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The 2024 Programme



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Morning chair's welcome and opening comments

Darren Sanderson-Williams, General Manager, Specsavers

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Retail Insights: Recruitment and retention - the war on talent in a competitive retail job market

In today’s competitive market a strong talent acquisition process is a must. Attracting the right people, then motivating them whilst they are with an organisation and retaining them through development/advancement – is the quality of employment more important than duration? This panel will discuss the key ingredients for a robust talent management strategy for 2024 and beyond – with an exclusive insight on future tech/AI and how to take advantage of it, whilst not forgetting the role employees still have to play.

  • Innovating recruitment strategies with the help of technology - use of AI in recruitment and to support future HR qualifications
  • Cost of retaining colleagues with legislation changes to salaries increasing - how to keep them engaged without significant costs
  • How employer brand / recruitment marketing can support culture and retention
  • Building a talent pipeline for our future - how to assess and develop emerging talent
  • How to change the old-fashioned company mindset when it comes to hiring new talents?
  • Attracting talent when pay is a challenge – managing expectations of the younger generation

Carrie Westwell, Head of HR, Bensons for Beds

David Nottage, Head of Talent Attraction & Acquisition, Footasylum

Sally Price, Global Talent Acquisition Associate, Astrid & Miyu

Charlotte Rees-John, Head of Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Sector and Employment Partner, Irwin Mitchell

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Retail Strategy Spotlight: Leading and evolving to an agile organisation - joining the dots between business, people and strategy

Streamlined workforce planning, prediction and management are just a few benefits that can be unlocked by clever strategic tools, enabling HR to have the agility to quickly realign as priorities change. An efficient workforce in business operations can help maintain a balance between the needs of the customer, the colleague, and the operations.

  • Viewing HR and IT collaboration as a ‘business and culture’ project
  • The role of organisation design - rewiring your people to a new, more agile business needs
  • Achieving a happy, fulfilled workforce through internal collaboration
  • Enabling strategic HR to kickstart a data driven culture
  • How to pivot a traditional HR team to transformational people teams
  • Moving towards a digital HR platform
  • Effective HR business partnering

Paul Ridings, Global Director of Growth for People, OneAdvanced
Liz Jewitt-Cross, Founder, Future HR
Ritu Dhawan-Foster, Interim HR Director UK&I, L’Occitane Group
Deborah Ormondroyd, Head of Retail, Bird & Blend
Marco Galer-Reick, Vice President, UK Strategy Enablement & HR, Delaware North

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Retail Reflections: Lessons from battling burnout

Our speakers for this session discuss what they learned after working through some of the hardest years retail has had in living memory and suffering the consequences. Hear two different perspectives on - how burnout occured, how it felt, lessons we can all learn - and most importantly, how there’s hope beyond burnout!

Rob will then lead a short interactive exercise to build on the value of sharing problems and building relationships - both of which have been hugely important in bulding success from experiencing burnout.

Rob Savin, former Marketing Director, Alpkit; Co-founder, Super Infinite

Gareth Jones, Founder, White Mirror

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Retail Learning Lab: How HR can support retail to empower their managers

The effectiveness of people managers is the single biggest challenge faced by retail organisations today. According to research by Gallup, 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager alone, yet Gallup also found that only about one in 10 managers today actually possess the talent to manage. So, how can HR support organisations to empower their managers - to drive people performance. Join our stellar panel of retail experts, to discuss the role of the 'retail people manager' today.

  • What skills are needed to be an effective people manager in retail today
  • How L&D initiatives can support the upskilling of retail people managers
  • Tangible techniques for comms to enable your retail and office staff

Anna Rasmussen, Founder & CEO, OpenBlend
Sacha Harvey, People Director, Lucky Saint

Sara Duxbury, Global Head of Learning, OD & Talent, AllSaints

Jo Coxhill, Organisational Culture Consultant, Vision 29; former Head of Culture, Engagement & Communications, Vashi 

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14.45 -15.45
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Retail Perspectives

Part 1: Boosting DE&I in your workplace culture - becoming a ‘purpose led’ organisation

There has been a fundamental shift in consumer views on which retailers to trust and the expectations they increasingly have of business and business leaders to focus on societal change. 

  • Positive action vs positive discrimination - whistleblowing and the importance of listening
  • How a diverse workforce can help enterprises boost business performance and reduce succession risks
  • Refocusing on purpose and values for engagement – helping your employees to be purpose oriented
  • Recruiting diverse teams
  • Employee acts of incivility - the negative impact on diversity and inclusivity in the workplace culture
  • How to shift a predominantly male dominated culture to be more inclusive and forward thinking

Chantal Cooper, People Experience Manager, New Look

Ciara Tully, Inclusion & Emerging Talent Manager, N Brown Group

Part 2: Effective workplace mental health and wellbeing support - creating a culture of connection and engagement

Your staff are your superpower, looking after their mental health and wellbeing is paramount for them and your organisation to thrive - learn how retail HR leaders are proactively addressing employees’ wellbeing needs now and in the future.

  • Providing a framework for your organisation to create a wellbeing and mental health engagement strategy
  • Poor workforce mental health - key characteristics to look for
  • How to nurture leadership and employee buy-in for health and wellbeing
  • Prioritising a healthy work-life balance - what policy and practical changes might be needed?
  • Building long-term resilience in the workforce - the link to wellbeing and mental health
  • Line-manager engagement – how to train managers to deal with employee issues they can’t relate too

Cat Hambleton-Gray, People Director, Eurocell

David Anderson, Head of People, UK, Rough Trade

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Chair's closing comments

Venue & Contact


May 15 2024


For retail speaker opportunities:

Claire Knott
T: 01276 489626

For sponsorship and non retailer speaker opportunities:

Karen Howard
T: 01276 489626 M:07725414385

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