By guest author Maria Halkias from Dallas News, covering Retail.
Neiman Marcus is planning to create a new “office hub” in Dallas to foster collaboration and innovation among its corporate employees.
Flexible work arrangements have helped the retailer with retention and hiring, the company said Wednesday, February 16, 2022.
The Dallas-based luxury retailer said in a statement that it will continue to encourage a hybrid work environment where employees can work remotely from anywhere and then come together in person at the hub when they need to collaborate as a team. The company hasn’t disclosed a location for the Dallas office.
Corporate employees have mostly worked from home since the pandemic, and the downtown Dallas store has office space on its top levels. In December 2020, Neiman Marcus used its bankruptcy reorganization to exit two large longtime office leases in Renaissance Tower at 1201 Elm St. and 1700 Pacific Ave. Both building leases dated back to the early 2000s.
During the pandemic over the past two years, the company’s corporate culture and style of working have evolved and are more flexible under Eric Severson, executive vice president and chief people and belonging officer. He joined the company in September 2019 from DaVita Inc. and had previously been with Gap and Macy’s.
Severson has also made issues such as gender pay, diversity, equity and inclusion a priority in managing talent.
The retailer said it’s trying to differentiate itself in the market for talent by offering its workers the autonomy to determine their work environment and schedules in a way that increases productivity and delivery of outcomes.
The office hub will be part of that flexible work environment, allowing employees “to decide how and where they work in order to maximize their effectiveness,” the company said in an email. Its flexible work environment has resulted in an increase in employee retention and a decrease in the time it takes to fill openings.
- The turnover rate has declined 20 % since 2019, while it has gone up for many companies.
- The time it takes to hire employees has declined 32 % since 2019.
- The retailer filled 1200 jobs in its fiscal year 2021, which ended in July.
The idea of remote work at Neiman Marcus and its New York-based Bergdorf Goodman stores isn’t limited to corporate staff.
When the pandemic hit and stores were temporarily closed, the company rolled out a proprietary selling tool called “Connect” that allows sales associates to work with their customers wherever and whenever. Digital stylists continue to work remotely. CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck has touted remote selling by Neiman Marcus’ sales staff as an ongoing advantage and has praised associates for their work when stores were closed.