Joyce Russell’s promotion this month to president of Adecco General Staffing USA makes her one of the highest-ranking female executives in the $131 billion staffing industry. She will oversee Adecco’s temporary and direct-hire staffing, a division that generates $3 billion in revenue annually. Russell recently spoke to Workforce Management staff writer Gina Ruiz about what the future holds for Adecco.
Workforce Management: Adecco Group chairman Klaus Jacobs has said the company is entering a new chapter in its 10-year history. What role do you see yourself playing in this new phase?
Joyce Russell: For one, I’ll be driving further growth in the U.S. We want to grow faster. Second, I hope to make a positive difference on customer satisfaction. We are putting in place standard operating procedures so that clients get the same service, whether they are at an Adecco in Portland, Oregon, or Portland, Maine. They will have the same positive experience from one branch to another, similar to the strategy that Starbucks has in place.
WM: What are some ways in which you hope to enhance customer service?
Russell: A lot of our attention has been devoted to large accounts. We’ll continue to focus on that part of the business, but we will also pay more attention to smaller and medium-sized employers. With unemployment at about 4.5 percent, companies of all sizes will need our help.
WM: The company has established some very aggressive growth goals of 7 percent to 9 percent in the coming years. Are these realistic?
Russell: I’m focusing on achieving growth of approximately 8 percent in the U.S., which I think is definitely achievable. Our growth will be organic; we’re not going to be making any acquisitions for now. We have six business lines that we are expanding and will bet heavily on medical, information technology and sciences. As they continue to grow, many more jobs will be created and the need for qualified workers will deepen, which will be good for our business.
WM: Some say the industry lacks innovation. What are some fresh strategies that you will use to differentiate Adecco from its competitors?
Russell: If you are thinking of being a leader in our industry, you are going to have to make inroads in the Hispanic market. It is the fastest-growing demographic in the country and will play a critical role in the workforce. I think this will be a strategic business addition for us in the future.
WM: You have just been given the reins of a $3 billion business. What personal imprint do you want to leave on the company?
Russell: We have to grow our people. That in turn will grow our business. We have a huge training program at Adecco, so whether you walk in as an office supervisor, the front line of our business, or a branch manager, you’re going to get the best training in the industry.
Workforce Management, January 29, 2007, p. 5 -- Subscribe Now!