Being the only retail dietitian can feel like being on an island, whether you’re in a corporate or store role. You don’t have a direct colleague with whom to banter ideas and new programs. Some days, it appears that retail colleagues don’t understand what you do or may not see the impact of healthy living programs on the company’s business. Your store director or corporate boss may give you little time and attention.
In the retail work world frequent changes in management and leadership seems to be commonplace. Leadership changes also bring different perspectives and priorities which can cause tension among staff as individuals wonder what may become of their job, their projects, and the overall culture of the company. Management transitions, however, are inevitable and likely to occur many times during the course of your employment. Here are some ways to plan for surviving and even thriving during these periods:
The National Retail Federation’s Big Show filled New York City’s Javits Center with drones, robots, self-checkout, touch screens, mirrors that let you try on clothes (without trying on clothes) and countless technologies all designed to move the retail environment to the future. In mid-January, nearly 40,000 people gathered to search for the silver bullets that could fix declining sales, lost customer traffic and equip them for the battle against online shopping. I found few silver bullets.
This year will mark my (gulp) 25th year in the food industry. There have been so many changes in what and how we eat and shop, but perhaps the greatest change is in food communications. Not just the channels, although we have watched weekly circulars become targeted Instagram offers, but most importantly our target consumer. When I started, it was all about a 25-54-year- old middle income mom. And now, we target. EVERYONE. Four generations actively shop in your stores. Those with food intolerances, on a cleanse and following ketogenic diets are fans of your concept. How can you target everyone? Our latest research says shift to targeting “Gen Food.”
There are many opportunities for retail dietitians to be in front of the camera whether it’s for a television segment or a Facebook live food demo. This media exposure can help you connect with existing and potential customers while driving traffic to your stores. Media training, however, is not typically part of a dietitian’s education, and for most, being in front of a camera can be a daunting experience. Here are some media training tips to help you feel more comfortable and ensure success:
For many retail dietitian positions, the path to internal career advancement may not be obvious. The good news is, you can take the lead to chart a course within your organization for your career and development. To get started, you’ll need to take an honest look at your career goals and understand the skills, knowledge, experience, and personal characteristics needed to move ahead. Here is a list of steps to get you started:
RD Close-Up: Jessica Serdikoff, RDN CPT Brookdale ShopRite, Inc By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
My role has truly evolved over my years at ShopRite, growing from a traditional, in-store retail dietitian position into a more managerial one. I continue be a resource for customers and the community via classes, counseling, and store tours; only now I have been able to supervise undergraduate nutrition students and dietetic interns who can assist me in food demo, handout creation, and administrative tasks I used to cover myself.
My role is mainly focused on our employees. I have the amazing opportunity to help employees in our Pennsylvania stores live healthier, better lives through food. I do this by organizing store wellness teams that consist of employees who are passionate about health and wellness.