How Estée Lauder Companies developed a culture to attract and retain IT talent

0 Posted by - 19th September 2019 - Technology

The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) Information Technology (IT) operations are in New York City, where the unemployment rate is low and the competition is high. When Michael W. Smith became CIO of ELC in August 2017, he knew that recruiting, developing, and retaining IT talent would be as important to the company as process improvement and consumer engagement. That’s when Smith, his IT leadership team, and his human resources (HR) partners initiated a dazzling number of talent programs designed to attract and retain the best and brightest from the technology talent pool.  

“When I joined The Estée Lauder Companies, the company was pivoting to become much more consumer-driven,” says Smith. “In IT, that meant shifting from our traditional back-office and infrastructure work to focusing on breakthrough innovation, unique in-store experiences, and personalized consumer engagement.”

Smith recognized that the move from enterprise IT to technology innovation would require a different skillset. “We needed the ability to think differently, be agile, and engage directly with our business partners,” he says. “That was a bit of a shift for us.”

In addition to investing in agile development and design-thinking trainings, Smith and his team thought long and hard about the environment in which the IT organization worked and decided to make a major change:

Tech and Innovation Hub

For years, the ELC IT team had been working out of eight different locations in the New York area, which presented obstacles in developing a consumer-first mindset. “We needed a workspace that would allow us to seamlessly collaborate with each other and our business partners, and help us attract new talent,” says Smith.

michael smith elc The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

Michael Smith, CIO 

In the fall of 2018, IT moved to a state-of-the-art technology and innovation hub in Long Island City, Queens. “The hub provides an elevated employee experience that increases productivity, reflects our high-touch culture, and attracts technology talent,” says Smith.

read more at by Martha Heller