Client Spotlight: Chalhoub Accelerates Talent Transformation with pymetrics

Jordan Ingersoll
February 2, 2021

To win in the marketplace, organizations must first win with their workforce. But what does a winning workforce strategy look like during times of drastic change both within your organization and society at large? 

We recently hosted a webinar (recording here) with industry leader and Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Chalhoub, Damian Brown, who has paved the way for success at the Middle East-based luxury retailer during a period of rapid workforce transformation. 

Learn more about how he’s designed a people-centered talent acquisition strategy, the challenges the organization has faced in light of the global health crisis, and how the solutions he has introduced are driving improvements in business outcomes in addition to elevating Chalhoub’s candidate experience.

Setting the Stage: Navigating Covid-19

Chalhoub is a retail operator that manages nearly 200 brands across the Middle East in 8 countries. They oversee roughly 12,000 employees in 700 stores, and represent some of the most prestigious brands in the world, including Louis Vuitton, Celine, Givenchy, and more. 

Retail has been one of the hardest-hit industries since the start of the pandemic, causing Damian and his team to make a number of rapid alterations to their talent strategy. He shared that they historically have relied heavily on international talent, with expats constituting close to 97% of the workforce. With Covid-19, people were less willing to relocate for numerous reasons including wanting to be closer to their families and support networks-- and understandably so. His team therefore had to adjust expectations around remote work and adapt to existing in a more virtual environment

Given the importance of flexible working, his team designed a 27-page playbook to help people work from home, managers manage from a distance, and enacted a policy whereby employees can work from anywhere in the world for one month per year. They have also started talking to candidates and their employees about mental health and psychological wellbeing and how to best support them. Supporting talent in this way is at the forefront of the company's people strategy for the very first time. 

Key Talent Objectives & Strategy

Amidst the pandemic, one unchanged priority of Chalhoub's key talent objectives has been diversity. The company’s employee-base hails from 108 different countries, most living away from home. It is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, having pledged to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and ultimately report on their implementation. 

The key to success would be identifying a system that allows HR teams to connect with more people in a simple, highly-efficient way. And pymetrics offered just that. 

At the top of Damian’s list was increasing transparency in the company's hiring and promotion decisions and bringing more women into warehouse operations roles, and into the company at large. He viewed the infusion of science to be the answer to achieving these outcomes, better equipping his team to remove bias and be more inclusive throughout the hiring process. In order to do that, he knew his team needed access to holistic, evergreen data about their candidates that would bring objectivity in the process to a whole new level. After all, hiring for behaviors, values, and culture rather than trainable skills ultimately leads to a more agile and future-ready workforce. 

Damian and his team evaluated various vendors on how well they preserved the human engagement while digitizing the talent process. Most had a wanting experience whether that  was because of impersonal career sites or difficult-to-use applicant tracking systems. The key to success would be identifying a system that allows HR teams to connect with more people in a simple, highly-efficient way. And pymetrics offered just that. 

Implementing pymetrics & Driving Results 

When Damian first encountered pymetrics,  the company stood out to him-- in a good way. Our platform could enable his team to look at the behaviors and attributes of Chalhoub’s top talent, and build data-driven success profiles of top performers in various roles across the organization accordingly. After all, Tory Burch, Tumi, Chanel, etc were all very distinct brands. His team would then leverage our recommendations on whether a candidate is likely to succeed, made based on their behavioral patterns collected in our gamified assessment. 

Chalhoub and pymetrics officially launched our partnership in December to attract a younger pool of talent, hire retail frontliners more quickly, overcome the real and perceived bias in the process, and open opportunities for a younger pool of talent. Upon applying to the retail associate role, all applicants receive a link to play the pymetrics exercises. Those who complete all the exercises will receive their unique pymetrics Profile, summarizing the strengths we learnt about them as well as offering actionable work-place insights. 

With over 2,000 applicants per open role, Chalhoub is now able to wade through applications in a much more efficient manner, focusing their energy on the candidates who are highly-recommended by pymetrics based on their potential to succeed in the associate role. They have already hired 50 (and counting) new employees under 20 years of age who are enriching the group and helping them connect with a new audience of consumers. 

In addition, given this high volume of applications, his team is thrilled that pymetrics is able to automate feedback for every single candidate in a highly-personalized way, bolstering their employer brand and creating a more meaningful process for all. 

The Talent Acquisition team at Chalhoub and all of us at pymetrics are excited to witness the acceleration of business results from our partnership, and expand into other areas of the organization in addition to frontline workers to equip Chalhoub for the ever-evolving talent demands of the future.

To learn more about how other organizations are leveraging our soft skills platform, explore our Case Studies page here