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Retail redeployment – doing it right, doing it nice!

Redeployment. That’s not a word any happily employed person ever wants to hear, is it? Granted, it’s better than ‘redundancy’, but when you’re trying to cope with all the other crazy uncertainty that a global pandemic is chucking at you – well that sucks big time.


Sadly, redundancy and redeployment are kicking around a lot right now. Hot on the heels of furlough, many businesses are having to make difficult decisions. Some are also having to pivot (yes, I know, it’s an excruciatingly annoying cliché and I promise not to use it again). Take the retail sector. Shopping online was already a thing but during the pandemic there was a massive increase in people buying online .  In particular, there was a surge in online grocery shopping


One of our supermarket clients saw the writing on the wall. This wasn’t some passing fad. Research showed that consumer behaviour had changed for good and shopping for food online was the new normal . Our client needed to radically restructure their business so they could serve their customers in this new retail environment. And that meant a mammoth redeployment task.


From the off, we were stoked to get the gig. Our client has the same caring ethos as we do. They don’t use words like ‘workers’ or ‘staff’ or employees’. They call their people ‘colleagues’. And they needed our help to deploy some of those lovely colleagues from in-store positions to online-related roles.


I use the word ‘some’. Actually, we’re talking thousands. Around 6,000. So, you know, A LOT!


The deployment project had to be done at speed, too. And we were cool as a cucumber with that. We like fast, especially when someone’s livelihood depends on it. 


And at the heart of the brief was one of our favourite words – ‘fairness’. Our client wanted equity to be the guiding principle throughout the redeployment process and we happily used our experience with ATS and algorithms to make it so.


We threw in a whole heap of human kindness, too. I mean, we love recruitment software and all but we never forget there’s a person at the end of the process. Which is why we built a system that combined automation with touch points for some full-on human interaction. 


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