How retailers can prepare for the workforce of the future

Demographic, social and technological disruptions are spurring retailers to step back and evaluate what tomorrow’s workforce should look like. Carrie Duarte, a leader in PwC’s Workforce of the Future, joins Retail Gets Real to talk about how organizations can keep up with the pace of change, from finding new sources of talent to the business case for diversity and inclusion.

Duarte sees five clear trends employers can address and hold themselves accountable to. Organizations who are addressing the trends, she says, “are really either getting ahead of the curve or staying ahead of the curve.”

Carrie Duarte of PwC recording NRF podcast
Carrie Duarte (center) with hosts Jennifer Overstreet (right) and Kristina Stewart (left).

Digital upskilling

As the impact of technology grows, the skills needed from employees change. Companies must have the capacity to analyze and leverage increasing amounts of data. “Thinking about how and where they need either new roles and new positions, or new skills across our workforce,” Duarte says. “That’s really key, and we’re seeing organizations make real progress there.”

Sources of talent

Companies are looking critically at their operations, thinking about not just what kind of people will be needed but where and how to find them. “With the advancement of technology, maybe not everybody has to be on site,” she says. “Some of the best talent is no longer interested in just the 9:00 to 5:00. There’s so much more flexibility there.”

A productive and engaged workforce

Recognizing a pervasive lack of trust in institutions and how it affects the employer/employee relationship, organizations are looking closely at how they communicate their values to and with their employees. “We need our workforce to not be so afraid, distrusting, and kind of relax their shoulders a little bit and know we’ve got this.”

Employee value proposition

What makes people want to work for a company? A positive employee experience drives productivity and allows for the best customer experience. It’s “not just how you’re talking about it,” she says, “but what are you doing?”

Diversity and inclusion

It’s table stakes at this point; employees, talent, the digitally native generation, investors, customers — everyone expects it, and diverse organizations are proven to be more effective. “Give me the business case for homogeneity,” Duarte says.

Listen to the episode to hear more about how retailers can prepare for the future, compete with Silicon Valley for tech talent and help advance an inclusive workforce and culture.

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