Make Internal Collaboration a Priority
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. – Helen Keller
Collaboration means working jointly toward a goal with others, but when dietitians enter the world of retail they may not fully understand the work of other departments and how to interact with them. More importantly, others may not know what unique skills a dietitian possesses to assist with reaching corporate business goals. Finding collaborative partners in your office should be a priority whether you’re new to your role or have been in position a while. Buyers move to different desks and retail turnover makes building and maintaining important connections an on-going job.
Think about the corporation like a beehive where everyone has a job to do as they work toward a common goal. You’ll need to discover what departments you should surround yourself with in your matrix. Let’s take a look at key retail areas where collaboration is especially important for a supermarket dietitian:
- Grocery and Perishable Leadership – Food leadership needs to understand your skillset and abilities to positively influence sales so they can provide support and link you into important meetings and initiatives.
- Buyers/Merchandisers – A strong relationship with buyers can help you stay in-the-loop regarding new product launches and category reviews. Share your knowledge about food trends, consumer insights and the ways you are educating shoppers.
- Marketing – If marketing understands how you serve as a trusted source for consumer information they can assist you with getting your messages out through digital ads, flyers, media and social.
- Pharmacy Leadership – Collaboration here allows you to enhance your consumer reach as you provide nutrition expertise for disease management. Corporate will also appreciate the bridge you build between the pharmacy and food aisles.
- PR/Communications – Your Public Relations department often needs a corporate spokesperson to address food and nutrition issues. Having a credentialed expert in-house provides a huge benefit and helps you amplify your messaging to the public.
- Store Operations – Store execution is critical for any demos, signage, events or endcap displays you may be coordinating. Provide clear direction, timing and store employee talking points to ensure success.
You’ve heard it said that we’re only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. A clever and strategic approach to internal collaboration will enhance your skills and advance your work.