I remember sharing a cab ride to an event with two retail RD program leaders. During the ride, they were discussing strategies to manage the 500+ emails they get each day. This story reflects the stress that many retail RDs manage in their roles. Random work hours, demands of multiple store categories, support of marketing, communications, and operations and a host of other departments can all contribute to a stressful work life.
An increasing number of dietetic students and interns are interested in retail work and are looking for meaningful learning experiences to explore employment options and gain an understanding of the retail environment. Managed correctly, you can engage students in activities that help them align with their career aspirations while obtaining some fresh insights for your company. The following considerations can help ensure each placement is purposeful, challenging and relevant to the individual who may be working with you.
Managing teams effectively means learning about the personalities of each individual and understanding what motivates them. This process can take a long time but fortunately there are tools to help you better understand employees and foster effective teamwork so you devote more time on implementing important work. Lisa Coleman, MS RD LDN, and Sarah Glunz, MS CNS LDN, have utilized the Enneagram to help them manage their teams of in-store nutritionists and shared some insights for successfully using this team management tool.
The most recent bi-annual salary survey conducted by the Institute of Food Technology took a deep dive into pay differences between men and women. As IFT membership comprises many individuals working at food companies, this data can provide valuable learnings to those working in the retail sector of the food industry.
The skill set required to be effective as a retail dietitian varies significantly from traditional roles within the profession. If you’re the hiring manager, you want to ensure you’re asking questions that address the breadth of skills needed in the role. If you’re being interviewed, you want to be well prepared to address your expertise and experience in areas that align with the retail RD role.
As a former retail dietitian, and now a professor of nutrition, the opportunity to bring real-life supermarket training for aspiring dietetics students was made possible for my Nutrition Education and Counseling Spring 2017 course by two important partnerships; Produce for Better Health and the Hy-Vee Supermarket Dietitians in Oakdale, Minnesota.