default-output-block.skip-main
BoF Logo

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

Partner Content

Fostering a Culture of Belonging at Neiman Marcus Group

BoF meets employees at the luxury retailer to learn how the parent company to Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman is approaching the modern workplace, with environmental social governance at its core.
Neiman Marcus Group employee serving a customer.
Neiman Marcus Group employee serving a customer.
In Partnership With

Today’s workforce, across all generations, is demanding more from their employers, whether in efforts around social and environmental responsibility or offering a better work-life balance and greater flexibility post-pandemic. In particular, Millennial and Gen-Z employees prioritise working for organisations that care about their wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, and that have leaders who are ethical and transparent, according to a 2022 study by management consultancy Gallup.

American luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group (NMG) has sought to meet the expectations of its employees by activating key people initiatives within the wider group and its portfolio of companies, including Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, set out as the NMG Way.

The NMG Way sets a standard for the company, its internal stakeholders and external partners, to ensure it is forging people-driven partnerships and to hold itself accountable to employees. With its mission to revolutionise luxury’s impact, NMG released a comprehensive and publicly available environmental social governance (ESG) strategy in early 2021.

In its commitment to making ESG a cornerstone of its growth and transformation, the company set goals for 2025, with focus areas including Climate Change and Workforce Diversity — a core pillar to its policy of belonging, championed within the woman-led and co-founded business.

NMG’s integrated working policy has also played a key role in sustaining work-life balance for employees. NMG began integrating remote workplace flexibility before the Covid-19 pandemic, which its leaders believe has had a direct impact on employee retention — its staff retention rate has risen 5 percent since last year. As a digital-first company, NMG is creating collaborative workspaces and hubs across the country, complete with modern technology features that promote flexibility for all associates, both in-person and remote.

Now, BoF sits down with Yumi Shin, Bergdorf Goodman’s chief merchant, Sebastian Saldarriaga-Rodriguez, group director of social media and Allyson Sofia Seybert, senior engineer of infrastructure management at Neiman Marcus, to better understand how NMG’s belonging initiatives, remote working opportunities and ESG goals are shaping the company with the future in mind.

Yumi Shin, Bergdorf Goodman’s Chief Merchant.

Yumi Shin, Bergdorf Goodman’s Chief Merchant

Shin has previously held leadership roles in merchandising at Saks Fifth Avenue and Prada before joining Bergdorf Goodman in 2018.

What does belonging at NMG mean to you?

Neiman Marcus Group and Bergdorf Goodman is a majority women-led company that empowers female leaders. More specifically, in my role as chief merchant for Bergdorf Goodman, I find it empowering to lead merchandising strategies for a big brand and to bring that vision to life in stores, online, through events and experiences, to mobilise our brand partnerships and scale that vision throughout the organisation.

How are the ESG goals integrated into your day-to-day role?

Our ESG goals, and their direct impact on our environment and culture, are an important focus for me. I have been deeply involved in our energy goal to increase revenue from sustainable and ethical products, and in April, we launched our sustainability edit, the Conscious Curation — the newest September edit just launched on our site.

What makes Bergdorf unique is that everyone — from our employees to our partners — has a passion for and a trust in the Bergdorf Goodman brand.

We have determined five preferred product attributes, which are: sustainable materials; responsible manufacturing; diversity; giving back; and transparency. With sustainability being a complex and dynamic topic that has a social impact, we are mindful to make sure that our edit includes multiple categories to reflect this.

What makes working at Bergdorf Goodman unique?

I believe we are revolutionising what luxury means and how we bring that experience to life for our customers through discovery, service and experiences. As a globally recognised destination, we have deep relationships with our customers. I believe they are drawn to our edits and products, specifically curated and differentiated for Bergdorf and our customers.

It is my fourth year at Bergdorf and what I have also realised is that what makes Bergdorf unique is that everyone — from our employees to our partners — has a passion for and a trust in the Bergdorf Goodman brand. It is a collective driving force which, internally, we call the “Power of One.”

Sebastian Saldarriaga-Rodriguez, Group Director of Social Media.

Sebastian Saldarriaga-Rodriguez, Group Director of Social Media

Saldarriaga-Rodriguez joined Neiman Marcus Group in 2018, having worked in social media previously at Bottega Veneta, Michael Kors and 360i.

How do you believe NMG has supported you as an employee?

One major change that came for me last year was the fact that same-sex couples now have the same soft and hard benefits. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community, that is massive for me. My partner and I are planning to have kids in the next five years and knowing that I have the same benefits as a heterosexual couple with NMG’s parental leave policy is amazing.

How are the ESG goals integrated into your day-to-day role?

The way we communicate with our customers, industry and employees on social media is constantly evolving. We want to have a meaningful point of view and connect with different communities in an impactful way. There is always room to grow and improve.

I have been involved with the ESG team since its creation, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with the team in an impactful way, such as promoting our partnership with the Human Rights Campaign to benefit the LGBTQ+ community. It is important that the Neiman Marcus Group is involved in important conversations and contributes to the conversation in a meaningful way.

The NMG Way of Working puts the ownership of workplace flexibility on every single employee.

What is your experience of the NMG Way of working?

The NMG Way of Working puts the ownership of workplace flexibility on every single employee. It’s basically saying that you are responsible for delivering on these goals, but it is up to you to manage yourself and your time to deliver that. It’s reinforced by leadership, which I believe makes this successful — they are steering us all in the right way strategically but empowering us while working from home.

I’m also seeing within my employees that they are more appreciative of the fact that they have a better sense of balancing their personal and professional life. For example, working parents on my team can be with their children much more, in a way the traditional workplace has never allowed.

Senior of Infrastructure Management, Allyson Sofia Seybert.

Allyson Sofia Seybert, Senior Engineer of Infrastructure Management

Seybert previously held numerous roles as a director of technology before she joined NMG in 2016.

What does belonging at NMG mean to you?

When I started working at NMG, I struggled for the first six months because I was trying to figure out my identity. I was battling something internally. Eventually, I showed up to work wearing what I wanted to wear, identifying who I was. It was the only place that I felt safe to do that. Neiman Marcus Group created an environment that made me feel compelled to stand up for who I am.

The people I worked with became a support system, and it fostered an empowerment to know that no matter what our diversity is within this company, we can inspire every individual to stand and use their voice in not only their work, but in the things that we do outside of the work. NMG was that safe space and where I felt most confident to come out.

How do you believe NMG has supported you as an employee?

When the company announced its Associate Community Network (ACN) groups, this became a motivational moment for me. I’m a part of the LGBTQ+ ACN group and a member of our Women’s group. The ACNs provide a platform to educate and inspire people who have encountered or are experiencing a personal situation and have nowhere to turn.

Neiman Marcus Group created an environment that made me feel compelled to stand up for who I am.

Not only do we have these community networks, but belonging is also considered a priority from an HR perspective. The third day that I was identifying the way that I do now, I was called into HR unexpectedly. I was greeted by eight women from People’s Services Leadership who were there to learn and hear my story.

I was also introduced to our Group Leadership Team, who all shared words of praise and support. Our CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck pulled me aside and said, “I’m proud of a lot of the things that we do here at NMG, but I couldn’t be prouder of a moment like this and a person like you right now.” It was very moving for my second year here.

What makes working at NMG unique?

No matter what department I’m in, I feel empowered in my career growth and ability to excel. If I find a career growth opportunity elsewhere in the company, I am supported to go after it because everybody shares the same goal at NMG.

I’m excited to see where my career goes within the group as I look to expand my opportunities, career growth and leadership. I am eager to build on my experience in various divisions of the company and to continue to be a representative of the LGBTQ+ community and what “belonging” looks like at NMG.

© 2021 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
CONNECT WITH US ON
Inside the $7 Billion Dior Phenomenon
© 2022 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions and Privacy policy.
Inside the $7 Billion Dior Phenomenon