Employer Branding Recruitment Marketing

How ADP Built a Tech EVP From the Ground Up

How ADP Built a Tech EVP From the Ground Up
Profile photo of Erica Howes
Written by Erica Howes

Developing a new EVP can be a daunting task. Learn from Liz Gelb-O’Connor, VP of Global Head Employer Brand & Marketing at ADP, how she built their new EVP, gathering support and help from colleagues all across the organization.

How ADP Built a Tech EVP From the Ground Up
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Your employee value proposition answers one of the most important questions candidates have on their job search — why should I join this organization and why should I stick around long term? 

With tech talent in high demand, it’s crucial to understand what sets you apart. Particularly in today’s market where work from home and flexible work options are no longer a differentiator.  If you’re having difficulty answering this question, there’s a good chance that it’s because of any or all of the following 3 issues: 

  1. You’re not involving your employees in the decision-making process
  2. Your EVP isn’t infused throughout the candidate journey
  3. Your leaders and employees don’t know how to clearly communicate your EVP to make it stick 

To help provide some guidance in these areas, we’re looking at how Human Capital Management software titan ADP, one of America’s largest corporations with over 58,000 employees, recently built a new EVP from the ground up to appeal to a new tech talent audience. As a result, they experienced 3x more traffic to their tech careers site compared to the previous year and more than a 70% increase in their application rate. 

They focused on working with their own technology employees along the way to create an EVP specific for this audience — “for technologists, by technologists.”

Their approach earned them first place in the Best Employer Branch Launch category at the 2021 Rally Awards. Hopefully learning about their experience leaves you inspired to find the same success in building and activating your own team-specific EVP. 

1) Find your champions and involve them in the decision-making process

ADP first turned to their existing technologists across all the subcategories and locations they were looking to hire for. To find these technologists, VP of Global Head Employer Brand & Marketing, Liz Gelb-O’Connor worked with top-level leaders to find champions at the leadership level in each location. She then tasked them with getting focus groups together and organizing the talent they would speak to. 

With her champions in place, advisory talent secured, a film crew of one and a partner from her agency, Symphony Talent at her side, Liz got to work visiting ADP’s innovation centers around the world to try to understand what an EVP for tech talent, by tech talent, looked like. This included focus group sessions, EVP workshops, round tables and department-wide surveys to learn everything from what tech talent wants to see on a career site to how they would rank different EVPs. 

Along the way, she also expanded her advisory team. During the focus group sessions, she asked participants to leave sticky notes on the board as they left if they were interested in helping with ongoing advisory and advocacy on the tech team EVP journey. In the end, 70 people left sticky notes — an additional 70 tech voices Liz could rely on for guidance when making big decisions, like choosing the new design of their new tech company site. 

By the end, Liz and her team were left with a concrete understanding of what tech talent wanted and the direction for their new EVP, “Let’s design what’s next,” through the following pillars:

  • Courageous team collaboration
  • Deliver at epic scale
  • Curious learners
  • Owners and doers
  • Giving back

2) Let employees lead in showcasing stories from a tech perspective 

In addition to helping them to uncover their new EVP, ADP’s champions also played a major role in the revamping of their tech careers site to align with their new EVP. 

Other than ADP’s brand colors, everything was revamped to come across as “for technologists, by technologists,” focusing on what kinds of tech careers are available, what it’s like to grow as a technologist at ADP, the technology and tech stacks they use and the general cultural working at ADP as a technologist. To really help candidates envision themselves at the company, Liz and her team also created dedicated pages for each of their innovation centers around the world, complete with hyper-localized messaging, blogs and videos.

ADP’s Brazil Innovation Center's tech stack

The listed tech stack used in ADP’s Innovation Center in Brazil, which is a helpful piece of information for candidates local to that area. 

To let employees lead the way in showing ADP’s tech perspective, they also added a new tech and innovation blog to the site featuring contributions from ADP technologists, which champions helped identify and organize. Here’s an idea of the kinds of stories featured:

As mentioned earlier, Liz brought her videographer, Ingrid, with her as she traveled abroad to each of ADP’s innovation centers. During this time, the team collected 242 hours worth of video content to share online, including 52 videos for their Tech and Innovation Playlist and 9 videos for their Women in STEM Playlist on YouTube. They also added these videos to their respective innovation center pages on their tech careers site.


A video from ADP’s Tech & Innovation @ ADP playlist featuring employees talking about their localized experience at the Hyderabad Innovation Center.

3) Make it easy for employees and leaders to pick up and run with your new EVP

ADP’s situation was unique in that it was leadership who first put forth the idea of creating a new tech team EVP to Liz, not the other way around. Even though there wasn’t much top-level buy-in needed in this regard, the team still needed to get recruiters, tech leaders and the rest of ADP’s workforce on board with activation.  

Fortunately, because they worked with tech leaders and recruiters from day one, they knew that the new EVP was coming even before the focus groups were conducted. That said, people still had busy schedules, so to make things even easier, Liz put together a simple activation packet for leaders and recruiters containing the following information: 

  • Tech EVP
  • Tech Credo 
  • Marketing Toolkit (to use in their own personal networks)
  • Life@ADP (internal advocacy program)
  • Tech Events Playbook (virtual events playbook to adjust to the pandemic)
  • Tech Talent Resource Center 
one-page toolkit for ADP recruiters and hiring managers

A one-pager that recruiters and hiring managers can reference at a glance helps ensure that everything from job descriptions to candidate communication remain consistent and aligned with your new EVP.

She also created quick tutorials breaking down tasks like:

  • “How to be an ambassador in 15 mins”
  • “How to refer in 10 mins a day”
  • “How to make a video in 10 mins a day”

The goal was to make it as easy as possible to get on board with activation, regardless of how packed their schedules were. To this day, she works with ADP’s internal communications team to disperse these materials across the organization. 

Sharing blog content is another way that ADP promotes their tech talent brand. Through an employee advocacy program, Liz’s team gets their blog content in front of employees, who can then share with one click to their personal networks. After seeing their tech talent community double in four months (people who have shown an interest in working for ADP through some kind of engagement) they started also sending out bi-monthly newsletters through their CRM alerting them to new content and job posts. 

employee access of new blog content

Not only can employees easily access new blog content, but they can just as easily share it with their own networks with 1-button sharing. 

The general takeaway from ADP’s process is that earning buy-in isn’t enough for a successful activation; you also need to make sure employees and candidates alike know where to go to learn about your EVP, as well as use any promotional materials or tools you create. 

—————

By involving their employees in the decision-making process from start to finish, activating their new EVP through employee stories and providing the training and resources necessary to make it easy to share, ADP’s new tech team EVP strategy proved to be a major success. 

To learn more about creating an award-winning employer brand, you can read our post featuring 5 Employer Brand Launch Lessons from Rally Award Winners

How ADP Built a Tech EVP From the Ground Up
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About the Author

Profile photo of Erica Howes

Erica Howes

Erica Howes is a Content Contributor for Rally and the Employer Brand Content Manager at The Employer Brand Shop. She enjoys connecting with Recruitment Marketing professionals in the Rally community to write about their stories, hear their experiences with industry challenges and share best practices.

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