Journey into Tech
Hi Roberto, please tell us about your role and the team / technology you handle at ADP. How did you arrive at ADP?
I currently serve as SVP of ADP Innovation Labs – a department that incubates new technologies and creates new products and businesses to add value to the lives of our clients. Some of the projects we have launched include the ADP® Mobile Solutions app and ADP Marketplace, the largest digital one-stop shop for people management solutions. More recently, we launched Roll™ by ADP® – an innovative DIY payroll solution for small businesses.
Prior to ADP, I founded three different startups in Brazil, including B&M, a software company that provided HR/Payroll SaaS, and a consultancy for large Latin American corporations, which was acquired by ADP in 2000.
Tell us more about Roll by ADP and how it fits into the modern HR Tech stack?
Roll by ADP is all about providing a modern digital experience. It is a completely reinvented way to provide payroll and HR to small businesses. The whole idea is that it’s a fully digital platform that allows our clients to come in, download the app from the app store and self-implement within fifteen minutes. They can run payroll on their own, and it becomes easier than chatting with a friend. Roll by ADP continues ADP’s legacy of innovation in the HCM space. The solution pioneers different aspects of how to provide the best service out there, serving, essentially, as a digital assistant.
How will small businesses benefit from using Roll by ADP? How will it impact the payroll space?
The most important thing for small business owners and entrepreneurs is time. Roll by ADP helps save those valuable minutes of the day by taking the work out of running payroll – even sending users push notifications when it’s time to carry out the task. For small business owners, making payroll is top of mind – running payroll is not.
They want to know things like:
How do I acquire more clients?
How do I increase my sales?
How do I keep my inventory low?
Payroll should be something they don’t need to engage with every single day. They can come in for a quick moment and be done for the pay cycle. ADP takes care of everything else behind the scenes because we know how to do so. We combine our trusted expertise with the latest technologies to make sure our customers’ payroll is correct as they run it. Through AI, Roll by ADP uses a chat-based interface that provides alerts and intelligent insights like, “hours for this employee seem a bit high this week.” Using chat, users can also simply say, “give a raise to [employee name]” to start that task. Roll by ADP will ask a few simple questions and handle the “paperwork” for them.
How do you see the entire Roll by ADP ecosystem evolving around the concept of real-time analytics and people data management?
One of the beautiful qualities of Roll by ADP is that it gets more intelligent as you use it.
The more payrolls you run, it understands the nuances specific to the user – tracking what their objectives are, what their levels of payroll frequency are, etc. All of that information generates data that we use to make the system better. Roll by ADP can also compare a user’s payroll to their history of payment. For example, if there’s anything that goes against the statistical norm – like an employee getting paid for 60 hours when they usually only get paid for 40 – Roll by ADP will alert the user immediately in real-time to question those outliers and make sure they are correct.
This conversational UI is a perfect conduit to inject analytics and intelligence into the conversation. When many people think about analytics, they think about a dashboard full of pie charts – which is not a good UI for analytics. The best UI is actionable analytics. It’s analytics that users can connect to, evaluate and act on. The way they are implemented in Roll by ADP is the perfect medium to put analytics into the conversation at the point of decision making.
What is your opinion on the use of AI and Automation for various HR activities, including Roll by ADP? Can these be trusted 100% to deliver results?
We use AI in different aspects of the system. First, we use AI behind the scenes to perform “intent recognition” where Roll by ADP can figure out what the user is trying to do when they input a phrase – utilizing a ton of very powerful algorithms within our domain. We also use AI to drive analytics and perform a statistical and data sampling analysis of a user’s payroll, hires and terminations, which are injected into their conversation with the system.
The HR space and payroll space are prime for AI to help drive better-informed decision-making that can drive business outcomes.
Hear it from the pro: What are the biggest trends in the HR Tech industry that every business professional should watch out for in 2021-2022?
I think there is an urge for simplification. The systems, the infrastructure, the procedures – everything just became too complex. Roll by ADP is back to the basics of keeping things simple. It understands that payroll is not the core of most owners’ businesses. That realization is making the industry rethink the UX, how it provides the services, how low-touch it should be, and how much more insightful it should be. Technology allows us to be proactive and take initiative. Instead of business owners needing to go to the system, log in and know which menu to access, the system comes to them. We all carry a mobile device and are used to information being pushed to us – why not in this space?
One of the biggest trends we’ll see is very tailored, personalized, AI-driven pushes to the decision maker of what they need to know when they need to know it. The system becomes your assistant.
Tell us more about the hiring challenges for Product/Marketing teams of leading technology companies like ADP? What advice do you have for the industry leaders in this regard?
Hiring can often be challenging. One aspect of this is the fight for talent, especially in the tech space. How do you stand out to candidates when compared with peers in the industry? One of the things that can help is employing innovative technology to help make tasks easier, and enticing talent with the technology they’ll be able to work with and evolve. The flexibility of the workspace is also huge. Since the pandemic, work-from-home options and flexible schedules are more in demand and are likely to become table stakes when attracting and retaining talent.
For me personally, I try to find folks who have creative and lateral thinking skills and a sense of collaboration, more so than those who know the particular technology or stack we’re using. The non-technical skills for me are the most important. You can always learn the language of the job, but to have broader, lateral thinking across the business is critical. It’s easier said than done and it’s hard to find those candidates, but I’d advise all industry leaders to look for a well-rounded employee as opposed to the one who is strictly skill/data-focused.
Thank you, Roberto! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.
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Roberto Masiero is a Vice President, ADP Innovation Labs at ADP based in Roseland, New Jersey. Roberto joined ADP in 2000 when B&M, his company in Brazil (a software company that provided HR/Payroll SaaS and consultancy for large latin-america corporations), was acquired by ADP Brazil. Over the last 12 years he lead several research and development teams on core ADP solutions.