The Necessity of Showing Value – Part I

The Necessity of Showing Value – Part I

April 21, 2021
Shari Steinbach
Business Skills

By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor

Showing the value a dietitian brings to the retail environment continues to be a vital area of focus for those RDNs practicing in this space. The ability to calculate a positive return on investment (ROI) and to share those findings with leadership is essential to job security, obtaining approval for new programs and to support additional staffing. It is important to note that even if your management has not asked that you show how your work contributes to profits, the ability to do so is crucial if your company ever faces a down-sizing issue or if new leadership comes in with a different agenda. If you are not considering the profitability of your work on a daily basis you need to change your mindset now.

Start with the understanding that retail is a business and leadership’s main concern is about sales and profits. Your mission is to discover how you can use your passion for helping customers while also providing value to the company. To develop a value-driven mindset, there are several questions you need to ask yourself. Depending on your answers, you’ll be able to address gaps in your thinking, work processes, and communication plans regarding ROI.

  • What department pays your salary? Do you know what department pays for the salary you and your team receive? This is important to know so you can demonstrate, to the right audience, how you’re being a good steward of the funds. Can you clearly show how your work drives sales, creates new revenue streams, or increases customer loyalty? Do you articulate how you will utilize the knowledge gained from attending conferences or training programs to improve ROI? Timely communication is important. If you can show you are spending the funds you are provided on meaningful, profitable work, the better your chances for future salary or staffing increases. 
  • Do you include ROI as the key topic of conversation when updating your boss or store leadership about your work?  If not, why? The profitability of your work should always be a topic of conversation when you are updating store leadership, corporate management or other departments about your work. Understand the numbers that are important to these groups and explain briefly and concisely the ROI of the work you are doing. Bottom line, this is what retail leadership needs and wants to know. 
  • When you bring a new project or opportunity to the table, are you discussing how that project will provide ROI?  New ideas are great, but have you thought through how the project will provide a positive ROI? In addition, you need a plan for measuring and reporting ROI to ensure the new program is meeting stated goals. Propose new projects or programs only if you have thought through the value it will bring to the company and how you will track the projected ROI. 

In part II on this topic, we will share some best practices for creating and communicating ROI.