I think from an HR technology perspective, it’s been important having information at hand in one place to be able to recognise where we have people, what information we need to share, and what information we need to send in terms of emergency messaging. Having the technology to be agile to react to changing circumstances daily was absolutely crucial. At a point, circumstances were changing daily in different countries, even within specific regions of individual countries. That meant we had to react very, very quickly. Resilience and the agility of our technology have never been more important than they were this year.
Belonging and diversity are two areas the office of the CHRO has been doubling down on over the last 12 months. Can you tell us a bit about Primark’s approach and what the priorities will be as you resume business as usual?
Culligan: I think it all really comes under the banner of inclusion, and certainly within Primark, inclusion is a huge part of what we do, particularly as we think about the future. We’ve ambitious plans, but with those business plans obviously comes the people plan to support that. As we think about inclusion, that means looking at how we develop our leaders for the future, how we develop our managers for the future, how we spot talent within the organisation, how we open up conversations and communication in a more meaningful way, and how we reach our colleagues on the shop floor. Technology is a huge enabler, because if you’re in a store with 1,000 colleagues, empowering one leader to have a conversation with that volume of people can be difficult. So, how we use technology to communicate with people is a big piece in that consideration.
When we think about well-being, how do we support our colleagues in a meaningful way? There are so many considerations, and what gives me huge pride is the emphasis that’s put on the people agenda and the support we have from our CEO. That’s an absolutely critical piece for me as we lead and come out the other side.
If you had to give me the top considerations for somebody looking to invest in a digital strategy that puts people at the core, what would you say they were?
Lynch: I think it’s about recognising that the digital native workforce already has consumer-grade technologies at home, and when they come to work, they look for the same in their workplace.
It’s also the balance of not losing that human touch around how you communicate. As Lorraine just said, for our 1,000-colleague stores, how do we do that in a human way while using technology? Learning through digital, supporting well-being, as Lorraine said, and sharing that on a digital experience are all really important. It’s still got to be about the end-user experience, and one of my big focus areas in the next year will be looking at our technology through the end-user experience lens.
Watch Primark’s session at Workday Elevate and learn more about how the retailer is working with Workday to drive HR transformation.