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ADP deploys GenAI for payroll, HR customer service

ADP adopts GenAI to refine HR functions, targeting improved efficiency and upgrading HR to more advisory roles.

ADP is integrating generative AI capabilities into its tools to bolster HR processes, including payroll validation. The company said these additions will automate repetitive tasks and expedite processes.

However, questions remain as to the extent of productivity gains HR customers will see and whether they can fundamentally transform HR operations.

ADP contends that these efficiency improvements will enable HR professionals to elevate their roles by reducing the time they spend responding to basic problems and hunting for information. However, market analysts still need to be convinced about how companies will adapt and whether they will cut HR staff or, as ADP believes, reassign workers to more strategic tasks.

The tool, ADP Assist, aims to support HR departments in various ways. For example, in payroll, it checks for anomalies, such as employees forgetting to clock out, and identifies missing tax registrations, which will help streamline payroll validation. It generates reports and consolidates information, allowing users to operate from a single, browser-based interface.

Naomi Lariviere, ADP's chief product owner, said these are new capabilities. Previously, ADP did not have payroll anomaly detection or the ability to show missing tax information and fix it. If users had to run a report, they had to gather the data.

The prior chat system offered basic responses to employee inquiries. In contrast, the addition of generative AI (GenAI) delivers contextualized answers, informing employees about the paid-time-off policy and detailing the remaining leave balance.

ADP said elements of Assist are now available, but some features are still in a phased roll-out as they are tested and used by customers.

Too soon to tell

Evelyn McMullen, an analyst at Nucleus Research, said the ADP product upgrades are intended to help HR "do more with less" by automating routine tasks. However, she said it's challenging to predict the overall effect due to ADP's varied client base and the early stage of business adoption.

"There is still an element of questioning as to whether generative AI will truly be disruptive or just be more marketing buzz," McMullen said.

There is still an element of questioning as to whether generative AI will truly be disruptive or just be more marketing buzz.
Evelyn McMullenAnalyst, Nucleus Research

The significance of productivity gains across organizations will come down to user adoption and how well the implementation is managed, McMullen said. Managers don't necessarily need to understand the technology's intricacies but should focus on understanding and prioritizing the use cases where the technology can drive value, she said.

Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, sees the adoption of GenAI as the most significant change in HCM since the advent of browser-enabled employee self-service and manager self-service. GenAI has the potential to replace traditional user interfaces with conversational user experiences.

GenAI technologies are the next step in reducing the workforce needed by HR departments, Muller said. But he noted several issues. It's uncertain whether this technology will reduce the capacity of the HR department. Management has to decide whether it "wants to pocket the efficiency gains" or "upgrade the HR professional more to a coach, consultant and adviser to employees."

Patrick Thibodeau covers HCM and ERP technologies for TechTarget Editorial. He's worked for more than two decades as an enterprise IT reporter.

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