Tech & Innovation Blog

AnitaB.org Named ADP the Top Large Company for Women Technologists


Women in STEM, Grace Hopper, Recognition 

ADP named 2021 Top Companies Badge

The nonprofit social enterprise AnitaB.org, host of GHC, names ADP to be 2021 Top Companies for Women Technologists Winner in the Large Technical Workforce category.

The nonprofit social enterprise AnitaB.org has named ADP the 2021 Top Companies for Women Technologists Winner in the Large Technical Workforce category. The national program from AnitaB.org is the only benchmarking program that looks specifically at technical employees and awards companies that are embracing accountability and making the most progress toward the equity of women. Read the full press release here. 

AnitaB.org recognized ADP for providing opportunities for women in tech, driving better representation of women in the industry. We value diversity in the organization and are proud of supporting women in technology.

Interested in a tech career at ADP?  

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

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

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

Designing For All People: Inclusive UX at ADP 


UX Design, Inclusive Design, Voice of Our People

Amber's Header

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

Designing For All People: Inclusive UX at ADP  

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

What are you working on these days?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your approach to inclusive design? 

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

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

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

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

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

What excites you about what’s next? 

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

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

Interested in a career as a UX Designer or Researcher?

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Tech & Innovation Blog

ADP recognizes three students for STEAM Awards


Scholarship Winners, Women in Tech, Diversity & Inclusion

Video: ADP recognizes three students for STEAM Awards

Catch all the feels as Aisha, our Chief Diversity, Inclusion & Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, and Kanyatta, one our Vice Presidents, break the news to three lucky STEAM winners for ADP scholarships. (Spoiler: there may have been some tears!)

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Paper currency flying through the air

Podcast: ADP’s Brianne Wilson Explains Compensation Philosophy, Why It Matters

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

This edition of PeopleTech is brought to you by ADP. Its Next Gen HCM is designed for how teams work, and helps you break down silos, improve engagement and performance, and create a culture of connectivity. Learn more at flowofwork.ADP.com.

Today, I’m speaking with Brianne Wilson, manager of product management for core HR, compliance and compensation at ADP. We’re going to talk about, obviously, compensation—and compensation philosophy, things you should consider when designing your compensation plan, and why it all matters. It’s not as obvious as you might think.

Podcast: Art, science, compensation philosophy, and why it all matters. Fascinating discussion w/ADP’s Brianne Wilson. @ADP #HR #HRTech #HRTribeCLICK TO TWEET

Brianne, thanks for being here.

First, can you tell me what’s a compensation philosophy, and as employee expectations change, does the compensation philosophy change with it?

Brianne: That’s a really great question. Starting with the compensation philosophy, if we went by my handy textbook, the way to think about it is there’s a lot of metrics out there of what are people being paid in a certain job, in a certain location, at a certain type of company. But when it really comes down to it, as leaders in your organization … Say we’re just starting a business together, and we’re really thinking about how we want to pay people. Your compensation philosophy is your mission statement for how you reward your associates.

While you may have a certain job that makes a certain range, you can say, “We want to be competitive.” While project managers in New York City, may make XY in a salary range, we know that there’s some really great talent here in New York City, and so in order to be more desirable—and we know the hard work that project managers put in—we’re going to increase our range in this particular area, and invest in this area to draw in more of the top talent.

Whereas, there are other areas where maybe we don’t need to invest quite as much. And that’s really what your compensation philosophy is. It’s not so much making sure, if we’re paying people what they expect in the market. It’s really setting that vision statement for yourself.

I talk a lot about that with my teams, in the products we’re building, of compensation being… We often think of it as a science, but if there is an art to it. So it’s an art and a science, but at its core it’s deeply personal, because what you’re paying someone is what motivates them to show up each day. It’s the way a company reflects their investment and respect in you. It’s how they recognize the work that you are contributing, and at the end of the day that’s how you put food on the table and put a roof over your head. Making sure leaders are keeping that in mind helps contribute to a really strong compensation philosophy.

In terms of how that’s changing today, even just what’s happening right now in the world, it all ties to compensation on top of that. The younger generation, there’s a trend now in sharing salary ranges on job postings, which we used to not do. It was very not okay to ever bring up the compensation question in your interviews until you’ve already invested tons of time interviewing. That’s a huge shift, and if we think about the momentum that’s happening… We actually saw this morning on Twitter, somebody saying, “Hey, these companies that are saying they’re progressive, why aren’t you posting your salaries?”

That’s what these upcoming generations are expecting, real transparency in pay, because we don’t live to work. We work to live, and the best way to reduce biases, the best way to ensure everybody has a fair and equal shot is really making sure you know what those salaries and bonus plans and stock options are like.

If you have that strong compensation philosophy, your ability to be transparent to the public about what you’re paying people ideally, and likely to be able to happen together.

Mark: The compensation philosophy and transparency, do they go hand in hand? Or is transparency a part of compensation philosophy?

Brianne: I’d say it’s the latter. The ability to be transparent would be a part of your philosophy. We intend to invest in these areas. We are going to be transparent with the public across all of our jobs. We are going to list them accurately to everyone, so that anyone who’s applying, everybody who works here knows what each other makes. That could be your compensation philosophy.

Mark: As you mentioned, the desires or the demands of employees change over time. How has comp changed over time to meet those demands, especially as the workforce has gotten younger?

Brianne: They are being forced to become more transparent. I’ve seen it happen. [Imagine] if somebody shares with their colleague what they make. And so two people who have the same role uncover there’s a huge disparity, and that disparity might be across a man versus a woman, a white person versus a person of color. This younger generation is just so empowered in speaking up for themselves. That’s going to happen, they’re going to go to leadership and say, “I contribute the same amount of work. I have the same job. I found out this person makes X percentage more than me.” So that compensation philosophy of incorporating transparency is a direct result of those changing expectations.

I think it’s also the way we are operating as a country: The high cost of living, the extraordinary amount of student debt, that especially these younger generations are shouldering as they leave university, the expectation to understand, Am I going to be able to live off of what you might be offering me, and I’m going to work really hard, especially in the tech industry? If I’m going to be putting in a lot of hours, what’s your investment in me, because it’s extraordinarily expensive to keep a roof over your head.

Mark: How is it that companies get their compensation wrong, and why do you think they get it wrong?

Brianne: For me, it all stems back to that idea of a compensation philosophy. Compensation, there are people who are experts in this field. There are actual compensation practitioners. There are certification courses in how do you not only create a philosophy, but how do you actually create structures around that? It’s not always an area that companies are able to invest in, or are aware that it even exists. I’ve worked at many startups, so it wasn’t really until I came here that I even was aware that this role really existed.

I think areas where I’ve seen we sometimes get it wrong is relying solely on the science piece. Organizations understand, “Let’s pull survey data. Let’s go on websites that promote what these salaries are in a certain area, and we’ll just go by those.” If you aren’t being strategic and you’re not thinking about where you want to make that investment, to really pull in top talent, then you might lose out on the people you really want to invest in your for company and who’ll provide the work that you’re looking for.

Often times it’s like a moving target. Sometimes with your compensation structures it’s, “Okay, we’ve done our surveys, and we’ve created our job grades, and we figured out some way to adjust for cost of living.” But it’s not focused enough on enough different criteria or job grades enough to ensure you’re making up for all of the different ways you could be paying for someone.

Where you live is just really one thing that would have an impact on what you should be making, and [how you’re] managing it. Making sure you’re reviewing it on a frequent basis. Some companies only review their compensation structures every three years. It depends on your industry, of course. The public sector is very different from the private sector. You have more leeway in the private sector than you do in the public sector, but I’ve seen them be very much just output-oriented. “Okay, here are our ranges and we’re paying everybody inside the right ranges, and everybody’s comp ratio is 1, and we make sure our high performers are above a 1.” But really it’s about taking that human aspect into consideration when you’re making compensation decisions, and thinking beyond outputs, thinking of outcomes and thinking of insights and impact. It’s not just about your budget.

Some places will start with a budget, and say, “Well, here’s how much money we have. What can we give people?” So they’re not even taking surveys into consideration. I often advise people, “You should have your compensation structure and your compensation philosophy completely outside of your budget, and then figure out how your budget can make that work.”

Mark: You talked before about the science behind compensation, and mentioned that a lot of employers depend on surveys. How does that work out, do you think? Where do surveys fall short?

Brianne: I’m not envious of anybody who has to make these decisions. I have the fun job of just figuring out how to help them.

It’s a lot of numbers. Are you pulling from enough surveys? Are you pulling from the right surveys? Is the population size large enough? And that’s still just the science of getting, “Okay, all product managers in New York City have on average, this looks to be about their range.”

Eventually, enough survey data can get you to that, but again surveys won’t highlight where we’re making missteps as a society, or in different locations. Is that average salary range for product manager in New York missing what the actual cost of living adjustment needs to be? What’s happening in each location? E

Even if you use the surveys to create your structures, when you go in as a manager … This happened to me, the first time I had to do my compensation reviews for my direct reports, I got really, really stressed out, and I was the last person who should feel terrified of this, based on my job. I got really, really nervous. I was like, “Oh, my gosh. There’s all this information that’s coming at me. Oh God, I’ve got a minimum and a max, and here’s my budget and what does it mean? What if I’m a horrible person? What if I just really feel like being mean today? I don’t think this is accurate, but what if I don’t get along with the people who report to me? How do I know that I’m making the right decision?”

I didn’t feel that the numbers were enough, because everybody who reports to me, in my opinion, I’m very lucky to say, they’re all high performers. That doesn’t mean they’re high performers all in the same way. That’s something that surveys cannot assist you in. Even performance reviews, which is your way of evaluating people, that’s still bringing qualitative into the science. Even two of my direct reports, even if they both get four out of five on their performance review, that doesn’t mean those fours mean the same thing. What if there’s a person who’s always been a four? What about somebody who was a two and now they’re a four? What if I knew something was going on with one of my direct reports? They were having a personal tragedy that I knew impacted the work they were doing. There’s a lot of personal touches when you’re making those decisions that simple survey data and compensation structures just really cannot be able to spit out a number and tell you what to do as a manager.

Mark: ADP has compensation data, and I wondered if you could tell me what’s the role ADP’s compensation data can play, and also why is it unique? Why is it valuable?

Brianne: The main thing is the sheer amount of data that we have. ADP processes payrolls for one in six Americans. So we have a ton of data of what we are paying people, and there’s a lot of different ways we can slice and dice that data, to provide insights.

That’s been a big focus for ADP—how do we translate all that data, all that science? Yes, we can contribute to the science. The science is important. We just have this sheer wealth of data that is unlike any other organization when it comes to what people are paying people.

The technology that we have to provide insights, I think, is where we’re really making a huge difference because you can uncover things around diversity and inclusion, and whether or not there’s any unconscious bias happening at your organization, to help you better contribute to that compensation philosophy.

I heard an example of a place where they gave a differential based on gender. They wanted to close the wage gap. They understood that there was a bias happening, so what if we took things like that, those things that we just might not be aware of to add to our compensation structures? Just that sheer wealth of data that ADP has helps to figure out where are we making missteps. I think that’s where we really become powerful in the compensation world as we keep growing.

Mark: My last question is, what do you think the future looks like in terms of compensation? And how do you see ADP building toward it?

Brianne: I think what I see for the future of compensation, it really comes down to shifting that focus from being a science to understanding it’s an art, and being incredibly personal.

Again, the need to shift to transparency, the upcoming generations of our workforce demanding that transparency, and advocating for themselves, the cost of living, the student loans that we’re shouldering, all those things we’ve already talked about here today.

I think that’s what compensation is shifting, making those shifts to being more insight- and impact-driven. Taking those insights and figuring out how we can make change, I think is where I’m seeing compensation heading.

That’s my goal for the compensation products, and where ADP is heading is how do we keep collecting this data, and start advising leadership, and advising leadership and advising our managers on.. maybe you need to make this consideration in your compensation structure. Again, I think it’s such a great example of finding areas where you can put premiums on, give mall percentages here there, to make up for the fact that there might be bias in your organization. Publishing your agenda, your practice of how you create your compensation strategy. This is where I’m seeing things heading more and more. It’s not just going to be compensation practitioners who are aware of how the decisions are being made. We’re starting to show breakdowns of, “You got a 12% increase at your annual review, but here’s all of the decision points that went into it: Your merit because of your performance rating, you got a cost-of-living adjustment, you got a promotion increase, or any other number of reasons.

Really communicating at all rankings in an organization, of why every single compensation decision is made is where it’s heading. I feel like it’s always been a black box. I think that black box is very much about to be very much blown wide open in the coming years as compensation keeps scaling.

Mark: Brianne, thank you very much.

Brianne: Thank you. I love talking about compensation, so anytime.

Mark: That was Brianne Wilson, manager of product management for core HR, compliance and compensation at ADP.

And this has been PeopleTech, from the HCM Technology Report. This edition was sponsored by ADP. Next Gen HCM, designed for how teams work. Learn more at flowofwork.ADP.com.

And 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-dot-hcm-technology-report-dot-com. I’m Mark Feffer.

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Women in STEM

Girls Can Do Anything

https://www.adp.com/spark/articles/2019/08/adp-women-in-stem-profile-kanyatta-walker.aspx

 

This inspirational woman in STEM lives by a four-word personal mantra: girls can do anything.

Kanyatta Walker’s unapologetically fearless outlook began when she was only three years old. A boy cast as Santa in her preschool Christmas play did not enjoy being on stage and kept missing lines. Kanyatta offered to step in, but the teachers said she couldn’t because Santa was a boy. When it turned out none of the boys knew the lines and Kanyatta did, the first female Santa debuted in the play. The crowd loved it.

In high school, Kanyatta was interested in occupational therapy and planned to major in it in college. Then she did some aptitude tests with a good friend who wanted to join the marines. The recruiter told her she was excellent at math and could pretty much do anything she wanted – except be an engineer.

Kanyatta graduated from college with a degree in software engineering technology and has never looked back.

“I always loved math,” Kanyatta said. “My aunt was a math teacher and the way she explained it just made sense to me. I love that there is always a precise answer. But there is also always more than one way to get to that answer and lots of trouble shooting.”

Management math

She was recruited by Accenture, a multinational consulting firm, where she worked in a variety of roles from sales to program manager and development manager. By 25, she was leading a team with a significant budget. “I learned by trial and error. There was so much I did not know and I made a lot of mistakes. But I also knew that teams are a mirror of their leaders. I worked at a grocery store when I was 16. When it got busy, the managers would leave their office and come help wherever needed. After the store was bought by a chain, the new managers didn’t come out of their office to help. I learned how important it is for leaders to understand what people need and show up for their team.”

As her career progressed, Kanyatta realized that there are multiple roles for leaders too. “It’s like a baseball team,” she said. “There are coaches and general managers. Coaches assemble the teams and knows who to play to bring out their best. The general manager deals with the overall strategy and choosing the right coaching staff to create the win.

“To be an effective leader, you don’t personally have to play every position. When I see something I want to do, I work to understand the underlying skills. I see how to unravel things and figure out what I know, what I need to know, and how to learn the skills I need. With core skills and ability, you can do anything.”

The desire to understand executive strategy led Kanyatta to an MBA program at Emory University while she was still working full time leading product managers, business analysts and program managers for a large telecom company. She discovered the perfect combination of math and business in her finance courses. “I can look at a company’s finances and tell you what their strategy is,” she said.

Coming to ADP

After finishing her MBA, a friend helped recruit Kanyatta to ADP in Atlanta. She was excited at the opportunity to combine her business skills with her software engineering experience. She started out as Vice President of Operations working in National Accounts on outsourcing operations. Today, Kanyatta is Vice President of Global Product and Technology – Client Product Support, where she leads teams providing product and technical support for ADP’s business units and clients.

“I love the ability to transform here. As the company is transforming, so are the opportunities for people within the company and our clients to grow. I love helping people connect the dots and see where we are going from process to technology to culture, Kanyatta said.

“I also appreciate seeing women executives at ADP and how women help each other here. I met ADP business unit presidents Debbie Dyson and Maria Black within my first six months, and they always find time and make themselves available to help others.”

Helping others succeed

Kanyatta is also committed to helping others grow and achieve their dreams. She is involved in Women in Technology International and Emory’s Executive Women of Goizueta —while also mentoring and coaching rising leaders in her role at ADP. She loves helping women figure out what they want and how to get there.

“Connecting with others can be scary, but it’s important so you can understand the playing field,” Kanyatta said. “You have to lift your head up to see and for people to see you. There’s no way for people to know how amazing you are if your head is down all the time.

“There are not many women of color in tech, so I always try to say yes when people ask me to speak. It’s important to build bridges and for younger women to see people who look like them doing the things they want to do.”

Kanyatta is quick to say that she does not do it all alone. Her husband is very supportive and encourages her to connect with others and volunteer. Together, they manage a busy family schedule with their 12 year old daughter who is playing softball on a traveling team. “I love being a softball mom and spending time with my family,” she said.

Walker family at softball field

Kanyatta, Kya and Kevin Walker enjoying time as a softball family.

Kanyatta’s advice to others

  • Be careful how you treat people because you never know who you may need or who may need you. God works through other people.
  • Be a dream giver, not a dream killer. Build authentic relationships with people. Give your perspective, but show them what it takes and how to progress instead of telling someone they can’t or shouldn’t.
  • Follow your heart and trust that it knows. Stay optimistic, be persistent and keep going. Give up the spirit of fear for the power of love.

Kanyatta Walker

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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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Girls Who Hack group photo

ADP Partners with Girls Who Hack on an all-female Hackathon

Female coders were encouraged to put their own self-doubt aside and to relentlessly pursue their education and dreams.

On a crisp autumn Saturday, 110 students arrived early to the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) campus center in Newark, New Jersey. They gathered to participate in the first-ever ALL-women 24-hour hackathon (where ADP was the diamond-level sponsor). There was a lot of excitement and anticipation in the air, both from the attendees and the Women in Computing Society organizers.

Don Weinstein, ADP Corporate Vice President and Chief Product and Technology Officer, kicked off the hackathon with a rousing keynote speech touting the importance of creating an inclusive work environment.

“I’m proud of ADP’s ability to continue to innovate as we lead the way in supporting the global workforce. Our edge comes from including varied perspectives and talent as demonstrated through events like this one,” Weinstein said. “We genuinely believe that diversity and inclusion will continue to fuel the future of work, and we remain committed to empowering a workforce that truly represents all walks of life.”

Next up was Isabel Espina, Vice President of WorkMarket Product Development (WorkMarket is an ADP company). Isabel shared her inspiring journey through the obstacles she had to overcome as one of a small handful of female engineering college students in a male dominated field. Her experience is familiar and relatable to many women in the STEM field. Isabel described how ADP has supported her career, as a technologist and as a mother, and that helped her find balance between both worlds.

Seema Murthy and Foram Shah from ADP’s enterprise architecture team conducted a very well-received hands-on workshop called Design Your Own API. The students found the material informative and immediately put their real-world coding skills to work in creating their projects. Lisa Schmidt from ADP’s college recruiting team brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm as students visited with her to learn more about internship opportunities at our company.

The judges evaluated the projects and had the difficult task of choosing the top five teams. The top five teams presented their ideas, and each team’s project was evaluated on the quality of the code, design appeal, functionality and creativity.

The first-place team, four NJIT computer science graduate students, created a Sign Language Alphabet Prediction Translator application. The application takes American sign language images, predicts what alphabet the image is depicting, and prints the predicted alphabet along with the confidence score. The use case and inspiration for the team was a fellow classmate who is deaf and mute. The team wanted to create an application for the specially-abled student to communicate more easily with professors and her classmates. This application would eliminate the need for a human translator to help the student make the technical language used in class understandable. The students used Google Cloud Platform’s Auto ML API with Tensorflow and Python for coding. It was a very creative idea!

In addition to winning cool prizes, the first-place team was invited to visit the ADP office to learn about the next generation of award-winning ADP solutions and experience our workplace culture. At the close of the event, I encouraged ALL student participants to put their own self-doubt aside and to relentlessly pursue their education and dreams. I reminded them that they alone have the biggest impact on their own education and career.

Through this Hackathon sponsorship (and the ones we plan to sponsor in the future), and our significant partnership with Girls Who Code focused on closing the Gender Gap in tech, ADP demonstrates our commitment to promoting and supporting women in technology careers.

Learn more about internship and career opportunities at ADP.

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Manjula Ganta Headshot

ADP Women in STEM Profile: Manjula Ganta

Manjula’s mantra: “Don’t focus on fitting in; figure out how to stand out.” After reading about her hard work, success and leadership, you’ll see Manjula walks the talk — and encourages others to do the same.

Growing up, Manjula Ganta wanted to be a doctor. She loved science and biology and was fascinated by how the body works as a machine. But med school was financially out of reach, so she chose a career in mathematics. Manjula’s mother encouraged her and her sisters to learn computers.

“My mother was a visionary and could see technology evolving even before the internet existed,” Manjula said. “From her experiences and struggles as a homemaker, forgoing a job opportunity due to culture constraints, my mom inspired her four girls to be independent and encouraged us to pursue our careers. She is the greatest influence on who I am today.”

From India to Omaha

Manjula grew up in a small town in southern India near Hyderabad. In school, she was very outgoing, smart, and well-rounded – a trait she carried into adulthood and her career. Manjula pursued a bachelor’s degree, majoring in mathematics. She simultaneously enrolled into a Diploma in Systems Management program that introduced her to computers. Manjula later earned her MBA with a major in finance, and graduated as class valedictorian.

She moved to Hyderabad to work for a financial services company as a management trainee. Manjula was quick to learn the intricacies of the business and even as an intern courageously presented her ideas. Soon she had an opportunity to design the development of an integrated app to better manage the company’s branch reports. “Curiosity and rapid technology changes led me to learn relational databases and the integrated enterprise application software,” Manjula recalls.

A few years later, Manjula married her high school sweetheart, who had moved to Omaha, NE. She moved from Hyderabad to Omaha, and they started a family. “It was a big adjustment for me, both culturally and professionally,” Manjula said, “and it took a while to figure out how to balance my career and family.”

Manjula began working in Boston as a Peoplesoft consultant for the state of Massachusetts, going home only every couple of weeks. “It was a very challenging time in my life, being a young mother with a traveling job – staying away from home and my toddler son,” she recalls.

Manjula then worked as a Peoplesoft technical consultant for a project with General Electric (GE) in New York in variety of roles. She successfully implemented various Peoplesoft modules, leading offshore teams. After a few years, Manjula’s husband took a new job and they moved to Atlanta, where she continued to work with GE remotely.

Have grit and break your own expectations – expectations can be a weight on your shoulders.

– Manjula Ganta, Director of Application & Development, GPT

After her nine-year project at GE, Manjula joined ADP National Accounts Services (NAS) Outsourcing (COS) division as a senior business systems analyst. “It was a big shift going from development to a business systems analyst role,” Manjula recalls. “I would still get into the code and give the developers inputs about the issues.” She laughingly added, “I think they got frustrated sometimes, but it also helped improve our communication.”

Manjula’s role soon expanded to managing the same development team across analytics, robotics process automation (RPA) and other web/cloud tools and technologies, and she was tasked with managing diverse virtual teams as a single global team. “I was responsible for helping the team see and execute the vision, removing any roadblocks and partnering with other leaders to make it successful,” she recalls. Manjula’s ability to combine business acumen and technical competency, along with her pragmatic approach, enabled her to be decisive and impactful across the COS business.

Manjula then became the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the NAS Tools & Technology Operations, where she worked on several technology and transformation initiatives to develop, support, and enhance ADP’s internal and client-facing tools.

Manjula says she’s taken this approach throughout her career: “As a thoughtful leader, I strive to create a positive and collaborative work culture with emphasis on employee recognition – helping teams to look beyond their differences. Celebrating associate birthdays, work anniversaries and key project milestones helps everyone feel valued and included.”

Currently, Manjula is a Director of Application Development, Global Product & Technology (GPT), where she takes an even broader responsibility for building ADP’s core products from a technology architecture, design, quality and user experience standpoint, to make them more effective for ADP’s clients.

Developing Self and Others

“ADP has a unique culture in which they put their associates first,” she says. “Prior to ADP, most of my development was self-initiated, but here we have many career development opportunities, mentorship programs, stretch assignments, networking events through employee resource groups, technical workshops, etc. You just need to be motivated and find the time to develop yourself.”

Manjula had the opportunity to enroll in an external Pathbuilders mentorship program. “The program helped me to become more self-aware, building my own personal brand inside and outside of ADP,” she says. Manjula is thankful to the leaders, mentors and sponsors who invested their time by providing her exposure at the business unit level.

Carrying it forward, Manjula helps mentor others at ADP and through various non-profit organizations. She is an active volunteer for Women in Technology based in Atlanta, which helps girls and women succeed from the classroom to the boardroom. Manjula recently joined the ADP GPT Women in Technology Leadership Mentoring Initiative (WiTL) that helps develop a diverse leadership talent pipeline through a formal mentoring program. She also volunteers for the American Heart Association, Special Olympics of Georgia, and leads several ADP business resource group events in the Alpharetta location, creating awareness and raising donations for causes she cares about.

Best Advice

Manjula offers this advice for women starting their careers in STEM: “Have grit and break your own expectations – expectations can be a weight on your shoulders. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes; it’s important to learn. Life is not just about success; it’s also about failure, difficulty, and learning to recover. Focus on the present, stay positive, and keep going.”

Manjula also recommends finding a mentor. “Mentors have helped me realize my worth and have inspired me to speak up, be myself, and encouraged me to take on the next challenge. One of my leaders would say, ‘I wish you had had your voice earlier.'”

“Always find your support system, family, friends or coworkers and don’t be afraid to seek help or delegate,” Manjula said. “You don’t have to be a perfectionist or do it all.”

She is very grateful for her husband, Ranjith, and two sons, Abhitej and Ritvik, who have always supported her career, helped at home, and offered new and different points of view.

“Have fun, no matter how hard things can get. Humor and fun can always make the journey (personal or professional) easier.”

Through all the learning and big changes as an Asian Indian immigrant and a woman in STEM, Manjula’s best advice is: “Don’t focus on fitting in; figure out how to stand out.”

Read about other ADP Women in STEM and learn about careers at ADP.