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Thinking strategically with Dow’s global payroll data

How can global payroll data make an impact on a company? Dow worked with ADP to get payroll right and extract strategic insights.

Dow, a global leader in materials science, has more than 35,700 employees in 106 manufacturing sites in 31 countries. Electrochemical pioneer Herbert H. Dow founded the company in 1897 in Midland, Michigan, where its headquarters remain to this day.

Over the past 120 years, Dow has grown from being a one-product chemical company to a global science company, transforming through many innovations and acquisitions. ADP has been working with Dow for 14 years, supporting over 30,000 of their employees in 16 countries.

Company vitals

Company: Dow

Industry: Plastics and chemicals

Established: 1897

Owner: Dow is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and included in the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average. Ticker: DOW

2020 Sales: $39 billion

Employees: 35,700

Locations: Operates in 31 countries

Headquarters: Midland, Michigan, United States


Before the pandemic, Dow wanted to make payroll analysis easier, but executives were aware that making any changes required buy-in from employees, especially when it came to payroll. 

“We’ve always run an awesome payroll service at Dow. We did it well when we did it in-house, and we do it well with ADP,” says Laurie Tremper, Dow’s Global Director of Payroll. “I take a lot of pride in making sure we do it without making a noise. People only notice payroll when it goes wrong, so we want to be as quiet as possible.” 

Processing that change began long before ADP’s solution went live. “We had just implemented a new global HCM (human capital management) system, and we were very familiar with what we needed to do for change management. But that piece was the biggest obstacle we had to overcome,” Tremper says.

“This is our year to showcase that this payroll and time data can really make an impact.” 

The solution

With a workforce spread over 31 countries, Dow chose ADP GlobalView Payroll and Enterprise eTIME for its modern, digital approach to global timekeeping. Employees can access their pay information and record their work online, and payroll professionals can process pay more swiftly and consistently. At the end of 2020, Dow rolled out the payroll and time solution for its two largest markets: the United States and Canada. 

“When we went live with payroll, we also went live with Enterprise eTIME, which is really where the high-touch employee experience is, and where we focused on for our change management,” Tremper says. “Being on ADP GlobalView Payroll and Enterprise eTIME gives us lots of new opportunities.”

Advanced scheduling tools allow Dow to better manage employee attendance and time. Tremper hopes to integrate even more countries into the system, especially locations that still use manual timekeeping. “We already have eight countries on Enterprise eTIME, and a roadmap to move another 20 countries to the system,” she says.

The future

The ability to access current, past and benchmark data across countries with the Global Insight Dashboard was a big draw for Dow, and the benefits keep emerging.

“We’ve never been able to analyze this payroll data before, so this first phase is really about discovering the stories that we can tell,” she says. “We are really excited to be where we are with ADP: the countries we’ve implemented, the plans for countries going forward. This is our year to showcase that this payroll and time data can really make an impact.” 

In the future, she hopes to use payroll data to shed light on Total Worker Health — how much employees are utilizing their holidays, health and rewards programs. If there are benefits not being utilized, can Dow redesign these benefits? When an employee says they’re stressed but aren’t taking vacation time, how can managers help improve their situation?

Analyzing their huge company repository of payroll data “will change the way that we work as a payroll team,” Tremper says. She also says the implementation has driven Dow to restructure its payroll team and grow their skill sets, including training specialists to work on the analytics from ADP GlobalView Payroll. “We’re much further along this journey today than we thought we’d be.”

“Using the data to improve the processes for other users of payroll data around the company has helped us improve as a team,” Tremper says. “We’re looking for opportunities to improve the team’s analysis skills. We will need more thinkers and analysts in the future.”

“2020 was a challenging year for us, as it was for many companies, where overnight, we were all working from home,” Tremper says. And on top of the pandemic, a dam broke near the Dow headquarters, forcing 15,000 residents to temporarily relocate. “ADP’s accessibility to the systems, their business continuity, planning, and the overall support they provided really allowed us to continue to deliver absolutely seamless payroll, even through the pandemic.”

Adejoke Adeboyejo

Adejoke Adeboyejo is a freelance writer and journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria. Having worked in human resources for more than 12 years, she now writes about the workplace, women’s issues and the environment.