The Future of Work: An Interview with Adidas Global SVP of HR Gregg Tate

Leah Williams

As Global Senior Vice President of Human Resources at one of the world’s largest athletic apparel companies, Gregg Tate is responsible for a workforce of more than 50,000 associates around the world. The Adidas executive sat down for an exclusive interview with Human Resources IQ to discuss how the company will attempt to change the  corporate culture of its global workforce and the future of work. 

“We’ve just launched our five-year strategic business plan, which is based around four pillars, one of which is people. People, of course, is owned by HR and so we have to look at how we develop our five-year plan in HR to support the business strategy and objectives.”

“One of the key issues we’re addressing in our five-year HR strategy is changing the culture. As Peter Drucker said, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast.’  You can strategize all you want, but if your culture isn’t right, you’re not going to get there.”

“The four pillars of our HR plan include enticing people to join and stay with the company, looking at role models who inspire us, capitalizing on the diverse perspectives we have within the company and creating an environment that inspires people. We then translate that down to three C’s of what we want to base our culture around -- creativity, collaboration and confidence. ”

As Tate explained, the company’s strong branding contributes to employees’ commitment to their jobs. “When you work for a company with such recognizable products and personality, it’s easy to be passionate about your work. We believe that, through sports, we have the power to change lives. That’s easy to get people to rally around."

Each region, Tate notes, can tweak the implemention of the strategy “Within each local environment, there will always be adjustments to that happens.”