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The new normal in Retail offices

15 Jul 15:00 by Foo Kin Liew
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It has been some weeks since Retail resumed in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, but every day has been an expectation-vs-reality for brands and businesses in terms of sales targets and the actual sales figures. Recovery in Singapore and Malaysia is also considerably slower compared to their Chinese counterparts, which are mostly back on track in achieving their forecast/budget-to-date.

Abiding by the government’s safety measures, Retail is balancing the art and science of optimising fixed cost, speed and margin to liquidate the accumulated inventories over the last few months while working with restricted customer capacity in-store. Promotions aiming to drive up Units-Per-Transaction (UPT) and shortened operating hours are also commonly observed. 

As telecommuting remains the default option for office functions in both Singapore and Malaysia some companies are reintroducing A/B team arrangement and/or staggered hours for their staff to be in the office. This provides the opportunity for companies to review their real estate amongst other fixed-cost investments in the new normal – a subject to be discussed later.

Hiring is gradually resuming across Retail and FMCG at the break of (Phase 2) dawn. Notably, mid and senior roles in omnichannel and commercial functions (e.g. head of sales, merchandising directors) have reconvened hiring conversations, alongside Digital and e-Commerce roles. Beyond Retail, there are new talent demands in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Online/e-Learning as well.

With the COVID quarantine over the last few months likely to continue for some, mental wellness has become the new hot topic underscored by many. HR departments usually take lead on this – from sending welfare kits (fruits, food, flowers) to introducing virtual workouts, luncheons, cooking or even cocktail mixology sessions over collaboration platforms like Teams or Zoom. The challenge now is to figure out a way to do this in the longer term, as the novelty begins to wear off and when half the team is back in the office and the other is still working from home.

For us at Argyll Scott, Annie has been the health and wellness champion for APAC, coordinating and conducting different activities across our regional offices, canvassing directors and consultants to lead different programmes – from HIIT boot camp (Directors from our Singapore office, Tom & Mani) and yoga (Wing & I) to culinary (Legal Recruitment Specialist in Singapore, Rinku) and even in-house DJ sessions (Industrial Recruitment Specialist in Thailand, Paul).

Do you have a cross-functional committee championing mental well-being, with both a top-down and bottom-up approach? In the new normal, this subject ripples into employee engagement and commitment, employer branding, and ultimately, individual and group performance. If you would like to have a conversation on this, we are happy to share our insights and ideas with you.

As always, we are just a virtual meeting or call away to support your current needs or pipeline plans.

Stay safe and healthy!