Payroll Trends & Innovations – Exclusive Chat With The President Of ADP Canada

Small Business Canada

Canada SME

As President of ADP Canada, Holger Kormann is leading the strategic vision and execution of ADP Canada’s business plans to position ADP as the leader in the Human Capital Management space and as a partner of choice in the human resources technology and outsourcing markets. Holger is responsible for the overall strategic management, direction and growth for the country’s leading provider of people management solutions. He leads ADP Canada’s senior leadership team and its 2,000 associates across the country.

Holger joined ADP in December 2015, bringing with him two decades of experience and leadership in the information technology and outsourcing industries in North America and Europe. Most recently he held dual roles of CEO and General Manager, Atos Canada and Senior Vice President Indirect Channels, Atos North America. Prior to Atos, Holger was Vice President and CEO Canada at Siemens IT Solutions and Service Business Solutions and the Energy and Media Market Vertical for North America. At Siemens, Holger successfully managed a variety of roles with increasing responsibility in General Management, Sales and Marketing.

Holger received his B.A. from the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg, Germany and an MBA from the University of Hamburg.

Holger and his family live in Toronto, Ontario

For the last three years, you have been President of ADP Canada. What does it mean for you to be head of such a great organization?

ADP is a company which prides itself on having invented Payroll outsourcing about 70- years ago. And the company has been in the top quarter of fortune 500 companies for many years. Representing ADP Canada means a lot to me. We are serving 2.5 million Canadians every day.

What are some of the initiatives that you’ve put in place since you joined ADP in 2015?

A big one is straightening our technology core which is transforming our core systems which we use. We want to modernize the user interface and create readiness for different platforms. Particularly for SMEs – for them to have access to the latest expertise on how this can make their lives easier. Our systems move toward aligning the technology backbone and core in the best possible way, which allows us to bring innovation to Canadian buyers.

In terms of portfolio expansion, we’re looking at launching new client offerings to SMEs (adding systems beyond payroll) to hiring and retiring employees. We’ve been working on a full HR system, which of course most small businesses don’t have access to in- house.

ADP is one of the top payroll solutions for Canadian SMEs. What are some of the programs that ADP offers to small business owners?

Everybody understands that payroll is our core offering. Over the last couple of years, we’ve improved that experience to our buyers, by making it platform-independent. We’ve launched a solution which integrates timing sheets which we believe will be well received. That relates to tracking time of employees.

We also have other offerings on the food chain of HR needs – customizing policies and accessing HR expertise in the form which small businesses typically couldn’t tap into – legal matters, or how to best structure HR environments. We also integrate more and more partners – accountants, brokers. And we have improved our platforms with APIs and connectors to provide our clients with the best possible experience.

What would you say sets ADP apart from other similar organizations? Why should entrepreneurs choose ADP as their payroll solutions as opposed to other companies offering the same services?

We want to make sure that while being a large organization, the business experience translates into how SMEs operate. And we do believe that the access tool to expertise is not just payroll but HR as well, which is unprecedented in the industry. The trust we’ve built over the years with our clients has allowed us to tool our systems to commit payroll to run the right way. We find many SMEs try to do it themselves and certainly as they grow, payroll becomes more and more complex and that’s where ADP can help. We don’t just confirm calculations of payments, but also commit that if the tax CRA should issue a statement on a tax underpayment, we take control of our errors. We work with our clients from the calculations stage to remittance.

What is the best service that ADP provides to small business owners when it comes to effectively manage their business?

Even on the core service, we feel that we’ve tailored our solutions to our clients. If you call us in the morning and there’s an urgent requirement, we do our best to help you solve the issue by the timeline required. You can contact our service agents until 10 pm if there are any issues.

Some of the new services that we’re working on involve partnering with other corporations and individuals to improve our offering. We have partnered with Ziprecruiter – and we’re using AI tools to further automate along the employment continuum. We have launched an AI-enabled offering called HR foresight, which gives our clients the ability to search for HR legal advice –  when it comes to termination or separation of employee engagement. And ADP can offer specific guidance on case law and precedent on what a severance would look like. This can also be accessed through our portal. No need to call, or email.

ADP Canada
Small business owners face several challenges when it comes to managing their business. In your opinion, what is the main challenge that SME owners have when it comes to their payroll and how can ADP help them through it?

SME owners, particularly in the onset years, see payroll as simple math but once your business grows, things become more complicated. You’rehiring contracts, you have part-time employees, you have exceptions and timing needs. You can outsource your HR through ADP. We can scale in size the HR needs to match exactly the gross parts of your systems. We’re trying to tailor our offerings so that they fit and grow with the changing needs of our client base.

ADP also offers outsourcing services to help small business owners. Can you give us further information on how this service works and how it can benefit SME owners?

Often times it has that notion of reducing your own workforce or cutting jobs. In our case, it’s meant as a complimentary service. Certain things are better handled by another expert. The varieties and different flavours for the HR environment which ADP offers is fairly unique. ADP is so globally present and if you want to set up an office in New York or in London for example, we can help you set up shop there and set up all HR systems. We can supply HR employment law advice to our clients and many other tools to help them succeed when expanding globally.

Statistics show that small businesses usually fail within the first five years of business. Often, these are mistakes that entrepreneurs make and can often be avoided. What do you believe is the number one mistake that entrepreneurs make when starting their business and can ADP perhaps help them prevent these mistakes?

That certainly taps more into my personal opinion. I do believe that one of the key impediments for an entrepreneur, is that they wear so many hats and fail to recognize when to step aside. As the business grows, the complexity grows and therefore they must realize when they can do it themselves, and when they should consult some help. It’s a challenge to realize as an entrepreneur when to let go and when to engage professionals. Managing is very different than being a hands-on entrepreneur of the very early days.  And this is why I believe SMEs are often not making it.

On a final note, you have over two decades of experience in the technology and outsourcing industries. How do you believe your past experience has helped you in your current role?

I’m a little bit of a tech and business junkie and I believe that today, everything we do, be it service, supply chain, how you run your internal operations runs back to technology. A deep understanding of how tech dominates the workforce is very important to understand. The only means to get into the customer service industry 20 years ago was a telephone. But it’s very very different today. The service you deliver needs to be rooted in technology and offering your clients the best possible experience, whether that be email support, 24-hour online chat, and many other possibilities. I do believe that my passion for tech gives me a natural incentive to inspect closely the current state of how tech is applied in the business world.

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