Retail has changed beyond all recognition over the last decade with the high street slowdown and shift to online shopping. And this year the pandemic is likely to bring about further evolution and organisational change. It is a sector we know extremely well thanks to our work with companies like M&S, Tesco, TK Maxx, Sainsbury’s and Starbucks. What this means is that we have seen at close quarters the impact of this evolution and have been called upon to advise retail clients on changes needed to their people programmes as a result.

Common industry challenges

  • Outside economic pressures – i.e. Covid-19 shutdown, lower consumer spending, reduced footfall, Brexit uncertainty
  • Slow to adapt to changing consumer shopping habits (shift online)
  • Store closures/downsizing
  • Poorly managed organisational change
  • Skills shortages, particularly in digital field
  • Engaging front-line employees
  • Poor employee enablement – lacking resources to do their job.

How to tackle them

  • Focus on the employee experience, particularly enablement
  • Increase investment in L&D, e.g. upskilling leaders to navigate change effectively
  • Hire in or develop digital capability in leaders
  • Support managers to embed organisational changes
  • Better internal communications and employee involvement around change
  • Paying attention to how the organisational narrative and vision needs to change in line with new strategic direction.
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