How we helped a global fashion brand’s HR team slash legal costs and make a real commercial difference

Case Study: PVH

How we helped a global fashion brand’s HR team slash legal costs and make a real commercial difference

PVH is one of the largest global apparel companies in the world. Home to some of the most famous brands in fashion including Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Speedo.

Previously, PVH’s UK & Ireland division experienced ongoing difficulties with employee relations (ER) issues that was seriously costing the business in terms of time and budget.

About PVH

  • 30,000 associates
  • 40 countries
  • $8 billion revenue (2014)

The Challenge

As PVH’s current HR Director for UK & Ireland, Yolanda Wijesinghe, explains:

"We have the same challenges as most retail businesses, having to deal with ER and thinking in terms of value and making sound commercial decisions."

According to Yolanda, previously there was no ER strategy or solutions in place to deal with people issues. As a result, it was a challenge to change the way the team worked, especially since they were firefighting a constant wave of HR issues, which itself led to problems:

  • There was a persistent need to turn to expensive specialist employment law firms to deal with arising issues
  • Such issues were taking longer than necessary to shut down, taking up valuable senior management time and effort

The foremost effect was that the HR team’s time and effort was taken away from the key strategic activities valuable to the wider business, simply because ER issues were not being dealt with quickly enough. The rocketing cost of specialist employment law advice from traditional legal firms was severely impacting the HR team’s budget. In the four months previous to moving to esphr, the company had spent 50,000 resolving an employment law issue.

The Solution

When Yolanda joined PVH, she brought in esphr to give her HR team immediate access to specialist employment lawyers who have now grown to know and understand the unique challenges facing PVH. From this, esphr have been able to offer tailored advice, specific to the pressurised environment of retail.

In addition to the full suite of online HR documentation and resources, the move to a fixed price annual subscription for unlimited operational advice instantly slashed the cost of high quality specialist employment law advice, while improving capability within the HR team.

Since working with esphr, the focus of the PVH HR team has switched from transactional to strategic. In the wider company, the HR team is now showing the business what it can do by serving the stakeholders better.

The advice we used to receive was rarely commercial. Previously, we spent a lot of time, effort and budget on dealing with ER issues; now we don’t because we’re with esphr. They are able to give us super commercial advice which ensures positive results that are felt across the business.

It has transformed the HR function and this has made an impact on the business. We are able to capitalise on the time saved to do the projects we knew would make a difference. The wider business is already recognising this.

There is another happy by-product of our relationship with esphr. Speaking to our own dedicated employment lawyers is good exposure and experience for the HR team; it has been excellent for their professional training and development.

Yolanda Wijesinghe

HR Director UK & Ireland, PVH

How we helped a global fashion brand’s HR team slash legal costs and make a real commercial difference