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Part 3: Retail Council of Canada Excellence in Retailing Award Winners

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Retail Insider joins Retail Council of Canada in naming and celebrating the winners of this year’s Excellence in Retailing Awards which were held on May 31, 2022 at the annual STORE Conference in Toronto.

The awards celebrate innovation and recognize the best of the Canadian retail industry. This year, fortunately, the awards were hosted in-person for the first time in three years.

This article concludes our three-part series in which we showcase the 2022 Excellence in Retailing Award winners. Part three marks winners in the categories of Philanthropic Leadership, Talent Development, Health, Safety & Wellness, and Loss Prevention. Here’s is a breakdown of each of the winners in these categories, as well as some background on their tremendous achievements.

LCBO team. Photo: Wade Muir Photography

Philanthropic Leadership: LCBO, Spirit of Inclusion Initiative

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) says that through ‘Spirit of Sustainability’, it champions equitable representation and works towards building communities where all individuals can access essential resources needed to live happy and healthy lives.

In March 2021, the LCBO launched the Spirit of Inclusion Initiative. This program is designed to create opportunities for diverse women to enter, advance, and thrive in the beverage alcohol industry. Together with support from Good Partners, the LCBO’s Spirit of Inclusion Initiative aims to engage Ontarians and Trade Partners in an important conversation about equity while driving impact through mentorships, bursaries, scholarships, and co-op placements. Students who self-identify as women from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in the beverage alcohol industry are eligible to apply. Examples included but are not limited to Black women, Indigenous women, women of Colour, women with disabilities, first generation Canadians, 2SLGBTQ+, and non-binary gender.

The LCBO says that it is honoured to receive the award for their initiative. 

“It was an honour to be recognized alongside leading retailers and their programs supporting the community. We are excited to see this program expand this year and increase our level of impact across the entire industry and again, are thankful to be recognized by RCC.”

Pattison Food Group team. Photo: Wade Muir Photography

Philanthropic Leadership: Pattison Food Group, 2021 Hope Flood Recovery

In November 2021, parts of British Columbia were hit by severe rainfall and flooding. Major highways throughout the province were heavily damaged, forcing travelers to shelter in the District of Hope, which was completely cut off from all surrounding communities. With restrictions prohibiting traditional truck and trailer delivery along Highway 7 into Hope, several Pattison Food Group companies went to extraordinary lengths to ensure the community and stranded travelers received essential goods and medicines while supply chains were interrupted.

Pattison Food Group says that it is honoured to be recognized amongst its peers and by Retail Council of Canada with a 2022 Excellence in Retailing Award for its Hope flood recovery efforts. “The severe flooding that happened in B.C. in the fall of 2021 brought many challenges, but also saw our teams go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the community and stranded travelers received essential goods and medicines while supply chains were interrupted. These awards celebrate the best in our industry, and we are so proud of this recognition.”

Sephora team. Photo: Wade Muir Photography

Talent Development: Sephora, Building the Next Generation of High Performing Culture Catalysts

Beauty retailer Sephora received kudos for its talent development this year — the Sephora SPARK Employee Ambassador Program is described as a talent development and engagement program for high performers who are educated on and encouraged to be ambassadors and advocates for Sephora Canada. This group helps Sephora Canada establish grassroots cultural, recognition, communication, and continuous improvement solutions.

The acronym ‘SPARK’ stands for Storytelling, Passion, Allyship, Respect, and Knowledge, which are the key pillars and attributes of the program according to Sephora. Through ongoing learning and development opportunities, Sephora SPARK employee ambassadors are a highly engaged group of individuals who are provided with unique and exclusive opportunities not available to the retailer’s general workforce. In exchange, they share their unique employee experiences both virtually on social media and internally through various forums. As a result of this program, Sephora has seen this group further progress in their careers, demonstrate incredible results impacting the business, and become so highly engaged that they’re changing the perception of Sephora as an employer of choice.

Long’s team. Photo: Wade Muir Photography

Health, Safety & Wellness: Longo’s, Digital Injury Prevention

Ontario-based grocery retailer Longo’s identified the need to make modifications to its safety protocols. The retailer’s previous system included outdated pen and paper safety-based logs used to document cleaning, completing temperature checks, and conducting sweep log inspections in all areas to help prevent slip, trip, and fall injuries for Guests and Team Members.

With the additional impact of COVID-19 restrictions, a change was needed to ensure the record keeping process for illness and injury prevention was made easier for the frontline workers, and truly adhering to Longo’s values of “Simplicity Always”. To accomplish this task, Longo’s partnered with Certainty Software™ − a digital platform that builds and delivers customized inspections and checklists, along with reporting trends and analytics. This was done through the simple scanning of a QR code, all while increasing compliance through real-time reporting and forcing a physical area inspection, to be completed by Team Members, for every entry.

The Certainty Software platform was quickly adopted across the Longo’s chain, leading all locations to achieving high compliance for record keeping for illness and injury prevention. Throughout 2021, Longo’s placed a focus on transitioning all health and safety and risk-based logs and inspections to this platform, with the goal to reduce injuries and improve compliance.

Longo’s says that it continues to collaborate cross-functionally on all safety processes to ensure that it achieves best-in-class results for safety and most importantly, keeping people safe. “This award will help with positive reinforcement toward keeping everyone safe, and that the hard work, dedication and passion for safety has not gone unnoticed,” says a Longo’s representative.

Aritzia team. Photo: Wade Muir Photography

Loss Prevention: Aritzia, Retail Risk Program

The Vancouver-based fashion retailer received an award for its Retail Risk Coverage program, which was developed to maximize profit by minimizing product and financial loss while protecting Aritzia’s people, brand, and operations.

COVID-19 lead to significant hardship across the retail industry and the Retail Risk Coverage program enabled Aritzia to respond by minimizing controllable losses. The objectives of the program were to:

  • Maintain retail shrink below one percent and elevate inventory accuracy above 90%,
  • Uphold and exceed government illness risk requirements, and
  • Provide tactful response to safety escalations within stores.

In the past five years, Aritzia says that is has refined its internal controls to reduce shrink, relished risk opportunities to increase its profitability while investing in the health and safety of its people. “RCC’s recognition is a prideful acknowledgement to our team – the award is motivation for our effort, persistence, and resilience.”

A huge congratulations to the 2022 Excellence in Retailing Awards winners. Keeping retail in Canada strong is great because of you.  And, for all the wonderful innovation teams are working on right now, be sure to submit your applications for the 2023 Excellence in Retailing Awards which will open at the end of the year.   

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