The think tank for retail industry talent leaders

Retail Gets Real Episode 351: Adam Lukoskie discusses talent acquisition trends and the growth of NRF’s Talent Acquisition Group
Sheryll Poe
NRF Contributor

In an industry that is constantly evolving, nobody has to evolve quicker, better or smarter than those working in retail talent acquisition. 

Adam Lukoskie
NRF SVP and NRF Foundation Executive Director Adam Lukoskie

To share best practices and exchange ideas, NRF created the Talent Acquisition Group (TAG). TAG is open to the most senior talent acquisition executive of any retail company and meets in-person twice a year (and virtually several times throughout the year) to network and discuss both long-term and timely topics impacting talent acquisition — from labor market trends to technology, DEI to policy. 

“When this group was created, part of it was: How do we as an industry compete for talent,” NRF SVP and NRF Foundation Executive Director Adam Lukoskie says on this episode of Retail Gets Real.  “We are competing with banks and big tech, consulting firms for the same caliber of talent. And so, what do we as an industry need to do? Where do we as an industry need to show up so that we are talking to that talent and elevating the profile of retail jobs to attract that top caliber talent?” 

In addition to competing with other industries, retailers are competing with each other for top talent. One would think having a roomful of talent acquisition professionals together all competing for the same individuals might cause some awkwardness. Not so, says Lukoskie. “Everyone in the room knew they were competing with each other for similar talent, and so you had to build and establish that trust with each other,” he says. “So, while we cover topics that are of interest, I would say at least half the value is the network that you build in that room.” 

A big topic of interest for HR and TA professionals is how to convey to potential candidates all the growth opportunities available in the industry. “We always are talking about how retail can be a place for a career. Well, you need to show people coming in. Not once they're in. Before they even get in the door. Show them what the career is, what that career path could look like,” Lukoskie advises. “I think a lot of times we get tripped up on, ‘Oh, it's, you know, not a ladder, it's a lattice. You can kind of go anywhere in retail,’ and that narrative doesn't always stick with people.” 

TAG just held it’s biannual, in-person meeting at lululemon’s Vancouver headquarters, and not surprisingly, AI was on the agenda. “This is the third time AI has been on the agenda first. And it will be again, and will continue to be,” Lukoskie mused. “What's important here is: AI continually evolves very quickly, and so, part of this is just helping people understand AI, understand its use cases, understand what's coming in the future.” 

Listen to the full episode to hear more about Lukoskie’s advice on reaching today’s discerning job candidates, how retailers are effectively using AI in the hiring process, and how the Talent Acquisition Group has changed and grown over the years. 


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