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Luxury hiring: a whole new ball game

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By Jeethu Abraham

Getting the right man for the right job is easier said than done.

To the unassuming eye, it looks like there is no dearth in talent in the GCC, but on taking a closer look, especially in the luxury sector, hiring and retaining local talent has proven to be quite a challenging affair.

The topic has garnered enough attention for it to be one of the main sessions at arab luxury world on June 1 and 2, 2015. Moderated by keynote speaker and author Christina Ioannidis, the session will feature a stellar team of experts from the field, including Angelo Andreoni, Prada Middle East FZCO; Brighton Shereni, Kempinski Hotel Ajman; Wassim Eid, Chalhoub Group; Sophie Courau, C et Compagnie and Fatimah Baeshen, Baeshen Consultancy.

Building skills

One of the issues to be discussed and faced by many luxury brands in the GCC is an effective and sustainable approach to bridge the skills gap in the talent market.

Unlike other industries, the customers catered to in the premium sector mostly feature the HNWI (high-net-worth individuals) and the UHNWI (ultra-high-net-worth individuals), hence the need for a team who understand the art of servicing or catering to the interests of these high-profile customers.

Retail academies

To overcome this issue, many international brands have now started their own retail academies where candidates are trained and expertise shared to build up a talent pool that would resonate with the brand’s values and service ethos wherever they go.

In the GCC, the Chalhoub Group began their own training institution – the Chalhoub Group Retail Academy – which offers international qualifications and best-practice skills in customer service, selling, stock control, visual merchandising and retail operations.

“If an individual’s attitude does not fit the corporate culture and standards, there is rather little hope for a successful collaboration,” explains Wassim Eid, Chalhoub Group.

“Our Chalhoub retail academies are designed to do exactly that. New recruits are equipped with the knowledge and technical skills relevant to the sectors in which we operate, regardless of the knowledge and experience they may bring to the table. Through the learning and development opportunities offered in the academies, we ensure that all our staff are ‘speaking the same language’, meaning we ensure that our customers have the same luxurious experience in all our stores,” he adds.

For many candidates, it is a promising start to be a part of a company that invests in their career path.

Another alternative to this is to outsource the job to training academies, some of which offer to put candidates through a ‘luxury boot camp’.

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