Essay Sample on Human Resources Practices at Sephora

Published: 2023-04-01
Essay Sample on Human Resources Practices at Sephora
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Human resources
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1484 words
13 min read

There is an intersection between customer service policies and the effectiveness of employees in delivering an enhanced customer service experience. The success of a corporate organization determined through the empowerment of its employees. Corporates should adopt strategies that empower the customer and the employees. Sephora realized this, and the Human Resources department came up with a creative approach to enhance the experiences of both the employees and customers. The strategy lies in the most fundamental factor that both the employee and the customer have in common; they are human. This paper offers insights into how Sephora managed to achieve this.

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Sephora was initially founded as a French perfume store by Dominque Mondonnaud in 1970. It was initially named Shop 8. It has grown into a worldwide recognized cosmetics perfume retailer. Dominique, from the onset, was keen on creating a unique and innovative approach to selling perfumes. His plan was different from that of other department stores. His competitors used a model that based the sales of perfumes and cosmetics on commissions. In 1979, Dominique had changed his store into a self-service store. It was an open floor plan, and it allowed the shoppers to walk around the shop, enabling them to discover all the products in stock fully. The aim was an innovative move. By the year 1984, Dominique had opened four additional stores. He retired at fifty in 1993 when he sold his business to Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) group, a globally renowned multinational (Korczynski 2002 p 68). Shop 8, was renamed Sephora as a rebranding technique by the new owners. Sephora currently has 1700 stores spread over 30 countries, whereby the corporate offices located in Montreal, Canada, New York, and New York City. The company's sales have surpassed 2billion US dollars, while the revenue generated exceeds 4billion.

Sephora understands the critical role played by insights, analysis, and improved data collection techniques about the improvement of employee and customer experiences (Jose 2012, p 426). For several years, Sephora has been an employee as well as customer experience surveys. Jose realizes that in the past, the data had to be collected separately, and the leadership team recognized that employee experience has a direct link with customer experience. It realized that both the employee and the customer had one thing in common: humanity. The cultural approach at Sephora is deeply rooted in the philosophy that it is upon us humans, to embrace and celebrate beauty.

Having gained a global representation in 34 countries, and 38,000 workers worldwide, Sephora's focus is on attaining an inclusive culture that cuts across individuals from divergent communities. As the company expands and grows, there is a heavy reliance on the influential culture in a bid to attract and retain employees and talent that will simulate and live the company's ethos (Lamba, 2013, p 421). Of essence is the understanding that insights and data are the fundamentals in comprehending what made a customer or an employee choose to engage with Sephora. Next is the approach to adopt to facilitate their experiences in a bid to attain a more profound sense of loyalty from these stakeholders (Lepak and Shaw 2008, p1489).

Sephora came up with an approach pegged to the understanding of what influences human behavior. The strategy aims at creating loyalty and love for any human who chooses to engage with their brand. It forms its basis on the understandings with regards to various needs of a human being, together with motivational needs like mastery, autonomy, and the desire of purpose.

This strategy comprises of five key elements (Lepak and Shaw 2008, p1492): (1) Collection of customer and employee data. The plan aims at getting to know each one of them. The data formulate personalized experiences. (2) Sephora then strives to make it easy for the employee and the customer by eliminating all the barriers to interactions. (3) Constant appreciation of both the employee and the customer earns their loyalty. Sephora emphasized the ways to treat the employees and customers with respect properly, which entails recognizing an individual for who they are and rewarding them appropriately for the effort they put into their work (4) Making it appealing and fun. Sephora acknowledges that the employee and customer engagement are dependent on an individual attaining a connection and a strong relationship with the business. Sephora is continually looking for ways to freshen this critical aspect of the relationship. (5) Giving an employee and a customer a purpose that goes beyond profit. Both customer and employee desire to be associated with the brand that is making a difference.

Sephora facilitates various programs that foster and nature this engagement between an employee and a customer. "Numerous surveys have revealed that Qualitrics' employee engagement surveys help people feel heard and provide useful insights."(Lightner 2004, p90). Sephora conducts intensive follow-ups on these programs through conducting focus group discussions, frequent in-store visits, and personal face to face discussions within all the levels of the business. The question such as: "if you were the CEO, what's one thing you would change as a company?"(Lightner 2004, p88) are asked. The findings are analyzed, and leadership has the responsibility to shape the engagement, and every individual has owned it.

A remarkable achievement of Sephora is the shift from the traditional philosophy that the Human resources department is only concerned with resources and transactions done. Sephora believes that Human resources refer to people. (Gabriel et al., 2016, p 17). Engagement initiatives such as; Summer Fridays in which employees are allowed to work extra hours during the week if they need to take a Friday off, and random cards reminding the employees of their value and appreciated in the long run, result in a positive difference. Sephora has invested heavily in her employees by offering them unique benefits through training and development at Sephora University. Sephora University has designed a curriculum that enables the employees to calculate the time for career development, subsequently earning recognition and rewards (Mahal 2012, p 37).

(Wright et al., 2005, p 408) recognizes that a corporates understanding of the link between employee experience and customer experience results in continuous growth and learning. Sephora is currently capable of quantifying the various responses to initiatives; this enables the company to respond adequately to opportunities and expectations on time. (Nishii et al., 2008, p 530)

As a result of engagements between the customer and the employee, numerous improvements have is noticed across the company. Sephora is gaining a global presence; it continues to expand virtue to a team of loyal and committed employees. (Gerson, 2002. p 16) acknowledges that Sephora has a compelling employer brand and that several people have a desire to join the Sephora workforce. It is imperative to include employees' motivations and needs at the corrections of a company's actions and strategies (Gerson 2002. p 16).

By recognizing that the human being is the common factor between an employee and the customer, Sephora has succeeded in empowering her employees and, at the same time, delivering enhanced customer service experiences. The company has recognized the Human Resource is about people. Sephora has successfully managed to integrate into its core values her employees' needs and the importance of their motivation in realizing the company's mission. By identifying the employee needs, it has become possible for Sephora to integrate them into the brand. The surveys conducted before the introduction of any new initiatives go a long way in ensuring their success during the execution phase. It enables employees and customers to relate positively.


Gabriel, A.S., Cheshin, A., Moran, C.M., and van Kleef, G.A., 2016. Enhancing emotional performance and customer service through human resources practices: A systems perspective. Human Resource Management Review, 26(1), pp.14-24.

Gerson, R.F., 2002. Employee retention: a customer service approach. Radiology Management, 24(3), pp.16-23.

Jose, G., 2012. Satisfaction with HR practices and employee engagement: A social exchange perspective. Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, 4(7), pp.423-430.

Korczynski, M., 2002. Human resource management in the service sector. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Lamba, S., and Choudhary, N., 2013. Impact of HRM practices on organizational commitment of employees. International Journal of Advancements in Research & Technology, 2(4), pp.407-423.

Lepak, D.P., and Shaw, J.D., 2008. Strategic HRM in North America: looking to the future. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19(8), pp.1486-1499.

Lightner, N.J., 2004. Evaluating e-commerce functionality with a focus on customer service. Communications of the ACM, 47(10), pp.88-92.

Mahal, P.K., 2012. HR practices as determinants of organizational commitment and employee retention. IUP Journal of Management Research, 11(4), p.37.

Nishii, L.H., Lepak, D.P., and Schneider, B., 2008. Employee attributions of the "why" of HR practices: Their effects on employee attitudes and behaviors, and customer satisfaction. Personnel Psychology, 61(3), pp.503-545.

Rogg, K.L., Schmidt, D.B., Shull, C., and Schmitt, N., 2001. Human resource practices, organizational climate, and customer satisfaction. Journal of Management, 27(4), pp.431-449.

Schuler, R.S., Jackson, S.E., and Storey, J., 2001. HRM and its link with strategic management. Human resource management: A critical text, 2, pp.114-130.

Wright, P.M., Gardner, T.M., Moynihan, L.M., and Allen, M.R., 2005. The relationship between HR practices and firm performance: Examining causal order. Personnel Psychology, 58(2), pp.409-446.

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