Posted: Thu, 02 August 2018, 11:15
Lloyd Hewson, HR & Training Manager
Q. What attracted you to first start working at Nourish?
I was a vegan when I first came across Nourish. For me, it became the best place I could get so many unique things that I didn’t know even existed. When I became a vegan I originally thought that you would never be able to have cheese again, marshmallows or various other treats. It was very exciting for me as someone who had just transitioned from a vegetarian to become a vegan, looking for different ideas for foods I could try out.
When a position came up at Nourish for a part-time role in their Liffey Street store I eagerly applied. I was a regular customer of the stores in both Liffey Street and our original store in Marlborough Street and I had found the staff to be extremely friendly and helpful. I was looking for a full-time position and, in the end, I was very happy to be offered 2 days in the shop and 3 days in the warehouse.
Q. How did you find the transition from a customer to then working for Nourish?
It was really great! It was a dream job for me. It was so exciting to learn all about the wonderful products that I was now surrounded by. I just wanted to buy and try everything! I also got to see how the operations side of the business worked and its role supporting all the shops, which really helped me get to know everyone.
It was a huge learning curve for me though, especially getting into the supplements side of things. I had a huge interest in the food, and as a vegan, I could tell customers all about the different vegan foods I had tried – what’s good, what’s not as good, I could give my opinion down to what soya milk was my favourite. I enjoyed helping people who were looking to change their diets. I found that my colleagues around me were amazing in terms of training on the job, I would ask a lot of questions of them and they were very happy to help me. Also, every training opportunity that came up I put my name down for it because I was really hungry for new knowledge.
Q. If you compare the trends now with when you first started back in 2001, what big changes in Health Food have you seen?
Yeah, so much has changed in our industry from when I started. When I think about it back then, health food was just so unique and wasn’t widely available. The range of our product offering has evolved so much over the years. Soya Milk was our absolute market leader in dairy alternative milks in 2001, now there is such a variety of options from Almond Milk to Coconut Milk to even the amazing super foaming Barista Oatly Oat Milk. I think that is one of the biggest changes really, our product offering is so much more exciting and varied. It is something that is very core to Nourish, having a vibrant and ever-changing selection of exciting products for our customers. With much more demand for healthy eating and plant-based foods, this has seen a surge in companies getting more and more creative with invigorating new products to bring to our market.
Over the years there have been so many shifts – you had the raw food movement, you had paleo movement and then veganism, which is now massively more popular today than it was back in 2001. In general, many more people are adopting healthy habits.
Q. Can you describe your role at Nourish?
My role has changed over the years. I started as Warehouse Operative, then Sales Assistant, got promoted to Assistant Manager in the Liffey Street Store and then Assistant Manager when we opened our new store in Wicklow Street where I worked for about 9 years. Then I went to manage our store in the GPO Arcade and then came back to manage the Wicklow St Store. I am now the HR & Training Manager. I am involved in designing and delivering Nourish’s Internal Training. I no longer have the direct interactions with customers on the shop floor so much, but it is exciting to be able to support our highly knowledgeable team that is.
Q. That’s core to Nourish – Training. Not every business would have the same focus on staff training.
Yes very much so. Training is just so essential and is core to what we do in Nourish. When you have so many products on your shelves with multiple functionalities it really is important to have a good foundation for learning. You never stop learning in Nourish, training is very much an ongoing process. After 17 years with Nourish, I still learn something new every day about the products we sell. That is just one of the things that makes it such a great place to work though.
Q. What training do you have in place for any new staff that join Nourish?
Our Welcome Training programme is the first training that our new team members would take part in. This covers an introduction to Nourish and goes into detail on our core philosophies regarding our approach to customer service and sales. It is important that we encourage our team to be empathetic and to be aware of how we can really help people on the path to better health. We also want our team members to be themselves and share their experiences with our customers on what products they have tried and how they have found them.
After Welcome Training, our new team members will complete our Safe Selling Guide, which helps guide us in giving our customers safe recommendations by asking important questions regarding people’s health queries. This is incredibly important when we are dealing with other people’s wellbeing.
We also provide an in-house core product training to give our new ‘nourishers’ the tools to be better informed about our product offering and what solutions from our experience tend to work really well for our customers. In addition, we also have access to many distance learning programmes and supplier organised training that people can sign up for to complete or attend. Training is very much ingrained in the DNA of Nourish.
This is part 1 of a 2-part series of our Q & A sessions with Lloyd. Click here for Part 2!
*Please note that while we’re knowledgeable about our products & nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention. You should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication