With a learning strategy firmly rooted in the business, Automatic Data Processing Inc.’s sole purpose is to deliver tangible outcomes. By using several business-aligned key performance indicators, ADP has been able to measure the bottom-line effectiveness of its learning initiatives.
The effect some of these learning programs have had on revenue only reinforces ADP’s commitment to elite learning and development practices, and supports a learning investment 12.2 percent greater in 2013 than in 2012. However, senior leaders do more than just make financial investments to demonstrate their support of learning and watch profits expand as a result.
“The reason our learning strategy is so effective can be boiled down to one element: alignment to the business we are in,” said Sonya Tracy, director of learning delivery at ADP. “When our learning and development initiatives excel, we share what’s worked with clients and prospects, which in turn allows ADP to grow its business. This also showcases the impact learning and development has on overall business goals.”
Through a curriculum of professional skills courses, ADP sales associates learn HR industry knowledge, developmental coaching, managing virtual teams and time management. ADP has seen a 7 percent average increase in revenue from sales associates who participated in these programs.
The financial productivity doesn’t stop there. ADP also has developed an onboarding program for its sales associates called Selling the ADPway. This program consists of courses in multimedia content, knowledge checks, sales process assignments and online discussions. After tracking new hires for a 90-day period after program completion, the company found they closed more than $204,000 in business. This is 10 percent more than what new hires who didn’t attend the program sold last year in the same period.
Tracy said these results can be attributed to ADP’s determination to be at the top of its field as well as a strong attention to detail. “The most compelling reason we believe we stand out is that we all walk the talk, practice what we preach and rigorously execute against our learning strategy,” she said. “We are extraordinarily dedicated to learning for the benefit it has on ADP’s productivity, innovation and overall business outcomes.”
Tracy said senior leaders at ADP recognize that learning is a competitive advantage, one that meets business goals and captures market share in the areas where the company competes.
For instance, ADP has used its dealer services learning team to deliver a program geared to provide dealership clients with the same success experienced within its own sales team. The companyshowed dealership clients how to use more than 300 applications that help sell vehicles, parts and service profitably, and trained 4,500 dealerships for 68,663 days of training in 2013. This training was the most critical driver in achieving $69 million in revenue for the company last year.
While the company has several key priorities for 2014, one of its main objectives is to extend the use of technology to enable learning and drive engagement across the organization.
“Like an elite organization of any type, complacency is not an option when it comes to staying on top,” Tracy said. “Learning execution is no different, and as such, ADP strives to stay on top of new and innovative approaches in needs evaluation, learning solution development and delivery, and in technology that supports learning operations.”
True to form, ADP makes sure clients are prepared for the future as well. During the third quarter of each year, learning and development partners, along with their line clients, look ahead at what’s coming the following year and plan accordingly. Tracy said that by doing this, the learning and development division can stay ahead of what clients are expecting and deliver results beyond what they thought was possible.
“By knowing the business’ strategies, goals, challenges and priorities, we can better anticipate needs and have solutions ready at the time they are most needed,” Tracy said.