RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • A retail workforce that can adapt to constant change at speed has never been more critical.
  • To meet the evolving expectations of both customers and employees, retailers need a more adaptive workforce—digital, data fluent and diverse.
  • Few retailers have invested in the new skills, ways of working and workplace organization that are the foundations of a truly adaptive workforce.
  • The nature of retail work, where it’s done, how and by whom will need to be systematically reviewed, reimagined and reinvented.


Retailers—adapt to new ways of working

Meeting the evolving expectations of customers and employees in an unprecedented economic and social climate is now the new normal for retail—and it demands a significantly more adaptive workforce: one that is digital, data fluent and diverse.

The first step is to define a purpose-driven culture. All employees need to feel welcomed and respected, to know that they can bring their full selves to work, that their voices will be heard and that the business employing them has bold, decisive leaders committed to inclusivity at all levels.

A culture of equality and diversity, where everyone feels they have a chance to advance and thrive, is also a powerful multiplier of innovation and growth. Retailers with a strong sense of purpose demonstrate a clear understanding of what these principles mean in practice.

Retailers—build a future-ready workforce

Purpose is the foundation of the new workforce, but not enough on its own to prepare a retailer for the future. The nature of retail work, where it’s done, how and by whom will also need to be systematically reviewed by answering three questions.

What is the future of retail work?

To serve customers across an integrated marketplace, retailers need new workforce structures and clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

Who will do the work and how?

As new roles emerge, retailers need to evaluate and prepare existing talent with reskilling and upskilling, and invest in digital technologies.

Where will the retail work be done?

The workplace will be diverse and dispersed. Retailers need to ensure work is done once, done right, and done in only one place to avoid duplication.

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To keep up with the pace of change, retailers need to redefine their workforce models and explore new ways to serve the consumer more effectively and efficiently.

Retailers—proactively speed up and scale

The pace of change in retail will only accelerate. To keep up, retailers need to continually redefine their workforce models and explore new ways to serve the consumer more effectively and efficiently. The ability to adapt to new expectations and new ways of working will be the hallmark of a successful future retail workforce—and that requires bold, proactive leadership.

Leading retailers are showing a way forward with these five steps:

Define a purpose-driven culture

Prioritize equality and diversity, where everyone feels they have a chance to advance and thrive.

Leverage the best of workforce talent

Provide continuous learning, balancing hard with soft skills and maintaining a purpose-driven culture remotely.

Choose the right partners and ecosystems

Help to strengthen the workforce’s ability to provide enhanced and seamless customer experiences in a significantly more dynamic marketplace.

Build a future-ready workforce

Reimagine the nature of work, where it’s done, how and by whom.

Maintain cohesion

Maximize the effectiveness of workforce interactions across significantly more diverse teams.

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Strong, visible and decisive leadership is key. The time is now to join leading retailers and take the creation of a future-ready retail workforce to the next stage. Read our report to learn more.



About the Authors

Jill Standish

Senior Managing Director – Global Lead, Retail


Travis Hooper

Managing Director – Global Talent & Organization/Human Performance Retail Lead


Ndidi Oteh

Managing Director – Retail West Strategy & Consulting Industry Lead


Nicholas Whittall

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Talent & Organization


Rebecca Tully

Managing Director – Retail


Paige Prepula

Senior Manager – Retail

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