THE VALU IS IN THE PEOPLE: SUPERVALU FOCUSES ON HUMAN RESOURCES

Carolyn Heinze
Published Online: Friday, February 1, 2008

Janeen Winnike

SUPERVALU Pharmacies Inc combines grocery retailing with pharmacy, operates 920 locations (primarily under the Osco, Sav-On, and local banner names), and enforces 5 principle values: passion, focus, urgency, standards, and integrity. These values apply not only to its pharmacies, but to the entire organization.

People, of course, are the vehicles through which these values are fulfilled, and Janeen Winnike, BPharm, director of recruiting and college relations at SUPERVALU Pharmacies Inc, highlights the importance of people when striving to create a healthy workplace—the company succeeds in attracting a loyal clientele. "One of the things that underlies our work efforts is that we want to be the best place to work, hence the best place to shop, and hence the best place to invest. The focus is on our associates," she said.

The company offers its employees the opportunity for professional growth, career development, and promotion. Pharmacy personnel at SUPERVALU are given the tools necessary to assist the patients in improving their health, Winnike says. "We are looking for someone who does not necessarily want to work for the biggest company, but who wants to work for a company that is focused on allowing the pharmacist to utilize their professional skills to improve patient care," she said. "We are looking for someone who is focused on the patient."

Winnike notes that a large portion of SUPERVALU's human resources effort is focused on training and supporting its pharmaceutical team. "There is training not only for our pharmacists who come on board, but also for our technicians who support the pharmacists," she explained. Pharmacy managers also follow extensive training, she adds, and new employees also benefit from the company's mentoring program. "We really value the contribution of each associate. We encourage and value 2-way communication. Our pharmacy district managers are out there, in the stores, working with our pharmacy team."

This training does not simply focus on how things are done on a daily basis, but also on what SUPERVALU is all about with respect to its policies, procedures, and company culture, including what pharmacists and their staff can expect of the organization, and in turn, what is expected of them. "We feel it's important to prepare them to be successful in the company—not just hand them the keys and say, ?Here you go. Utilize your skills,'" Winnike said. "We give them some background to be successful."

As retail pharmacy moves from a product-oriented profession to one based on the presentation of information, Winnike notes that pharmacy professionals are undergoing a change in thinking. "The challenge is that there is a shift in the whole mindset of the profession, not only from what our pharmacists do on a day-to-day basis in shifting their efforts from being product-oriented to information-oriented, but also a shift in expectations in the mind of our patients and what they expect," she said.

This requires pharmacists to assume the role of a counselor, Winnike elaborates. "The patient's expectations are changing in that they are ready for, and expecting, pharmacists to give them advice—not only in terms of their medication, but also in terms of their health condition overall," she said. "We have programs in place to help educate patients about their diabetes, how to make healthy choices and how to stay well, as well as preventative care, such as our immunization programs."



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