Do retailers need a chief health officer?
Retailers and restaurants should consider creating a c-level position focused on public health to address pandemic-related concerns, according to a new study.
“Customer experience and employee satisfaction are more dependent on enhanced protection protocols than ever before,” wrote Cambridge Retail Advisors, a new consultancy created by former members of Boston Retail Partners (BRP), in the study. “New C-level leadership, a chief health officer, is needed to establish a vision for chainwide public health and to ensure store level initiatives are executed timely and effectively.”
In advocating for the idea, in an article on salesforce.com, Dr. David Agus, a physician and professor at the University of Southern California, wrote, “From new protocols for elevators and meals to an enhanced focus on employee wellbeing to ensuring sanitized workspaces, there’s a lot to consider on the health front in the offices that some will reenter soon.”
It appears that such a position would be new for corporations, as safety and health accountabilities typically fall under human resources.
In the airlines industry, Delta Air Lines has retained health experts. Ed Bastian, CEO, recently told CNBC, “One of the challenges with this virus that we’re all fighting is that it’s turning a bunch of CEOs into health care CEOs overnight. I’m not a health care CEO, I’m an airline CEO. But we’re enlisting the best medical advisers to make certain that we have insight into everything from the diagnostics and the testing protocols, and what works and how can we translate that into our business model, all the way through the vaccines.”
Retailers have said reopenings are being based on authorities’ guidelines.
CEO Corie Barry said on Best Buy’s first-quarter conference call, “We will likely employ a variety of models using our local level prowess to customize operations to the local situation. And we will continually evolve those operating models based on guidance from state and local governments as well as our own point of view on the proliferation of the virus and our ability to operate in a way that is safe for our employees and customers.”
- Covid-19 Impact Study – Retail And Restaurant Market Analysis – Cambridge Retail Advisors
- Dr. David Agus: Why Companies Should Consider a Chief Health Officer – Salesforce
- CNBC Transcript: Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian Speaks with CNBC’s Phil LeBeau on “Squawk on the Street” Today – CNBC
- Best Buy Co Inc. (BBY) Q1 2021 Earnings Call Transcript – The Motley Fool
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do retailers need to establish a chief health officer role or retain health experts to guide reopenings and prepare for future outbreaks? Where in particular do you see the need for health advice?