Leading with Innovation: An HR Strategy Session with Dick's Sporting Goods Chief Talent Officer

The Next Practices Weekly call series has become a well-attended and wide-ranging discussion for HR leaders each Thursday at 11am ET / 8am PT. On this week's call, Mimi Turner, i4cp's Vice President of Executive Search, and i4cp Senior Research Analyst Tom Stone, facilitated a conversation with special guest Michael Keinath, Vice President and Chief Talent Officer at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Here are some highlights from the call:

  • Dick's Sporting Goods is over 75 years old, and now has over 850 stores in 47 states and DC, with total FY23 net sales of around $13 billion. They are the largest U.S. omnichannel sports retailer, but are still growing as they only have about an ~8.5% share of their addressable market. They currently have over 50,000 teammates (their term of their employees).
  • Keinath previously had HR leadership roles at Pepsico, Honeywell, and other organizations. In his role as Chief Talent Officer at Dick's, he leads Talent Management, DE&I, Org Effectiveness, Talent Acquisition, Learning and Development, People Analytics, and more.
  • The culture of Dick's starts with their shared belief that "Sports have the power to change lives."
  • We asked the following poll question of participants: "How has your organization's culture changed since the onset of the pandemic?"
    • 15% Become much healthier
    • 43% Become slightly healthier
    • 15% No change
    • 26% Become slightly more toxic
    • 1% Become very toxic
  • Employee engagement survey results improved at Dick's during the primary years of the pandemic. Leadership prioritized the needs of their teammates, e.g., the early implementation of "hero pay" as premium hourly pay for their frontline store workers.
  • Dick's recently overhauled their engagement and culture survey. They reduced the length of the survey by about 25%, and also reduced cognitive load from blended or complicated questions. The changes increased the survey's reliability, and they were able to obtain better information to inform decision making going forward.
  • With those changes, they've also seen their highest response rate from teammates. And they have correlation data that indicates which items have the greatest impact on employee satisfaction. They can then focus on those items in which they also see the lowest scores, and hence the most opportunity for improvement.
  • Moving forward they are going to focus further on increasing the transparency of sharing the results, and making clear what actions will be taken.
  • At Dick's, they emphasize teammate commitment which they consider to be intent to stay with the organization, e.g., for the next six months or more.
  • On the DE&I front, Dick's has created "impact teams" to take on major initiatives and accelerate progress. They also have had dialogue circles for teammates to get together and discuss difficult issues, both internal and external to the organization.
  • Keinath also described their foundation's Sports Matter program, which financially supports sports in underserved communities. Aligned with the core shared belief noted earlier, a new program, "75for75," provided 75 Sports Matter grants from The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation of $75,000 each, to youth sports programs around the country. In turn, these grants changed lives through sport on and off the field. "75for75" distributed more than $5.6 million in 2023.
  • Dick's does a good job of recruiting via job fairs and career fairs at colleges and universities. But in 2024 they are focusing on enabling greater internal mobility, including implementing an internal talent marketplace.
  • A focus in L&D at present is on selling and service skills, in a way that provides real ROI for the learning. They have partnered with MasterClass to provide curated, micro-learning lessons that are relevant to frontline retail workers.

Links to resources shared on the call:



This event is approved for certification credits.