Over the last 60 years, while growing its business from one U.S. client to 600,000 clients globally, ADP has taken many steps to increase its diversity. As the Cuban-born daughter of hard-working immigrants, and a 12-year veteran of the company, I am proud of our accomplishments and activities in this pursuit.
Our diversity philosophy stems from the company’s founder, Henry Taub, who was the son of immigrants and understood the value that comes from harnessing diversity in every way. Today, diversity initiatives come all the way from the top, from CEO Carlos Rodriguez, who knows first-hand what it takes to overcome the challenges of a diverse background. He too came to the U.S. from Cuba with his parents when he was a small boy.
His is certainly the most visible success story at ADP, but by no means the only example of success, where a dedicated team of diversity professionals and many associates and leaders volunteer their time to bring ADP’s values to life in new and surprising ways, helping to drive our vision of a more inclusive workplace.
One of these efforts is ADP’s Hispanic Associate Resource Group (ARG), which launched in March 2009 and has grown to over 400 members strong. Currently it’s only in the U.S., with plans to go global. The group supports ADP’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as a means to fully engage, empower, educate, and add value to our associates. It also serves as ADP’s premier global link to the Hispanic culture, community, and talent.
The Hispanic ARG is committed to increasing stakeholder value by engaging in and supporting activities that build upon our associates’ strengths and giving back to the community. It is the goal of the Hispanic ARG to support diversity and inclusion throughout ADP; enhance associate value by creating educational, networking, and leadership opportunities; and build relationships within our communities by engaging in charitable and change management activities. In 2012 alone, our regional Hispanic ARG chapters worked on at least four Habitat for Humanity houses and volunteered in their communities in many other ways.
We’re proud of all of our Associate Resource Groups. In addition to the Hispanic ARG, we have formalized groups for associates who are African American, Homeshored/Virtual, LGBT&A (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies), and connected with the Military. In each case the company seeks to promote the associates’ professional development through networking, mentoring, events, and other activities. The net result is a support system that champions diversity initiatives for all ADP associates.
Looking forward to the next generation of ADP leaders, we have expanded our internship program, with an eye toward identifying high-potential individuals from diverse backgrounds. We already started work on a new cycle of summer internships for 2013. With a new focus on Service, Human Resources, Financial and Technology functions and a strong emphasis on “Building a Career” with ADP, our objective is to build stronger relationships and to provide enriching experiences with our interns, and potentially to transition them into full-time roles with us after they graduate.
While our goal is not recognition, we’re pleased that our efforts have been recognized across the industry. Among our many awards, we have earned DiversityInc’s “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” and “Top 10 Companies for Latinos” awards, and Diversity MBA ranked ADP in the top 50 companies for diverse managers to work. We were named to the Working Mother “100 Best Companies List” in 2012 for our wide array of initiatives that help support female associates in balancing career and family. ADP also received a 100-percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index– the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – for the fourth consecutive year.
The challenge of diversity is to acknowledge that being different doesn’t have to be an obstacle. In fact it can be a source of strength. Organizations that embrace diversity typically outperform those that don’t. So it’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.
As we look toward 2013, our commitment to a more diverse, inclusive, and successful ADP has never been stronger. Our journey to unlock the potential that diversity brings to our associates, clients, shareholders and community at large continues.
Rita Mitjans is the Chief Diversity & Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at ADP.