HR in the Retail & Luxury industry has a large focus on the retention of staff. Like its customers, employees in the sector are attracted to the company by its brand, and if the image of a company brand slips momentarily this can have a direct effect on employee engagement. Customer service operatives in retail are generally younger than in other industries, which can exacerbate the problem.
From an HR operations point of view, the Retail industry is fast paced and often short-term focused due to large employee numbers and seasonality. These factors can make it a difficult adjustment for HR professionals moving into the industry from other sectors. Nonetheless we are seeing HR leadership positions in Retail and Luxury increasingly being filled from other industries as companies seek to gain a competitive advantage. The retail industry has had steep demand, particularly in emerging markets, for accomplished HR practitioners who can manage future high growth scenarios. In markets which are growing quickly, such as China, organisations may see headcount doubling or tripling in the near future, and will need an HR team that can manage this scale.
As with the Hospitality & Leisure sector, growth in the sophistication of Human Resources practices in the Retail and Luxury sector has brought about improvements, as well as added complexity in areas of Compensation & Benefits, Recruitment, and Talent Development strategies.