HR Insights Vol. 2: A Conversation with Nicolai Mattern, HR Director for LVMH Perfumes & Fragrances

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Through the JSS+ Insight Series, we have the privilege of interviewing influential voices across various industries to delve into crucial themes, opportunities, and current market trends.

In our quest for insights from HR thought leaders, we bring you exclusive conversations with prominent HR professionals from diverse sectors. These interviews aim to shed light on the evolving role of HR in today’s dynamic business environment. From HR directors to talent acquisition specialists, we engage in discussions with industry leaders to explore best practices, challenges, and success stories that define effective HR management.

In this segment, we had the opportunity to speak with Nicolai Mattern, HR Director for LVMH Perfumes & Fragrances, a distinguished figure in the world of human resources. Nicolai brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, offering unique insights into the HR landscape within one of the world’s most renowned luxury goods conglomerates.

Having navigated a busy 2023, what are the top priorities for HR leaders right now?

The top priorities for HR leaders have been retaining talent in the organisation and strategically recruiting new ones where needed. It’s crucial to keep a close watch on salary trends in the market. But let’s not forget that retention goes beyond monetary incentives; it also encompasses employee well-being and a sense of purpose, among other things. In today’s corporate landscape, purpose remains a burning topic, and HR professionals play a pivotal role in fostering it.

What makes for a great HR Leader?

A great HR leader is someone who actively listens to the organisation’s needs and can identify quick wins to demonstrate tangible change. Instead of waiting for issues to arise, they proactively engage as a business partner, asking challenging questions that not only support change but drive it forward.

What advice would you give to job seekers looking to advance their careers in the HR field?

My advice to job seekers aspiring to advance in the HR field is to seek organisations that prioritise culture and provide opportunities to work closely with people. While HR will always have a share in administrative and legal aspects, it’s crucial to find ways to contribute to team dynamics and culture to make a meaningful impact. This helps position HR as a visible and valued partner in the business.

What are the most challenging issues in HR today?

Talent acquisition and retention are undeniably the most challenging issues in HR today. While HR can do a lot to address these concerns, retaining top talent often requires significant financial investments that may not always align with a company’s capabilities. The main challenge is to strike a balance between improving working conditions, maintaining competitive salaries, and ensuring the overall health of the business.

What role does employer branding play in attracting top talent, and how can HR professionals collaborate with marketing teams to build a strong employer brand?

For too long, HR did not realise the power of Internal Communication and Marketing (or ignored it). Marketing is a strong tool for talent attraction and staff retention. HR professionals can collaborate effectively with marketing teams to create a strong employer brand. However, it’s not just about projecting a positive external image; it’s also about being authentic within the organisation. When the internal culture, external communication, and customer promise align, employer branding becomes a potent tool for attracting and retaining the best talent.


Associate Director, Human Resources and Reward

Matthew Bettesworth