You know ADP right? Payroll. Basic HR services. Been around since your grandma was running a sweet little personnel department at the 3-location department store in your hometown.
ADP is like IBM. The saying about IBM used to be that “no one ever got fired for choosing IBM“. The same could be said for ADP.
Safe. Secure. Risk-free in an industry (HR) that traditionally has been all about mitigating risk.
But as big as ADP is, that reputation – “risk free” – presents another tag that is routinely associated with ADP – “low innovation“. That’s why ADP is starting to do some things to show just how innovative they are, like creating an innovation center in NYC.
As part of that innovation awareness drive, ADP created the following video featuring Steve Connell, a spoken word, fast talking east coast poet. See the video below (email subscribers, click through to see the video) and let’s talk about and analyze it after the jump.
If I was doing “Mystery Science Theatre” over this video (talking while the video is playing with some color commentary), it would go something like this (with time stamps from the video):
:05 – Was this guy on Jersey Shore? I think he was… Remember that episode where he and Snookie did the… um…never mind…
:17 – Wait, who are we talking about? Who’s the guy in question of which he speaks? Why’s it have to be a guy? Couldn’t it be a girl? (Liberal Media alert!!!)
:41 – Yes! He’s rhyming! It was only a matter of time. Checks rhymes with text = New World ADP. But of course, 98% of HR pros using ADP still want that payroll register fedexed to them, yo…
1:02 – Ok, good. He said, “some guy, some girl”. Balanced hype video. A must for ADP.
1:08 – Baby and kid shots! It’s about the future at ADP, baby!
1:12 – Wait! Whose office is this? Google’s?
1:16 – Mobile rhymes with Global and S**t. Check.
1:19 – Missed opportunity – getting out of a cab. Wouldn’t that have been a rideshare if he was truly mobile? I feel like he’s just another white guy who doesn’t get it.
1:25 – That whiteboard had some kick ass ideas on it. Pretty sure we’re at Google.
1:26 – He just pointed to an Asian guy who is FREAKING WRITING ON A GLASS WALL. This may be above Google. What’s cooler than Google? Airbnb? That’s where we are, then.
1:38 – Holy ####!!! Are we at ADP?
1:42 – Confirmed. We are at ADP, where some guy has the freedom to dress like a cross between Grizzly Adams and a roadie for Soundgarden. His wife, who works with him, is free to wear a do-rag that doesn’t even match her shirt. WHAT IS GOING ON AND WHERE HAVE YOU TAKEN MY MARKET ADP REP, WHO MADE IT THROUGH YOUR HARD KNOCK TRAINING AND WEARS A SENSIBLE SUIT TO REMIND ME OF THE DEPENDABILITY OF THE BRAND?
1:46 – Backwards baseball cap at ADP. My BS meter just went off. I’ll give you Wolfman Jack and Ms. Wolfman, but the backwards baseball cap? Now you’re just messing with me.
1:51 – YES! THESE are ADP people I can get my head around. Assuming they are the managers of Grizzly Adams and they haven’t made it through the 4-step process of firing him. That’s going to be uncomfortable if they keep Mrs. Grizzly Adams around afterwards, which I suspect they will.
2:00 – Big close. Jesus hands/pose from the Jersey poet and pan out with view of no beige cubes I saw on my last visit to ADP. Now pondering if other institutions I love – like Taco Bell and the local water company – have innovation centers.
OK, so I had some fun. The point? ADP is probably a lot more innovative than we give them credit for. Taking a shot at hype videos like this means you have to give them props. Well done, ADP.
But – and there is a but – the video has been out since July and has 5K views. That tells me that while ADP is innovative and thinking differently – their culture is hesitant to push the mantra of innovation too hard to existing customers. After all, one email to existing customers probably gets them 50K in views.
But that hesitation is probably well-founded. No one ever got fired for buying ADP. Has anyone ever been fired for giving their payroll to a guy in a backwards baseball cap?
Yes. Yes they have.
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.