Interview: Yemi Akisanya, DEI expert
“By creating a space that empowers and accepts all, we are much better suited to manifest the true prosperity of our institutions, communities, and world.”
So says Yemi Akisanya, CEO and Founder of Akisanya Consulting as we talk about why he has joined the People in Retail judging panel for the 2023 awards.
Why did you choose to take part in the People in Retail Awards?
As a People Leader, my work and lived experience have greatly informed my practice, ensuring that humanity remains at the forefront of my initiatives and programs. By creating a space that empowers and accepts all, we are much better suited to manifest the true prosperity of our institutions, communities, and world. The People in Retail Awards has the heartbeat of the people. This has always paralleled my passion for People + Culture!
Why do you think these awards are important?
In the wake of challenging times for the retail sector, prioritising the sense of being valued and appreciated among individuals is crucial. As the lifeblood of any community, people play a pivotal role, and it is the duty of businesses to foster their empowerment through employee recognition and motivation. When employees feel valued, they go above and beyond in their efforts to contribute to an organization that demonstrates genuine concern for their well-being.
What are you most excited to see in this year’s entries?
I’m looking for innovative and creative approaches to customer service, effective use of technology to enhance the customer experience, exceptional leadership skills, and outstanding contributions to the retail industry. I’m also interested in how retailers have adapted and responded to the challenges posed by the pandemic, such as implementing safety protocols, providing remote shopping options, and supporting their employees during difficult times. Overall, I’m most excited retailers that have demonstrate excellence, innovation, and a commitment to customer service and employee well-being.
Any advice or top tips for companies entering?
Here are some tips for companies entering the People in Retail Awards:
- Focus on the customer: The most successful retail businesses put their customers at the heart of everything they do. Make sure your entry showcases how your company is putting customers first, whether through excellent service, innovative products, or other initiatives.
- Show the impact of your initiatives: Judges want to see evidence of how your company’s initiatives have made a difference. Make sure you include measurable data, customer feedback, and any other evidence of the positive impact your company has had.
- Tell a compelling story: Your entry should tell a compelling story about your company, its mission, and its achievements. Use engaging language and provide plenty of detail to bring your story to life.
By following these tips, your company can create a compelling and successful entry for the People in Retail Awards.
What do you admire about the retail industry and why?
There’s a lot I admire about the retail industry:
- Adaptability: The retail industry is known for its ability to adapt quickly to changing customer demands, market trends, and technological advancements. Retailers are constantly evolving their strategies to keep up with the changing landscape and stay relevant.
- Customer focus: Successful retailers understand that the customer is king and put their needs and preferences at the center of their operations. This customer-centric approach drives innovation, product development, and service delivery.
- Social responsibility: Many retailers are committed to making a positive impact on society and the environment and are actively pursuing initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint, support local communities, and promote ethical and sustainable practices.
Overall, the retail industry is characterised by its dynamism, creativity, and commitment to the customer. These qualities make it a fascinating and admirable industry to observe and study.
Any comment about how the retail industry has changed since the start of your career?
The retail industry has undergone significant changes over the past 15 years, largely due to advancements in technology and changes in consumer behavior. Here are some of the key changes:
- The rise of e-commerce has been one of the most significant changes in the retail industry over the past 15 years. Online shopping has become increasingly popular, and many retailers have invested heavily in their online presence to meet this demand.
- The widespread adoption of smartphones has enabled consumers to shop anytime, anywhere. Retailers have had to adapt to this trend by creating mobile-friendly websites and developing mobile apps to make shopping more convenient for customers.
- With the amount of data available on consumers, retailers have been able to create more personalized experiences for their customers. This includes personalized recommendations, targeted advertising, and customized products.
- Social media has become a powerful tool for retailers to engage with customers and promote their products. Many retailers use social media platforms to showcase their products, provide customer service, and run advertising campaigns.
Overall, the retail industry has undergone significant changes over the past 15 years, driven largely by advancements in technology and changes in consumer behavior. Retailers that can adapt to these changes are likely to be more successful in the future.
What changes do you hope to see in the future.
As consumers become more environmentally conscious, retailers will need to place greater emphasis on sustainability and adopt more sustainable practices. This could include reducing waste, using renewable energy sources, and sourcing products from ethical and sustainable suppliers. Additionally, consumers are increasingly interested in the social impact of the companies they buy from. Retailers that prioritize social responsibility and give back to their communities are likely to be more successful in the future.
To find out more about The People in Retail Awards, other judges taking part, or to get your entry in before 14 April, visit this link.
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