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Why Global Retailers Need to Personalize the Talent Experience

Top retailers understand the significance of delivering a high-quality, personalized experience to their customers. In fact, most of today’s consumers have come to expect personalized interactions. According to a Salesforce study, 66% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, and 52% expect every offer to be personalized in some way.

Retail workers are no exception, and expect similar personalized experiences from their employers. The Retail industry is now extending its focus to the talent experience within their organizations, aiming to utilize technology for greater personalization and to enhance the overall employee experience.

Just as a personalized customer experience helps establish a connection with a brand and builds loyalty, a personalized talent experience can achieve the same results. By gaining deeper insights into potential candidates and existing employees, HR professionals in the Retail industry can present them with customized options and opportunities at every stage of the talent lifecycle – from the pre-application stage to the alumni stage – that genuinely align with their skills and interests.

Implementing the right HR technology, supported by dynamic data and AI, enables retailers to personalize the entire talent experience on a large scale, making individuals feel more valued and understood, and helps keep them engaged.

Expanding the talent pool

When considering the early steps in a candidate’s journey, there are ample opportunities for personalization, depending on the unique individuals involved. This is done similarly to the way brands provide personalized experiences to their customers.

To ensure a truly seamless talent experience, Talent Acquisition teams in Retail can transform their Careers Site into a ‘candidate portal’ similar to platforms like Amazon Prime Video or any other streaming service. This personalized approach allows candidates to log in and access tailored job recommendations based on their personal preferences and previous job searches – only showing them the options that are relevant to their interests and skills.

Businesses can also streamline the application process by automatically importing resume information from LinkedIn profiles with just a few clicks (with the right tool).

But the personalization must go beyond that. During the candidate nurture phase, you can send out relevant content and personalized job alerts, to help create a more engaging and personalized experience for candidates who are considering your company as a potential employer.

Nurturing talent effectively

In order to build and maintain a sizable Talent Community, Retail organizations must keep candidates engaged to establish a robust talent pipeline. Keeping the lines of communication open with candidates is essential, providing them with a glimpse of what it would be like to work for the company. And effective communication requires personalization. The good news is, keeping candidates engaged in the Talent Community is much easier now than it has ever been.

Talent Lifecycle Management platforms, including talent Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, allow employers in the Retail industry to consolidate data on potential candidates all within a single location. This enables automated personalized emails to be sent to specific candidate segments. Based on how candidates interact with these communications, follow-up actions can be automatically triggered.

By implementing such sequences, retailers create a favorable impression of their employer brand, while AI-powered personalized job alerts maximize the chances of candidates applying for a role.

Enhancing the quality of hires

Building an engaged talent community is a critical first step, the true benefit of personalization lies in improving the quality of your hires. Through explainable AI, HR teams in Retail can match individuals with roles that best suit their skills and align with their interests and passions, even identifying matches that humans might overlook (e.g. recruiters).

Although human decision-making always has the final say, technology facilitates intelligent recommendations, ensuring Retail organizations secure the best possible fit for each unique role. And the need for personalization doesn’t stop after a hire is made. In our recent study of business leaders, Navigating The Changing Talent Landscape, 31% of retail leaders agreed that in order to better attract and retain the next generation of workers, employers will need to provide personalized career paths to keep employees engaged.

Promoting diversity

Adopting a personalized approach that treats individuals as unique people with unique skill sets, rather than employing a one-size-fits-all strategy, enables Retail employers to make significant progress towards their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) targets. A more diverse workforce promotes better business outcomes all around and fosters innovation and creativity, enhancing a retailer’s competitive edge.

From a candidate perspective, personalized role recommendations, instead of generic job listings, can boost confidence and encourage individuals to apply for positions they might have otherwise overlooked. Engaging candidates based on their distinct skill sets offers a more inclusive experience – giving everyone a fair shot. By leveraging explainable AI to achieve personalization at scale, Talent Acquisition teams across the Retail industry can create more equitable processes that uncover talent they might not have considered before.

We recently spoke to over 700 business leaders, and 25% of those surveyed in retail said that diversity and inclusion was one of the biggest challenges they are facing around talent. But with the right tools, diversifying your workforce through personalized experiences is easier than ever before.

Uncovering efficiencies

Implementing technology to deliver personalized experiences at scale inherently results in time and cost savings. By automating processes that would otherwise be labor-intensive, HR teams gain the capacity to focus on core responsibilities.

Insights into preferences, skills, and interests can be inferred from candidate and employee interactions, eliminating the need for manual data collection. Talent Acquisition teams in Retail can concentrate on talent that best aligns with their requirements, ensuring they engage with individuals who are genuinely interested and ready to make a move. This proactive sourcing approach allows candidates to drive their own experience and career journey, providing valuable feedback for future recommendations. Ultimately, it saves time and money for both recruitment teams and employees.

Staying compliant

Personalization relies on data, which inherently carries risks. Companies in the Retail industry can mitigate these risks and ensure compliance by implementing the right technology. By consistently and systematically collecting candidates' preferences and delivering precisely the experiences they desire, retailers can maintain a preference center for candidates.

This provides greater visibility and simplifies tracking of opt-ins. With complete confidence in their data, Talent Acquisition teams can automatically deliver appropriate content to individuals who wish to receive it. Empowering candidates with more control over the entire process brings peace of mind to legal teams.

Increasing engagement and retention rates

According to Gartner, 47% of HR leaders are prioritizing employee experience. Employers in Retail must find ways to make every employee feel valued and understood, irrespective of the organization's size.

By implementing an AI-powered Talent Marketplace, HR teams in Retail can leverage comprehensive knowledge of the talent within their organization in real-time. This marketplace facilitates matching individuals with internal opportunities, whether it's temporary gigs, full-time positions, training courses, or ideal mentors within the company.

According to our Talent Index research, 38% of respondents expressed their desire for career development opportunities in a new job. A Talent Marketplace simplifies the process of finding and transitioning into development opportunities, ultimately increasing the likelihood of employee retention and maintaining high levels of engagement and interest in their work.

Unlocking productivity

In line with the previous point, personalizing the experience by matching individuals with suitable roles, gigs, or mentors enhances efficiency in completing tasks. This ideal scenario requires breaking down jobs into tasks, a process referred to as “unbundling the job” by Forrester.

Matching the skills of the talent pool with the specific skills required for each task represents a paradigm shift in how work and talent are perceived. Additionally, maintaining consistent and dynamically updated skills data across various HR technology solutions is crucial. In a world where skills gaps are widening and the skills necessary for success are continuously evolving, data and technology can play a pivotal role in efficiently closing those gaps.

It’s also important to remember that when employees are treated fairly, and given the right tools to empower them to do more meaningful work, they are more productive. Out of the retail leaders we spoke to, 31% said they consider morale and productivity to be one of the biggest issues they face. So having the tools to boost productivity in your retail organization is a worthwhile investment.

A skills-based approach to hiring and redeployment, where candidates and employees are matched to opportunities based on their unique skill sets, growth potential, and qualities, ensures a personalized experience throughout the talent lifecycle.

For employers in the Retail industry seeking to implement such an approach at scale, effective management of skills data, combined with the smart application of explainable AI, can deliver numerous benefits for both employers and talent, ensuring individuals choose to join and remain with the organization as they advance in their careers.

To learn more about how Retail organizations can take their talent experience to the next level, speak to one of our experts or download our report, Meeting New Talent Challenges in Retail.