Neiman Marcus Group Says Remote Work Has Boosted Retention Rates

The pandemic has forever changed corporate life as we know it.

And while many companies are going all-in on a return to the office, others are embracing new hybrid or fully remote working models.

Neiman Marcus Group, which has allowed employees to work fully remotely for two years, says this flexible working policy has boosted employee retention and happiness. The luxury department store chain, which also owns Bergdorf Goodman, said that its goal is to allow employees to determine their work schedules and office set-ups to maximize effectiveness.

“Hiring and retaining associates is key to our success, and based on internal polling and assessments, NMG found that flexibility was one of the top three drivers of employee happiness and productivity,” said Eric Severson, EVP and chief people and belonging officer. “The company immediately started strategizing on how we could best meet those needs, while still meeting the needs of our customers and brand partners, and giving associates the tools to foster collaboration and innovation, while being flexible to their needs.”

Since implementing certain remote working policies, NMG’s turnover rate is down 20% from 2019. The company, which filled 1,200 roles in 2021, also said its time-to-hire rate — or the time it takes to fill a position — has gone down 32% compared to 2019.

These boosted employee retention rates are even more salient, given a general work environment characterized by high-levels of resignation. About 4.3 million people quit their jobs in December at a rate of 2.9%, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of people who quit their retail jobs in December was roughly 759,000 at a rate of 4.9%.

While encouraging whatever model works for an employee, NMG is also gearing up to move to a new integrated office in Dallas, Texas, which will also foster an environment for hybrid work. Corporate employees will be able to work remotely from anywhere and come into the office when they want to collaborate in-person. For store associates, NMG offers a remote selling tool called Connect, which helps some workers connect with customers remotely.

With the COVID-19 situation constantly in flux, various companies have announced and delayed plans to undergo a staff-wide return to the office. Others have embraced a permanent future for remote or hybrid work. According to a Gartner survey from December, which polled over 200 executive leaders across multiple industries, 22% of company leaders said they had delayed their return to office. 17% said they had decreased the number of people coming into the offices, and 34% said they had not made a decision regarding the return.

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