A well-led, energized staff is a crucial component of an amazing fresh department. Start with this insight from an HR specialist.

Jeanie Wells, Human Resources Team

October 24, 2017

2 Min Read
Create a results-oriented fresh department team

In the intensely crowded market, there are new demands on the fresh departments that require stellar leadership so that every shopper is wowed. To achieve this, I asked my consulting colleague, James Morrell, who specializes in fresh foods, to weigh in on what he thinks are the most critical components of creating that awesome fresh foods team.

What are the most important factors in creating a fresh foods team that is focused on the shopping experience?

It starts with hiring well. The right hiring is a key aspect of building a strong team.

  • Introducing organizational core values and departmental concepts into the interviewing process early and being aware of how candidates may potentially fit into the existing team should be part of that approach.

  • A passionate, engaged and knowledgeable staff that works well as a team is a great foundation for success, and the creation of a consistently positive and engaging store experience should be a clearly stated operational goal.

Expect the best from your staff.

  • The positive impact of a visually dynamic and well-curated department should not be underestimated, so keep departmental expectations for displays very high and qualitative details attended to. A great benefit to fresh departments is the inherent appeal of the products they offer. In daily team communications, making the connection between the engaging attributes of the department’s fresh offerings and the quality of the customer experience should be a consistent practice.

  • By highlighting the sensorial appeal of our fresh departments, we can capture our guests’ attention, and when we combine this with a consistent commitment to truly exceptional customer service we will surely encourage the loyalty of our customers and many return visits.

How can a department manager foster a team culture that wants to achieve results?

The ability of a team to work together to achieve specific positive results is dependent upon the team’s understanding of the desired goal and how it relates to their work. While it may seem somewhat obvious, it is important to keep talking about your mission.

One method to help cultivate this conversation is to institute a daily or weekly team check-in or huddle. Begin an ongoing conversation with the team about what successful outcomes look like and invite contributions from the group. Through this dialogue, the team can begin to create some shared goals, reinforce a sense of common purpose and keep desired results in the active consciousness of the group. This practice can help clarify some basic operational procedures and is a daily practice that builds the team’s awareness of their contribution as a department to the larger organizational mission.

A group of empowered teammates connected to the importance of their work is a great foundation for positive results. In this new competitive landscape, your fresh foods departments may hold the key to your success, so make sure these departments are well-led, energized and ready to help your organization be the best in your market!

James Morrell of CDS Consulting Co-op contributed to this piece.

About the Author(s)

Jeanie Wells

Human Resources Team, CDS Consulting Co-op

Jeanie Wells has been working in the natural foods industry since 1996.  Her experience includes 10+ years managing a large natural foods co-op and 3 years as a retail consultant.  She specializes in expanding and improving retail operations and building internal organizational strength.

Wells is part of the Human Resources Team of CDS Consulting Co-op.

The goal of the Human Resources Team of CDS Consulting Co-op is to help our clients become employers of choice in their communities, by cultivating a culture of empowerment, engagement and accountability.


Click here to read more articles by Jeanie Wells. 

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