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Thought Leadership

Scaling Engineering and Technology in a Platform-First Approach with ADP

Written By Aditi Chandrasekar | July 15, 2021

The words “Human Capital Management” typically bring to mind boring and complex systems that deal with payroll, recruitment, and training. ADP is breathing fresh life into these worlds by leveraging the latest and greatest technologies—and is globally acknowledged for it. 

For 10 consecutive years, they have been named a Leader in the Everest Group’s Multi-Process Human Resources Outsourcing Evaluation. They were recently named the “Customer’s Choice” in Gartner’s Peer Insights 2021 category, “Cloud HCM Suites for 1000+ Employee Enterprises”.

Our Senior Director of Marketing, Aadil Bandukwala and Co-Founder & CTO, Harishankaran K, conversed with ADP’s Vice President of Associate Experience, Vijay Gogineni, about the company’s values powering its growth, their proclivity to choose smart data over big data, and how they extend innovation beyond the four walls of their company. 

Scroll down for some valuable insights from the discussion or view the full recording of it here.

1. Tying every action to a central vision solves internal problems

At ADP, their vision is to “Win as One". This concisely encapsulates the mindset that they try to cultivate at their company. The subdivisions of this vision are “simplifying, innovating, and growing”. All 60,000+ ADP employees ensure that everything they do falls under one of these 3 categories. 

Having global teams bring challenges such as cultural differences, varying time zones, and language barriers but having a central vision and constantly reinforcing its importance can greatly help overcome these challenges and foster a sense of belonging. 

2. Answering the age-old question of structuring teams 

ADP recently instituted the product triad model, where product managers, UI/UX designers, and app developers work together end to end. This way, insightful conversations are constantly taking place, and subsequently, a lot of empathy is cultivated, which is important in cross-functional teams. 

Borrowing a leaf out of Amazon’s book, they’ve also implemented the two-pizza team rule which says that “teams should be small enough to be fed by two pizzas.” 

These implementations follow their executive team’s motto of “build it, run it, and own it”. This motto aims to eliminate the practice in software development of building an app and then throwing it over a fence for testing and maintenance. At ADP, everyone is involved from beginning to end.

3. If ADP’s success had to be boiled down to one thing

In the 1970s, the Form W-2 that employers are mandated to send to employees was a 4-part, carbon copy one. Filling it up would take a long time, and it would often get messy and illegible.  

The CEO at the time, Josh Weston, identified this as a problem. Instead of delegating the task of finding and implementing a solution to an employee who worked under him, he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. 

He redesigned Form W-2 into a single-page one and submitted his design to a lawyer to show to the IRS. He knew that no law stated that Form W-2 had to be a 4-page carbon copy, so he was confident in challenging the status quo. Fast forward 4 decades, and this is the Form W-2 that every company in the US uses today.

ADP continues to encourage every single employee to solve problems like these creatively. Their values of “simplifying and innovating” are imbibed in the company’s DNA.

4. ADP solves for the economy, as much as they solve for individual customers

In the last few years, gig work has become extremely popular. It’s been projected that by 2030, 80% of the workforce will comprise gig workers. 

In company establishments too, more workers nowadays are requesting to get paid when they want it and not on paydays decided by the company. Unfortunately, off-cycle pay can be complex and expensive in traditional payroll systems.

ADP solved this problem through their next-gen payroll engine, named Pi (Payroll Innovation). All it does is real-time pay - giving workers the freedom to choose when they get paid. Similarly, Roll by ADP is their solution for small businesses allowing them to pay their employees in under a minute, by simply sending a text! 

Over their 70+ years as a company, they’ve learned that the best customer experience can be achieved by aiming for simplicity. All of their products were born out of the need to simplify traditionally complex human capital management. Like Leonarda Da Vinci famously said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

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