The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and lasting effect on the retail sector. As many stores were forced to close during several lengthy lockdowns, those with no previous online presence sought to quickly become e-commerce-savvy.
As retailers were shifting to online platforms, so too were their customers. Many of whom had never shopped online before, now found themselves shielding. Unable to safely venture out of their own front doors, they too began navigating an entirely different landscape to that in which they were used to.
At the height of pandemic restrictions in April 2020, retail sales fell by a quarter compared with pre-COVID levels. Data from IMRG shows that online sales grew by 36% in 2020, the highest growth in 13 years. In contrast, overall retail sales fell by 0.13%, the lowest annual growth figure for 25 years. While physical shops have now reopened, a far higher proportion of purchasing remains online than before the crisis.
The increased amount of people shopping online has put significant strain on retailers and e-commerce platforms. Throughout 2020 there were multiple occasions when supermarket apps simply could not cope with the demands of the population vying for scant deliveries slots.
This has led to a seismic shift in roles within the industry as a whole. Whether employers be fully immersed online retailers, or hybrid versions with online and shop premises, the range of highly technical systems that employees need to be proficient in using is rapidly increasing. As such, tech talent has never been so in demand. Conversely, potential employees now have the pick of who to work for and come with a long list of what they want from future employers.
According to recent research, retention and turnover were named as the top challenge by HR professionals in the online retail sector. To retain key talent HR functions must be agile and innovative when designing retention, reward, and recognition programmes. Learning and development is a high priority as is the culture of the company. If employers are to attract and retain top talent, they must truly be listening to what their people are saying.
Employers who want to retain their talent need to keep their finger on the pulse regarding what staff are thinking and feeling. Those who do so will be best placed to address any issues proactively and swiftly before they result in their best people leaving. But in the face of all the challenges besetting the sector, how can we make this cultural shift business as usual?
In the following industry overview, we discuss each of the 9 factors that science has shown to determine success through people and explore these in the context of the unique challenges currently being faced by employers in the online retail sector.
Recently we had the pleasure of hosting a lunchtime webinar on the challenges we face as leaders in an increasingly uncertain world. The current Covid19 pandemic, coupled with its after-effects (which will likely bring forward a recession), pose multiple challenges to how we lead our teams and, perhaps most important of all, ourselves.Responding to these obstacles has been a mixed experience for many. In the recent 2020 Talent Implications Survey, a majority of employees reported that they expect clear goals, better communication, and improved support from the organisation when it comes to task prioritisation.So, how are weeven supposed to respond?The short answer is - we need to adopt a new way of working - both as individuals and as an organisation. OUR WEBINAR FOCUSED ON THREE TANGIBLE PRACTICES FOR LEADERS, SOURCED FROM THE EXPERIENCES OF SOME OF OUR CLIENTS, AS WELL AS SOME OF WINNINGTEMP'S OWN OBSERVATIONS. Let’s start with PwC. They believe in practising
Winningtemp's customer success manager Matilda Andersson was one of the first hires of Winningtemp. She sees a significant difference in how HR works now compared to when she started her journey at Winningtemp just over two years ago."Even the most conservative industries are starting to leverage the opportunities of digitisation to become more agile in HR," says Matilda Andersson at Winningtemp. EMPLOYEE WELL-BEING IS AS IMPORTANT AS BUSINESS REVENUE When Matilda started working at Winningtemp, she had no idea what lay in front of her. She felt the energy and drive of the founders Pierre and Mathias, and their enthusiasm rubbed off! She understood that there was a certain amount of risk in joining a startup that's still in its early stages, but she was captivated by the founders' grand plans and wanted to become a part of them."I haven't regretted the decision for a second, and it turned out that I could trust my gut feelings," says Matilda.Matilda's duties as the customer success manager include helping customers gain the highest possible value from Winningtemp.“I provide customers with initial support by planning the onboarding of Winningtemp together with them,” she says. “Next, I guide them through a process for finding an appropriate approach for implementing Winningtemp in their organisations. When the customer has found the right approach, and it has become natural for them to talk about well-being as revenue figures, that's when I'm satisfied. "Matilda notices a huge contrast in how HR works now compared to two years ago. When she started at Winningtemp, HR departments wanted to implement Agile HR. Still, many organisations were not yet prepared when it came to working with digital employee surveys in real-time."Many organisations were not mature enough, but there were early adopters in HR who jumped on board and saw the benefits of working agilely and digitally," she says. "Today, the situation is quite different, and even the most conservative industries are starting to open their eyes to leveraging opportunities of digitalisation in becoming more agile when it comes to HR. ”
Working within the private healthcare sector has not been without its challenges this past year. A contentious subject at times, any disputes between the NHS and private hospitals were set aside in early 2020 as the Government pledged to secure extra bed space for patients affected by the pandemic.