INTERVIEW: Eugenio Pirri, Chief People and Culture Officer – Global Diversity Champion, Dorchester Collection

INTERVIEW: Eugenio Pirri, Chief People and Culture Officer – Global Diversity Champion, Dorchester Collection

Dorchester Collection was formed in 2006 and consists of 9 iconic hotels based in 5 different countries. Each with a unique story to tell, they represent their cities’ past and present, substance and style, and most importantly – their people. In 2011, Eugenio joined the group as Vice President of People and Organisational Development and ever since has been at the helm of reshaping the company culture, grounded in a holistic approach to employee and guest engagement within all constituents of the business. He was appointed Chief People and Culture Officer in 2017 where he continues to direct all aspects of human resources, including learning and development, employee & guest engagement, and corporate responsibility. Eugenio is today esteemed an industry leader and recognised on the HR most influential practitioner list by HR magazine for the past five consecutive years. Eugenio Pirri is also the author of a successful book, Be a People Leader: A Sustainable Framework for Achieving Your Full Leadership Potential, in which he shares his strategy for successful people management in the workplace. - How did you forge your career path in luxury?

Eugenio Pirri - My path began in a most unexpected way, with my first job working for a four-star hotel as a room attendant in Housekeeping.  What this taught me was the importance of cleanliness and attention to detail, which as my career grew, proved invaluable.  As I grew, so did my desire to create and deliver guest and employee experiences that were linked to what people want and desire.  As my knowledge grew, as did my passion for luxury; and, this lead me to the five star world and so much more.  Luxury has become a state of mind for me and the opportunities to excel within it are truly endless.

V.J. - How would you describe your mission within Dorchester Collection?

E. P. - My mission is to create safe and respectful work environments which will then allow positive engagement to prosper.  This means living the vision and values and meeting the emotional needs of our employees and guests.  People inherently want to have a positive experience in what they do, whether work or personal.  Therefore, this means my mission is to make that happen, knowing that some days may be easier than others, but the long-term strategy is the key.

The Dorchester, London


V.J. - During the crisis, how did you overcome the challenges of distance with your collaborators?

E. P. - My world is all about our internal guests – our employees.  At the beginning of the pandemic, we made a promise to them to stay connected.  The meant immediately putting in place real actions to make this happen.  We then supported this by ensuring our leaders had the skills, knowledge and tools to execute.  Much work had to be done around mental health and well-being.  The pandemic gave us something we never really had before – an insight into how our people truly live.  This then meant we needed to act on this new knowledge and make it part of the communication and well-being strategies.

V. J. - Before the crisis, luxury was intended to infuse more environment and social ethics, but also more emotions in its practices. What is your future vision of luxury? How will it offer even more transcendence in the experience and connect on an even deeper level?

E. P. - Luxury truly is in the eye of the beholder given how much travel has evolved over the years.  As it is now more accessible by the many and not just the few, people look for unique journeys that transport them into another world.  In the end, it then becomes about meeting their emotional needs as these experiences vary.  Guests ultimately want to feel a certain way and our role is then to better understand our guest and what they need.  Are they looking for sophistication or impact?  Do they want to feel in control or want to be free to experience a new environment?   The future of luxury is about positive impact and how we address those needs while relating them to important factors happening in the world around them.

Excerpt published in partnership with The Vendom Company.

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