Perform, Transform, Innovate

We look back on 2017 as a year of good performance and significant strategic progress. We accelerated our organic revenue growth and held our operating margin broadly steady, while at the same time making important investments to ensure the future prosperity of the Adecco Group. We continued to generate strong cash flow and made further significant capital returns to our shareholders. It was a year in which our strategic agenda of ‘Perform, Transform and Innovate’ came to life, with concepts first introduced in last year’s Annual Report moving from planning phase to implementation phase. As our strategic programmes scale up through 2018 and 2019, we look forward to updating our stakeholders with details of their significant anticipated returns.

Megatrends at work

During 2017, we expanded our study of the megatrends that are shaping the future world of work. These six key trends – geopolitical & economic uncertainty; the gig economy; skills imbalances; the new demographic mix; automation, AI & machine learning; and digitisation, big data & analytics – are already impacting the way we live and work today, and the Group’s strategy is intended to capitalise on them.

Leveraging our strengths

The Adecco Group is uniquely positioned to remain at the forefront in the new world of work, expanding its market share over time. As an established HR solutions partner, we have broad knowledge of complex labour regulations and customer needs in 60 markets globally. We also have extensive workforce data and deep enterprise client relationships. These are assets that new technology entrants struggle to replicate.

Perform, Transform, Innovate

Our strategic agenda of Perform, Transform, Innovate describes how we are turning the opportunities created by the megatrends into reality. First outlined in last year’s Annual Report, the agenda is now in full swing. We have established programmes across the whole business to ensure that these three pillars are ingrained in everything we do and empower our teams to deliver results every day.


Building strong brands

Our brand strategy is a key element of the Group’s digital transformation. Specialised brands allow us to better connect with our target audiences, both clients and candidates. Historically we operated many local brands. As outlined in last year’s report, we are in the process of streamlining the brand portfolio to focus on fewer, bigger, stronger global brands, to maximise market impact and generate greater economies of scale.

Badenoch & Clark
Lee Hecht Harrison
Spring Professional

Investments with attractive returns

To realise the potential of our strategic agenda, we are making targeted investments, both organic and by means of buy-and-build M&A. The strong cash generation of our underlying businesses allows us to fund these investments while continuing to reward our shareholders with a progressive dividend, and also additional capital returns, when we have excess cash. Our capital allocation criteria and our commitment to maintain our dividend, even in a cyclical downturn, remain clear.

A future that works for everyone

Re-skilling and up-skilling, building diversity through inclusion, integrating flexibility and adaptability into organisations, and ensuring ‘flexicurity’ for all in a changing world of work are themes that we will be emphasising and developing throughout 2018. These principles not only make sense for the wider society, but are good for business as well, and will have a direct impact on productivity, competitiveness and profitability in the long run.

Looking forward

We begin 2018 better able to grow revenues, profit and cash flow, thanks to the strong foundations that we laid during 2017. There remains much work to be done to realise the potential of our Perform, Transform, Innovate agenda. But we strongly believe that the improvements we are making to our business will strengthen our position as the leading global HR solutions partner and help us to make the future work for everyone.

Alain Dehaze
Chief Executive

Full 2017 Annual Report