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Leading in a Pandemic Recovery World: How ADP is Supporting its Clients


Earlier in the month on the NelsonHall HR Quarterly Buyer Market Round-Up session, many buyers agreed that compliance is going to be a bigger issue in 2020 and beyond than it was before.  Before it was just table stakes, now it is about survival, and with the new WFH (Work from Home) structures, the risks are higher.

I had this in mind when I joined ADP’s Analyst Day last week. ADP shared how HR priorities are changing and how, as one of the largest HR and payroll providers, they have responded to the many shifting priorities and also staying close to clients to support their changing needs. Here are a few takeaways from the ADP Analyst event, through the lens of Liz Rennie.  I consider these to be the most significant as they relate to HR in the pandemic recovery world:

  • HR has been focusing on employee safety as the number one priority like never before – this we all recognize and is not news
  • 10 years of job growth in the U.S. got wiped out in one single month – and an impact is job insecurity is heightened. HR teams know employee health and wellness, as a result, can indirectly affect productivity
  • Employees working on the front line in COVID-19 crisis response industries do not need the extra stress of not being paid on time
  • Compliance is now more than table stakes – navigating the relief opportunities offered by the governments in a timely way has meant the difference between a small business surviving or folding.

And just in case you didn’t appreciate your payroll provider enough, this is a glimpse of how ADP responded over the last months and how they are planning to help clients in the near term:

  • ADP saw a 50% increase in clients reaching out to ADP the first few weeks of the pandemic compared to normal call volumes
  • Implemented 1.4k feature changes from 2k legislative articles across 60 countries
  • Responded within three days of the CARES Act passing to support small businesses with the implementation of its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
  • Enabled 400k clients to run 2m SBA loan application reports, representing a value of $115bn
  • Over $600m tax credits processed for 473k employees across 38k clients
  • Partnered with Volunteer Surge. ADP’s Workmarket product helped onboard 1k volunteer health workers across 45 states within two weeks
  • Offered free trial access of Employee Assistance Programs to clients through LifeCare to support workplace stress - 550 clients signed up in the last two months.

Three clients joined the ADP Analyst Day session to share their experiences of living through the pandemic using ADP services. All were very complimentary of how they had full confidence in the service. They also shared that ADP offered extended support, to the extent that if the client struggled to run a payroll internally, ADP offered to step in and run the payrolls on the client's behalf in the short term if that was needed.

Finally, it is great to see many wider initiatives to help the industry. ADP is assisting the industry through the following methods, which, if you’re not an ADP client, you can also benefit from:

  • ADP Research Institute Labor Market Summit 2020:  you can still register here
  • COVID-19 microsite with employer tools launched 19 June 2020:
  • Collaborated in key research such as The U.S. Labor Market during the Beginning of the Pandemic Recession see:
  • Creating thought leadership through the Marcus Buckingham Company with The Feedback Fallacy, Harvard Business Review’s most downloaded article in 2019
  • ADP research Institute headed up by Dr. Ahu Yildirmaz produces some powerful insights, my favorite is this one: ADP Workforce Vitality Report – subscribe here

So what’s next for ADP? Don Weinstein, CVP Global Product and Technology, shared the ADP Workplace toolkit to help get employees back to office spaces. So what is good about this?

  • Employees that state they are ready to go back can register as such through a survey
  • HR organizations can accordingly plan, communicate and prepare the offices for specific workplace returns–  allocating employees to different days of the week to enable staggered and rotational returns of different employee groupings
  • COVID-19 health surveys regularly sent before returns to support attestation and screenings
  • Touchless ADP mobile apps supporting entry on site
  • ADP DataCloud  to enable reporting and analytics and if needed, contact tracing based on attendance on site

With regulations regarding workplace safety around the world changing all the time, compliance now has a whole new meaning. Corporate manslaughter is an area that no clients want to have to face, but staying out of touch and out of the offices for long periods is also likely to bring its own compliance issues. 

One caution, otherwise I wouldn’t be an analyst. The much anticipated new ADP product Next-Gen HCM developments might be somewhat delayed given all of the above, but I won’t hold this against ADP.

As independent analysts, we need to keep things factual. However, in the spirit of showing empathy in these unprecedented times, I want to extend a big thank you to ADP and all the other payroll and HR providers for helping clients, ensuring the livelihood of many employees during the crisis (which fundamentally includes paying people on time and assisting many businesses to get the relief they needed to survive) and also for supporting the wider industry in providing valuable insights into the impact COVID-19 has had on people, which has helped shape relief efforts and responses.

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