Retailu Partners with One Voice One Team on Leadership Initiative

Retailu, an eLearning platform based in Canada, and One Voice One Team, a youth leadership non-profit, have teamed up together to ignite future leaders.

At the world economic forum in Davos this year, Teresa Carlson, Vice-President, World Public Sector and Industries, reported in discussion with Professor Schwab, “The world of the future is not capitalism, it’s the world of talentism,” in other words, capital is being superseded by human talent as the most important factor of production. Three of the top must-have conditions to address the skills gap include equal access to education, skills training, and committed leaders.

With the retail industry being one of the highest private employment sectors globally, COVID-19 closures forced many retail employees out of work, wondering what to do next with their skills.

With more retailers introducing curbside pick-up and store closures, we could see a challenging employment market as part-time jobs become more competitive than ever. With this new reality, will retail adapt their hiring practices away from brand profiles to a more equitable and inclusive mandate? And could retail become flooded with skilled workers out of work from other industries?

One of the many benefits of a part-time job in retail, with its flexible hours, has been the ability to gain employment without a skills certificate or formal education. Retail has traditionally been perceived as an uneducated career. However, many students who make up the mass employee population of first-time job seekers gain essential work experience and learn life skills in the retail sector. This benefits them as they move into other careers.

Skills learned in retail include working as a team, self regulation, service mindset, communication, managing conflict, dealing with people, problem-solving and leadership. One of the many disruptions of 2020 was the sheer amount of retail closures, which caused a lack of opportunity for first-time job seekers, namely students, to gain these valuable skills. The 2020 COVID-19 crisis will have a significant impact on this generation for sure. To what extent remains to be seen.

With many challenges facing the retail industry, hiring equitably and investing in people should not be one.

If “talentism” is the new world of the future, talent development should be top of mind for retailers. Retailers should be thinking through how to up-level their full-time employees’ skills, namely management with stronger leadership skills. The management population is responsible for hiring, training, and creating highly engaged teams that build brand loyalty. Furthermore, in this new retail era, individuals seeking to secure their chance in a highly competitive job market should also embrace this way of thinking.

Up-skilling yourself in a time of crisis is one of the best activities you can do. Online skill-building courses are a sure way for people seeking their first-time job to stand out amongst a pool of candidates. Supporting programs that focus on equal education and building leadership skills is just as critical. Committed leaders that embrace this beyond their own business are essential to the world of the future.

Over the past decade, innovation in retail tech has been a large part of the industry.  Most executives have this as a primary consideration, especially with new innovative technologies that help retailers create personalized experiences and streamline operations and processes to save time and money. However, it is essential to remember that no matter what technology is being introduced, talent will continue to be a huge part of the equation for brands to recruit and retain consumers in the future. Finding innovative ways to invest in talent should become a primary objective.

At Retailu, we considered how to significantly impact the world and support the three pillars of equal access to education, skills training, and committed leaders. “Talentism” is an essential component of a successful retail experience, one that can not be undervalued. This is why we decided to partner with One Voice One Team, a non-profit organization providing youth with leadership workshops, assemblies, and community service programs to empower today’s youth for a better tomorrow; One Voice One Team is an excellent fit with Retailu because many retail first-time employees are students; some eventually even grow into managers that drive millions of dollars in sales for retailers. OVOT develops leadership skills, helps high school students find confidence and builds their hope and potential; the work OVOT is doing is important.

Partnering with OVOT will empower and build our future business leaders from the get-go, giving them a higher chance of success. Once a student leaves school and is thrust into the workforce, they will face many challenges; the current curriculum in schools needs to be updated; however, there are many challenges with this. Being pushed into a virtual world has caused seemingly tricky challenges for teachers trying to figure out how to keep teens engaged and motivated. While retail can provide many skill-building benefits, OVOT teaches high school students life skills that are not traditionally taught in the classroom.

The next decade of brands will need to provide training programs relevant to the new generation of retail workers.

Retailu will donate 50% of all membership sales through February to One Voice One Team to launch this ongoing partnership. Retailu’s goal is to help 400 youth in Winnipeg attend the OVOT program this year. In addition to this, Retailu is offering special pricing throughout February to access the programs. Everyone was hit differently by COVID; however, being committed to making change happen means we all need to step up and participate. Learn how to get involved HERE.

In the last year, retail and schools were hit hard by COVID and the resulting lockdowns. Many first-time job seekers could not secure their first retail job and gain valuable life lessons and skills. Anyone looking to up-level their skills can get involved and support Retailu to reach the goal while investing in themselves. It is not enough to just know about the issues we are facing today. We need committed industry leaders to step up and support local initiatives like this that need us. Retailers can get involved through sponsoring or buying courses for their staff. (A percentage of which will directly impact many youths. Starting in Winnipeg, which has more black and Indigenous youth who will significantly benefit from this kind of program)

April Sabral is the Founder of Retailu. She can be reached at april@retailu.ca or LinkedIn

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