Nadine Weber: I grew up near Trier, and have a MSc. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Finance. I’ve worked for Richemont in Geneva since 2005. After studying mathematics and finance I never thought I’d work in HR. But I accepted the post of Stock Option Manager at Richemont and I’ve never regretted the decision. Especially with the additional function of Benefits Manager, it’s a challenging and interesting job.
Richemont is in luxury goods. Are there special employee benefit characteristics for your industry?
Nadine Weber: The luxury market has the reputation of paying its employees well, which raises expectations, but people tend to forget the benefits part of their remuneration. We have to periodically remind them and communicate updated information. Since the information is not always easily available, this can be challenging.
What employee benefit trends and changing employee needs are you experiencing?
Nadine Weber: I see five main trends or needs:
1) Fair benefits: Benefits, especially pension schemes, are a crucial part of total remuneration. Employees are increasingly comparing their benefits with those of other subsidiaries and competitors. So we are working towards country-wide harmonisation of our benefits schemes. Our goal is to provide benefits that are a good local average.
2) Adequate benefits: An ageing population means we need pension schemes that provide adequate coverage together with local social security. We are currently conducting a benefits audit and plan to implement new schemes where necessary. We are also reviewing our medical schemes.
3) Safe benefits: All our new pension schemes are Defined Contribution or Cash Balance types. Defined Benefit schemes will be closed. The funding of schemes is appreciated by our employees and as a company, we are strongly in favour of doing this in a cost-efficient way.
4) Investment co-determination: Employees appreciate having a say in pension asset investment, so we try to introduce schemes that allow this.
5) Benefits communication: Employees need to be aware of their benefits. For example, medical coverage is often not perceived as a company-provided benefit. Communication is constantly necessary, as employees tend to forget the benefits in place.
What are your expectations of your employee benefits network and its partners?
Nadine Weber: The network needs strong, well-known local partners that react to our needs. They should be competitive in terms of costs and design, as otherwise we cannot ask our local subsidiaries to change their insurance providers. We also need detailed financial information and regular updates on local changes.
I expect proactive teamwork, with one contact person who is responsible for Richemont, and regular meetings. The network should share its experience, and I appreciate opportunities to meet other clients and learn about their strategies.
How does Richemont handle local employee benefit solutions? Does headquarters decide?
Nadine Weber: We have a strict governance structure for benefits. Any changes to benefits schemes must be accepted by our Benefits Committee, which has issued benefits guidelines applicable for all subsidiaries worldwide. Our role at headquarters is to ensure execution of these guidelines. Whenever a subsidiary wants to change a local scheme, they need to work with us at Group HR to find solutions that fit local requirements and Group guidelines. Within these restrictions, local subsidiaries are free to design their schemes and we only act as consultants if required.
Profile Richemont International S.A.
Richemont was created in 1988. The group has 16 prestigious Maisons and 16,748 employees worldwide. With 1,154 Boutiques worldwide, Richemont is the 2nd leading luxury goods group in the world, and made a net profit of EUR 1,329 million in the last financial year.
For more information about Richemont International S.A.
Please visit www.richemont.com