Trust issues: investing in the health of retail
Guest Comment: Chris Brook-Carter, CEO, retailTRUST
I may not be a retailer, but my heart undeniably belongs to this industry, which was why – after nine years at Retail Week – I was honoured to join retailTRUST as chief executive in May. Over the last four months, I’ve become acutely aware what a huge job this is, loaded with responsibility – but also bursting with opportunity – to continue the amazing work retailTRUST has done over the last 188 years to care for, protect and improve the lives of its most valuable asset: its people.
Since 1832, we have continuously innovated to ensure we remain relevant. But, this year, in light of the Covid-19 crisis and the impact this has had on the industry and our colleagues, the work of the trust has never been more relevant.
The future health of retail is linked to the health of its workforce. Whether it’s increased productivity, reduced sickness or more engaged colleagues, or whether companies will have to recognise their role in promoting a healthy workforce in order to satisfy customers, investors and future talent, taking responsibility for the health of their employees must be a critical part of all retailers’ CSR strategies going forward.
Retailers themselves must champion the health of the industry and it’s the trust’s vision to build a coalition of businesses and leaders that recognise – and accept – the responsibility they have to invest in building a healthy, happy, diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects this industry’s position as the premier industry in the UK economy.
Unsurprisingly, I am delighted to see that putting wellbeing and compassion at the heart of retail is one of the topics at The Retail Bulletin’s HR Summit on 1 October and my colleague Amy Prendergast, Director of Change, People and Learning, at retailTRUST, will be on the panel talking about the mental health and wellbeing of the UK’s retail sector workers and how frameworks can be provided for organisations to create a wellbeing and mental health strategy.
Today, thanks to the support the retail industry gives us, retailTRUST is able to help retailers look after the wellbeing of their people through access to career-changing learning and development, financial, emotional and physical wellbeing services and supported-living estates. If you don’t already know about us or work with us, I urge you to find out more on our website at https://www.retailtrust.org.uk/ or by emailing me on email@example.com.
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