Randstad Holding NV history, profile and corporate video

 Randstad Holding NV provides staffing, recruitment and human resources consulting services. The company’s main activities include temporary staffing, in-house services, HR solutions, the provision of temporary and seconded professionals and search and selection. It operates through the following divisions: Staffing, Professionals, Search & Selection, HR Solutions, and In-House Services. The Staffing division offers temporary staffing, permanent placement and specialties. The Professional division recruits middle and senior management positions. The Search & Selection division specializes in the recruitment of middle and senior managers for permanent positions within client organizations. The HR Solutions division offers recruitment process outsourcing, managed service programs, payroll services, and various other services, such as outplacement, outsourcing and consultancy. The In-House division provides solutions for managing a highly efficient workforce with specific skill sets and fluctuating levels of demand. The company was founded by Frits Goldschmeding and Ger Daleboudt in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, Netherlands.

“Randstad Holding History

1960-1970: The company’s launch

Randstad was founded in 1960 by Frits Goldschmeding and Ger Daleboudt, who were both studying economics at the time at VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Goldschmeding had written a thesis about the phenomenon of temporary work, noting the benefits of additional but temporary staff during peak periods. According to Goldschmeding, in a flexible labor market employers would be able to adapt much better to the economy and employees would find it easier to get different types of work and thus acquire experience faster.

The first flyers for the firm were typed in Goldschmeding’s attic room in the student house on Sloterkade in Amsterdam. The agency was called ‘Uitzendbureau Amstelveen’. The first financial year (1960) ended with a profit of 4.12 euros, growing to 7,866 euros the following year.

In the first years, Uitzendbureau Amstelveen mainly provided personnel for the insurance industry, banks and the health-care sector. The firm’s first office was near theVondelpark in Amsterdam.

In 1963, the agency also opened branches in Leiden and Rotterdam and changed its name from ‘Uitzendbureau Amstelveen’ to ‘Randstad Uitzendbureau’. At that time, Goldschmeding and Daleboudt were still sure that the Randstad (the urban area between Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam) represented their total reach.

A new logo was created by designer Ben Bos from Total Design. This is still the logo used by Randstad in 2011.

From 1965, Randstad ventured abroad. First with a branch in Brussels and in 1967 the first branch in London opened. In 1968, the first German branch opened in Düsseldorf. France followed in 1973.

1970-1980: search for recognition

After obtaining additional credit from the AMRO Bank to enable the company to grow further, in 1970 Randstad moved into a new head office on A.J. Ernstraat in Amsterdam. This was where all the branches sent their time sheets every week. In order to process everything, the first computer, the size of a large conference room, made its appearance at Randstad.


In the 1970s, temporary work was still not fully accepted by society. It attracted ongoing criticism. During the period 1970-1980, Randstad was largely engaged in countering that criticism and searching for recognition by constantly seeking publicity and communicating its vision.

As the number of temporary staffing agencies grew (ASB, Manpower Inc., Evro and Tempo-Team had also become important players on the market), the criticism increased. Temporary staffing agencies continued to have a bad image. Trade unions and left wing parties felt that the government should have a steering role on the labor market and also in the field of employment mediation. Trade unions felt that temporary staff had no rights and were afraid that temporary staff would earn more than permanent staff, and that employers would replace permanent jobs by temporary ones. In turn, Randstad felt that it was finding jobs for people who would not otherwise be active on the labor market. The unions also complained that it was only people who were relatively mobile who got temporary jobs and that temporary staff could only do dirty and heavy work.

The Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs also struggled with the concept of temporary staffing agencies and produced a whole series of restrictive measures. These went so far as to stipulate that the agencies could not expand any further. Moreover, each temporary employee had to be registered with the Ministry every few months and be granted permission. Nor were temporary staff allowed to earn more than permanent employees. The unintended effect was that demand for temporary staff soared, due to the low rates.

Randstad had no other option than to comply with the government’s regulations, but it tried to get round the restrictions. Together with ABU, an association that promoted the interests of temporary staffing agencies, 22 court cases were initiated. This at least had the result of abolishing the regulation prohibiting expansion.


In the 1970s, the consultant was also born. Whereas acquiring and serving clients on the one hand and selecting and placing temporary staff on the other used to be two different roles, these were now growing together. Randstad decided to integrate them in one person, at the time a unique development in the temporary staffing sector.

Whilst in the early years, the company had focused on supplying keypunch operators, typists, accountants, administrators and secretaries, from 1973 the company chose a broader approach. The consultants now had to target all kinds of personnel, from medical to industrial.


At the end of the 1970s, Randstad had several divisions, not just related to temporary staffing, but also cleaning work and security. In 1978, Randstad Holding nv was therefore founded to accommodate all the divisions. By now Randstad also needed a bigger head office. Its foundation stone was laid in Diemen in 1977.

1980-1990: steady growth and stock market flotation

The period 1980-1990 started with a recession, as a result of which Randstad – totally contrary to its philosophy – had to make staff redundant. One hundred and sixty people had to leave, but eventually these were all voluntary redundancies.

However, by recognizing in time that the economy would recover, Randstad shifted its focus – sooner than its competitors – towards growth instead of cost reduction. Very soon many Dutch branches were experiencing steady growth again.


Competitor Tempo-Team was less successful in riding the recession and at the end of 1982 started looking for a take-over partner. It found it in Randstad, which bought Tempo-Team for 125,000 euros and the commitment to repay a large debt. From that moment, Randstad had a second brand name in the same market. From the start, Tempo-Team was marketed in a very different way from Randstad: instead of starters on the labor market, slightly older consultants were chosen, both men and women, with a specifically practical mentality. With first orange and later red, Tempo-Team’s house color was clearly different from Randstad’s house color.

CAO for temporary staff

The recession had a second consequence for Randstad: the trade union FNV decided it wanted to talk. During the economic crisis, employers had introduced so many random temporary contracts, that a temporary staffing contract seemed relatively favorable in contrast. From now on, the trade unions recognized that the labor market needed flex workers. Moreover, it had become evident that for many people temporary work constituted a step up to a permanent job. In 1986, the discussions resulted in a Collective Labor Agreement (CLA) for permanent employees in the temporary staffing sector and in 1987 in a CLA for all temporary staff.


Even the government gradually changed course. From 1982, as a new government struggling with high unemployment figures, it realized that temporary staffing agencies actually helped people get jobs. Little by little, the rules were relaxed. Randstad experienced this as an epoch-changing landslide: instead of being considered part of the problem, the company was now seen to be part of the solution. During its 25th anniversary celebrations, founder Goldschmeding received a Royal Honor. For Randstad, this was the final step in its recognition.

Stock market flotation

Financially too, Randstad was very successful. Turnover rose from 204 million euros in 1983 to 518 million euros in 1985. In 1988, Randstad embarked on a long process that eventually terminated in its stock market flotation on 5 June 1990. For Randstad, this had a number of advantages: a listed company has greater name recognition, an option scheme allowed personnel to share in Randstad’s success and the company gained access to new capital, which might be required in the future for possible acquisitions. Initially Randstad shares did not do as well as hoped, because the introductory price was too high. In 1991, however, following the publication of the figures for 1990 revealed the extent of Randstad’s success, the shares became more popular. From mid March 1991, slowly but steadily the share prices rose.

1990-2000: internationalization

After the stock market flotation, there was a shift in Randstad’s management structure so that there was more focus on internationalization. Around the start of the decade, Randstad was primarily a Dutch company with branches in Belgium, Germany, France and England. Temporary staffing, cleaning and security were its main activities. Only a quarter of the turnover was generated by international activities.

This was something Randstad wanted to change, as it was becoming increasingly clear that big international companies preferred to do business with one supplier for their flex worker needs. Such a company would then have to be able to supply temporary staff worldwide.

On 1 April 1992, Randstad acquired the Dutch temporary staffing agency Flex, which also had branches in Belgium and France, for instance. In the Netherlands, Werknet was acquired and integrated in Tempo-Team.

United States

However, the company’s dream was to establish itself in the United States. New board member Erik Vonk therefore set up a small office in Atlanta and went in search of a suitable candidate for a takeover. He found it in 1993 in TempForce, a local temporary staffing agency with twelve offices in Atlanta. Randstad changed the name from TempForce to Randstad Staffing Services. At the end of 1993, Randstad also acquired the American agency Jane Jones Enterprises. This marked the cautious start of the American growth: by mid-1994 Randstad had 32 branches in America generating a turnover of 30 million euros. 5,500 flex workers were deployed every day. However, that was still not much compared with Randstad’s turnover in the Netherlands, which was 909 million euros.

Olympic Games

It was around this time that Randstad also ventured into sport sponsoring, by becoming a sponsor in Atlanta of the 1996 Olympic Games. Moreover, Randstad supplied temporary staff to the Games: 16,000 in total. After the Games, Randstad’s name recognition in the Atlanta region rose from fifteen to 99.5 percent.

Goldschmeding retires

On Friday 16 May 1998, at the age of 65, Frits Goldschmeding retired from his company after 38 years. A huge party was organized for 1,500 guests. After a year’s rest, Goldschmeding took his seat on the Supervisory Board.

Goldschmeding was succeeded by Hans Zwarts, who embarked on more acquisitions. In order to continue the internationalization process, temporary staffing chain Strategix was acquired in the United States, a company with 300 branches. In Switzerland, Life & Work was acquired, in Spain Tempo Grup and in Germany Time Power. However, these acquisitions and the difficult integration of the companies in Randstad took their toll. In 2000 and 2001, profits tumbled and share prices fell. Faced with these poor results, Zwarts resigned.

2000-2010: recent history

In October 2001, Cleem Farla succeeded Hans Zwarts as CEO. He saw it as his main task – together with the board – to reintroduce the old Randstad values, developing a better strategy for internationalization and to substantially cut costs. Significant lessons were learned from the past too. The company went back to basics: the consultant and the match between client and temporary staff were once again the main focus.

This was expressed in a new business strategy based on four strategic building blocks:

  • strong concepts
  • best people
  • excellent execution
  • superior brands

The introduction of these pillars was seen as a new start for Randstad and the success of this strategy is largely due to the inspired leadership of Cleem Farla. But in August 2002, Farla was diagnosed with a serious illness. Ben Noteboom temporarily stepped into his shoes, and definitively assumed his role on 1 March 2003.

Best practices

In order to further standardize Randstad’s services, the company started to apply best practices. ‘You map out the market and enter the results in this database. We’ve turned these activities into a routine. […] We give it the rhythm and tone, but our staff make their own music,’ says CFO Robert-Jan van de Kraats.

As a result, it is easier to copy services from one market to another. Randstad has specialized in the recognition, recording and implementing of company processes worldwide.

Net profit rises

The new focus on the core activities and clear strategy were successful. In 2003, the net profit was 77.1 million euros, a 36% increase compared to 2002.

More countries

From 2005, Randstad’s internationalization was further increased. In India, the company took over EmmayHR and Team4U. This immediately made Randstad the third player on the market. The company also took its first cautious steps in China. Randstad also ventured on the market in Portugal, Hungary, Turkey, Poland and Japan.


On Monday 3 December 2007, Randstad and temporary staffing organization Vedior announced their merger. Randstad had been eyeing Vedior for some time. The takeover moved both companies up to number two in the world (after Adecco). Moreover, Vedior operated in strategic markets in which Randstad had not made much progress so far, such as Japan and Brazil. There were differences too: Vedior had a decentralized structure, while Randstad was more centrally managed; Randstad concentrated on one strong brand, whereas Vedior juggled 125 brands. Yet the former competitors were ultimately successfully merged to form one and the same company.

50 years Randstad in 2010

In 2010, Randstad celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, marked by the publication of the book ‘Randstad Mensenwerk’ compiled by Professor Fred Emmer, professor emeritus at Leiden University. This book was internally distributed within Randstad under the title ‘Working on a dream’.”

*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org

**Video published on YouTube by “randstadau