Where next for the Great Retail Workplace Revolution?

The retail sector experienced a year of seismic change in 2020. And for years before that, it had been trying to adjust to, amongst other things, the impact of digital retail on store revenues, rising real estate costs, a polarisation between value and luxury propositions and rapidly changing consumer tastes.

Last year, these and other cracks effectively became structural fault lines. The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated years of transformation effectively into a few months. The huge impact across the globe of this change has left many retailers desperately trying to speed up their digital agendas, however for many it will sadly be too late.

These changes have caused significant challenges to the retail workforce, whether in stores, D.C’s, H/O or at home, traditional roles and structures are having to adapt quickly. Further pressures have also arisen from major cultural shifts during 2020. Whether it was the Black Lives Matter movement or the increased awareness and concern for business ethics and sustainability, there is no doubt that retailers around the world now need to think very differently about their business culture and the skills, attitudes and beliefs of their workforce if they are to thrive in the new world.

“Where next for the Great Retail Workplace Revolution?”

This is why we are launching our KultraLab report “Where next for the Great Retail Workplace Revolution?”, in partnership with the World Retail Congress in a panel session at the virtual summit in April. The feedback we received from this initial research will then form the basis of a much larger report to be published at the WRC Summit in Rome in April 2022.

We are talking to senior retail leaders across the industry globally. We want the sector worldwide to understand the strategic responses they must now make and their implications for their workforce.
The report is much needed because in 2021 and beyond, retail will continue to change at a bewildering pace. Many factors will underpin those that are successful but the key to success will be a commitment to cultural and behavioural change.

“Looking back, looking forward, looking inward”

The report will focus on:

  • Looking back. How last year unfolded for the sector – and how businesses have responded.
  • Looking forward. What retailers will need from their people in the future – and what they need to create a mindset that fosters behavioural change.
  • Looking inward. What the challenges and gaps in workforce skills are. What does the sector need to overcome to move from the turbulent past to a prosperous future?

Our comprehensive qualitative and quantitative research will look at a number of questions including:

  • How can retailers make a genuine and deeper connection with all employees?
  • How can they help them learn new ways of working, both at scale and speed?
  • How can they embed a commitment to continuous learning and adaptation into their organisation?

Our aim is to stimulate a crucially important debate around the leadership challenges in the sector globally. If you want to find out more and join our movement for behavioural change, then email me on steve.baggi@kultralab.com.