Learning and performance


We are convinced that employee development enables a high-performance culture. To achieve this, we offer employees a wide range of learning and development opportunities. These include online learning resources and interactive learning experiences that are designed to increase the personal and professional effectiveness of our employees.

In 2020, we saw a sharp increase in the use of our digitally enabled learning tools with an increase in utilization of 162% of our LinkedIn Learning offerings and 158% for our Leadership Library offerings compared to last year. In response to the changes in the workplace, we transformed our in-person development trainings into interactive virtual learning experiences. As a result, we increased the number of virtual offerings by 258% which tripled the participation in virtual offerings compared to 2019.

Performance management

#MYBEST is the global performance development approach at adidas and is a key enabler of a high-performance culture. The four elements of #MYBEST encourage regular high-quality conversations between the employee and the line manager, provide a framework for regular upward and peer feedback exchange, and ensure goals are set and reviewed quarterly. A formal performance evaluation takes place twice a year1, and development is the focus of every monthly ‘Touch Base’ conversation. The voice of employees is critical in the evolution of #MYBEST. In 2019, the global #MYBEST survey was run for the second year in a row. The results confirmed the positive impact of the previous year’s enhancements and were also used to inform decisions about interventions supporting the full utilization of the #MYBEST approach. In 2020, we ensured that the organization has clarity regarding meaningful performance conversations while navigating the constantly changing environment. We also launched a series of global virtual events to provide practical tips and company best practice examples to all employees on impactful feedback and development conversations. To reduce the risk of potential bias in performance evaluations, we provided tools and guidance for all line managers to use when preparing for their regular Performance Standard conversations.


We are committed to rewarding our employees with compensation, benefit and incentive programs that are inclusive, competitive in the marketplace and aligned with our culture of ‘rewarding for performance’. Remuneration throughout the company comprises fixed and variable monetary compensation, non-monetary rewards, and other intangible benefits. Important cornerstones of our rewards program are our Job Architecture and our Global Salary Management System which are used as a basis for establishing and evaluating the value of employees’ positions and salaries in a market-driven and performance-oriented way.

The various variable compensation and benefits components we offer our employees include:

  • Bonus program – Short-Term Incentive (STI) program
  • Profit participation program – ‘Champions Bonus’ (Germany)
  • Long-Term Incentive (LTI) Plan for senior management
  • 401-K Retirement Plan (US), Long-Term Working Time Account and adidas Company Pension Plan (Germany)
  • adidas Stock Purchase Plan

We are continuously improving our remuneration approach and have therefore been investing in a number of projects and initiatives to increase the significance of our remuneration programs and to ensure we balance our investment in our employees with regard to performance, potential and market-oriented compensation. One of the improvements we made was an overhaul of our compensation management approach in Germany and the US throughout the last three years, which is designed to enable educated compensation decisions based on external market reference and internal equity. It is based on a higher level of detail for external market data and addresses internal pay gaps. We developed a monitoring approach to identify potential pay gaps and work continuously to improve and close these gaps on a country-by-country basis. To further enhance our efforts and transparency on this topic we support initiatives such as ‘Lean In’. The latest internal report from 2019 regarding the Equal Pay Gap shows an overall balanced picture on pay between female and male employees, based on a weighted average calculation between the salary grade levels.

In addition, we further improved transparency and governance for senior management remuneration and created higher transparency about remuneration as well as internal and external positioning of compensation and benefits packages. The aim was to ensure objective decision-making for management remuneration, and to continue standardizing our pay structures.

We rolled out a global Long-Term Incentive Plan for senior management over the past few years, which is in place for all employees down to director level globally. This program provides Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), linked to our earnings per share (EPS) targets and our share price performance. It closely links the goals of our senior management with those of our shareholders – sustainable success and long-term growth – and fosters a company ownership mentality.

Our subsidiaries also grant a variety of benefits to employees, depending upon locally defined practices and country-specific regulations and norms.

Stock Purchase Plan

Participation in the Stock Purchase Plan is provided to employees in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Netherlands, the US and Germany, offering almost half of our employees globally (excluding retail) the opportunity to participate. Around 5,400 employees participated in the program in 2020 (2019: 5,000).

1 Employees in Germany continue to have four evaluations based on the current company agreement.