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Food Forum: Put an “I” in Your Team

IDDBA offers five ways to motivate employees in 2017 and beyond.


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We all know that having a team of qualified and dedicated individuals is imperative for success, and tends to make a leader’s job easier. In this way, successful leadership is a two-way street that requires a team effort not only from the top down but also the bottom up. From store managers to hourly team members running a department at night, it is important to have a toolbox of ideas at the ready for a more effective journey to success. 

As the saying goes, there is no “I” in team, but there should be. Here are five “I”s to invigorate your team. Consider these “I”deas as the food retail industry looks to the future.

 

Inspire 

It must start with the desire to challenge yourself and others to seek out inspiration. For young people, inspiration is what drives motivation. Inspire them to think beyond who or what your company or their job is, and instead begin to consider what they can be. The grocery industry is full of opportunity, but it needs to be communicated. Exposure to opportunity to grow professionally is a must for younger generations, and offering the guidance of an experienced mentor is a great way to do that. Inspiration can come from a myriad of other sources, too. Industry trade shows, networking events, workshops, store visits or simply tapping into the ideas of colleagues at work. As leaders, young people look to you for inspiration, so do not be afraid to allow yourself to let them inspire you, too.

 

Inform 

Information today is so widely available that it can be a challenge to find the right information when we need it. It is important to not overlook even the most basic information needs of our teams. From industry trends and market research to training and product information, there is always a need for accurate and timely information. Food safety and customer service knowledge is not always obvious for some people. Department managers are sometimes chosen based on need rather than merit, often leading to managers with little knowledge of what the job entails. It is also important to inform your team about opportunities. Grocery retail relies heavily on student workers who could benefit from scholarships and internships provided through industry partners. By passing that information to your teams, you can literally change lives. Without good information we cannot be inspired, nor can we innovate.

 

Innovate 

Innovation keeps people, products and places relevant. As an industry, are we focused on maintenance or are we looking to grow? Innovation does not have to be limited to products or technology for it to be impactful. Something as simple as food safety certification training for all service department employees is an innovative way to increase shopper confidence in the safety of their food, with the added benefit of reducing product waste and improving quality. Communicate this new focus on food safety so shoppers know they are shopping at the right place. Perhaps the team can help find innovative ways to improve efficiency, saving the store or company resources.

 

Influence 

Consider how many people have their first jobs in a grocery store. Now consider the opportunity for those managers and colleagues to be positively influential in the lives of all those young people. Forward-looking industry leaders recognize the need for experienced professionals in the not-too-distant future. Now is the opportunity to influence those already in the industry and those who might not be thinking about food retail, manufacturing or marketing at all. Let them know there are career paths for all skills: culinary skills, business skills, graphic design skills, truck-driving skills, mechanical engineering skills, effective breaking-the-ice-in-a-booth-at-trade-shows skills. It is up to all of us to get this message out and influence the future to meet the industry’s needs. Spread the word about internships and job openings in the industry to expose new professionals to the opportunities out there.

 

IDDBA 

Finally, the fifth “I” for your team is IDDBA. With the mission to be the essential resource for dairy, deli and bakery, IDDBA is on your team every step of the way with free training, scholarships, mentor grants, and food safety certification reimbursement for members, industry trends research, and of course, IDDBA 17. IDDBA also facilitates a career center for both internships and jobs. IDDBA is here to support the industry at all levels.     

Jonathan Whalley is education coordinator at IDDBA. He can be reached at jwhalley@iddba.org

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