Reviving Manpower Inc. - The Joerres Way

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR208
Case Length : 13 Pages
Pages Period : 1998-2006
Organization : Manpower
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : US
Industry : Staffing Services

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Joerres' ability to turn around Manpower was impressive - especially during a recession, which normally kills the cyclical staffing business. He put through no grand overhaul at the suburban Milwaukee company, just a series of incremental changes: tweaking the company's sales mix, gradually updating the management ranks and making acquisitions to add new product lines." 1

- Forbes, May 2005.


For the financial year ending December 2005, US-based Manpower Inc.2 (Manpower), World's second largest provider of employment services, generated revenues of US$ 16.08 billion and operating profits of US$ 436.5 million. The company's financial performance in 2005, marked significant improvement compared with its performance during the late 1990s, when Manpower faced several problems. For the financial year 1998, its net profits had declined to US$ 76 million from US$ 164 million in 1997, in spite of growth in revenues. Manpower had been through serious problems in its key markets - the US and France. The company went in for several low-end contracts in these countries which returned low margins.

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Additionally, it failed to gauge the growing demand for skilled workers in the information technology (IT) industry. Manpower lost its leadership position in the staffing services industry worldwide, to its arch rival Adecco SA,3 a Swiss company, in 1998. Industry analysts opined that Manpower's CEO and Chairman Mitchell S. Fromstein (Fromstein) had been too complacent and slow-footed during changing times. In May 1999, Jeffrey Joerres (Joerres) was appointed as the CEO of Manpower. Joerres had worked with Manpower for the previous seven years handling several positions including Vice-President Marketing, Senior Vice-President (global account management and development) and Senior Vice-President (European Operations).

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1] Peter Kafka, "Permanent Help," Forbes, May 09, 2005.

2] Manpower Inc. offered permanent, temporary and contract recruitment services to its corporate clients. The company also provided employee assessment, training, consultancy services and financial services through its various associate companies. It had a clientele of over 400,000 customers both small and medium sized businesses and large multinational corporations. In 2004, the number of Manpower employees worldwide totaled 27,000 and the number of temporary employees worldwide totaled 2.5 million.

3] Adecco is the global leader in human resource and staffing services. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, Adecco has 33,000 employees and has a global network of 6,600 offices in 75 countries. The Adecco Group comprises of three divisions - Adecco Staffing that focuses on temporary employment and staffing solutions; Ajilon Professional that provides highly specialized personnel via temporary and permanent recruitment as per client's needs; and Lee Hecht Harrison Career Services that offers career transition and outplacement programs. In 2004, Adecco generated sales of euros 17.2 billion.


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