Conversation with ADP Image credit Pixabay/GeraltEvery year ADP publishes the People at Work report. Enterprise Times had the opportunity to discuss some of the findings with Sirsha Haldar recently, along with his experience of leading ADP in the UK, Ireland and South Africa region. Haldar has been with ADP for more than 22 years and moved from running the South East Asia region of the Global View business to take up the role. Global View is its payroll solution targeting multi-nationals.

Who is ADP

Sirsha Haldar, General Manager, UK, Ireland & South Africa
Sirsha Haldar, General Manager, UK, Ireland & South Africa

The region is one of ten regions that rolls up to the international region. Haldar is responsible for sales, business growth operations, (product) lines, and associates (employees). Most people will have heard of ADP but may not be aware of the scale of the company.

Haldar explained, “ADP is the world’s leading HR technology service provider. It was a service company; today, it’s a very strong technology company. We have the ability to service clients from two employees to a million employees. We are probably the only company with a tremendous track record of servicing clients across 150 countries worldwide. If you are a company that needs HR service, it doesn’t matter where it doesn’t matter what kind of service you want. ADP has a track record of providing that service.

“It’s a tremendously evolving company. There’s a lot of focus on innovation and doing things right. It is very strong on values. We always say that you need to win, but you need to win it right. You don’t take shortcuts and don’t do things which are wrong. That’s how I look at ADP. We are very focused on understanding what our associates, as well as our clients’ employees, want. Very recently, we hit a benchmark of having 1 million clients. This is the first HR company to have 1 million clients in the world. In this HR domain, it’s an unparalleled company with both depth and breadth of working across the globe.”

People at Work

What were your main takeouts from the Future of Work Report?

Haldar explained, “It’s not surprising that people are expecting higher salary increases, considering the current cost of living situation. Probably one thing that surprises everyone is that our younger generation prefers to work from home. I and a lot of people I’ve spoken to thought that it will be easier for the younger generation to come back to the office, and experienced people will not want to come to the office, but that’s not what we have seen.

“Mental health is, again, a topic of discussion. We have other studies that came out with the same thing. One surprise that came out is that a higher proportion of younger workers are saying that they are more stressed, 53% of the working population, around 35 years or below, whereas when we go to 55 years and above, it’s almost 26% of people who were saying they are feeling stressed.

“It was no wonder the current workforce is very, very focused on diversity, equity and inclusivity. That’s very important, especially for the young generation. The four-day working week is also coming up. That’s an evolving theme, whether five days of work or four days of work with 10 hours a day.

“Finally, people working from home versus people working in the office, what do they feel about their organisations? Who feels that they are valued more, and surprisingly, people working from home are feeling that they are valued more compared to others. It’s almost like seven in ten vs five in ten. These are some of the highlights that come from the study. A few are surprising. A few are, to me, at least, expected.”

I asked Haldar why he thought the younger generation wanted to work from home. His personal View, backed by conversation, is the younger generation finds the commute eats into personal time. During the lockdown, they have seen the benefit of the extra time, which has delivered more freedom. He also believes that younger generations are more comfortable working and communicating through screens. Children today communicate via phones, on chat and in video games, often in the same room. The older generation already in the habit of office working, has a greater desire to return to the office.

The state of ADP now

The UK&I + South Africa region is an important region for ADP. Its market share is not as high compared to the US but is significant, especially in the Payroll sector. The company has 4,000 clients in the region, with four offices in the UK, one in Dublin and three in South Africa. It also has support from three centres in India with a matrix-style organisational structure. Those teams in India are dedicated to different functions across the region.

On Focus

What is your focus in terms of the target market?

“We look at the market in three segments. We have small business services, typically clients with around 50 or below employees. We have mid-market, which is above 50, below 1000. Above that, we look at it as upmarket, which is the enterprise segment, 1000-3000 is one segment and above 3000 is another. We have products and services, and clients in all these three segments.

“Our sweet spot currently is the mid and lower segment; we have good market share. In fact, we also have a very good market share in the higher market. We have another product, Global View, which is not a domestic product but caters to very large multi-national clients. That product is also here in the UK, and have very big companies taking service from that product across many countries.

“Our aim is to penetrate more in mid-market with the talent module. Apart from payroll, the HR system of record, and the other talent modules, we want to get into lower and mid-markets. In the upper market, it’s payroll.”

On the future

What do you hope to achieve in 2023?

“We are looking for growth in the market. We are on track to grow significantly, at around 15-16% growth. To achieve that, there are a number of things that need to happen. You need to be able to support the growth and maintain the service level and the product.”

On challenges

What are your challenges?

“The biggest challenge is the uncertainty in the market. We know that we are heading into a recession. At the same time, we are seeing the employment market is still pretty good.”

Haldar revealed that ADP track the number of employees within their systems, and they had seen a rise in employment this year. The data ADP sees is not as comprehensive as the US as its market share is smaller. In the US, ADP published a national employment report every month. Haldar has no plans to produce one in the UK. He was recently in a CBI meeting, during which the main challenges raised were the unavailability of talent and the rising cost of living. Despite this, he is confident about ADPs growth.

In the mid-market in HCM, what do you see as your customers’ challenges?

“There are many, actually, which is good. The more problems, the more you can solve. It’s a more exciting place to be in. We are hearing quite a bit about early access to wages, which is something new. Most of the employees in this market are paid monthly. It is not an issue in the US because people are paid weekly. We hear from our customers that their employees are saying,’ I have worked for a week. I need my wages for a week’. That’s not very easy to do. Early wage access is a pretty big thing that’s coming.

“There are issues around people wanting to work from different places. When somebody wants to work from a different country, it becomes complex, and there are taxation and other issues.

“There is more and more complexity coming in terms of the hours worked. Countries are coming up with regulations saying you can work for this many hours, and you cannot work for that many hours. I think these are coming as we see more activism.”

Are you talking about working time regulations?

“Yes. Then another important thing is the whole pay parity issue. In the UK, we have a reporting requirement. Different countries are coming up with those kinds of regulations, asking for more transparency on wages. That means more complexity in how you do your compensation, structuring and what reports you need to generate. Overall it is becoming more interesting. It is not just you calculate NI, you calculate tax, and you pay, and that’s, that’s. It’s not like that. Then data security is a big thing. Especially in our business, we have to be super focused on making sure that our systems are secure.”


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