River Island

Can Performance Management ever be Agile?!

River Island (RI); the iconic high street fashion brand known to some of our readers as Chelsea Girl and Concept Man is our first vanguard. Thirty years since River Island took its name, Nebel Crowhurst joined as their Head of People Experience and talked to us about how this family-owned business (whose founder is in his 90s and still comes to work!) moved to an agile way of working so that HR could deliver more to the business, quicker. They now use agile principles and chatbots to transform even the most linear and annual of HR processes such as the dreaded performance review.


Up until recently, the nature of Nebel’s role at River Island hadn’t really existed. She wanted to support a people-oriented culture and so introduced the ‘People Experience’ function which is a collection of HR practitioners, Learning and Development, Performance Management, Reward and Recognition, Culture, Internal Communications, and Engagement. Their role is to inspire people to want to work for RI from the 7-year-old girl who comes into the shop, to progress, grow and develop even if they leave when they hope the cycle starts again when they have children.


In this chapter, we explore how RI has managed to lead the AI and Agile game in the retail and fashion sector and how others might follow...

Interested in hearing more about AI?

Contact us by phone, social media channels or email becky@veranperformance.com