelines can evolve to improve the user experience.  

What words would you use to describe engineers at work?   

Simplify, Innovate and Grow. EREL actively measures its impact based on real data available to them within the systems. Utilizing real-time data makes this possible and provides a creative space for all engineers at work.    

Jesse with his family

Jesse (right) with his family

What advice do you have for those with a focus on innovation?   

Separate the ideation and inspiration from the execution allows your leadership and individual contributors to devote their full intellectual capacity towards solving problems in the most innovative way.  

Don’t limit yourself to what you think is possible. Look out three, four, five, or even twenty steps ahead of what can be done right now, then figure out the north start you need and inspire your teams to meet the larger business goals.   

Congratulations, Jesse and the EREL team!   

Learn more about working at Lifion and make sure to subscribe to our blog! 

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Women in STEM

ADP’s Tashina Charagi shares her STEM Journey

ADP Women in STEM Profile: Tashina Charagi

ADP Women in STEM banner

Tech & Innovation Blog

Grace Hopper Celebration – Opportunities for Women in Tech to Connect #vGHC21


Women in STEM, Grace Hopper, Voice of Our People

Grace Hopper Celebration

We met up with four ADP women in tech attending this year’s Celebration. They shared their inspiration and what it means to be a part of this incredible community.

Grace Hopper Celebration – Opportunities for Women in Tech to Connect — #vGHC21 

ADP is proud to sponsor our 12th consecutive year of AnitaB.org’s Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) held this year, September 27 – October 1. This year’s virtual Celebration theme is “Dare to Transform” and provides attendees with over 240+ sessions, Sponsor Hall, and 1:1 Meetings. All attendees will have great opportunities to network, inspire, and create long-lasting relationships with professionals. If you are attending, stop by our booth and say Hello!  

We are even prouder to announce that AnitaB.org, host of GHC, named ADP 2021 Top Companies for Women Technologists Winner in the Large Technical Workforce category. The assessment considered key factors including representation by diversity, trends in hiring, advancement, and leadership. While facing a global pandemic, we continue to take multiple steps in supporting the technical talent pool. Read the full press release here.

The annual Grace Hopper Celebration – now in its 28th year – has been designed to connect women in technology to discuss career and research interests. We met up with four ADP women in tech who will be attending this year’s Celebration. They shared with us the inspiration and what it means to be a part of the incredible community.  

Sree in ADP shirt

Sree B.

Isabel E., Vice Present in Product Development, believes Grace Hopper is a beacon of hope for change. ”Being a woman in tech who usually is one of few women in the room, it gives me goosebumps to see the sea of women and diversity at Grace Hopper,” Isabel said. “It makes me feel optimistic for the future.”  

Sree B., Senior Director in Application Development, tells us the Celebration is a wonderful opportunity to learn the journey of the highly talented and courageous women in technology, all dedicated to making a difference. “Hearing their stories; of success, failures, hopes, and achievements is truly inspiring and empowering,” Sree said.

“It offers a unique chance to

celebrate us the women in tech.”  

Tanuja G., Director in Application Development, attended the conference in person a few years ago and remembered the energizing experience. “Grace Hopper is a celebration of all things in tech! It’s a fabulous time and place to reflect on and celebrate everything women have achieved in the world of technology with the support of their allies in tech,” Tanuja looks forward to attending the virtual conference this year.   

Tiffany D., Lead Data Scientist, shares with us Grace Hopper to her represents a chance to collaborate and learn from other females in technology. “I am very grateful for this amazing opportunity,” Tiffany said.  

We also spoke to these women about their experiences as technologists here at ADP.  

Isabel E. headshot

Isabel E.

Isabel describes ADP as a nurturing environment where Associates are treated with dignity, respect, and supported professionally and personally. “I have had the opportunity to grow as a person and a professional with support from my leaders and my peers,” Isabel said. “I feel like I belong because I share a common empathy for clients and Associates with my peers.” 

“People matter first

  and matter most.” 

Sree sees ADP as one big family as she reflects on what Carlos, CEO of ADP, often says. She resonates with ADP’s core values, with a philosophy to care for its people and values. “I’m so glad to be part of ADP’s DataCloud team. I lead a cutting-edge technology team, where we focus on data monetization and provide solutions to our clients to bridge the pay equity gap, whether it’s gender-based or ethnicity-based,” Sree says, taking pride in working for ADP.  

Tanuja G. headshot

Tanuja G.

When it comes to mentorship, Tiffany and Tanuja share similar experiences. Tiffany values the support she has received from her management, organization, and fellow Associates; they make her feel like she belongs at ADP.

“My managers, mentors, and team members all made me feel like I was already a part of the family,” Tanuja said.

“Over the years, and moving across different product teams, that feeling has followed me, and I have been lucky to impart that same sense of belonging to other team members whom I’ve had the pleasure to welcome into the fold.”  

This year’s Celebration will be Sree’s third year attending GHC, and she feels rewarded as a nominated attendee. “I’m often the only female in most of the technical meetings, and I’m glad that GHC provides an avenue to hire more female techies and strengthen our presence around the room.” Sree looks forward to working with more female technologists.   

In addition, Sree said, “ADP strongly encourages inclusive culture among the Associates. With GPT sponsored mentorship programs, women are strongly encouraged to focus on their career growth and aim for leadership roles. I’m well respected across the teams I work with, not just because of the knowledge and skills I possess, but because of ADP’s culture to remove gender parity and provide an equal opportunity for everyone.” Sree also believes that ADP continues to support their Associates in learning and future development. 

Tiffany D. headshot

Tiffany D.

When it comes to training and resources, Tiffany shares her career journey, “ADP empowered me to make a career transition from Finance to Technology.”

“ADP provided me with the tools to learn

and grow in this industry.” 

“ADP has supported me throughout the stages of my career through mentorship, conferences, technical and leadership training, speaking opportunities, and support to pursue an advanced degree,” Isabel said.  

“I am encouraged to use the knowledge I’ve gained and receive a chance to work on new and challenging projects, using cutting edge technology,” Tanuja said, and feels grateful to be attending the GHC for the second time.  

In the future, ADP will continue providing opportunities and an environment for technologists to ask questions and learn from industry leaders. We encourage all women in tech to challenge, inspire, and celebrate what’s to come. 

#WomenInTech #ADPLife 

Interested in a tech career at ADP?  

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

Tech & Innovation Blog

Putting Technology—and Technologists—First: Digital Transformation at ADP 


What We Do, Why ADP, Future of Work

Urvashi's Header

We strive for ADP’s products and services to be universally recognized, easy to use, and accessible anywhere.

Putting Technology—and Technologists—First: Digital Transformation at ADP 

Urvashi Tyagi, Chief Technology Officer 

ADP has always been more than a payroll company: In addition to payroll software, we also provide thousands of clients worldwide with tools that help them manage HR, benefits, time, recruiting—everything “from hire to retire,” as we say. But while ADP always leveraged technology to do our business, we have historically been a services company. Over the last several years, we’ve genuinely transformed into a technology-first, a products-first organization focused on excellent service. 

For ADP, digital transformation is about serving both our clients and our internal associates. To continuously drive value for our clients, we develop the best possible tools. And to create the best possible tools, we need to provide a superior experience for our developers.  

Of course, digital transformation is not a new idea at ADP. Modernizing tools and products is a business necessity for any company that wants to stay competitive. But digital transformations often happen piecemeal and in silos—and they often fail to meet their expected results. That’s why ADP embraces a holistic, enterprise-wide approach that relies on collaboration across business units and focuses on cloud technology. 

Unifying Cloud Strategy 

Cloud technology is vital to our future. It allows us to offer higher resilience, improved security, stability for our applications, and an improved customer experience on the client side. On the enterprise side, cloud technology allows us to access a global infrastructure, simplify our application architecture, and innovate faster, significantly reducing our time to market. So prioritizing cloud strategy is a given—but how do we determine what that strategy should be? 

We strive for ADP’s products and services to be universally recognized, easy to use, and accessible anywhere. We’ve had cloud-native applications before, but previously, our developers had to make tradeoffs. That’s one of the aspects of the cloud—you have a lot of options. But that also means the cloud experience can look very different from one developer to another. 

To help give our clients a seamless experience of our many products, we want everything to look and feel familiar. That means the way we modernize our technology stack and re-architect products need to be consistent as well, and that’s where a unified cloud strategy comes into play. 

When I came on board in 2019, we had different cloud strategies across business units with individual DevOps teams building bespoke tooling for their developers. We decided we needed more product consistency and closer alignment on our principles of cloud strategy, for example, in terms of multi-cloud vs. hybrid cloud. The way we did that was to put our best engineers in the driver’s seat. 

Reducing Silos, Aligning Internally  

There’s a quote I love from Dan Lyons, the author of Disrupted. He says, “If you want to be a technology company, put the technologists in charge.” That’s what we did to streamline our cloud-based DevOps processes. Technical leads from various business units came together to create a vision and build strategic and technical alignment so we could begin to consolidate. Instead of having 14 independent CI/CDs, we are on a path to two. 

We took a similar approach to establish our DevSecOps tooling. In the non-Agile world, there’s a developer, a security specialist, and a System Reliability Engineer (SRE) managing the operations of running your product. With the Agile model, the developer holds all three roles because the operations engineer and the security specialist’s work is now digitized. Most tech companies use DevOps and DevSecOps as a core strategy because it allows the developer to build, secure, and deploy the code and own it—from the dev box into production. This approach leads to better quality and faster delivery.  

When we began driving the change to establish enterprise-wide DevSecOps, the chief architect on my team worked with a lead developer from each of our business units, including the Global Security Office. They met weekly, sometimes daily. Each of those groups had its own DevSecOps processes already, but they came up with a unified approach that made sense. The chief architect presented a proposal to start with, and the conversation continued from there. We ended up with what we call an application security workbench. When a developer checks their code into a branch, this tool automatically runs and lets the developer see any security issues in their code and gives them guidance on how to fix them. Further integration of the tool into the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) allows developers to see security issues as they write code and address them in real-time. 

Another way we collaborate internally is code sharing across the enterprise. So if you’re building an enterprise product, anybody within the company can look at your code and make changes. That significantly helps with minimizing silos, because now when a team wants to build a new capability, they make it for the whole enterprise. So if you work on enterprise, essentially, the entire company uses what you’ve created in all our products.  

Continuously Driving Value with NextGen Products 

When developers have an aligned approach to using NextGen tools and technology, they’re empowered to create NextGen products. To that end, our future products will all be cloud-native and embedded with AI and touchless technology. And we’ve already begun adapting some of our current-gen products to be touchless. For example, early in the pandemic, we worked quickly to make our clock-in systems touchless with facial recognition and voice commands.  

We know that our business users spend 20–30% of their time looking for information, so we’re working on ways to optimize data analysis. For example, our ADP DataCloud team is a powerhouse for employee-related data. We’ve released several services focused on autonomous analytics in the last year, converting the tremendous amount of data we have into usable insights about how people work. 

Another big focus for us is real-time applications, particularly real-time payroll. The acceleration of the gig economy means an increasing demand for payments that can be made instantly at the end of a shift, so creating a real-time payment ecosystem is critical. We’re also looking at blockchain for ID applications.  

Ongoing Change, Ongoing Opportunities 

There is never really an end to digital transformation. Once you start the work, you have to keep going. To promote continued collaboration and discourage silos, we encourage daily communication between teams, functions, and business units. We know it takes time to absorb and implement change, so we also share information repeatedly and in multiple ways.  

At ADP, we recognize that change, like collaboration, is a team effort. When we present our enterprise-wide proposals, we never attach names because our software strategy, design, and development do not belong to any individual. We build off one another’s ideas, allowing us to grow and innovate as a cohesive company.  

We’re on a transformation journey and committed to a holistic strategy, which means we are incrementally modernizing. As we do that, we’ll also deliver new capabilities to our clients as we re-architect existing products and update some of our highest-revenue-generating products for the cloud—as well as create new applications from scratch. The possibilities are endless! 

Interested in a career in DevOps or DevSecOps?  

Visit tech.adp.com to explore tech careers and to subscribe to our blog. 

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?

Click here to search for your next move and make sure to subscribe to our blog!

Tech & Innovation Blog

Designing For All People: Inclusive UX at ADP 


UX Design, Inclusive Design, Voice of Our People

Amber's Header

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

Designing For All People: Inclusive UX at ADP  

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

What are you working on these days?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your approach to inclusive design? 

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

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

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

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

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

What excites you about what’s next? 

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

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

Interested in a career as a UX Designer or Researcher?

Click here to search for your next move and make sure to subscribe to our blog!

Tech & Innovation Blog

Roll Forward: How breakthrough products are redefining ADP as a tech innovator 


Senior Leaders, Innovation, Future of Work

Roberto Masiero, SVP Innovation Labs

For ADP as a tech innovator, this is just the beginning of the journey.

Roll Forward: How breakthrough products are redefining ADP as a tech innovator 

Roberto Masiero, SVP Innovation Labs 

From my long tenure at ADP, I’ve learned that when a company gives you the latitude to move around—either within the technology space or from technology to business or sales—you get plenty of chances to reinvent yourself. And reinvention on the individual level influences the reinvention of the company as a whole, which I think we really see now with Roll™. 

Roll™ is a mobile chatbot platform that uses AI and natural language processing technologies to anticipate users’ payroll needs intelligently. It’s the first-ever DIY payroll technology, and it’s so intuitive that our clients just download it and go; a lot of them never even talk to a customer service rep. But while we designed Roll™ to seem effortless, it’s the product of years of creative work with a unified team. The idea for Roll™ was to simplify payroll and HR using a novel UX and platform. I run the Innovation Labs at ADP, where we develop new products as quickly as possible. We’re a relatively small team, around 30 people from diverse backgrounds and with no hierarchy, allowing us to pull together tightly as a group. It’s important to me to have a flat organization because the moment you create hierarchies, you create ways to point fingers. In the way we work, everyone shares responsibility.  

We came up with the product idea for Roll™ about four years ago when we were finishing up ADP Marketplace and wondering what to do next. At the time, most of our lab projects were satellite projects, adjacent offerings to our existing core services. I thought, “What if we reinvented the core?” We saw an opportunity to improve multiple facets of our payroll platform—the architecture, the design, the user experience. We had a chance to envision a whole new system. 

We fixated on this idea of events—that everything done as an action within the system should be recorded as an event. In fact, we initially named the product “E” for “events.” For example, if you hire someone, pay someone, or terminate someone, we record each action as an event. This way, we know who did what, where they did it, what time of day, and from what device. All that information taken together feeds a machine learning engine where the system gets better the more it gets used. Instead of a system with a bunch of menus, forms, and reports, we imagined a vector of events where events cause other events. We basically built the software as a workflow. 

But we didn’t stop there. We also wanted to transform the UI into something much simpler and more direct. People tend to design user experiences with a sense of engagement in mind, but that’s not what we needed here. We didn’t want people engaged; we wanted them to get the job done and exit the software. So with Roll™, the user goes straight to chat and tells the system what they need, and the software understands. If it’s to hire someone, change someone’s W-4, change a payroll schedule, the user asks, and the software guides them through the process using conversational UI. 

We also built Roll™ to function 100% on mobile. We decided the UX would use a simple chronological timeline, similar to Facebook or Twitter. Clients love having one place to go to see their activity: “Yes, I ran payroll yesterday evening,” or, “Great, that new W-4 went through.” In addition to optimizing for mobile, we also wanted a strong desktop presence. We noticed our desktop users liked to grab info from the system and transfer it to Excel spreadsheets, so we decided to give them an Excel-like UX.   

We finished Roll™ in July 2019 and got a pilot client in August. That fall, we presented the software to ADP’s executive leadership team. We got the feedback that we were sitting on something big that works for small to large corporations. But they encouraged us to focus on the smaller markets, those with one to ten employees. So we spent a couple of months designing an additional layer of software to cater to small businesses. In March 2020, we piloted Roll™ with about 50 smaller companies who all liked what we were offering, and then the executive committee told us to put Roll™ on the market and sell it as soon as possible. So we went from pilot program to full rollout in under a year, and today we’re getting dozens of new clients a day signing up for Roll. 

A big part of what makes Roll™ stand out is integrating natural language processing with machine learning. We designed Roll™ to understand the mental model of our user’s meaning. We wanted the chatbot AI to talk the way people talk.  

We brought in ADP’s business anthropologist, Martha Bird, and copywriters to advocate for the user, helping us to shape the Roll™ voice. We didn’t simply want AI to predict what our clients needed for payroll purposes––though that ability was definitely important. We wanted the voice of Roll™ to demonstrate human understanding. For example, Roll™ learned to respond more positively when addressing a new hire or giving someone a raise in pay, whereas it is more subdued when discussing termination. It’s that empathetic understanding that gives Roll™ an edge in human interaction. 

On the backend, we decided that we didn’t want to run servers, or even containers, like Docker or Kubernetes. Instead, we made every event a function. The beauty of functions is that they only exist while that function is running. So our cost of running Roll™ is extremely low. Using cloud services and this idea of functions is another way Roll™ sets itself apart.  

Of course, Roll™ didn’t come without its challenges during the development process. Fraud is something we have to consider whenever we engineer or develop a new product. But this is what I love about the Lab: We think of our challenges as opportunities to make our products better. How can we improve? How can we automate? How can we reduce the amount of burden on the system from someone trying to commit fraud? And when we meet a challenge, everyone jumps in to help. We either fail as a team, or we succeed as a team. 

I’d say we’re succeeding right now, and the beautiful thing about Roll™ is that it’s always running. We change our models to pick up on new ways clients ask for things, and every new question pulls into Roll’s knowledge and experience. So the more clients we have, the better the software becomes. It’s an unprecedented level of automation. 

A program like Roll™ can help further ADP’s digital transformation from merely a payroll company into a competitive tech company. What makes Roll™ exciting is that it almost creates its own category; it’s a technological solution no one else has. We can dominate this market and apply some of the same breakthroughs—machine learning, using functions—with other ADP products. For ADP as a tech innovator, this is just the beginning of the journey. 

Interested in a tech career at ADP?

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Tech & Innovation Blog

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


Career Journey, Voice of our People, Alpharetta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, what are you talking about at Render?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tech & Innovation Blog

Brazil Lab’s Carlos Nascimento Wins First Round NASA International Space Apps Challenge


Voice of Our People, Recognition, Innovation

Carlos standing in front of NASA sign

Creating something out of this world almost came naturally to Carlos Nascimento, literally while he slept. Read about his innovation here.

Carlos recently won the first stage of the NASA International Space Apps Challenge. Yes, that NASA – the National Aeronautics and Space Administration…

Carlos developed a solution responsible for dynamically organizing the entire circadian cycle of astronauts, using Convolutional Neural Networks, being able to interpret brain frequencies, predict and stimulate the next stages of sleep.

“I could not have done this without the experience and knowledge I earned by working at ADP Brazil Labs,” said Carlos. “At the innovation center, we are working on a project that uses machine learning, which gave me the necessary knowledge and inspiration that I used for the NASA competition.”

NASA’s hackathon was the largest globally to develop an innovative app for its astronauts. With only 48 hours of active development, Carlos decided to focus on machine learning and brain signals. He gathered a team of his friends to select the challenge. They thought: “You know what? Everybody has some kind of sleep problem! Let’s help with that!”

Carlos will represent Brazil on the global stage, where they will choose the six best solutions.

At ADP, Carlos and his team work on a product that leverages machine learning. According to Carlos, “The best thing about working with Machine Learning is that the field is always evolving with new ideas and updates.”

Carlos stands on a wooden platform overlooking rolling hills

Before Carlos travels to spaces and places, we caught up with him to learn just a little bit more:

What advice do you have for someone looking to participate in a global challenge?

These events are about innovation and teamwork, so choose your team wisely with professionals from different fields like designers, developers, and data scientists and read a lot about the subject you plan to solve.

What is your must-have app personally?

Brave Private Browser. We should always be very careful with our data. Like we are at ADP.

What is your favorite movie?

Interstellar.

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

Chocolate. I probably wouldn’t live much, but it would be a happy life.

What is the best advice you ever received?

Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated.

What’s the best place you’ve ever traveled to on vacation, and why?

That would be Arraial do Cabo. It’s close to my hometown, Rio de Janeiro. It has the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen.

Carlos will receive an award from the U.S. Embassy in Brazil for his work in the NASA Challenge. Results for 40 finalist teams, and six winning global teams, will be revealed in January 2021!

Congratulations, Carlos! Good luck to you and your team in the next round!

Learn more about working at Brazil Labs.