Collaborative Workforce Initiatives

The Retail Opportunity Network: Driving Towards Collective Action in a Supportive Environment

Josh Frazier-Sparks, October 16, 2019
The Retail Opportunity Network: Driving Towards Collective Action in a Supportive Environment

Collective action is at the root of Walmart’s support of the Retail Opportunity Network (the RON). We deeply believe that the people and organizations that comprise the RON are at the forefront of accelerating the retail sector as a place for frontline employee opportunity and mobility. The work that is being led in communities across our country by passionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated leaders is proving what’s possible. That’s the fundamental reason Walmart supports the RON– to hold a space to further accelerate the work of making the retail and related sectors an area of mobility by generating insights, sharing learnings, and creating synergy. Here are the top five reasons for the importance of having a space for the Retail Opportunity Network.

The RON is a space for:

  1. Retreat:  Our work is hard. We are all running 90 miles a minute to accomplish great things. This is a space for us to collectively slow down and become centered.
  2. Relationship:  The power of any network is the strength of the relationships between its members. To drive the type of change we want requires deep relationships, collaboration and trust amongst the RON.
  3. Creativity:  This serves as a time to remove ourselves from our day to day work and look at the bigger picture – hear new ideas, make connections between existing ideas, and truly think about what the future could be instead of what it is today. We engage in this work with both our heads and heart.
  4. Learning:  Each RON member contributes so much to the experience of frontline workers. Leaning deep into the expertise in the group (whom we might not get to hear and see regularly) is essential in a community driving change.
  5. Systems-change:  Our group has the potential to rewire the ways frontline employees are supported, retained, and upskilled for the future. Working together we can drive meaningful change and dialogue at both the national and local levels that centers around equity. A space to think about this is pivotal.

The RON is only as powerful as its members, and our members are strong. When I think about this community, I think about the quote by Margaret Mead below. How are we all, each member of the RON, working to create enduring impact in our work with each other?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

I’ll see you soon in Denver! Be sure to register for the November RON Retreat here.