"Reshape Your Focus on How to Become an Employer of Choice"

Looking at the current global war for talent, Windsor Giblin, Director of Human Resources at Richemont, shares her expert views on how companies can stay competitive in attracting and retaining international talent.

1. What is your view on this global war for talent — how is it changing the international talent acquisition and retention landscape?

You have to think differently and reshape your focus on how to become an employer of choice. We look at the employment lifecycle and what incentivizes someone to join our organization, and then what motivates them to stay. It’s not just about paying the best salaries in the market, incentives go deeper into health and wellness, flexible work hours, working from home, a more relaxed dress code for conservative environments, company culture, the CSR strategy, learning and development, and longevity for growth. As an HR leader, you promote these key topics in every conversation starting from the first interview, and throughout the onboarding process. The typical annual review is no longer relevant to retain your talent, because the conversation for growth and development is ongoing. For us, it is important that our employees get exposure to things they deem important and are recognized for their achievements.

2. What, for Richemont, is the value of recruiting and retaining top international talent?

It’s a tricky concept. As an employer, you hope to focus on internally sourcing and promoting 70% of senior level positions, while filling your entry level specific trade positions from outside of the organization. In the complexity of an organization where you are global with multiple regions and CEOs, the war for talent is a reality. We have to be creative with sharing historical knowledge and present great ideas to bring in new talent with innovative approaches. We support and speak to global mobility, not only for bringing expats to North America, but also in terms of having our local talent move abroad. Our company has very strong rotational programs that encourage talented team members to live the life of someone in another country, we support coverage during leave of absence, and allow people to select their mobility choices online at any time.

3. From the perspective of a luxury brand, what are your industry challenges in attracting and retaining international talent? 

Some of our Maison’s are industry leaders and easily recognized for what they sell, while others are not as visible in the market and have a more difficult time attracting top talent. Employer branding and building a strong reputation as an employer of choice is crucial to being successful at attracting and retaining talent. It’s typical to see talent moving from one luxury company to another, as brand loyalty is not as prioritized by employees as it has been in the past. More specifically for expats, when someone relocates internationally, their visa has an expiration date, and the business has to make tough decisions on sponsorship or relocating them back to their original country. Typically, this is after the employee has successfully integrated and displayed a proven track record of performance. Whether your talent is local or international, there is a true challenge in retaining top talent. The only way to ensure you have the best prospect of retaining your pipeline for future growth in an organization is to be an employer of choice through benefits, culture, and work environment.

4. What would your expert advice be to address these types of challenges?

You need to get accurate benchmarking metrics and connect with similar leaders in the industry to ensure you are paying well to market. Create a rewards program that isn’t only wellness-related, but perhaps add in a retention or referral bonus, create a culture where people collaborate and appreciate individual contributors, while looking at the big picture. Inspire creativity and empowerment, and celebrate things that are important to your teams. Recognition, praise, and acknowledgement are free and can have stronger impacts than monetary bonuses or rewards. Money is, however, important and you want to ensure your overall rewards are in line with the market.

5. What should companies offer international hires to stay competitive?

  • Opportunities for them to feel connected to their new community
  • Personal investment of time and conversation
  • Initiation into the team with activities to help build relationships
  • A settling-in allowance so they can make their new home a comfortable space
  • Relocation support with anything from assistance with utilities to getting a social security card or broker
  • Language classes for spouses and/or children that are relocating

6. What is your take on the integration of international hires beyond the workplace? 

Social integration is the most important part of the relocation. You wouldn’t have moved that person abroad if they didn’t have the competency and skill set to be successful in the role, which means your biggest challenge is the integration part. You should provide resources to help them build their networks and integrate into the new location, and language classes so they feel more comfortable breaking the ice with new acquaintances. Suggesting apps for them to get involved in a community right away is also useful.

7. What shift should HR professionals make in this global war for talent?

I’m not sure what the future holds, the industry has evolved drastically from what it was three or five years ago. As companies continue to advance, we need to look into artificial intelligence for areas of the business to be more efficient and streamlined. HR leaders need to be involved and pragmatic with immersing themselves in the business, understanding what is driving these shifts, and help leverage company values, culture, and more to attract and retain candidates for the future.

I would shift focus to a few things:

  • Allowing people to be creative and make suggestions
  • Empowering people to take on new roles and challenges
  • Considering total rewards, work-life balance, wellness initiatives
  • Paying market-related salaries
  • Investing in the future generation through training, competency-building workshops, and mentorship programs
  • Streamlining onboarding programs to help people feel well-adjusted and a part of the team from the very beginning.

Remember, the first 90 days are difficult and then there is the seven-year-itch, so think what you can do as an employer to get the right people in and conduct stay interviews to ensure you are keeping your top talent.

Windsor Giblin RichemontAbout the Expert: Windsor Giblin is an experienced HR Director at Richemont. She has a history of working in the hotel, apparel, luxury goods, and jewelry industries. She is skilled in HR, employee relations, strategy, retention and recruitment, sales, retail, loss prevention, management, and leadership. Giblin holds a bachelor of science in textiles and product development from Florida State University and has a financial management certificate from Cornell University.

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