5 Essential Business Skills in the Post-Pandemic World
By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RD, LD, FAND
Vaccinations are humming along at 1.5 million a day, the number of new daily COVID cases are dropping in states across the country, and many feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to appear. We begin to dream about a post-pandemic world, recognizing that the world will forever be changed due to this pandemic. Along with this change are alterations in business, in work, and in roles. Here’s a compilation of five skills deemed to be important for success in a post-pandemic work world.
Adaptability and Flexibility
While the world was already changing rapidly, the pandemic accelerated it. Amidst this change, retail RDs proved their ability to adapt and pivot, moving shopper programs and services to virtual environments, pitching in wherever needed at their retailers, and becoming health consultants to senior leadership teams trying to make sense of COVID science and safety recommendations. Moving forward, those who can continue a mindset of flexibility will be most successful as cross-functionality becomes the new normal at work.
Fake news and misrepresentation of data and research has abounded this past year, and regard for facts has diminished. As we turn the corner on this trend, professionals like retail dietitians who are trained to be critical thinkers will become more important as trusted consumer influencers.
As companies and individuals alike have adapted to working from home, it’s clear that fewer employees will be heading back to the office full time. At the same time, the gig economy is only going to grow post coronavirus. This change directly impacts the roles of managers, and the future likely includes more fluent teams where people are taking the lead at different times. Individuals with strong leadership skills will be in demand and called upon to step up to the plate for these roles.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of, express, and control our own emotions as well as being aware of others’ emotions. It’s an essential skill when managing relationships with internal retail colleagues, vendors, and shoppers/clients. The understanding of human nature becomes even more important during situations like a global pandemic, making individuals with strong EQ valuable employees moving forward.
COVID-19 has pushed the retail industry even further into the digital age, as suddenly they needed to ramp up e-commerce capabilities and better manage inventories. Retail RDs moved from in-person shopper engagement to 100% digital engagement. What we know is that consumers will never return to pre-pandemic levels of technology use and that companies are moving more quickly into the use of big data, AI, and other technologies to make their businesses more resilient to future pandemics. Retail RDs who keep pace with this tech acceleration will be most successful.