Here's How DICK's Sporting Goods Is Getting Ready for the Holidays

Brought to you by WBR Insights

It may feel like the leaves have only just started to change, but the attention of retailers around the world is now set firmly on the most lucrative of seasons. With Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and finally Christmas all on the horizon, retailers are putting their operations into high gear to make the most of the opportunities presented by the holidays.

However, while much of the retail furor around the holidays comes in the form of marketing, products, and pricing, another factor needs to be attended to - staff. DICK's Sporting Goods is getting ahead of the curve with a special seasonal recruitment drive as well as making sure associates have the right technology.

DICK's Sporting Goods

The long-standing retailer is the largest full-line omnichannel sporting goods brand in the US and is setting its recruitment into overdrive to make sure it has the right people - in terms of quantity and quality - to meet the demands of the season and the expectations of its discerning customers.

To this end, the brand is firing up a National Signing Day - no doubt named for the term's sports connotations - a day when the store throws open its doors to welcome anyone interesting in acquiring a seasonal role at DICK's.

DICK's wants people who reflect its own spirit of guiding, informing, equipping, and inspiring customers to help them become stronger and healthier by fulfilling their sports equipment needs. They also want fast thinking and innovative people who can draw on their own life experiences to help them perform their roles to the best of their ability.

The sporting goods retailer believes that the best way to achieve this is to have interested parties fill out an online application form, then invite them into its stores on the National Signing Day to attend an interview and meet the rest of the crew. This way DICK's can get an idea of how applicants get along with the existing staff, how they handle team dynamics, as well as sit down for a more traditional interview.

"Our in-store teammates are the key to providing the exceptional customer service experience and insights our customers expect," said Vice President of Talent at DICK'S Sporting Goods, JP Elliott. "At DICK'S, we want to ensure that every customer who comes into our stores feels they leave excited, confident and equipped to achieve their athletic endeavors. As we gear-up for our holiday-selling season, we plan to hire up to 8,000 new teammates who are excited to share their knowledge and love of sports with our customers."

However, DICK's is not only concerned with acquiring new staff for the holidays, but also making sure they're equipped with the latest technology.

Digital Technology

This takes the form of DICK's bringing in brand new tech talent to carry out a complete overhaul of its legacy IT systems with brand new software built specifically for its in-store associates.

Dubbed the Pivotal Cloud Foundry, the new platform is designed to transform customer experience and boost employee productivity. To help its people get to grips with the new system, DICK's has carried out a two-week boot camp, covering the main objectives of the platform which include:

  • Reduce the time required to onboard new product teams and engineers from months to minutes.
  • Scale infrastructure to prepare for holiday traffic in seconds rather than weeks
  • Remove downtime and unnecessary latency—DICK'S was able to stay agile during the crucial holiday shopping period because it could identify and resolve issues immediately.
  • Implement security patches automatically instead of requiring weeks of planning.
  • Increase its developer-to-operator ratio to 20:1, meaning significantly more resources are spent on building new features rather than on keeping them running.

DICK's was able to combine its in-depth knowledge and experience regarding holiday sales traffic with the technical skill of Pivitol's developers to make sure the retailer has the infrastructure it needs to effectively manage this busy period.

Final Thoughts

"We no longer wanted to pin ourselves to techniques, but rather outcomes," said DICK'S Vice President of Customer Technology, Jason Williams. "There are three main goals that we have as a part of this journey. One is we want to create happy humans. So, we want our customers, who we refer to athletes, and our associates to be happy. We want to build solutions that work for them. We also want technology that works, that's maintainable, scalable - something that we can support moving forward and add on to. We think that by focusing on our athletes and customers, we can achieve economic value."

You can hear DICK's Sporting Goods' Vice President of Talent Management, JP Elliot, speak at HR Retail 2020, taking place in April at the Hilton Austin, TX.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.