Extraordinary transformation in retail

The last 2 years has seen retail giants go through extraordinary transformation. At a tough time for retail and with the added unpredictable timing of Covid, consumers were looking at what matters. Wellbeing, mental health, health management, and diet were at the forefront. Our featured blog is on a major UK retailer in the health and wellness sector who wanted to make wellbeing accessible to all.

Omnichannel, products, pricing, and store revamps are some of the pillars of their transformational success. One of my great interim placements whilst working on this project was Matt Taylor.

Matt Taylor has 17 years of commercial experience across multiple sectors. His consultancy, Taylor Corporate Solutions, support clients with value challenges and pricing and promotion opportunities. This is through detailed analysis to drive actionable recommendations that are approved and supported by business stakeholders.

He worked through a huge retail transformation and has given us some insight into the changes and the challenges faced.

So Matt, tell us a bit about your background and how you got into the transformation space?

Redundancy forced me to look at options, but to be honest I was approached for another retail role – due to my relevant retail background and pricing and promo experience – and immediately started a contract role supporting a major UK retailer on a transformational project. The project was to reset their price and promotion position based on consistent feedback from customer on poor value perception.

What has been your biggest transformation project in the last couple of years?

The projects I have been involved with have all been similar in nature at the highest level, but significantly different when you consider different sectors, categories, or scale. For example, I have project managed price repositioning initiatives affecting £billions in sales and across thousands of SKUs and several European markets.

And what were the biggest challenges you faced?

The world of price and promotions is very ‘grey’ and within the retail environment there are many people who have strong views or have significant experience, so reaching alignment on strategic direction and initiatives can be very challenging.

How about the biggest successes of the project?

The results have seen the business win back volume, market share and recruit new customers in categories that had been in decline –  this enabled a cost reduction programme to help continue to drive value back through these categories.

And finally, what were your biggest lessons learnt from this project?

I will always regularly  ‘check in’ with key stakeholders; they provide a deeper perspective and build the broader picture….data and analysis (however robust) will always be more engaging and is more likely to drive action when the narrative of experience is also included.

Thanks so much to Matt for his insight into retail transformation, you can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

Paula Keville is our Change and Transformation Specialist. You can email her at paula@refind.co.uk and connect with her on LinkedIn here.

3 ways recruitment agencies can develop diverse candidate pipelines for companies in 2022

How do we develop diverse candidate pipelines for companies in 2022? Over the last 18 months, the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion has shifted the workplace. Following the death of George Floyd, discussions around talent acquisition, recruitment, and retention have challenged companies across all industries to ask questions around the cultures that have been built in the workplace. With underrepresented groups leaving companies in droves following on from his murder that year, between May and September of 2020, we witnessed these same groups being headhunted for diversity, equity, and inclusion job opportunities. Indeed, the worldwide employment website said that diversity and inclusion job postings rose by an astonishing 123%.

With organisations now implementing talent strategies to increase diverse representation across businesses, what can recruitment agencies and external suppliers that work with companies do to develop diverse candidate pipelines? Here are three recommendations to consider.

Your focus is on speed and not enough on quality

We get it. You receive a brief and the client provides you with a turnaround date of yesterday. You’re known for being able to deliver either on or before time. But you want your candidate pipelines to be more diverse of the market that is out there. Filling the role with similar talent is an assured safety measure that the client will be satisfied with. Its predicted success.You do not have to trade speed for diversity, but you will need to create time to develop new pathways to deliver a quality filled diversified pipeline.

Create time to expand and diversify your search profiles

Based on the sector you work in you probably have ‘ideal’ candidate profiles that fit the roles you fill. And while that is great, what does that mean for underrepresented groups that do not fit or fill these profiles? Because there is no ‘one’ ideal candidate, rather than referring to the one or two that come to mind when filling roles, why not take the time to create 2-3 more? Yes, the short-term investment is that it will take a few days to create and develop a selection of diverse profiles, but ultimately developing this step will provide long term quality and success for your clients in the long run.

Build diverse pipelines by building new relationships

This could become a part of your business development strategy. Within our day-to-day work, we make the time to network with existing relationships we have with clients, and we even make the time to get to know successful candidates that have been hired. But what can we do to begin building meaningful connections with diverse candidates? Get out of your comfort zone! Explore new online communities, sign up to online discussions, career fairs and external industry events that garner diverse talent. Not only will you get to know meet new talent, but you’ll also be able to gather intel that clients will appreciate.

Recruitment agencies may not work as seamlessly or consistently with company recruiters, hiring managers and talent partners as they would like. But, as industry leaders across respective sectors, accountability and external insight into the candidate market gives you, the supplier, the consent to enhance and add value to your clients when delivering your services.

To discuss further, please get in contact with our Managing Director, James Cumming.