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Prepping Retail Staffing for AI

Ways for store operators (and others) to make the most of this game-changing technology.




Prepping Retail Staffing for AI
Among the retailers to use AI is H&M, which utilizes the tech to keep popular merch in stock. PHOTO: Artur Bogacki/

In his recap of retail’s “Top Stories of 2023,” VMSD contributing writer and industry expert Steve Kaufman had this to say about Artificial Intelligence: it is “improving what has been technology’s best service for retail – data collection and analysis and in-store merchandising control.” Indeed, the list of retailers using AI is growing every day; it currently includes such high-profile brands as Target, Macy’s, Walmart, H&M and Uniqlo.

So, looking ahead, what’s the best approach for employers (and, more specifically, human resources departments) at retailers and elsewhere to prepare staffers for everyday AI use? Global HR research and advisory firm McLean & Co. offers advice on that topic in a new study that’s broken down into two major sections:

Part One: Getting a handle on workforce planning

This section looks at the anticipated influence of generative AI on roles, tasks, skills and workforce demographics. For example, roles requiring a higher degree of decision-making and problem solving, organizational knowledge, creativity and innovation, and social and emotional intelligence are less likely to be automated.

The guidance and insights in section one can also help HR leaders understand the impact of generative AI on roles, how it will change the demand for technical and non-technical skills, and how generative AI may contribute to the digital divide and disproportionately affect certain populations.

Part Two: Find ways to address talent gaps


The section identifies actions HR can take to reduce talent gaps driven by generative AI and ensure the organization has the right talent in place to meet its objectives. Examples of these actions include understanding when to build, buy, borrow, redeploy, or reduce talent to respond to organizational needs appropriately, and determining the next steps needed to address talent gaps.

Additionally, this section discusses ways HR leaders can plan to address generative AI’s impact on workforce planning initiatives and adjusting HR initiatives to plan for the talent gap driven by the new technologies.

Click here for the complete McLean & Co. study.



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