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[Interview] PiRA Judge: Alison Payne, COOK

Meet Alison Payne, People Director at COOK, who is joining us on the judging panel for the People in Retail Awards 2024. With a background in… View Article


[Interview] PiRA Judge: Alison Payne, COOK

Meet Alison Payne, People Director at COOK, who is joining us on the judging panel for the People in Retail Awards 2024.

With a background in operational roles at Tesco Stores Ltd and a passion for inclusive policies, Alison brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our panel. Her commitment to recognising and building excellence in the retail industry makes her an invaluable addition to our team.

What inspired you to become a judge for the People in Retail Awards?
The People in Retail Awards showcase so much love and care for people that you cannot fail to be inspired while learning from the best in the Retail sector.

In your opinion, what role do awards like this play in the retail industry, and why do you think they are important?
I love these awards as they shine a light on brilliant people in retail often working tirelessly in a 7 day a week operation. When physical shops and teams are competing for customers who are also shopping online, recognition is so important so that customers receive the best experience from happy, positive and engaged teams.

The awards are also a brilliant way to share best practice, new ideas and people progress in the Retail space.

Can you share an experience from your career in retail that exemplifies the significance of recognising excellence in the industry?
Retail can be overlooked as a career, when in fact, you learn everything there is to know about business, human nature and the power of human connection through millions of transactions. When a leader recognises the contribution you are making and shouts about it, you feel so elated and cannot fail to keep shining (even in peak trading or with an unhappy customer!).  This is crucial to retain good people and to watch their retail career flourish.

What criteria or qualities are you particularly looking for when evaluating nominations for the People in Retail Awards?

  • Consistency of how we care for people and customers while implementing change initiatives and new ideas. Leaders who always make time for their team and People Teams who put people first, policy second.
  • Harmony is my biggest personal value so I naturally seek out evidence of inclusion and fairness while striving to improve business performance.
  • A company who puts their money where their mouth is.

Any advice or top tips for companies entering?
Be yourself, tell us what you are really proud of and why.  Let the human story jump off the page with real life examples rather than just KPI’s.

To find out more, visit The People in Retail Awards 2024.


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