In the second of our articles on the Store of Tomorrow, we explore how this model gives retailers the opportunity to invest in their workforces by retraining and upskilling, while ensuring they build workplaces that are inclusive and able to maximize the unique value that each individual brings.

A Store of Tomorrow model, with an evolved operating model, means having an evolved workforce—one is that is purposeful and skilled, as well as diverse and adaptable.

This is not only essential for the Store of Tomorrow, it will also equip workers with the transferable skills they need in an increasingly digitized and automated economy. It will open up new opportunities for them to work in different areas of the company and pursue different career paths. And, given the war for talent across the retail industry, it can also differentiate a brand as an employer of choice in the market.

A different kind of retail workforce

The accelerator effect of the pandemic means many more consumers have higher expectations of retail. They want seamless, personalized, omnichannel experiences. And they want this combined with a strong sense of brand purpose and environmental responsibility.

Employees’ expectations have also escalated. They want a supportive working environment that enables them to unlock their full potential and employer values to align with their own. According to Accenture research, around half agree that the ethical, sustainable and moral values a company holds will become more important to them in the future.

Meeting the evolving expectations of both customers and employees in the Store of Tomorrow demands a significantly more adaptive workforce—one that is digital, empowered, flexible, and diverse.

Employees are re-evaluating their priorities, and the discrepancy between the digital experiences they enjoy as consumers and those they endure in the workplace are becoming ever more noticeable.

These new connected technologies are an integral part of the Store of Tomorrow—whether that’s in the back office, in the micro-fulfillment center, or on the experiential shop floor—and they also change the skillsets required of employees.

Six workforce priorities for retail leaders

How should retailers prepare the workforce for the Store of Tomorrow? Here are six steps to consider now.

Upskill and educate associates

Ensure employees are trained and upskilled in all relevant areas across the Store of Tomorrow, to maximize their potential and contribution each day.

Prioritize digital ways of working

Give employees access to and training on modern workforce platforms and communication tools to do their jobs most efficiently and effectively.

Create a responsible and purposeful culture

Actively seek to earn trust with employees by creating a purposeful culture that is supportive, grows the business, and helps the broader community.

Attract and retain the right talent

Take a long-term perspective to attract, develop, and retain the right talent, by looking at capabilities, skills and future potential.

Redefine the employee experience

Invest in employees and their careers through training, rewards and benefits, an inclusive culture, strong authentic purpose, and wellbeing support.

Enable flexibility in scheduling

Empower employees by giving them more input into their schedules, better digital communication tools, and schedule flexibility.

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Look again at the talent strategy

For the Store of Tomorrow, managing employee expectations and the ongoing war for talent require retailers to take a long-term view of sourcing and retention. This includes being much more proactive about the talent they want—going out into the market and meeting prospective employees where they are today.

Retailers should also consider upgrading their recruitment technology to increase efficiency. But it’s essential to review job requirements at the same time. Retailers need to make sure that any automated recruitment filters are providing a diverse mix of talent and are not excluding hidden workers. These hidden workers include millions of people who are eager to work and possess—or could develop—the skills employers seek, if only those employers could find them.

When employers add more requirements to job postings, they narrow the applicant pool. Rather than focusing on one thing that filters out applicants, employers need to specify a small number of essential skills that filter more applicants in. According to recent research on Managing the Future of Work, companies that hire hidden workers were:


Less likely to face talent and skills shortages compared to companies that do not


More likely to find candidates who have the right attitude/motivation compared to companies that do not

Preparing for tomorrow's retail workforce today

By creating a more connected, digitally-enabled work environment within the Store of Tomorrow, retailers can deliver the workplace experiences their employees now demand. They can also help their workers acquire the new skills that will be essential in an increasingly digitized and automated retail industry.

That’s why the Store of Tomorrow is a huge opportunity for employees and retailers alike. Read full report.


Paige Prepula

Managing Director – Retail


Omni-connected retail workforces—a new dynamic
Reimagine the retail workforce
Seize the moment—Responsible and resilient retail

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