Connecting with Colleagues During COVID
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
One of the highlights during a conference or business trip was to connect with industry colleagues. These relationships are vital to our work as we exchange ideas, share best practices and bond over common issues within the retail environment. These times, however, call for different measures if we want to stay connected. Here are some suggestions for adapting to this new environment to keep those relationships strong:
- Schedule regular calls to video chat. Informal conversations with your colleagues are important, and we should continue to make time for them with the absence of in-person events. Pick a point in the day that works best for all, whether it’s a mid-morning coffee break or sharing lunch.
- Organize a virtual “happy hour.” Connect over cocktails or mocktails with colleagues and have a topic ready to discuss with the group. Make sure everyone gets a chance to voice how they are managing personally and talk about any challenges they may be having with balancing working from home. You may also share how you are successfully connecting with consumers during this time to provide meaningful solutions. Offer support and build each other up so everyone leaves feeling energized.
- Learn together. Put together a virtual class on a key topic of interest – food photography, enhancing video expertise, or advancing culinary skills. Invite an expert to share their insights and tips, create a recipe together or discuss best practices on a key subject.
- Create a share group. Many retailers work with non-competing companies to share and learn from each other. Create your own share group with retail RDs and schedule virtual meetings to discuss current issues and ways to advance your work. Consider a platform like Slack that has a lot of options for a network of people.
- Attend virtual conferences and network. Take the opportunity to attend virtual conferences to learn, network and meet new industry colleagues, vendors and experts. The RDBA Virtual Experience Event was a perfect example of how valuable your attendance can be both during the event and after.
- Stay connected via LinkedIn. Now more than ever, LinkedIn is a critical business networking tool that retail dietitians should be using. Not only does it help you stay connected with colleagues but you can join groups of interest, share what you are doing and see pertinent articles.