Learning and Performance


We are convinced that employee development enables a high-performance culture. To achieve this, we offer 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.

This year, we have premiered a platform for employees that provides access to all learning initiatives within adidas. It contains curated content based on employee development needs.

Our investments in learning and development opportunities have focused on access to digital learning content such as LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Circus Street, and Arizona State University. To pursue our effort of equitable access to career development, we have also invested in a self-directed language platform.

In 2021, we made increasing use of virtual capabilities not only in the delivery of learning content, but also in its development. We have developed and launched a new virtual learning creation that allows rapid design, quick implementation, and delivery of content at scale within a short period of time. With this approach, we were for example able to launch our ‘Essentials – Think and Act Sustainably’ program, resulting in a registration of more than 4,000 employees in 2021.

Going virtual has not only enabled access to a wider audience across the organization, but also allowed for even more diversity of thought, experience, and knowledge in the learning groups, bringing the learning exchange to all different levels. Consequently, we saw an extended use of our digitally enabled learning tools, but also of other learning offers across adidas, with a significant increase in learning hours.


Another investment has been in networking and informal learning. For example, we have partnered with ‘Ten Thousand Coffees’ on an adidas virtual café to enable connection and peer-to-peer learning.

At the beginning of the year, we also relaunched our internal adidas Mentoring Program (aMP) to answer the development needs of our employees. aMP is a self-driven program open to all adidas employees to connect with mentors and mentees outside of their location and/or function, learn from each other, and grow together.

In addition, in 2021 the CEO Mentoring Circle that originally started in 2017 was expanded to become the Board Mentoring Circle. With this program, the adidas Executive Board members are investing their time to support the development of selected and upcoming leaders in our organization.

In 2021, we have also partnered with former track and field athlete Edwin C. Moses to pilot a mentoring experience to help selected employees elevate their ability to reinforce our cultural aspirations. Participants comprised a small and diverse cohort of high-potential leaders across North America. This initiative will be extended to a larger group across the organization in 2022.


#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 year,1 and development is the focus of every monthly ‘Touch Base’ conversation. The voice of employees is critical in the evolution of #MYBEST. In 2021, we introduced new tools to make the performance evaluation and potential assessment processes more equitable and continued to build our line managers’ capabilities to engage in meaningful performance standard conversations. In August, our new people strategy was launched, with a key focus on performance. During the fourth quarter of 2021, we initiated a review of our performance development approach to include our new values. This review will continue in 2022 and will focus on the future of performance at adidas.


Principles of our rewards and recognition strategy: The key focus of the adidas ‘Total Rewards and Recognition Strategy’ is to attract, retain, and motivate individuals through remuneration, benefits, and recognition programs that are inclusive, fit for purpose, and competitive in the marketplace, enabling the achievement of adidas’ strategic objectives. In order to further enhance the rewards and recognition approach at adidas, a comprehensive review will be undertaken in 2022.

Remuneration: Remuneration at adidas has a dual focus of ensuring employees are remunerated fairly and equitably for the role they perform, while also creating a culture of ‘rewarding for performance.’ This is supported by the adidas Total Compensation Management philosophy, together with the development of an internal Job Architecture, both of which have been designed to enable educated compensation decisions based on external market reference and internal equity, while also taking into account the skills, experience, and responsibility of individuals.

In order to motivate and engage our employees, while also driving performance, adidas offers the following variable compensation plans:

  • Short-Term Incentive (STI) programs,
  • Profit participation program – ‘Champions Bonus’ (Germany),
  • Long-Term Incentive (LTI) Plan for senior management.

Benefits: At adidas, most benefits are offered on a location-specific basis, driven by local practices or needs, and statutory requirements. This includes a 401-K Retirement Plan (US), Long-Term Working Time Account and the adidas Company Pension Plan (Germany). As a global company, our benefits reflect our cultural diversity. Programs may vary from country to country, but follow a defined global standard to enable a comparable benefits experience, which is enabled through flexibility and technology.

Cross-border employment: adidas is investing in international relocations to fill local skill gaps, enable knowledge transfer, develop talent to build a more diverse workforce, enable location strategy, and to enforce our learning company culture. Our cross-border employment ambition is to enable ‘Own the Game’ through desired movement of talent that both enhance employee experience and align to business purpose and impact. To support this ambition, in June 2021, adidas launched a new global policy for cross-border employment.

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), offering almost half of our employees globally (excluding retail) the possibility to participate. 5,230 employees participated in the program in 2021 (2020: 5,400).

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