Learning & Development Asia 2024
Winning Secrets: How Sephora Malaysia continued strong employee engagement for a largely store-based workforce

Winning Secrets: How Sephora Malaysia continued strong employee engagement for a largely store-based workforce

At the inaugural Employee Experience Awards 2021, Malaysia, Sephora Malaysia won the silver for 'Best HR Communication Strategy'.  

In this interview, Patricia Luziana Wendah, HR Business Partner, Sephora Malaysia, talks about programmes that have been crafted with a view to helping staff understand their roles and responsibilities of working from home while managing their personal matters and family responsibilities. 

Q Congratulations on becoming a finalist at this inaugural edition of the award! What is your employee experience strategy that led to this achievement?

We leverage on technology to enhance our communication strategy where we utilise various online platforms in reaching out to our employees via WhatsApp, emails, Slack, Zoom, and even during daily check-ins with their managers. It is also used as one of our main tools for the training and development of our employees, especially during working from home scenarios.

Q How did you and your team conceptualise and adapt this strategy to suit evolving workforce needs in the past year?

Our fundamental approach has been through continuous engagement and touch-base, with these we were able to have better sense of the people sentiment on the ground while identifying what works well and what could be improved. This allows us to plan for the most suitable methods of execution in delivering the message or objectives of our initiatives, communication or events.

As most of our employees are store-based, we had to be creative in continuously keeping our employees engaged.

While training and development had always been an integral part of our employees' development, we have challenged ourselves to find new ways of executing additional training initiatives and developing our talent. We evolved from traditional classroom training to online programmes via Zoom as well as our through learning management system which includes a gamification element. We also leverage on various apps to deliver more lively, fun and engaging sessions such as via Kahoot!, Klaxoon, Mentimeter, and many more.

Q What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?

With working from home, the boundaries between work and home began to blur, especially for store-based employees who were more accustomed to face-to-face interactions with customers and a physical working environment. Hence, we built awareness to ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities of working from home while managing their personal matters and family responsibilities.

The continuation of employee experience and annual employee engagement events are an equally important as part of employee appreciation and talent retention. The HR team shifted to organising virtual events and initiatives such as employee recognition award, store visits, and more.

Q How did the strategy add to the overall employee experience in your organisation, in terms of ROI? Any achievements you’d like to show off?

Based on our employee engagement survey and our virtual store visits ('HR On The Go' initiative), we received positive feedback where employees felt connected amid the MCO/WFH scenario, which was very encouraging for us that we were progressing in the right direction. The HR On The Go initiative was well received by our employees and has helped increase the frequency of our virtual visits to be able to do more engagement activities with them.

Q What is the most exciting and valuable thing about being part of the debut Employee Experience Awards?

We were excited to have the opportunity to be part of the larger HR community in Malaysia, as well as to be able to share about Sephora Malaysia's journey in the evolution of our employees’ engagement experience while also celebrating our collective achievements with the support of our team members. This platform allowed us to highlight and recognise the team’s effort and help to increase the awareness, recognition, and confidence of both our internal and external stakeholders around the credibility of our work in Sephora.

Q Looking ahead, what else do you have planned as you continue to enhance the overall employee experience?

We are looking forward to continue improving our employees' overall experience while working at Sephora Malaysia by providing them the right platform to stay connected, and empowering them in voicing their opinions.

This will allow us to understand the areas of improvement needed to serve them better as people make a difference to us in Sephora Malaysia. We also look forward to exemplifying our EVP of ‘Endless Evolution’; by adopting new and current technologies and keeping abreast with the latest trends to better cater to the needs of our employees.

Q Do share tips to inspire your peers who are working on their EX-strategies and would love to participate in the awards next year.

In anticipation of the EX awards, we would highly encourage new participants to:

  1. Keep detailed records of all initiatives that they have executed for the year, their engagement level and key takeaway, which includes any forms of communication, photos, videos, etc.,
  2. Utilise post-event surveys and collate employees' feedback and experiences from social media posts,
  3. Maintain communication samples (announcements, emails, EDMs, etc.).

Q Lastly, to end on a fun note – if you could describe the employee experience at your organisation in one sentence, what would that be?

In Sephora Malaysia, we embody our EVPs of ‘Creativity Unleashed’ where we cultivate creativity and disruption, ‘Beauty & Beyond’; where we inspire each other to be better versions of ourselves, and ‘Boldly Authentic’, where we encourage uniqueness as well as ensure that inclusivity is practiced at all times.

Image / Provided

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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