Training and Development

The ability to offer insightful expertise to our clients and associates is one of our core values. Our associates are encouraged to challenge themselves, share their strengths, take risks and find community. We believe in investing in team members to teach them the skills necessary for success and growth in their careers.

The ADP talent journey begins with an innovative, engaging and comprehensive on-boarding process, followed by extensive training and mentorship. With the rise of new hires working from home, we faced a new challenge of training associates on how to use our technology. To address this challenge, we introduced a novel training program that starts on the associate’s mobile device and directly delivers a welcome message, information on our philosophies and set-up instructions using augmented reality. This early engagement in the learning cycle helps our associates become part of the ADP community and sets them up for long-term success.

Associates are also encouraged to get familiar with our culture by learning about our DE&I focus and our “Integrity is Everything” approach. To further enhance performance and career development, ADP associates have access to a wide variety of professional and functional skills training well beyond on-boarding. All associates at ADP are also encouraged to join BRGs where they can take advantage of mentoring programs, learning events and even safely experiment with leadership skills as a local chapter leader. We also build leadership capabilities for current and future leaders with targeted and inclusive leadership development programs. At ADP, we focus on continuously improving our leadership development offerings to meet evolving business needs including a current focus on digital skills and our transformation into a strengths-based organization.

ADP’s learning organization is a hybrid model, with three main divisions of learning:

  1. Leadership Development and Performance
  2. Enterprise Learning
  3. Worldwide Sales Operation Learning and Leadership

Harnessing Virtual Reality

The backdrop of the pandemic, social injustice and economic disruptions have shown that associates need emotional support, open communication and coaching from their managers now more than ever. Leaders need to be more authentic and connect with our associates on a human level to drive team and business performance. Virtual Reality (VR) simulations are a personalized and effective approach to accelerate these skills in a realistic and measurable way. ADP piloted a VR training platform in our Front-Line Leaders Program to over 1,000 participants in 2021. This will enable managers to better navigate essential conversations and challenging scenarios with team members in a simulated, immersive environment that allows participants to freely learn and make mistakes in a safe space.

Leadership development

ADP is a strengths-based organization because we know that focusing our leaders on what makes them strong, and on what makes those who they lead feel alive and engaged, produces much better results and effort from all associates.

Leaders use their individual strengths to lead successfully while remaining grounded in ADP’s Leadership Priorities: Act Like an Owner, Make the Client your North Star and Always Listen to Associates.

Our integrated leadership development strategy addresses the unique and shared needs of all levels of leaders, from those who are exploring leadership for the first time in their careers all the way up to experienced leaders and executives.

Our strategy is based on three core principles of design and leadership expertise:

  • Creating development journeys instead of single training events to sustain long-term behavioral change
  • Offering experiential activities and simulations of real-life relevant situations to model decision-making and engaging candidates’ existing strengths
  • Using learning measurement theory and technology to provide performance and behavior change insights to HR Business Partners and Business Unit Leaders

As an example, we reimagined our Leader of Leaders program from a three-day, in-person event to a six-week, virtual journey. This learning experience is designed to help leaders build self-awareness, cultivate strong internal relationships, establish a leadership model that is unique to their strengths and achieve better decision-making using systems thinking. During fiscal year 2021, nearly 800 associates completed our Leadership Excellence program.

Career and Talent Development

Growth and development are top engagement drivers for any associate. ADP’s strategy is to enable our associates to move forward towards accomplishments that excite and energize them while simultaneously elevating the company.

Grounded in a clear Career Growth & Development (CG&D) philosophy and framework, ADP’s internal CareerDriver tool enables associates to take their career into their own hands. It is the ultimate career navigation system that puts resources, tools and guidance at their fingertips for every stage of their career journey—new in your role, developing in your current role, exploring career options and preparing for your next role.

Blending technology and talent development, ADP launched a game-changing career-mapping technology—myCareerConnect. It provides associates increased awareness of career possibilities through a career map, offering a visual representation of historical career movement at ADP. It helps answer career questions such as, ‘Where can I go?’ and ‘How do I get there?’ The most recently added features allow our associates to view and manage their top skills and open requisitions directly from the tool. The tool also provides personalized and relevant role suggestions and allows associates to include additional professional skills to further improve the matches.

Along with new and innovative technology the CG&D team holds regular instructor-led sessions for both associates and leaders centered around fundamental career topics like relationship building, branding, networking, interviewing, growing where you are, leaders as career partners and building development plans and more. ADP also has career advisors who undergo rigorous certification programs and use our CG&D philosophy and framework to give associates guidance and resources to further their career. We also encourage our associates to look for developmental experiences in addition to formal learning. These can include (but aren’t limited to): cross-functional exposure and leadership roles in Business Resource Groups. The CG&D team also provides ample opportunities to its volunteers to participate in stretch assignments which offer the use of a wide array of skills like graphic design, project management, translation, and facilitating sessions and more.

In addition to these opportunities, every April, we hold a CG&D Rally which is broadcast globally to all our associates as they participate in career-focused sessions and activities. What began as a 60-minute session several years ago, the Rally has gotten bigger and better—expanding to a 24-hour Rally in 2020 and our first ever week-long Career Carnival Rally in 2021, with several thousand of our associates participating globally.

To continue ADP’s commitment to our associates' growth and development, we are also starting a new hire outreach program where we will connect with our new hires right as they join ADP and provide them with the tools, resources and guidance needed so they can focus on their career right from the start.

At ADP we believe that our associates have their own definition of career success that is not constant but always developing and changing. To support these goals, we are always evolving in our endeavor to provide a great career growth and development experience to our associates.

As I stepped into my new Business Process Innovation role, some of the resources from our CareerDriver site really helped me. I used the Individual Development Plan Basics Worksheet to organize my plan and goals and revisit them to track my progress. As I met different teams and new acquaintances the PitchCraft became my close friend which made meeting new people so much easier. The Loves and Loathes worksheet helped me record, develop and repeat the good experiences giving me a chance to do more of what I loved and less of what I loathed. Madalina Cecan
UAT Consultant from Bucharest, Romania

Accelerating performance through StandOut

StandOut powered by ADP is an innovative talent engagement and activation platform. The tool is built on an initial strengths assessment of each team member, supported by weekly check-ins that enable alignment on priorities for the week and reflection on activities associates love and loathe. This information allows our leaders to utilize the different strength profiles of their team members more effectively and provide more targeted coaching. Our associates benefit through an increased understanding of their talents and interests and productive interactions with their managers, which also helps them identify learning and career growth opportunities. In addition, the tool regularly provides targeted tips both to the associate and their manager based on individual strength profiles.

We also conduct an annual culture survey, myVoice, which provides another opportunity for our associates to share their opinions on important topics, including ethics, social responsibility, innovation and leadership. Particularly during the challenging events of the last two years, it was extremely important to hear our associates’ thoughts on working at ADP. The results remain overwhelmingly positive, with an overall culture score of 81 percent favorable.

Learning Business Council

ADP’s Learning Business Council consists of senior leadership executives from each business unit, as well as learning leaders from across the enterprise. The council collaborates to discuss and influence key strategic projects, issues and future opportunities.

For example, as a result of the pandemic, our training strategy had to pivot suddenly, enterprise-wide. Every program went virtual—often while in-progress. Every new-hire class stayed on schedule, every key initiative progressed without fail and critical regulatory support was delivered. Additional training and performance-support programs were rapidly implemented to guide clients and associates though FFCRA/CARES Act payroll legislation.

Enterprise Learning

ADP believes empowering clients and associates through learning is integral to its success, evidenced by strategic organizational goals tied directly to learning. ADP’s functional learning and performance division, Enterprise Learning (EL), is entrenched in achieving these goals by helping clients, associates and ADP thrive as our products, technologies and business practices transform. This is achieved through our mission to drive an effortless and dynamic learning experience that positions our stakeholders for success.

Redesigning training with AI

We optimize personalized, modern learning experiences and outcomes throughout ADP by leveraging technology, data, design and talent to ensure our programs are engaging, insightful and impactful. In part, this is achieved through our investments in digitized learning solutions that help associates and clients do their jobs efficiently and effectively, including (but not limited to):

  • NextGen knowledge management — This online knowledge base houses information that helps associates service clients. It uses modern authoring techniques and advanced search technology to answer queries with relevant and fast search results in the moment of need, with content that is easy to scan and consume.
  • In-product learning — We embed guided walk-throughs within ADP’s products that provide instructional support to clients and associates in the flow of work, thus reducing effort, affording them the opportunity to learn how to get optimal use out of our products while completing their day-to-day tasks. These walk-throughs can be added or updated quickly, enabling us to deliver new instruction whenever there are new technologies or legislative changes.
  • Learning Management System (LMS) — This system is our library for the virtual, on-demand training courses that we design, deliver and manage for associates (myLink2Learn) and clients (myLearning@ADP) alike, providing instruction on everything from product knowledge to soft and technical skills.
  • Augmented Reality On-boarding — With more and more associates getting on-boarded remotely, we faced a new challenge of how to start the training process without in-person guidance. In response, we introduced augmented reality on-boarding materials that allow new associates to scan a code on their phone where they are greeted with a welcome message and instructions for getting set up and started. This seamless, augmented-reality introduction provided our new associates with links to HR information and videos about getting started in their learning journeys.

Worldwide Sales Operation Learning and Leadership

ADP pays special attention to our client-facing sales organization in regard to on-boarding, tenured and leadership training. We support over 7,500 sales associates, as well as additional sales support staff.

Our focus on modern sales contains an emphasis on ethical selling including a diverse and inclusive approach to our buyer personas, roles, industry and market needs. We believe this creates a salesforce that can fit ADP’s solutions to each unique buyer for a positive and productive future for all.

With new salespeople added to ADP’s sales teams each year representing ADP in over 140 countries, each sales associate experiences a blended on-boarding journey involving their manager, mentor, peers and sales learning consultants, engaged with digital self-paced and instructor-led coaching and classes.

Classes average between 160-240 hours for on-boarding training, with the average length to first sales between 4-12 weeks, depending on the role and buying cycle of the targeted market.

By maximizing data-driven sales, modern tools and a robust technology stack, we place a large emphasis on sales and leadership training. Sales Leadership starts when our successful salespeople mentor their first peer. Entering a multifaceted leadership development program, intertwined with ADP Enterprise Learning’s Career Growth planning, our sales leaders value the unique characteristics of each of their team members. From the formal classwork for developing leaders, new leaders and executive leaders, they engage in role supportive, timely and relevant on-demand classes, connection calls and leadership mentoring sessions to fine tune their leadership skills.

In 2021, we virtualized these training programs, allowing them to be administered digitally across our operations to ensure that consistent and high-quality training is available to our associates. We also introduced two new training packages focusing on remote selling: “Remote Selling the ADP Way,” and “Mastering Remote Selling.”

With a strong emphasis on promoting great talent within ADP, our commitment to learning and development is a keystone to ADP’s future success. By making significant and impactful connections with our associates and partners, and employing effective and appropriate communication, we create a dynamic team culture that will drive performance.


To support our Worldwide Sales Operation Learning and Leadership program, we started leveraging a new video-based tool called Brainshark. This program features AI-based coaching that leads trainees through different scenarios, role-playing interactions between potential and existing clients and their individual role within the ADP salesforce. This tool also helps streamline the feedback process for leaders by providing transparent rubrics and universal grading features.