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The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), together with the National Academy of Human Resources (NAHR), opened the first-ever Retail HR Leaders Forum in Atlanta on April 18 with sold-out attendance.
Opening keynote speaker Paul Raines, CEO for GameStop Corp., discussed the ways in which a chief human resources officer (CHRO) can contribute to a retailer’s success, specifically in regard to change management, communication, being a business partner (to all functions of the business) and acting as an adviser/confidant to the CEO.
Dana Telsey, CEO and chief research officer of Telsey Advisory Group, then spoke about macro retail and economic trends and the importance of “people” issues to the analyst’s view on a company’s outlook.
Later, speakers from Towers Watson, Kroger and Target covered the latest research on employee engagement and its importance to retail performance, as well as how these companies have addressed the issue successfully.
The afternoon was devoted to leadership and development, including the nurturing of HR talent and teams, development of the CHRO, and leadership development throughout the organization. Further, the development of new HR leaders was discussed in depth, including how to address competency gaps for newly promoted leaders.
The day ended with a detailed session on workforce planning, at which Laura McDonald, senior director, store operations and Bob Ravener, EVP and chief people officer, both of Dollar General Corp., explained the need for proactive planning processes in business operations and employment practices.
Other participants hail from such major retail industry players as Carrefour Brasil, Coca-Cola, Costco, CVS, Hy-Vee, Walgreens and Whole Foods Market.
The Retail HR Leaders Forum is an invitation-only event for top HR executives from large-scale retailers. The forum ends on April 19.