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DE&I as a Core Business Strategy: ADP’s Internal Initiatives & Client Services


Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) has become an important focus for HR in recent years and is increasingly part of organizations’ core business strategy. This blog takes an in-depth look at ADP’s current DE&I strategies, both internally and as relates to its client service and offerings.

ADP’s Corporate Social Responsibility

ADP currently has ~60K employees and supports ~990K clients in 140+ countries. DE&I principles are embedded into the organization’s mission statement and internal business ecosystem. Full transparency is practiced, as evidenced by the release of an annual Global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, which details current initiatives, strategies, and commitments related to environmental, social, and corporate (ESG) governance and, as of 2022, also includes ADP’s EEO-1 report. Leveraging research from the ADP Research Institute, the CSR Report provides an annual assessment of internal DE&I statistics from hiring practices, pay equity, and employee engagement. It also details many initiatives the organization currently engages in to further its DE&I strategy. Highlights from the CSR Report and current initiatives include:

  • D&I Talent Task Force, a six-year initiative (equaling two of the corporation’s strategic cycles), started in 2020, to increase and sustain diversity in leadership roles throughout ADP’s ranks. As of June 2021, women represented 53% of ADP’s global workforce and 42% of global managers, while under-represented groups amongst its U.S. employees represented 38% of the global workforce and 29% of global managers. By enhancing hiring processes and aligning career development programs, promotion practices, and retention strategies to assist in closing representation gaps, the Talent Task Force seeks to ensure equitable representation at all leadership levels for Black/African American, Hispanic, and other under-represented talent. In addition, the D&I Talent Task Force championed initiatives including the Latinx Academy, McKinsey Management Accelerator, and Black Executive Leadership Program to support under-represented leaders
  • The Supplier Diversity Program proactively identifies, builds relationships with, and purchases goods and services from minority, women, LGBTQ+, veteran-owned, and other qualified diverse enterprises. Partnerships are made with businesses that reflect the local and global markets ADP serves, while obtaining high-level quality goods and services for its clients. Supplier mentorship at ADP features one-on-one work, group discussions and summits to help new and existing suppliers improve their business acumen, especially with large corporations. FY21 saw a 9% increase in diverse spend (compared to FY19), 16% of overall procurement spend with diverse suppliers, and $3.1m in savings attributed to the use of diverse suppliers
  • Partnership with OneTen, an organization launched with the support of 37 CEOs and American companies, including ADP, with the mission to upskill, hire, and promote one million Black Americans over the next ten years into family-sustaining jobs with opportunities for advancement. With a specific commitment to hire or promote those without four-year degrees, OneTen reflects local workforce development landscapes, focusing on reducing exclusionary hiring practices, identifying robust and new talent sources, and ensuring that adequate and equitable career pathways for advancement exist. Additionally, funds from the ADP Foundation are donated to OneTen to underline its commitment to the mission.

Internal DE&I Strategy

Internal DE&I highlights include:

  • The Workforce Diversity Initiative, a proactive data-led approach to identifying offices or locations in which talent is not being selected based on availability in the market. This initiative is critical for recognizing challenges in the internal HR pipeline where diversity goals are not being met
  • An Inclusive Language Initiative that establishes inclusive language guidance and standards at ADP and within its products 
  • Focal Point Review, an annual pay evaluation that ensures that equity is maintained regarding the salaries of under-represented employees. Additionally, prior pay amounts are not inquired about during recruitment and hiring processes
  • Business Research Groups (BRGs) are voluntary, associate-led groups that promote DE&I, and also serve as a vital business resource for ADP—helping to expand career growth, recruit diverse talent, make inroads into diverse markets, and diversify suppliers and vendors
  • Employee Benefits that are inclusive of women and family health, same-sex partner benefits, and mental health needs.

Internally, ADP exemplifies a long-term sustainability approach to DE&I that goes beyond buzzwords, market trends, and emotional gratification. Bob Lockett, Chief Diversity and Talent Officer, explains, “It’s critical that we embed DE&I principles into ADP’s business ecosystem. It helps communities because there's an ecosystem approach that suggests that if we get people great paying jobs, they have the opportunity to have discretionary funds to spend. Those discretionary funds could support minority or under-represented group-owned businesses. And there's a life cycle that happens. And if we do it right as a company at ADP, then we stand to reap the economic benefits”.

The economic opportunities presented by fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion go beyond ADP’s internal workforce initiatives and practices, and extend to its client services.

Client Services

Often, clients need services and products that assist with putting DE&I into action in ways beyond representation in talent acquisition. They need a better understanding of where gaps reside and how to create inclusive practices in all workplace functions. Giselle Mota, Chief of Product Inclusion at ADP, speaks of the necessity of DE&I offerings as a key innovation and growth element of client products and services. Key DE&I components within ADP’s client services include:

  • The ConnectionXPS metric leverages research from the ADP Research institute to confidentially measure employee feelings of being seen, heard, and valued to produce experience scores. The metric provides benchmarks on efforts to increase feelings of employee belonging
  • ADP Strategic Advisory Services offers workshops to help organizations determine current diversity needs and assess inclusion goals. As a follow-up, clients receive a customized DE&I playbook. ADP Professional Services can execute the diversity recommendations for an additional fee, including evaluating workplace demographic trends, data analysis, and designing leadership workshops
  • Voluntary Gender Self-Identification enables employees to determine how they wish to be identified at work by selecting from a defined set of pronouns. The product feature also offers gender-neutral salutations and the ability to update employee profiles and email addresses with preferred names. This is currently available internally at ADP, and for U.S. and Canadian employees in ADP Workforce Now, with plans to extend the update to other ADP solutions
  • ADP DataCloud is a people analytics solution that enables companies to leverage a workforce dataset formed from anonymized data from ~30 million workers in ~990k organizations. It allows companies to benchmark data to assist with numerous operational efficiencies such as finding qualified candidates and developing competitive compensation packages in line with industry standards. In 2021, the ADP DataCloud was named the “Data Analytics Innovation of the Year” in the Data Breakthrough Awards. It features a DE&I Dashboard, Pay Equity Storyboard, and Talent Market Insights
  • ADP Recruiting Intelligence Technology uses machine learning, data, and AI to offer solutions focused on candidate skillsets, while minimizing unconscious or implicit bias for more diverse recruiting and hiring through the following features:
    • Automated Resume Parsing to help mitigate bias and reduce time on human review of each resume or application
    • Candidate Relevancy Score uses AI and machine-learning models to match skills and experience against job descriptions to formulate predetermined algorithms to match relevant factors across job descriptions for each applicant’s resume
    • Side-by-Side comparisons for more consistent candidate evaluations
  • ADP Marketplace is the organization’s digital storefront, designed to help clients create more efficient HR processes. It offers the ability to try, buy, and implement HR solutions that automatically connect with the ADP platform. Examples of third-party integration partners for DE&I solutions include:
    • Dailypay – grants instant access to earned income to provide needed funds
    • SAP Litmos – provides diversity training and learning for employees
    • ClearCompany – customizes application questions to better recruit diverse applicants
    • PayParity – analyzes pay equity through a diversity lens.


Undoubtedly, diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures strengthen teams and businesses. ADP’s approach to embedding DE&I within its client services allows organizations to first identify their current state through a free service led by the strategic advisory group; then utilize product offerings that rely on research from the ADP Research Institute and AI and ML data to develop achievable strategies to cultivate diversity. Along with ensuring that its internal DE&I practices are an embedded part of its strategic decision-making, the ability to pair technology and professional, expert-led consultative approaches around attracting, retaining, and engaging talent is a significant market differentiator for ADP. With numerous professional awards related to diversity and development, including 16 consecutive years on Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, ADP’s business policies reflect continuous and sustainable DE&I internal practices and client services, with recognition of the significant, positive impact that inclusive workforces have on businesses’ financial performance.

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