Fluid HR.
For solid success.

For each and every one of us, 2020 will be marked as the year when COVID struck worldwide. In addition to the devastating social impact of the virus, the economic repercussions were also unprecedented. We immediately focused on the health and safety of our employees and the continuity of our services, because as a critical functionality, payroll had to keep running.

Overnight, SD Worx became a fully virtual company, a shift that was greatly helped by our digital transformation efforts in recent years. Even at SD Worx Staffing & Career Solutions, where working from home was not at all commonplace, we managed to get everyone up and running quickly.

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A masterly example of commitment
and customer focus

It was incredible and heart-warming to witness an organisation surpass itself through the efforts of its people. Not only did our services continue to run; our employees also stepped up to the mark and immediately set up initiatives to provide accurate information, relevant advice and concrete support to our customers in the context of the corona crisis. Doing so proved vital, because the many new governmental rules and support measures led to a flood of questions. In addition, our systems, organisation and offering had to be geared almost in real time to the implementation of these regulations and the adjustments that followed.

Thanks to this lightning-fast flexibility, expertise and commitment, we were able to relieve our customers of their payroll and HR worries, which was highly appreciated. After all, they had other fish to fry. Unfortunately, many of them had to close their doors completely or partially, permanently or temporarily, out of obligation or out of pure necessity.

“Because of digitalisation and its accompanying substantial IT investments, scalability counts in our fragmented sector. For small companies, digital disruption will be hard to keep pace with. In our opinion, the best defence is to take up a strong role in the consolidation game and become a large top player. The race will be won by those who adapt quickly and have the resources to do so, generating large and sustainable growth.”

Filip Dierckx,
Chair of the Board of Directors
of SD Worx

Filip Dierckx

A healthy basis
for growth

When the number of people employed decreases and the need for flexible staff trends downward, we feel an immediate impact. Although lower than estimated, SD Worx People Solutions realised overall positive results (+4.8% in turnover and +24.3% normalised EBITDA compared to 2019) in 2020. Continuous investments in operational excellence and digitisation have resulted in increased profit margins.

SD Worx Staffing & Career Solutions was more negatively impacted by the corona crisis (-18% in turnover and -40% normalised EBITDA compared to 2019). Due to strong cost control measures, EBITDA, including normalisations, increased from EUR 3.7 million to EUR 3.9 million. Our revenue trend recovered consistently during the second half of the year and we are confident that the segment for flexible work will revive further as soon as the economy fully recovers from the COVID pandemic.

As a major player in our industry, with a healthy financial balance, SD Worx has grown a cast-iron foundation and buffer over the last 75 years, so we can look to the future with confidence. Indeed, 2020 was also the year of our 75th anniversary, with connecting with employees and customers as a central thread. The many digital celebration initiatives – including 150,000 euros donated to 75 charities as the icing on the cake – showed again a team that cares and is highly involved, regardless of the current distance economy.

Even more, in 2020, SD Worx transformed into an enterprise organised by customer segments, aligned entirely with our customers’ journeys instead of based on geographies, in line with our strategic plans. In fact, due to coronavirus, we accelerated our digitalisation initiatives and processes even more than foreseen. Shifting another gear up in our transformation into a digital cross-border, customer-segment-oriented organisation with a full-service HR offering, and all of this in a year like 2020, demonstrated the level of agility and flexibility of our organisation.

“Never before has our purpose of being there for our customers in terms of payroll and HR been so comprehensively fulfilled. We explained the new legislation to our customers, supported them in restructuring their organisations and helped them to make the shift to telework. We were in continuous dialogue with governments. Via various studies and based on our own rich data, we put some figures in perspective for society. It became clear that we are so much more than an administrative company. We are a people company that really makes a difference for its employees, customers and for society as a whole. Just like everyone else, I look forward to a world where we can interact face to face once more. A pure digital world will not be for tomorrow.”

Kobe Verdonck,
CEO of SD Worx People Solutions

Kobe Verdonck

Reinforcement on several fronts

2020 was also the year when we welcomed Adessa and Pointlogic HR and sealed the full arrival of GlobePayroll into the SD Worx family. We entered into partnerships with Talentsoft and MobileXpense. In 2021, we will increase the pace again. On 11 January, we signed a partnership with ADAM Human Capital Management, headquartered in Dallas (US). This leading payroll software and services provider is active in 33 countries in the Latin American and Caribbean markets, thus allowing us to provide our enhanced global solutions in 150 countries worldwide. A couple of weeks later, we opened up an operations centre in Katowice (Poland), other plans in South and Central Europe are on our roadmap too. This puts us in a stronger position to provide our customers with even better and broader support, both geographically and in terms of a portfolio that spans the entire HR lifecycle. It further enables us to be active wherever our customers are active, to offer innovative solutions tailored to their needs and to become Europe’s number one player in the field of payroll and HR.

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Poised for the future

This is how we will spark our customers to achieve long-term success. We will ensure that they are equipped to handle setbacks and other crises that are sure to come. We will further embed and build on the outcomes of the corona crisis, such as teleworking, which has made its mark for good. Even more, we will help prepare for a near future with a growing contingent workforce in which all staff are equally important, fixed and flex, and need the best support possible.

These evolutions will further redesign the fundamental nature of organisations and HR. Communication will become even more important, internally and externally. There will be a need for a new style of leadership in which trust is the foundation and leaders take up roles as coaches. Skills and traits such as self-management, autonomy and personal responsibility will have to be part of employees’ standard package. In addition, we must all learn new skills and competences throughout our lives. When it no longer matters where you work, international employment will be the order of the day.

Offices will need to serve other purposes than solely places to work. Employers must ensure that employees are connected with the company and with each other, and that it is more rewarding to work for them than for the competition. These are tough changes, and never before has it been truer that the ones most responsive to change will be those that survive, and even thrive.

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The indispensable human touch

In short, HR will only become more fluid. SD Worx is ready to embrace that speed of change by offering excellent solutions and expertise, advice and service. Although digitalisation will still increase exponentially, we are equally convinced that the human touch will continue to prevail and even gain in importance. The experiences – of employees, customers and their staff, fix or flex – will be decisive. This is in our DNA, which gives us a nice lead on the competition.

After all, for us, it is the people who count. They write the stories, crunch the numbers, deliver the services and achieve the successes.

Striving for a healthy working environment in all its aspects is more topical than ever. We must continue to work on this ourselves, and with our customers as well. Team cohesion is a critical focus point, because that is what makes the difference in good times and bad. More than ever, we have the ambition to position ourselves in the market as a full HR partner. And with our broad range of services, solutions and insights for both permanent and flexible employees, we are the only player that can truly claim that position.”

Christophe Petit,
CEO of SD Worx Staffing & Career Solutions

Christophe Petit

A word
of thanks

We fully realise that we were only able to achieve this thanks to the continuous efforts and enthusiasm of our employees. Therefore, we are extremely grateful and proud that, even – and especially – in this dark crisis, they have provided so much positive reinforcement. We are equally grateful for the trust our customers place in us, and we will do anything to keep earning this.

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