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We believe that our people are the key to our success. Becoming the global leader in the sporting goods industry depends on the potential, dedication, knowledge and performance of our employees and the excellence of our leaders.


Our goal is to develop a culture that values the experience, well-being, and performance of our employees. To support this, we introduced our adidas values: Courage, Ownership, and Innovation, as well as Team Play, Respect, and Integrity. We focus on implementing and embedding these values across our people policies and processes, including the way we hire, promote, and evaluate performance.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We strongly believe that ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ gives us a real competitive edge and we embrace it as we work to be the best sports brand in the world. We believe that by creating a level playing field for everyone, every individual has an equal opportunity to achieve betterment, maximize their leadership potential and unleash high performance. By recruiting talent and developing our people to reflect the rich diversity of our consumers and communities, we foster a culture of inclusion where we value and leverage differences to engage our employees and connect with our consumers.


We have always been and will always be against discrimination in all forms and stand united against racism. To emphasize this principle, we implemented United Against Racism in 2020 to support the social justice movement and to promote racial equity within our US business and communities.. This initiative involves a multi-factored level of commitment across hiring, talent development, and community engagement with the goal of creating lasting change and include, among others, an investment of $ 120 million in the US toward ending racism and supporting Black communities through to 2025 as well as funding for 50 university scholarships in the US each year for Black and LatinX students. We also set new aspirations for increased representation of Black and LatinX people within our US workforce, aiming to fill at least 30% of all new positions in the US with Black and LatinX people by 2025. 

We already took action on several of these commitments, and we continue to prioritize this work across adidas. For a full list of our efforts and progress, click here. Here are some highlights: 

  • Launched the HBCU strategy, intern partnership with BeyGOOD x Ivy Park and a more inclusive hiring process. As a result, over 93% of all 2022 North America internship positions were filled with talent inclusive of all diverse categories.  
  • After a successful pilot of the adidas Unlimited Internship Program at adidas’ North America headquarters in Portland, Oregon, we expanded into the EMEA MarketThe Program provides support and opportunities for retail staff who want to pursue a career in our corporate structure.
  • In North America launched a partnership with Valence, a digital community committed to elevating Black professionals in the workplace. A mentorship program for emerging Black leaders supports them in reaching their goals through coaching, community, and a MasterClass curriculum.
  • Launched The Champions Program in North America, comprised of employees across the business who are highly trained to drive consistency, address blind spots and ensure a fair and equitable hiring experience. The second generation of Champions have now completed training.
  • Awarded $500K across 55 scholars for the 2021-2022 adidas Black & Latinx Community Scholarship, in partnership with the United Negro College Fund. Scholarship renewals will begin this summer for the 2022-2023 academic year.
  • Launching Cultivate & B.L.O.O.M. (Building Legacies out of Movements), a social impact accelerator for entrepreneurs working to address health, wealth, and access to sport in Black and Latinx communities. adidas is committing a total of $1M in funding for participating organizations in 2022.
  • Committed $10 million through 2025 to fund BeyGOOD partner social programs, organizations and initiatives that help bring equity to those disproportionately impacted by social and racial injustice. In 2022, adidas is supporting the inaugural year of adidas x BeyGOOD Internship, placing six interns to work across Ivy Park.
  • Launched adidas Community, a digital network and resource using entertainment and education to create opportunity, access and impact for the next generation of pioneers and rulebreakers. Co-created curriculum and experiences with community architects across sport, creativity, business, and purpose.

Throughout the company, we continue to support and grow our ‘Employee Resource Groups’ – these are employee-led networks that give employees with differing backgrounds and perspectives communities of belonging and togetherness. We have more than 30 ERGs around the globe, as well as Diversity Ambassador teams that focus on diversity dimensions, such as ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+, experienced generation, faith, disability, and mental health. Participation in these groups is voluntary and inclusive to all employees.


In 2022, we launched a new DEI strategy to ‘Create an Equal Playing Field for All,’ based on three key pillars: People, Culture, and Accountability. The strategy was informed by our first anonymous and voluntary diversity dimensions survey on four key dimensions of diversity (Gender, LGBTQ+, Race & Ethnicity, and Disability). Our DEI strategy and vision to own the game consist of three key pillars to build the equal playing field we aspire to and where we will win together: People, Culture, and Accountability. The strategy was informed by our first anonymous and voluntary diversity dimensions survey on four key dimensions of diversity (Gender, LGBTQ+, Race & Ethnicity, and Disability).

Our new DEI strategy aspires to global racial equity through the broadening of our data collection and talent initiatives to identify and support high-performing talent from under-represented and marginalized groups. We commit to promoting inclusivity across all diversity dimensions and across different intersectionalities. In addition, we are committed to continuously dedicate time in our internal cultural agenda to pause, reflect, learn, and celebrate inclusion. This initiative that originally started in September 2020 with the ‘Global Day of Inclusion’ continued in 2021 and 2022 with the multi-market ‘Global Week of Inclusion’ during which we held multiple panel discussions and learning webinars. Various elements of diversity were addressed during this week, including cognitive diversity, ageism, disability, and mental health. 


We are convinced that gender-balanced leadership teams have a competitive advantage and are drivers of business success. adidas is committed to ensuring equitable representation across all diversity dimensions in leadership positions, which includes enhancing our current focus on gender equality. A prerequisite for increasing the number of women at the highest levels of management is the general promotion of women within the company worldwide at all levels. We have various initiatives in place to guarantee that our succession pipeline is balanced, including mentoring of female talent as well as an equal gender split in our Global and Local High Potential programs.

By the end of 2022, the company had recorded a total of 39% of women globally in management positions and we are committed to increasing female representation in management positions (Director level and above) globally to more than 40% by 2025. This ambition reflects our commitment to equity as well as our consumer focus, where women are a priority. Moreover and pursuant to the German Law on Equal Participation of Women and Men in Leadership Positions in the Private and Public Sector, the adidas AG Supervisory Board determined target figures for the percentage of female representation on the Executive Board. The Executive Board determined such target figures for the first two management levels below the Executive Board.

adidas is committed to ensuring that employees are paid fairly and competitively for the role they perform, while also receiving competitive benefits. In 2019, adidas designed a global remuneration management system that is based on external market comparisons as well as internal comparisons between similar positions within career levels. This is done to pursue the goal of market-driven salary development. As it aims to ensure that all employees are paid within a competitive range for the role they perform, it is gender-neutral and therefore has an indirect impact on gender pay equity at adidas.


Our DEI Executive Council, made up of a diverse group from across the organization, including all members of the Management Board and leaders from each market, strives to increase accountability for global DEI initiatives and drive the execution of our DEI strategy. Within their respective functions and markets, Council members are committed to identifying and removing cross-functional and market barriers.

Attracting the right talent

We continue to compete for highly sought-after talent in a changing business landscape and remained a leading company to work for, with our ‘employer of choice’ status continuing to garner global recognition in 2022 as we topped our category in Forbes’ ‘World’s Best Employers’ list for the second year in succession and placed 16th overall 2021:14th). We also remained on Universum’s ‘World’s Most Attractive Employers’ rankings in 2022 for business and IT students worldwide. In addition, our Tech, Digital, and Data & Analytics hiring team was named ‘TA Team of the Year’ in 2022 by HRO Today Forum EMEA for our innovative hiring strategies. In Greater China, we celebrated two accolades sponsored by 51job, Inc. that we have received for the first time: the ‘100 Excellence Employer of China Award’ and the ‘Excellence in Talent Attraction & Retention Award’ for our commitment to identifying talent strategy, early talent attraction and development.

As part of our Undergraduate and MBA internship programs we employed 305 interns globally in 2022. In these programs, students are provided with a three- to six-month work and developmental opportunity within us, accompanied by robust internship programming elements that include professional development, mentorship, and networking events. Our goal as a company is to ensure we retain top-performing interns and have them become full-time employees.

Employee Listening

With the holistic results gathered through our ‘Employee Listening Survey’ (‘ELS’) from the entire organization, including all Corporate, Retail and Distribution Center employees, we were able to identify three key global themes to drive our actions: Feedback, trust, and career advancement. These themes remain at the heart of our strategic HR initiatives and inspire the creation of our ‘ELS’ Ambassadors, i.e., representatives of regions and functions who ensure our global themes are integrated into local initiatives, while also addressing specific findings in their market or function. The ‘ELS Ambassadors’ will also be integral in the rollout of the next iteration of the ‘ELS,’ in 2023.

Building role-model leadership

Our development offerings focus on developing the leadership behaviors and essential skills needed to ensure our continued success and the execution of our ‘Own the Game’ strategy. Our ambition is to inspire and nurture talented and diverse leaders who exemplify our leadership behaviors.  We undertake different initiatives to elevate and enhance our leadership pipeline:

  • Leadership development experiences: Our portfolio of leadership development experiences is designed for every level of management across all markets and functions. They include our ‘People Leader Experience’ (‘PLE’), ‘Manager Development Experience’ (‘MDE’), ‘Director Development Experience’ (‘DDE’), and ‘Executive Development Experience’ (‘EDE’). These interactive learning experiences support the development of leadership skills that are directly linked to the participants’ current roles and responsibilities as well as being aligned to our values. In 2022, our ‘People Leader Experience’ won the ‘Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Award’ for ‘Best Advance in Competencies and Skill Development,’ while our ‘Director Development Experience’ won the ‘Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Award’ for ‘Best Unique or Innovative Leadership Program.’
  • Succession management: Our succession management approach aims to ensure stability and certainty in business continuity through the development of strong internal talent pipelines for critical leadership positions. We achieve this through a globally consistent succession process that identifies these critical leadership positions and matches our top talent as successors to these roles. We also drive the succession process through achievable development plans that prepare the identified successors for their next steps. Our leadership groups and top talent pool serve as the succession pipeline for the executive roles in our organization.
  • Leadership groups: Our leadership groups consist of the ‘Core Leadership Group’ (‘CLG’) and the ‘Extended Leadership Group’ (‘ELG). The ‘CLG’ partners with the Executive Board, leading the execution of our business strategy while the ‘ELG’ collaborates across markets and functions, leading the execution of our strategic initiatives. Furthermore, the ‘ELG’ drives continuous improvement and consistency throughout the organization.
  • High-potential programs: We invest in selected high-performing and high-potential employees through three dedicated programs: ‘Global High Potential Group’ (‘GHIPO’), ‘Local High Potential Group’ (‘LHIPO’), and ‘Future High Potential Group’ (‘FHIPO’) program. Our ‘GHIPO’ and ‘LHIPO’ programs enable us to identify and develop global and local high-potential leaders who have the ability to take on more complex and demanding responsibilities at a higher leadership level. The programs are designed to build peer relationships and to give participants cross-functional and cross-cultural exposure. The ‘FHIPO’ program enables us to identify and develop selected high-potential employees at an early stage in their careers. The program is designed to build on participants’ skills, further evolve their capabilities, strengthen their behaviors, and expand their business perspective. Through continuous investment into the development and growth of our ‘HIPOs’, we are strengthening our global, regional, local, and functional succession pipelines at different levelsAt the end of 2022, 93% of the ‘GHIPO’, 74% of the ‘LHIPO’, and 37% of the ‘FHIPO’ participants successfully made positive career steps through upward, lateral, cross-cultural, or cross-functional moves.
Health Management

We strongly believe that physical, mental, and social well-being are of equal importance and are the cornerstone of sustainable performance. With this holistic approach, we aim to provide the best possible conditions for our employees to ensure their well-being, safety, and health. Focusing on prevention, education, and support, our comprehensive and inclusive portfolio caters for the diverse needs of our employees. Our employees have access to a wide range of sports activities, events, and facilities. We have corporate gyms at many locations around the world, including Herzogenaurach, Portland, Gurgaon, Shanghai, Dubai, and Manchester. Many of our office buildings have lockers and showers, allowing employees to cycle to work and include sports in their working day.

To meet employee needs in a hybrid work set-up, programs are both local and virtual to support teamwork and a healthy lifestyle. Offerings range from hybrid sports classes, medical and psychosocial consultations (in-person and virtual), and tools for digital disconnection, to carefully curated sessions on life topics. Today, with a gradual extension, almost all adidas employees around the world have access to an Employee Assistance Program. In addition, 2022 saw the launch of several pilots across Germany aimed at elevating our approach to health. These include a certified peer program on psychological first aid, an ergonomic program for our distribution center employees, and a tailored three-year plan for our dual students and apprentices to support a healthy start to their working life.

With our strategic partner B.A.D. as an occupational health and safety service for Germany, we are able to offer various medical services to our employees that go far beyond the legal requirements of occupational medicine. Two company doctors offer various medical services on-site, such as vaccinations, medical check-ups or ergonomic workplace adjustments in our German Headquarter. An anonymous and free telephone consultation service is available 24/7 to help our employees in difficult situations. Further we offer personal help from certified psychologists and social pedagogues. Our Integration Management Program after long-term sickness aims at supporting our employees after a lengthy absence from work.

Return to the office

Since the beginning of the covid-19 crisis, the safety and well-being of our employees, consumers and partners has been our top priority. In 2022, we were able to re-open several offices around the world, including our Herzogenaurach headquarters, where we introduced our new hybrid workplace concept as of May. We implemented a range of measures, such as vaccination centers, crisis management support, and trainings to ensure the ongoing safety of our people and to limit the risk of infections in the workplace. In our own-retail stores, we implemented safety protocols and trainings to ensure the safety of all employees and customers, and we will continue to do so. For more than two years, China had maintained the world’s strictest Covid measures. During the severe lock down period in Shanghai, we implemented a special assistance program for all employees. We also provided food, expat support, and unlimited psychological care for employees in all other cities in mainland China.

Occupational Health & Safety

The health and safety of our employees worldwide remains a priority for us. We ensure that our infrastructure, assets and operations are compliant with applicable standards by providing a safe, secure and healthy work environment and we regularly conduct internal and external audits to ensure a healthy, safe and secure work environment for all employees.We monitor our performance closely in order to measure our progress towards our targets and to identify areas for potential improvement. Our training and guidelines on health and safety have been successfully implemented and scaled throughout the organization. By 2025, we aim to record zero fatal accidents, to achieve a Lost Time Injury Rate (LTIR) below industry average, and a zero Occupational Illness Frequency Rate (OIFR). These numbers are verified annually during our Integrated Management System audits. Find out more about the adidas Health and Safety Statistics here.

Work-life integration

We aim to harmonize the commercial interests of the company with the professional, private, and family needs of our employees. Our work-life integration initiatives and programs include the provision of flexible working times and locations, personal development, and leadership competence related to work-life integration, as well as family-oriented services:

  • Family and childcare: In addition to providing flexible working opportunities and sabbaticals, we maintain a family-friendly environment and infrastructure. At our headquarters in Herzogenaurach, we provide parent-child offices and a bi-lingual childcare facility, ‘World of Kids,’ with 270 places. We also run children’s camps to support working parents during school holiday. In Herzogenaurach alone, 445 children attended these camps during 2022. The ongoing pandemic required a considerable degree of flexibility to meet individual needs in some locations. In China, for instance, adidas provided food and 1.5-hour lunch breaks during lockdown to help employees care for their families.
  • Parental leave: For parental leave and re-entry, programs are in place to provide employees with advice early on and options for their return to work, also taking into consideration flexible working hours and work locations. In Germany, employees on parental leave are guaranteed their original positions, which are only filled temporarily. In the US, in addition to regular parental leave for new parents (up to ten weeks at home, 70% of their salary), adidas offers an extra two weeks of paid parental leave. Furthermore, our special parental bonding leave provides parents with the opportunity to stay home for up to six months within the first twelve months after the child’s birth or placement. While unpaid, it offers parents the opportunity to stay home longer and take care of their new arrival and new life together. Latin America provides for an extended parental leave approach across the market, with mothers having 24 paid weeks in total to spend with their children, while fathers/partners have 20 paid days in total. In addition, mothers can work fewer hours for one month immediately before and after their maternity leave period.
  • Flexible work: Our worldwide off-campus-working approach, which allows our employees to work up to 40% of their working hours from home, was expanded in January 2022 to enable short-term remote working from another location (domestic or international). This new approach is called ‘Work from Anywhere.’ Having experienced the importance of social and personal interaction first-hand during the pandemic, we want to provide flexibility to support employees’ unique needs and experiences.
Mindset of continuous learning

At adidas, we continue to promote a high-performance culture by developing our employees. We offer a wide range of learning and development opportunities, including online learning resources and interactive learning experiences that provide personal and professional growth opportunities for our workforce. Our investments in digital learning and development opportunities, such as LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Circus Street, and Arizona State University, offer equitable access to learning content and just-in-time upskilling and/or reskilling.

The key pillars of our extended learning and development offerings are informal learning and mentoring. Our informal learning is supported by platforms where employees can network and connect across the organization based on shared learning goals and/or interests.

Recognizing both individual and team performance

The key focus of our rewards strategy is to attract, retain, and motivate individuals through remuneration and benefits that are inclusive, fit for purpose, and competitive in the marketplace – thus enabling us to achieve our strategic objectives. To promote a high-performance culture, it is essential that we focus on performance management to ensure fair and equitable reward and recognition. 

  • Performance management: #MYBEST is the global performance development approach at adidas and a key enabler of our high-performance culture. During the fourth quarter of 2021 and throughout 2022, we initiated a review of #MYBEST to include our new values and to explore the future of performance at adidas. In 2022, we sharpened our focus and simplified our approach: #MYBEST now has three elements to encourage regular high-quality conversations between employee and line manager, and to ensure goals are set and reviewed quarterly. A formal performance evaluation takes place twice a year, with employee development being the focus of every monthly ‘Touch Base’ conversation. We continue to work on making the performance evaluation and potential assessment processes more equitable and to further develop our line managers’ capabilities to engage in meaningful performance standard conversations. As we implement the new values into #MYBEST in 2023, we will focus on the adoption of these values and how they are lived.
  • Total compensation management: Compensation at adidas has a dual focus of ensuring employees are compensated fairly and equitably for the role they perform, while also creating a culture of rewarding performance. The adidas total compensation management philosophy enables educated compensation decisions based on external market reference and internal equity. It also takes into account the skills, experience, and responsibility of each individual. Our variable compensation programs engage and motivate employees by reflecting their activities input, while driving a culture of high-performance. To do this, adidas offers the following variable compensation plans:
  • Short-Term Incentive programs,
  • Profit participation programs,
  • Long-Term Incentive Plan (‘LTIP’) for senior management.
  • Benefits: At adidas, employee benefits take the form of monetary or non-monetary programs that supplement wages or salaries on a discretionary or non-discretionary basis. Programs can be offered globally, regionally, or locally and can be statutory or supplemental. They comply with legislation or local market practice and are based on benchmark data.
  • Cross-border employment: adidas invests in international relocation to fill local skill gaps, enable knowledge transfer, develop talent for a more diverse workforce, enable location strategy, and enforce our learning culture. Our aim is to support our ‘Own the Game’ strategy through a relocation of talent that will both enhance the employee experience and align with our business purpose and impact.
  • Stock Purchase Plan: Participation in the Stock Purchase Plan is open to employees in Germany, the US, the Netherlands, and Greater China (China mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong). This amounts to almost half our global workforce (excluding Retail).
Global employee population

On December 31, 2022, the company had 59,258 employees (2021: 61,401 ).  Thereof, 8,556were employed at adidas AG (2021: 8,096). On a full-time equivalent basis, our company had 51,777 employees on December 31, 2022 (2021: 53,870), thereof 7,678 at adidas AG (2021: 7,241). In 2022, personnel expenses decreased slightly to € 2.856 billion (2021: € 2.659 billion), representing 13% of sales (2021: 12%). 

  • Nationality breakdown: People from almost every country in the world work at adidas; the company language is English. adidas employees at the company’s headquarters in Herzogenaurach represent more than 100 nationalities.
  • Age group breakdown: The average age of adidas employees worldwide is 32. Employees under 30 represent around 43 percent of the global workforce, followed by the biggest age group of the 30 to 50 year old employees who account for around 51 percent of the employee population. Employees aged older than 50 make up 6 percent of the global workforce.
  • Number of new hires: In total, adidas hired more than 20,348 employees worldwide in 2022 (2021: 30,000). 
  • Employees represented by a trade union or covered by collective bargaining agreements: In Germany, around 60  percent of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements.
Internal communication

We believe that a robust and state-of-the-art internal communication platform is essential for driving employee engagement and fostering learning as well as open collaboration within our organization. We use an enterprise collaboration platform called ‘a-LIVE’, which brings the intranet, online collaboration platforms and important system applications under one roof. It allows departments and teams to quickly build and edit their own internal collaboration and communication platforms and connects users across departments as well as locations. It encourages employees to share knowledge, collaborate and discuss current topics.

Major incident response

The company-wide Major Incident Response Policy sets out procedures and the internal and external communications needed to handle major incidents effectively. Under the lead of Human Resources, the company’s Incident Response team takes the appropriate action to minimize risks for our employees and our business at any time anywhere in the world.

Travel management

Due to the global presence of the adidas AG, its products and its partners, it is necessary that our employees travel regularly to global destinations worldwide. With the support of an external co-operation partner, we run a Medical and Security Assistance Program to service expatriates and adidas AG employees abroad and on business-related travel.

With the Medical and Security Assistance Program, business travel is safer and risks are more transparent. The provider is on the spot when medical or security-related problems arise while people are travelling. Employees obtain pre-travel services, including information regarding immunization recommendations, travel medicine clinics, passports and visas, local medical facilities and special security precautions concerning their destination. Destination services include telephone medical and security advice, worldwide medication replacement and prescription transfer as well as medical and security evacuation.

The service provider has 24-hour alarm centers, staffed with security advisors and physicians who are trained in emergency and travel medicine. They also have a network of medical clinics globally that provide an international standard of care.

In addition, the travel data collected allows us to pro-actively inform our travelers about upcoming risk warnings, strikes or weather warnings via automatic email or text messages.

Rights and rules

As a company managing around 60,000 employees, adidas AG has established standards and rules that specify the company’s responsibilities towards its global workforce.

These rights and rules are defined in the adidas Human Rights Policy. In turn, employees must comply with the adidas Code of Conduct, which explains their duty to ensure ethical business behavior.

  • Human Rights Policy: The Human Rights Policy demonstrates the company’s commitment to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is the guiding framework for several company-level policies that put our commitment into day-to day practice. These policies are related to issues such as employee recruitment, development, equal opportunities and compensation and benefits. Please click here to download our Human Rights Policy
  • adidas Code of Conduct: Integrity is one of the core values of adidas AG. All employees are expected to act with fairness and responsibility as well as in compliance with relevant laws and regulations while carrying out their tasks. In order to maintain good corporate governance, we have adopted the adidas Code of Conduct as part of our internal Global Policy Manual. The Code is the cornerstone of ethical work behavior for our employees. It defines binding rules with respect to legally compliant and ethical behavior towards other employees, business partners and third parties, for handling information – in particular insider information – as well as for dealing with financial matters. The Code of Conduct is supported with mandatory online training available in ten languages. This ongoing training is aimed at raising awareness of ethical and social behavior, as well as promoting compliance with data protection requirements and other policies. Every new employee is automatically invited to complete the training. Find out more about the adidas Code of Conduct here.
  • Complaints and non-compliance: To track complaints or cases of non-compliance, we have established a network of compliance officers worldwide. In 2013 we installed a global hotline called ‘Fair Play Hotline’. With the Fair Play Hotline, our employees can submit complaints also anonymously.
  • Ensuring data protection: Ensuring privacy around data is an important aspect of the company’s compliance program. Our data protection system aims to ensure that personal information is handled, stored and processed according to applicable laws and internal policies globally. All employees are provided with online data protection training, and special training is given to departments that manage sensitive data, such as marketing departments.