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Fixing Retail’s Sales Floor to C-Suite Pipeline

May 10, 2024 – by Kyle Rudy

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In retail and fashion, the traditional path from executive training programs to the c-suite has gradually diminished, presenting challenges in leadership succession.

Rather than addressing this shortage of talent directly, numerous companies in the fashion and retail sectors are turning to adjacent industries, such as hospitality and consumer packaged goods, to recruit executives with relevant consumer experience to fill upper-level positions.

Outside talent can be highly effective. However, this approach overlooks a rich source of diverse talent with future leadership potential: frontline store employees. By implementing appropriate training programs, these workers could effectively transition into corporate roles, particularly in areas like multistore leadership, omnichannel support and merchandising. Kyle Rudy, our Senior Partner, recently discussed this prospect with BoF, emphasizing, "The store staff has an intimate understanding of the customer and their experience — integrating them into corporate positions can enhance customer-centric strategies."

Establishing a pipeline from store positions to corporate roles is a strategic, long-term endeavor that doesn't immediately address leadership gaps. It necessitates substantial investment in continuous training, mentorship opportunities, and transparent advancement pathways for store staff, investments that may not yield immediate returns in an era where employee tenure averages 4.1 years (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

As a result, few retail and fashion companies currently include former store staff in their executive ranks. Nevertheless, the enduring value of these development initiatives is underscored by their immediate impact on attracting and retaining top store talent.

Read the full article on The Business of Fashion here: Fixing Retail’s Sales Floor to C-Suite Pipeline>

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