View from the top – Rob Brooks from Saks OFF 5TH

Author Brad Law
March 1, 2023

In our most recent edition of “View from the top”, we interview Rob Brooks, President at O5, Saks OFF 5TH’s store division.

How are you currently using technology within HR in your organization?

At Saks OFF 5TH, we’re investing heavily in technology as a means to transform the associate experience and provide our team with the tools and resources they need to do their jobs each day. In the past year alone, we’ve rolled out a number of new products and platforms. Specifically, we launched Workday as our comprehensive one-stop shop for all HR and pay-related needs, and we introduced a new task management tool for our stores teams, dedicated to streamlining communication, improving efficiency and allowing us to build action plans to mitigate risk in a timely manner. The launch of this tool has been a massive success across our store fleet, and has enabled us to quickly and consistently communicate with our roughly 100 locations with ease. The next phase of this launch is for us to roll out our new scheduling tool, which will not only allow us to best serve our customers, but will enhance the associate experience by providing our team with clear expectations, ease of scheduling and ultimately greater transparency and flexibility in creating the schedules that work for them. We’ve also launched a new associate intranet, a singular destination for policies, resources, news and more, accessible on mobile and tablet so associates can have the information they need at their fingertips while on the floor. With associates across the US and Canada, these platforms are helping us better communicate with and serve our team – which is an essential first step in providing best-in-class service to our customers.

How important is the DEI agenda within your organization and where are you focusing your efforts?

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is incredibly important to our business – both for our associates, our customers and our broader community. As part of our commitment to reflect and support the communities we serve, we are continuing to expand our DEI efforts in a number of ways. Recently, we relaunched our DEI Council to further align with our company’s flagship goals, and we have individuals from all identities and backgrounds from across the US and Canada helping to lead the charge in making our company a more welcoming, inclusive place. The DEI Council is working on everything from diverse recruiting practices to training and education for our team and more. We also celebrated the launch of Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) earlier this year, which are empowering our associates to build a sense of community and belonging, provide support and mentorship opportunities for personal and career development, and serve as another safe space where all associates can bring their authentic selves each day.

How strategic a role does HR play within your organization and in what specific ways are you working to become more strategic?

With 100 stores across the US and Canada, our Human Resources team plays a critical role in supporting our team. From our Human Resources Business Partners (HRBPs) to benefits, talent acquisition and management, our HR team is crucial to supporting our corporate, store and distribution center populations, ranging from salaried to hourly positions. As we continue to grow and evolve as a business, our strategy remains rooted in our number one priority: our people. We encourage open lines of communication and routinely gather associate feedback to ensure we are best-serving our teams and adapting where possible to improve the overall associate experience and remain a competitive employer of choice.

What are the current priorities within your organization’s talent agenda?

At Saks OFF 5TH, we take pride in our customer-obsessed mindset, and it’s so important that our team is passionate about providing best-in-class service each day. We have embedded our company’s core values, known as the 5 Is – Inclusion, Individuality, Intuition, Invention, and Inspiration – into our interview and recruitment process, and we are continually looking for team players who embody those values when they show up to work. To support our ongoing talent recruitment efforts, we’ve significantly expanded our Talent Acquisition team in India, which has proved an incredibly valuable addition to our holistic recruitment process. By expanding and investing in our Bangalore team, we have seen a significant increase in speed to hire and major improvements in the overall candidate experience, which are critical in helping us remain as competitive as possible in the market.

Please note that all commentary and opinions provided are those of the individual, and not the organization/company.


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