Q&A with Swarovski’s Alberto Platz: Employee engagement and learnings from the sales function

Alberto Platz, VP Global Talent Acquisition & Engagement at Swarovski joined HRD Connect to share his thoughts on employee engagement and the value his career in sales has brought to HR.

The term Employee Engagement has always been a little elusive – how do you define Employee Engagement at Swarovski? 

We decided to adopt the model of our external consulting partner, that consisted it in adding a second noun to engagement, which is “enablement”. This two words together work much clearer for business, as one without the other affects performance. As a highly engaged and enabled employee will perform better, than one who feels low in both or even in one of both. These two terms that we measure help us to cluster our employees in 4 categories that help us to create more customized actions in each of them  For example the action needs for employees that feel highly engaged but not enabled, finally they become frustrated, need different approach than those feeling enabled, yet not engaged, who show detachment to the job, the superior, the team or the company.


Which are the biggest trends making an impact on Employee Engagement?

First, an open and transparent feedback culture in both directions (company-employees and employees-company). Also, important is an active and constant listening via “pulse checks”

Second, inclusion – be who you are in my company and not become the one I want in my company.

Third, learning and career opportunities.

Finally, I as an employee, feel that my work adds value to the company, I’m recognized and rewards for it, I have joy in what I’m doing, have a sense of belonging and see a great future of opportunities ahead of me in the company I feel fully engaged.


You’ve spent a lot of your career working as a Sales Director only joining the Corporate HR team in 2012. How has having a background in Sales influenced your perspective and added value to the work that you are doing? 

In sales, to be successful you have to think on the customer, you have to be customer centric, which is not necessary the case in HR or other functions. I always ask myself but also to my peers if what we do adds value to the customer, if the way we communicate will be understandable to the customer, if the tools and processes we propose will be customer friendly and will support our business to achieve their ambitious objectives. Now that I’m in HR offering services to our sales colleagues I don’t forget that I was receiving services from the HR function in the past.


The HR Director Summit/Europe themed Enhancing Business Performance: Turning Strategy into Reality. Where can HR make the biggest difference in your organisation? What is HR’s role in enhancing business performance?

Finally because this business performance enhancement will be driven by people, HR can play a key role by enabling all our leaders to be great people managers with whom employees want to work and follow. Leaders that take care via the whole employee life cycle of their teams, from the attraction and recruitment, via the on-boarding, development, retention even till separation if it comes.


How can HR Leaders adapt and innovate to meet future demands? What skills and knowledge are needed for HR Leaders to navigate the changing business landscape?

I’m not sure I can answer really this question and only from my personal experience I think HR needs to be closer to business, and not by asking business to inform us, but by putting ourselves in the shoes of business, by gaining more business acumen, by speaking their language, understanding their needs, challenges and available resources and by offering them processes that make their people management tasks easier and not more difficult. We have to truly partner with business.

Alberto Platz, VP Global Talent Acquisition & Engagement at Swarovski will join speakers including Dr. Reza Moussavian, SVP HR Division “Digital & Innovation” at Deutsche Telekom and Andre de Wit, VP Capability Building and Learning at Carlsberg, at HRD Summit/Europe on 30 – 31 May 2017.

Find out more about the event in Amsterdam and join us by visiting the HRD Summit Europe

Related reading