Adidas CHRO: Putting HR back in the boardroom

Adidas CHRO: Putting HR back in the boardroom

Adidas CHRO: Putting HR back in the boardroom

With over 60,000 employees worldwide, global sports brand adidas is a household name – with an impressive people strategy to match.

With the appointment of Karen Parkin to chief human resources officer, she has changed the basics of the HR system, and placed the function back on the board after a long absence.

Since announcing the centralization of the HR function in July, all HR departments now report directly to her as CHRO.

“With the consistent restructuring, HR pursues the goal to develop a new company culture to win and retain talent globally with a consistent offer and working environment,” she explained.

“Another point on the agenda is to support the corporate strategy ‘Creating the New’ with HR initiatives. This is not possible without a united team. At the moment, they are in the process of clarifying details such as new roles and responsibilities. But the overall agenda remains the same.”

Incorporating culture into the employee strategy can help with retention, recruitment and overall staff morale. A survey from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business found that 90% of leaders believe culture to be important in their organization, with 92% adding that improving their culture would improve the value of their company.

“Our employee strategy is based on four pillars,” added Parkin. “First of all, it's about talent: we want to win the best talent and tie them to our company. Another focus is on the leadership culture.

“Managers should be role models and inspire employees to do their best. Third, we want to use the potential that comes with a diversity workforce.

“The fourth pillar is a creative and collaborative work environment as well as the corporate culture. It is characterized by confidence, collaboration and creativity.”

Over 50% of organizations think that culture actually influences creativity amongst employees. Despite this, just 15% of firms admit that their corporate culture is where it needs to be – meaning there’s a lot more for HR to bring to the boardroom.

“If you consider the people strategy as the heart,” added Parkin, “the HR is the head which brings the people strategy to life and which provides the right tools and programs.”

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