Human Resources - Grocery Sector
HR Directors Round Table 2022
We take a look at the state of the food industry as it moves forward and develops, post pandemic, i.e., how it reimagines the work, workforce, and the workplace of the future. Our background research to support this series of events considers the food industry’s level of maturity, its goals, challenges, and investment. The good news is that we find much progress to date, but some critical gaps are slowing the journey.
HRS22 will begin by assessing what is causing the industry to change.
THE TIME IS RIGHT FOR CHANGE
Restaurants and most of the food service sector suffered during the pandemic. But large segments of the retail food industry, the subject of this study, truly benefited in terms of sales—as people shifted to at-home consumption, consumer food sales rose to new heights. Of course, food retailers and product suppliers would like to keep this enhanced revenue stream flowing, even after pandemic restrictions and hesitancy subside. However, doing so is now more difficult and expensive. The pandemic unleashed new forces in consumer preference that appear to be in opposition to the industry’s revenue and cost goals.
As consumers quarantined during the pandemic, their preferences shifted, accelerating demand for e-commerce. The shift was sharp and immediate. Online grocery spending quickly grew to 42% of shoppers’ overall food retail spending during the early stages of the pandemic.1 While new and innovative delivery solutions addressed consumer requirements for safer transactions during lockdown, they also were considerably more complex and costly solutions for industry players.
Food retail executives suggest that these change drivers are mostly affecting the nature of the work itself. Consider that promoting items on a website or app is a different kind of work than building attractive end-aisle displays, or that rapidly picking items while inherently making decisions on behalf of consumers, engaging with them in chat through the app, and delivering groceries to a vehicle is different from operating a cash register. Members also report that the skills required to do this work are changing and so are the physical locations, which might include a “dark store,” which is used only for fulfilling online orders.
Meeting the evolving demands of food retailers can be expensive, and retailers can’t always pass costs on to consumers. Add in commodity inflation, increased labour costs, and new safety measures and it is a recipe for margin pressure – a change driver. A supplier of frozen foods tells us, “Everybody's nervous. They don't want to lose a customer. They don't want to raise their prices. They don't want to mess with what's working.” In such an environment, the industry needs FoW initiatives that can help increase productivity and decrease cost.
A WAY FORWARD
With a better sense of what is driving the work, workforces, and workplaces of food retailers and product suppliers to change, this HRS22 symposium will consider how HR Directors and their teams are prepared for the future, how much they are investing, and who is leading the charge.
May 10 2022
09:00 - 15:00 hrs
Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A
Holborn Station (450 yd)
Open to members and partners - bookings will close on 16.09.2022
HR Advisory Group
Headline Speaker & Panel Information
To learn more about who will be joining us by adding their weight to this sector chat show including the agenda, speakers forum, headliners, the content and 'take aways' you can expect on May 10th 2022, hit one of the buttons opposite.
If you would like to put yourself forward as a speakers or panel group participant on any of our future events, take a look at our calender and make contact.