September 2017, Part I
National Retail Federation Launches Rise Up In Baltimore. On September 9, The Baltimore Sun reported on the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Rise Up test pilot in Baltimore, Maryland. NRF created the training curriculum by incorporating two existing credentialing programs and has engaged local nonprofits to teach the classes. Upon completion, students receive a retail certification and are guaranteed interviews with retailers including Under Armour, Crate & Barrel and Target. “Many retailers, especially at this time of year, find it challenging to identify and retain entry-level talent,” said Ellen Davis, Executive Director of the NRF Foundation. “People who go through the retail industry fundamentals training are better candidates than the typical applicant for an entry-level job.”
Detroit Chef Helps Others Break Into Service Sector. In an interview with the Detroit Metro Times, chef and culinary entrepreneur Maxcel Hardy discussed his efforts to help African-Americans break into the city’s growing restaurant industry. Before returning to Detroit last year, Hardy worked as former NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire’s personal chef and ran top kitchens in Florida and New York. His newest restaurant, River Bistro, is staffed by an all-black crew of cooks and chefs who aspire to run their own businesses one day. “I don’t think there were a lot of opportunities for [black chefs] in the past to be restaurateurs — it was a thing to be cooks and dishwashers in the back of the house, but you didn’t see many notable chefs at the forefront…I want to help change that,” said Hardy.
WSJ: Technology Creates More, And Better-Paying, Retail Jobs Than It Cuts. On September 5, the Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip examined how the rise of e-commerce is creating more, and better-paying, jobs than have been lost in traditional retail. According to Ip, recent anxiety over artificial intelligence and other forms of technology often overlooks how innovation is helping to increase the productivity and earning potential of employees. “Companies don’t use automation simply to produce the same thing more cheaply,” he writes. “Instead, they find ways to offer entirely new, improved products. As customers flock to these new offerings, companies have to hire more people.”
Empowerment Is Key To Restaurant Success. Washington, D.C. restaurant owners Anthony Lupo and Brian Schram recently joined NRF podcast Retail Gets Real to discuss how their business has adapted to changes in technology, food trends and customer expectations. By fostering a company culture where staff is empowered, Lupo and Schram have guided restaurants Scarlet Oak and Southern Hospitality to below average turnover. “Lead by example with your staff in creating the atmosphere that you’d like,” Schram said.
Online Platform Reinvents Retail Associate Training. STORES Magazine recently profiled Myagi, an online associate e-learning platform utilized by over 120 retailers and brands worldwide that uses machine learning to deliver the right training content to associates at the right time. “The sales associate of the future has to be more than just operationally proficient — they need to be an experience maker,” says Myagi co-founder and president Turner McLeod. “That involves far more than just giving them the first five steps to ringing up a sale. It involves educating them on how to deliver exquisite service, providing them with the knowledge needed to better serve customers and working to develop sharp problem-solving skills.”
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