How ADP Is Using AI To Create A More Human Experience With Jack Berkowitz

Are you curious about how AI can create a more human experience in the workplace? Look no further. Join William Tincup and Jack Berkowitz as they delve into the incredible ways ADP harnesses AI to enhance the employee experience. With Jack’s expertise in data governance, privacy, and security, this conversation unveils how AI is revolutionizing HR practices and empowering managers to build better relationships with their teams.

But, what truly sets ADP apart is their focus on the human side of AI.  Jack reveals how AI-powered nudges are transforming the employee-manager relationship. By analyzing data and providing personalized recommendations, AI empowers managers to support their employees’ growth, encourage better work-life balance, and address potential issues proactively. It’s a game-changer, ensuring happier employees and more effective management.

With a keen understanding of HR complexities, Jack highlights that AI is not meant to replace HR professionals, but to empower them. By automating transactional tasks, AI gives HR leaders more time to focus on strategic initiatives and the human aspects of their roles. Jack emphasizes that AI should be seamless, trusted, and built with a human touch in order to truly enhance the employee experience and foster positive workplace relationships.

As the conversation unfolds, Jack’s insights and vision for the future of AI in HR make it evident that ADP is at the forefront of revolutionizing how businesses approach employee experience. Together with William, he offers a glimpse into how AI is redefining the way we work, creating a more human-centric workplace where employees, managers, and organizations thrive.

Listening Time: 26 minutes

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Jack Berkowitz
Chief Data Officer Securiti

Experienced Senior Vice President Of Product Development in software and information systems development. Experience in Enterprise software (HCM, ERP and CRM) as well as web-content, search and advertising. Skilled in Software Development, Product Management, Pre-sales, Business Analytics, Business Development, and Solution Architecture. Strong software product development professional with a Master of Science (MS) in Industrial & Systems Engineering (Human Factors) from Virginia Tech


How ADP Is Using AI To Create A More Human Experience With Jack Berkowitz

William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the Recruiting Daily podcast. Today we have Jack on from ADP, and our topic today is how ADP is using AI to create a more human experience. So let’s just jump right into it. Jack, would you, uh, introduce yourself and what you do for ADP?

Jack Berkowitz: Yeah, my name’s Jack Berkowitz.

I’m the Chief Data Officer here at ADP. Um, sort of got two jobs. One, um, help build products, uh, whether it’s people analytics or [00:01:00] reporting, uh, or AI products. And then the second thing is I’m the Corporate Chief Data Officer. So everything about data governance and data privacy and data security and all those types of things.

Oh, that’s

William Tincup: cool. That’s the harder part of the job. I’m assuming the compliance and, uh, and especially just meeting all the, I mean, you’ve got, you’ve just, you just mentioned privacy and security. Those two things are massive.

Jack Berkowitz: Yeah, you know, and I think, but they’re super important. Oh, yeah, critical. And it helps you build better products if you do the proper security, if you do the proper privacy.

If you think about ethics up front, particularly in our space, right, in HR, then you build better products. And so it’s a nice loop. It does feed each other. I

William Tincup: can see that. I can see that. So, you know, I’ve probably been in a lab working with AI for years now, but, um, let’s talk a little bit about, again, how you’re using it to create more human experience.

Yeah. [00:02:00]

Jack Berkowitz: You know, we’ve had a number of different things out there. We have a skills graph all based on AI technologies. We have counter relevancy algorithms, all this type of stuff. Right. Um, which is super interesting for practitioners about pooling information, but where we’re going next is really this notion about how do I nudge?

How do I nudge? Whether it’s a practitioner so they can do, you know, have more automated payroll, or how can I nudge a manager to say, you know, hey, for example, you’ve got an employee who’s not been taking vacation. Maybe you should help them find a way to get a vacation before they, Oh, that’s cool. Um, that type of thing.


William Tincup: And so it’s kind of the, uh, it looks at the data. I say it, uh, but basically it’s looking at data to then find where the business can get better. But instead of going direct to that, uh, employee per se, you nudge the manager so that the manager can be a good manager.

Jack Berkowitz: That’s right. [00:03:00] That’s right. Right.

Um. At the end of the day, we know from all of our data, we know that, yeah, people leave for salary sometimes and they’ll leave for, for career opportunities, but normally they’re leaving because of their manager or their manager’s manager. Right. And so if we can create a better relationship or if we can help support, better that, support the relationship between the manager and the employee, everybody benefits.

Right. You get happy employees, you get a better, uh, management experience, you get better relationships. Better results for your company. Yeah,

William Tincup: what I love about it is it’s, it does fall in line with employee experience. It’s a different take on employee experience, actually, because most of the EX folks is focused on the employee, not the manager helping the employee.

Jack Berkowitz: Yeah, and we’re not, we’re not neglecting the employee. No, no, no, no, nudges actually with the employees. Right. So, you know, we started a few years ago. Hey, by the way. You’re not saving enough for retirement. [00:04:00] Or, oh, by the way, there are these types of benefits you can take advantage of. And so we started with that type of thing.

Uh, and we’ve learned from that and really decided to step it up, uh, now. So

William Tincup: I, I read a study the other day, and basically, I’ll paraphrase, but it’s 80%, uh, CHROs have played with in some way or form ai, uh, chat, GPT probably, uh, most of them and 80% of CHROs are terrified of of ai. Um, so how do we get ’em over the hump?

I mean, it’s, first of all, um, even if, let’s, I believe that’s true. ’cause I, I, I know the research firm, but how do we, if, if we, if, if, if there are terrified. If that’s true, how do we get them over the hump and see this as a friend, not a foe? And it’s

Jack Berkowitz: a, it’s a really great point. I’ve thought about this a long time.

I’ve been in the HR industry now for years. And, [00:05:00] you know, I remember when I first got into it, I was around HR analytics. And HR people would say, well, you know, I don’t know about that. I’m just, I’m not comfortable with numbers. And I would be like, well, I’m a psych major. I’m somewhat comfortable with them.

What, what’s going on? And I think it’s really just about the technology that we’ve provided to them. In corporate settings, it’s just not the same as the technology that they’re using in their everyday lives. Like if they can use Instagram or they can use Spotify, well, they certainly can use chat GPT and build that trust relationship.

So it’s really contingent on us as tech providers or in the industry to help them understand both what it can do and what it can’t do. And I don’t mean by some research study, I mean in the fingertips of when they’re using it. So you build the system so that it says, hey, by the way, I’m an intelligent agent.

Hey, by the way, I actually don’t know the answer. So how do we, there’s, the technical term is ground it. How do we ground it so it doesn’t It doesn’t tell you [00:06:00] something wrong, but it actually tells you something right, and it doesn’t overstep its bounds on your, you know, inadvertently, but we can, we can bring people down that same path that they did in the consumer world.

We can do that in enterprise software.

William Tincup: Yeah. I love this because some of it is, is, as you said, it’s building trust and it’s incrementally building trust, right? It’s just like, you don’t build trust and all of a sudden you have it. Uh, uh, over 24 hours or something like that. It’s just small little wins and they just see it as, and that the word I wrote down was, was seamless.

It’s, it’s almost, it’s almost, it becomes a part of their experience with the software that they’re using. So they don’t really think about it much. That’s right. And,

Jack Berkowitz: and it’s important for us to, to just remember why are we doing this? We’re doing this so that we can get HR people back to what they want to do, which is help people and work with people.

I don’t think any HR person ever signed up to do input transactions or build reports. Right. Right. Right. They, [00:07:00] they signed up because they want to help build a business or they have empathy for the employees in their company. And so, what this will allow them to do is to spend more time there. And so, it’s really important that we, we don’t lose that focus.

Why are we doing this? It’s to let them get back to being HR people and not, like I said, you know, report writers.

William Tincup: Yeah, that’s, it’s, it’s kind of the classic trope of, uh, the firefighters. They come in on a Monday, you know, if it’s in office and it’s just one fire to the next fire to the next fire to the next fire.

And of course, from senior leadership, we’ve got, hey, y’all need to be more strategic. There’s always so much time in a, in a day given, you know, in a week, et cetera. When do they have the time to even be strategic?

Jack Berkowitz: That’s right. So if we can give somebody back, I, I don’t believe you’re going to give back a hundred percent of the time, but boy, of course, right?

If we can give somebody back 30 percent of the time, 40 percent of the time, think about, think about the benefit [00:08:00] for, for the company. Think about the benefit for the employees. Think about the benefit for that practitioner. Just having 40 percent of the time or 30 percent of the time to think or to be empathetic.

It’s a huge deal. And so that’s the type of thing we’re looking for, 30%, 40%, not a hundred percent.

William Tincup: Right. Right. Well, a hundred percent would almost terrify them.

Jack Berkowitz: That’s right. Right. That’s right. Nobody’s job is going away. I think that that’s, that’s the thing. Well, wait a second. What will I do?

William Tincup: How about think?

Jack Berkowitz: How about think? How about be, how about go for a walk

William Tincup: with one of the employees? I don’t know. Maybe, uh, take somebody out for breakfast. Yeah. Something like that. We’re going to have to train. I mean, we, we’re joking about it, but we’re going to have to. Train or retrain HR how to be HR, great HR leaders. So some of this is actually interacting while, while this kind of low hanging, uh, stuff happens for them, uh, in a real seamless way.

It’s just happening for [00:09:00] them. They’re going to get their time back. They’re probably, we joke about it, but they probably won’t know what to do with their time.

Jack Berkowitz: Yeah. But isn’t it wonderful with the ability to have this conversation? Right. Yes. And isn’t it wonderful that, that we can be part of, and when I say we, I don’t mean you and I, I mean, you know, the industry, be part of sort of this, this reawakening as to why we do what we do.

William Tincup: It is a brand new era, uh, for them. And especially if they look at it like that, because I think one of the things that y’all are changing and that I really like is. HR, right now, you talk to any people later, and it’s at least 80 percent of their job is reactive. They’re just reacting to whatever’s going on, whatever the next, again, whatever that next thing is, and with nudges and other types of technology like that, they can become proactive.

Jack Berkowitz: That’s right. That’s right. And you also think about, I was, right before this phone call, I was looking at the number of nested [00:10:00] regulations. That exist for, um, family leave, right? There’s something like 331 nested regulations for somebody in New York or New Jersey to have to deal with. If we can just help them with the complexity of that.

How do they keep up with that? How do they keep up with it? And each one’s probably changing. So we can help them with the complexity of that so that we can just get them. A quick answer or at least a view? Yeah. And just think about that. Just cutting down the time they have to go deal with that would be a huge advantage.

And that’s the type of problems.

William Tincup: Well, that’s, that’s part of y’all’s kind of ethos because y’all do that with payroll libraries. So you understand, you know, both domestically and internationally what goes on in a payroll library. And if there’s a change in minimum wage in the city of Dallas, uh, y’all, y’all know that.

Y’all, y’all probably know it before they know it. Y’all know it. And then you, if anybody has an hourly [00:11:00] employee in Dallas, that’s just seamless. It’s just hap, it’s just. So, they don’t have to think about it, but it’s more than that they don’t have to think of it. They can’t keep track of all the changes.

We’re just on the payroll side, but you’re dealing with all the other things that are tertiary to payroll. How do they keep up with, uh, you know, the compensation changes that are happening? Well, if again, if the technology can nudge them and educate them in a way that just says, oh, by the way, this is happening, it’s already being taken care of.


Jack Berkowitz: right. That’s right. Or, hey, by the way, you should know about this, right? Sometimes it’ll take care of, sometimes it’ll be like, you just should know. Yeah. Yeah. Like one of the, one of my favorite nudges, and we haven’t, we haven’t finished this one yet. We did the vacation one, by the way. Right. Uh, one of my favorite nudges is, you know, Hey, it’s great.

You just hired somebody for that role. But by the way, somebody else in your company has applied to three jobs and they haven’t gotten any of them. Yeah. You should have a talk with them. Oh, I

William Tincup: [00:12:00] love it. Oh, I love it. Cause that’s, that’s still morale. You know, somebody, somebody clearly thinks that they should be somewhere else, which is, which is, which is great.

But if we don’t give them the tools and mechanisms to then get to that next place and, and worse than that, if we don’t even know, which is what you’re talking about is uncovering the, the technology to uncover, connect the dots in a way and uncover these things and then render it to somebody so they have insight and then they can take an action.

That’s right. That’s right. And if you don’t, you lose the person. I mean, we, we both know what’s going on here, because if that person applies for a fourth and doesn’t get it, they’re just going to say, okay, the company obviously doesn’t want me to be here, whether or not that’s true or not, they just don’t want me to be here.

And then they’ll get a job elsewhere. And you’ve

Jack Berkowitz: lost that person. That’s right. And particularly in larger companies, right, the fact that a person applied to those jobs might, nobody might ever actually know because things are distributed, right? Right. And so, so that’s really the promise of all of this.

You know, we’ve been [00:13:00] working on the data, we’ve been working on the machine learning, we’ve been working on all of that for quite a while. But we’re really, at this point, focused on the person side of it, the human side of it now, and super exciting time. Do you

William Tincup: think that it gets to a point where, in that scenario, that proactively reaches out to the employee and tells them that there’s a position that probably fits their skills and that they should apply to?


Jack Berkowitz: so we We, that’s exactly where this goes. And so we have that, we, we use it a bit internally, um, but we have this great skills graph that’s all data driven. It’s not built by hand. It’s all built on the data that flows through our systems. And so we, we already can tell people, Hey, by the way, you know, if this is a career path you want to go on, here’s training that.

You want to take, or take this class or read this book and, and, and we have the ability to tell people, by the way, there’s [00:14:00] this other job that you might want to think about that it’s not because of job title, but you have these interesting skills because everybody has great skills. Have you ever thought about this?

Almost like a career counselor as opposed to just a job matching thing, right? Which,

William Tincup: which, which everyone needs, everyone needs somebody to be an advocate for them. And if the technology can be, uh, lead to this advocacy and just, even if they don’t apply, I mean, even if they’re like, no, man, I really like my gig.

I like my boss, I like the team, you know, first of all, that’s cool. But it’s someone’s, I say someone, the technology is advocating for them in a way that’s, that’s soft, but also I see really powerful. Yeah.

Jack Berkowitz: I mean, think about it, right? Did you ever think you’d be doing what you’re doing for a living 15 years ago?

I, I certainly didn’t even, my job title never even existed. And so, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, things are always changing. And so for us to be able to help people on that [00:15:00] journey is the most important thing.

William Tincup: So we’ve made it about 20 minutes and we haven’t said generative AI. So I applaud both of us. Uh, Now, we’re about to go to HR Tech, and I believe every other booth will talk about generative AI?

Oh, I’m gonna,

Jack Berkowitz: I’m gonna talk about it. There’s, there’s no doubt, I’ll say.

William Tincup: Well, you know, we have to talk about it, because it is actually really cool, and I can see people Using it in, in a lot of really, really cool ways. So, so as we talk about it, what are you thinking about generative AI right now, just kind of on the onset?

Jack Berkowitz: So, so we gave some really nice visions last week and I’ll do it again at HR Tech, but we’ve got it in the hands of people for three, three, three cases right now. So we’ve got it in the hands of people. Um, for doing that law, right? Interpreting all these policies and things. And it’s, we’ve shipped it to about 2, 000 clients at this moment and learning from that.

So they’re able to ask for, you know, about [00:16:00] legal issues or, or, or HR policy stuff. Um, we also have built a, um, natural language interface to our reporting tool. Remember I said, nobody wants to write reports, you don’t need to, you can just ask it what you want. And we have this little trick where, that I’ll show next week, where you can actually copy an email and the system will just build the report off that.

Right. It’s really cool. And then, and then we’ve got it in the hands of our associates that support people. Cause one of the things about ADP is, you know, we have thousands of people whose whole job is to help HR people do their job. And, you know, we’re not just a software vendor or SAS provider, but we also have all these people, this expertise.

And so to help them interpret everything. On behalf of clients, we’ve, we’ve got, you know, thousands of people using generative AI to come up with summaries of problems and give the right answers. Yeah. And it

William Tincup: builds, what I love about that one, uh, is it builds a library. It builds a library of, of, of, okay, this is, [00:17:00] you know, customer A has this problem.

Okay. Well, listen, there’s three different ways that we’ve seen this being tackled. You know, let’s, let’s talk about your company and what’s going to be the most appropriate, et cetera, like that. I could see that really helping. What I love about what you are doing is you’re not, you know, pushing all your chips in and saying generative AI, blah, blah, blah.

You’re like, let’s go find a specific use case for these things. And you know, let’s build them slowly, build them appropriately, and then deploy them. And then make sure that people understand how to use them, et cetera.

Jack Berkowitz: That’s right. That’s right. You know, we know that there’ll be a new technology down the road, but we’re, we’re here with clients for a long time.

Right. And we want to be there with clients for a long time. That’s part of our journey with them. And so we want to make sure that whatever we field and whatever we provide, Either to a practitioner or to, uh, to an employee is the right thing for them at the right time. And so we, we, we do it slowly, [00:18:00] uh, we do it with, with a cadence, but it’s impactful in the long run.

William Tincup: Right. I ran sales a hundred years ago and, uh, one of the things that, uh, talked to my sales team about was FUD, fear, uncertainty and doubt. So how do you, how do you, how do you get around FUD or how do you displace it with a prospect? And so I’m thinking about HR. And I wonder, is it, is, do we need to have explicit conversations about AI?

Does it just need to be baked into what we do?

Jack Berkowitz: Uh, you know, I wish I, I wish I knew the answer. I, I like, I like it. Damn it,

William Tincup: Jack, that’s why I had you on the podcast.

Jack Berkowitz: Yeah, I know. Uh, I like the, I like the latter, right? I like, it’s just baked into what you do. However, I think you do need to have a bit of a discussion.

Right. Because we. Um, we have an ethical principle here, like we published our ethics about AI back in 2019. And one of our ethical principles is that people need to be aware [00:19:00] that they’re working with an accelerator or augmented intelligence, right? They need to know it’s a bot, that it’s not a person. So we do have to have that conversation at some point.

How we do it is different. I don’t mean putting people in a classroom for eight hours, maybe the agent just pops up and says, Hey, I’m an agent. I’m here to help. And if you, if you need to bail out of me, click this button, you’ll talk to a human. We can do that. I

William Tincup: like that. I like that a lot. Then it gives the person the power to then say, I’d want to talk to a person.

I mean, I do this all the time when I call, you know, a credit card or something like that, or I just want to talk to a human. And, uh, and then sometimes I just want to talk to a bot. Like, hey, I have this problem. Oh, okay. Um, so I like the, I like the putting the power in the, in the hands of the user, if you will, to then decide what, how that plays out.

Um, and I think you, you nailed it at the beginning, privacy, security, compliance, ethics, having the discussion about all of those [00:20:00] things, because we’re dealing with data, I think is a good thing. Uh, I don’t think it’s probably the first thing a salesperson should talk to a prospect about, but before maybe they signed the contract, it’s like, okay, listen, at one point, you’re probably going to be asked about these things.

Let’s roll through this, you know, like, and again, if they bring it up first, that’s fine because y’all have already kind of, y’all have already kind of outlined those things. So it’s easy. It’s an easy discussion to have. But if, if, uh, I think. You know, from my perspective, the less we talk about AI, the better in the sense of it should just be a part of the product, like what you do, their experience.

Jack Berkowitz: Yeah. I mean, look, look at the great products that we all use, right? Whether it’s Spotify or Uber or something else, right? Those are just data driven systems. They’re data aware AI systems. And you know, you, you notice that thing about you were saying, uh, sometimes you [00:21:00] just want to talk to the bot, you know, like if you get a bad charge on Uber or Lyft, you just go into their bot and you tell it and it takes care of it.

There’s nobody on the other side. But it gives you that refund and it’s fantastic. Yeah. And it’s like, well, no, I can’t do it. No, please look at this again. Oh, I did. Thank you. Right. Um, and, and those are the types of experiences that, that we in the HR industry, you know, we really should be driving towards.


William Tincup: We should really be driving towards those types of experiences. Pun intended. Uh, so, so. Why wouldn’t an HR leader, why would, I mean, I’m trying to figure out the no, like why would they say no to this? I

Jack Berkowitz: think, I think, I think there’s a couple of things, right? Um, HR people, justifiably, have built the fact that they’re there to either champion the employee or champion the company.

And it is around trust, right? It is around trust. And Unless they [00:22:00] understand the implications of everything, they’re rightfully so doubting, right? Rightfully so doubting. And, uh, and, and I, and I think that’s part of it, right? So we not, we need to not just give them the answer, but a little bit of explanation, or, or at least give them the ability to ask for the explanation.

And I think it’s that it’s, I think it’s that the HR person has classically been the one at times deliver bad news. Right. Right. And so therefore giving them all the tools that they need to be able to do that and to, to do that confidently, uh, it’s a tricky, but we should do that.

William Tincup: Yeah, and I think that, as you said, it’s a slow burn with trust.

You just start building trust over time, like Spotify and its recommendation engine. You just trust it. Amazon and its recommendation, you just trust it. It’s like, yeah, okay, uh, I, I trust

Jack Berkowitz: it. That’s right, but, but you also know some of them that go [00:23:00] bad. Yeah. Uh, one of the video services, it’s like, okay, I watched one video about somebody hiking through the Alps.

I have other interests, right? So, so,

William Tincup: in fact, that was, that was not an interest at all. I was forced to watch that by my wife. Exactly.

Jack Berkowitz: Exactly. And so, um, so, so that becomes a really big thing. is to make sure whoever you’re working with, whether it’s a vendor or you build it in house or whatever, that, that the, that the team supporting is actually looking at this stuff over time and that it’s being monitored and that.

You know, it’s being checked, not just for bias, but it’s being checked for correctness or even usefulness over time. And that’s another aspect, accuracy, right? Otherwise, we’re all going to be watching videos of

William Tincup: people walking through the OPS office. That’s a very specific example, by the way, very, very personal, very personal.

So [00:24:00] what the last question I have is around risk, uh, because HR’s job in large parts is managing risk, uh, and, and, and they. You know, they do this job well, they take it seriously, et cetera. Do, do you think that we have to have a risk discussion with them around AI and kind of mitigate their, any concerns that they might have?

Jack Berkowitz: I think so. I think so. And, and by the way, that’s not just because of the vendor or the technology provider. I mean, the government. Right? Yes. Government and agencies and groups, you know, whether it’s California or the FTC or the EEOC is, is, is opening these discussions about risk. And there is risk, right?

There, there are, there are rightfully, you know, um, bad implementations that, that we all need to be aware of. Right. Yeah. We’re dealing with people’s lives. I think that’s the thing. It’s maybe not medical systems. But it’s still people’s lives. And whether it’s, it’s because this is a career thing or simply equal pay [00:25:00] for, for, for, for, for jobs, right?

It’s people’s lives. And so understanding the risk and having that discussion, being upfront about what you are doing to control for it, to account for it, to tell people you don’t know when you don’t know, um, that’s important for us to have that conversation.

William Tincup: Jobs Mike walks off stage. Thank you so much.

I know you’re crazy busy. I can’t even, I wouldn’t want to look at your calendar, but, uh, but thanks again, Jack, for the time. Absolutely appreciate it. Same

Jack Berkowitz: here. Thank you for your time.

William Tincup: It’s been great. And thanks, and thanks everyone for listening. Until next time.

The RecruitingDaily Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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