Inspirational “Work”

By Stephan Howeg (Adecco Group)
04:57 PM, April 11, 2012

The work we do every day has a direct impact on the lives of people. As the world leader in HR solutions, we connect 500,000 colleagues with 100,000 clients daily. The importance of work and what we do to help people find jobs cannot be overstated. Work permits us to realize our talents and to contribute to society. It is essential for our social and financial well-being. To foster and enhance the key role we play is clearly our long-term goal. A UN Global Compact participant since 2003, Adecco has been living up to its Principles, most evidently in relation to labor standards by improving work opportunities for those at risk of discrimination, such as young people, mature workers, and the unemployed.

In the midst of the global recession, the value of “work” and Adecco’s contribution to society has crystallized in the minds of governments, companies, and individuals. With our day-to day business, we efficiently connect people and companies; we reduce frictional unemployment; we provide career guidance and training that increases employability; and we enable companies to have flexible workforce strategies that encourage new jobs.

Especially when economic pressure to compromise on labor standards increases, our commitment to uphold and enact our corporate responsibility strategy strengthens. We focus on “integration” of disadvantaged groups, “skill” development, and “safety” at work. Responsibility – one of our four core values, together with Team Spirit, Customer Focus, and Entrepreneurship – has always inspired us to support special projects in our three focus areas, utilizing our core competencies to help disadvantaged groups find a place in the working world.

Enabling youth in Latin America

The pathways to employment for young people with socially disadvantaged backgrounds in Latin America are challenging. Recognizing education as a key driver of overall economic and social development, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has gathered a team of partners to start the PREJAL project – a project for the promotion of juvenile employment in Latin America. Over 17,000 youths have participated since 2005 in the project, which has received public funding of $5 million.

Through the Adecco Foundation in Spain; our offices in Argentina, Peru, and Colombia; and through partnerships with local professional training organizations, we are playing an integral part in PREJAL. Between 2007 and 2009, a total of 1,820 young women and men (50:50) aged 15 to 24 attended Adecco-run workshops in these three countries. The day-long workshops give attendees the tools to optimize their approach in the search for employment. Advice on interview techniques, CV preparation, and matching people’s profiles to current vacancies are some of the activities conducted. Attendees receive a full information pack, access to online resources, and the opportunity for jobs with Adecco or its clients.

The success of PREJAL is reflected in the fact that it will be extended to 2013. PREJAL can count on the continued support of key partners such as the UN and the ILO, governments and private companies.

“Thanks to the three-way dialogue which has been initiated by the ILO and PREJAL we are incorporating the politics of youth employment to social dialogue.”

Dr. Carlos Tomada, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Argentina

Age-diverse workforce in France

The employment rate of mature workers in France remained below the European average over the last decade: 38.4 vs. 44 percent. So in late 2008, the French government introduced a law obliging large companies to develop action plans to increase the percentage of workers who are over 50 years of age.


The Adecco Group in France embraced this opportunity to strengthen its established diversity and anti-discrimination programs. We started by participating in a multi-company audit of senior workforce strategies that was undertaken by social ratings agency VIGEO in mid-2009. The audit helped benchmark and identify best practice for re-application and improvement within Adecco. By October 2009, all 25 Adecco Group companies operating in France had developed their own diversity action plans, which include an anti-age discrimination component. Each company now has compulsory training modules – delivered online or face-to-face – to prevent all forms of discrimination. One aspect is how to handle requests from clients who ask for employees below a certain age. The training shows colleagues how to reorient clients to focus upon candidates’ skills and motivations rather than age profiles.

As companies begin to recognize the value of an age-diverse workforce, Adecco is ideally placed to help them achieve that goal. For example, in 2009, Adecco completed the challenge of hiring 50 workers aged over 50 years for a call center in Poitiers and Tours. This created an age-balanced workforce for the client and even enhanced the staff retention rate.

“Candidate Caring” – Italy invests in its future

Since January 2009, there have been 30,000 unemployed people in Italy who have participated in the Adecco “Candidate Caring” training course, which is aimed at improving unemployed workers’ prospects for returning to work. By January 2010, there were 14,000 contracts obtained for these candidates, all of who had previously worked for Adecco before the economic crisis hit.

The “Candidate Caring” initiative is a public-private partnership developed with key national and local unions. The first stage of training consists of an intensive course led by Adecco personnel that provides a package of services to improve employment prospects such as local labor market information, CV preparation, competency testing, and career evaluation and planning. For the second part, candidates receive job-specific training – ranging from mechanical design to IT courses – delivered by third-party training specialists. To forge even stronger connections between candidates and clients, Adecco has set up a series of “exchange” events, where major clients seeking specific skills can meet and interview up to 100 suitable candidates.

Adecco Italy has already invested €10 million in the project as a whole. We acknowledge this investment fosters our relationship with a valuable talent pool in preparation for the economic upswing. However, there are also clear benefits to the individuals concerned, the companies looking to recruit, and for the quality of human capital in Italy.

The pattern of shared stakeholder benefits is evident in the featured projects in Latin America, France, and Italy. Improving the working lives of people is at the heart of Adecco’s corporate responsibility strategy and of its core business. The focus on society in the long term fuels our commitment to invest in projects that go above and beyond our day-to-day work.

This project description was originally presented in the Global Compact International Yearbook 2010.

About the Author
Howeg, Stephan

Stephan Howeg heads the Adecco Group's Corporate Communications department and is responsible for the field of sustainability for the Adecco Group.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect CSR Manager's editorial policy.
Post Comment




CSR Manager Logo


















About Us // Privacy Policy // Copyright Information // Legal Disclaimer // Contact

Copyright © 2012-2018 macondo publishing GmbH. All rights reserved.
The CSR Academy is an independent learning platform of the macondo publishing group.