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Unlocking endless possibilities: DFS Group reimagines employees’ careers with agility and flexibility
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Unlocking endless possibilities: DFS Group reimagines employees’ careers with agility and flexibility

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‘Grow with DFS’ for line managers to support career development in their teams, and a transformative flexible working programme ‘Reimagine Ways of Working’ are some key people pillars for the luxury retailer.

This article is brought to you by DFS Group

Established in 1960 and a proud member of the global Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) family since 1996, leading luxury travel retailer DFS Group curates exceptional products from over 750 of the most desired brands across the world’s most visited airports and downtown locations. ​​With global headquarters in Hong Kong, DFS’ success story has always had people at the centre.

DFS strives to improve the employee experience and drive business imperatives to attract and retain talent against the backdrop of a fast-changing business landscape, endemic skill shortages and an intense race for talent. At the same time, DFS seeks to cultivate a future-ready workforce by focusing on what matters to its people by building a robust talent strategy to elevate the '3Cs' – 'Careers, Capabilities and Culture'.

This starts by providing a dynamic career experience and democratising professional coaching and mentoring. Through a programme called ‘GROW with DFS’, the group unlocks the full potential of proactive career management through intra-functional, inter-functional and geographical mobility, as well as short-term and permanent assignments within the LVMH family. The programme offers toolkits, training and career talks hosted by senior leaders, ensuring line managers and employees are equipped with the proper tools and skills to drive career development.

DFS has also partnered with a global provider of digital coaching to launch ‘Coaching by EZRA’, which is accessible to a broad population at all levels across the business and enables unlimited coaching that is designed to facilitate the most impactful development goals tailored to each individual. Line managers are involved at key points to identify goals and recognise behavioural changes. Ongoing support is also provided to employees with analytics and qualitative feedback.

Other robust initiatives have been established on a global level to engage various talent groups and provide them with unique development opportunities. For early career professionals (ECPs), DFS has launched the first-ever ‘Global ECP Forum’ and ‘ECP Learning’ sprints. On the other hand, a 12-month ‘Global Mentoring Programme’ has multiple supporting checkpoints including mentor and mentee orientation, learning sessions after three months and regular surveys to proactively track participants' satisfaction and progress.

At the heart of it all, the success of career development lies in the culture of the team. DFS is moving away from traditional job descriptions which are inconsistent with today’s ways of working and rate of change, and instead fostering a more agile, collaborative culture with flexibility.

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The ‘Strategic Engagement and Employee Experience’ team, an entirely new HR function, was created in early 2022. By taking an employee-centric approach, the team listened through holistic communication channels including global town halls, CEO communication sessions, an employee engagement survey ‘Voice of DFS’, and employee focus groups. Their task was to specifically address the concerns and needs of the workforce and elevate the employee experience.

Based on findings from the listening exercises, a new flexible workplace model – ‘#Reimagine Ways of Working’ – was designed. It enabled employees to enjoy flexible start and finish times, working from home up to two days per week, a reimbursement of up to US$750 to purchase home-office equipment, with non-local employees having the opportunity to work in their home country for up to six weeks, and ‘Summer Fridays' for local colleagues who are unable to work remotely.

While embracing flexibility, employee engagement hasn’t been out of sight. Initiatives such as enhanced technical support and resources, specially designed collaboration areas in the office, and even a pilot micro-recognition programme in collaboration with PraisePal have been implemented to maintain employees’ efficiency, morale and culture.

The flexible work model created by DFS has yielded positive results, including increased productivity, employee wellbeing and overall job performance. Due to its popularity and success, an updated remote working programme was introduced in 2023, catering to both expats and locals.

Moving forward, DFS is introducing its new employer value proposition (EVP) globally through a comprehensive activation to attract, retain and develop the best talent in the market and provide a renewed sense of belonging to employees.

“Joining DFS means journeying into a world of possibilities unlike anywhere else. It is a place where you can aspire for growth, immerse in luxury, experience the world and build lasting connections,” Alex Richardson, Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources, DFS Group (pictured), illustrates.

“As we fuel our growth with new brands and new locations, the stage is set for like-minded people to join and grow with us. Your passion for luxury, travel and retail can combine to help you build an agile career in a dynamic business which is proudly part of LVMH, the family-owned group of world-leading luxury brands,” Richardson concludes.

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Photo / DFS Group

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