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Momentum builds for 6th Retail HR Summit 2014

Top speakers added to line-up including River Island, TalkTalk, Aldi, Supergroup, Adidas, Jaeger, Eploy, Sprit Pub Company, TalentQ, Morrisons, Ingeus...

HR

Momentum builds for 6th Retail HR Summit 2014

On October 8th, 2014, retail HR professionals will once again meet at the Cavendish Conference Centre, W1 for a day of learning, debate and networking.

Previewing the event, this is what some of our speakers have said:

Andrea Cartwright, director of HR at Supergroup, outlined some of the challenges and differences in setting up an HR function within a fast growing start-up organisation.

“This largely centred on adding in some principles and practices while also being extremely careful to ensure the elements that made the business successful in the first place were retained. “As you get bigger you need these practices but you’ve got to be careful in how you overlay them. In an entrepreneurial, agile business, you can do huge damage to the culture by putting in things like standard performance management, which just create lots of paperwork.”

Adidas is to use an app to ensure it engages more effectively with its young teams of employees working within its retail stores who dislike traditional forms of communication.

Tony Cooke, HR director at Adidas Group, talked about how the company is using this new route to improve engagement with all its employees and that messages from head office hit the target.

Cooke reveals that the company has faced two communicational challenges in the HR department. Firstly, it has a typical structure of a head office and many retail stores located around the country so ensuring it engages with its people beyond the head office – representing 60% of total UK employees - is a tough task.

The second challenge is around the make-up and age of the people in the adidas retail stores – typically aged between 16 and 24 – who simply “won’t read email for 20 to 30 minutes and only want to use social media to communicate”.

“They are not very keen to write emails either, which is why we’ve come up with the employee app. We thought okay – if we can’t get these people into HQ for events and they’ll not read emails then we’ll invest in an app. It’s the cutest and wisest way for us to engage,” says Cooke.

If you speak to your online marketing team about the process they went through when rebuilding or redesigning their corporate website, chances are you’ll be told that they started with the user first, says Chris Bogh, technical director at Eploy.

“In recruitment, and online recruitment in particular, there has been a lot of talk in recent years about the ‘candidate experience’, and for good reason too.

"With recruitment becoming more competitive, businesses are jostling for the best available talent from a shrinking pool. Making it difficult to find and apply for your job opportunities may mean that only the most committed and patient will apply to your company and this could result in high volumes of inappropriate candidates. Yet with all this talk about ‘candidate experience’ it’s easy to forget the needs of the other stakeholders in your recruitment process. If you do this, it’s a mistake.2

TalkTalk is working hard at boosting its engagement with employees through a number of initiatives focusing on career development, the working environment, and rewards and recognition.

Jenny Davidson, interim head of rewards at TalkTalk, outlined the changes that have taken place at the company so far and some of its future plans.

Against a backdrop of a number of separate businesses coming together to form TalkTalk she says the challenge had been to create one business with a clarified structure where employees knew their roles and where they sat in the overall organisation.

Through various positive actions that have involved all 2,000 contracted employees and 2,000 more from partners – such as outsourced call centres and engineers – employees have been taken on a journey of engagement.

Davidson says the success of this work has pushed the employee engagement levels up from 50% to 73% over the last two years. She added: "This is good but not great and the whole HR project now is to make this a great place to work and to take engagement from 73% to 85%. Google is one of the benchmarks.”

Sean Howard, managing director of international at Talent Q, suggests some large retailers that receive thousands of applicants each year have tended to give more attention to limiting offence rather than finding the top candidates.

“Some retailers have 50,000 to 100,000 applicants per year so there is a huge impact on sales if all the rejected people hold a grudge and then don’t visit the retailer. Retailers don’t want to offend so to avoid this they’ve not been so much focused on the people they want to recruit. We want them to achieve both,” says Howard.

To achieve this he says it is essential to work closely with retailers to create a questionnaire that most effectively sifts through the candidates to deliver a list of high quality people to put forward for interview.

These and more topics will be discussed at this summit an it’s a great opportunity to catch up on the latest thoughts from your peers throughout the day and during the complimentary drinks reception afterwards.

Click here for full details and registration.

 

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