The right training tools can drive consistency. One way to ensure messaging stays consistent is to create learning plans for employees based on department or role. Learning plans function like playlists and allow training leaders to “plug and play,” empowering employees to take ownership over their own training. When employees all receive the same training, messaging stays consistent.
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Shift huddle guides can also help drive consistency among supervisors by keeping everyone on the same page, literally. Not only do the effective communications make relaying messaging easier, it also saves supervisors time by eliminating the need to reinvent the wheel each shift.
“It helps me sleep peacefully at night because whether it’s my third shift, my second shift, or my day shift, I know that if training is happening, they’re watching that same courseware. They’re watching that same video, and it is going to be communicated across all shifts, all departments. It doesn’t matter who the facilitator is…it is going to be the same message across the board,” says James Hatch, operations training supervisor at Idahoan Foods, a potato production company.
Consistency post-FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) is also crucial amid evolving regulations. Implementing company-wide communications, like eye-catching posters and looping digital videos in break rooms, can engage employees throughout the day, reinforce compliance, and keep operations consistent.
“Since we’ve launched the communication program, consisting of monthly topics that are reinforced with visuals throughout the facility, people are thinking about these topics more often,” says Amanda Moss, HR manager at Chudleigh’s, a commercial bakery. “The coordinated posters, the digital videos, the huddle guides, along with the training that we do monthly, really reinforces the topics that we cover, and again, drives that safety culture throughout the organization.”
Challenge #3: Make Food Safety Training Compelling and Memorable
It’s difficult to jazz up food safety and operations training. One way to cut through training white noise is to examine the different ways your food safety training is delivered. Long gone are the days of thick training manuals and boring hours-long videos. Today’s workers learn best when training material is delivered quickly and to the point, mimicking the visual and digital ways in which they experience the world.
Food safety training that moves beyond generic training material and imagery (i.e., stock photography in office-centric settings) is necessary to make an impact. Interactive training courseware that pauses to test learners’ knowledge and requires participation and feedback has proven more effective than the old-school ways of training. When learners’ attention spans are short and distractions are many, quick, succinct training courses make an impact.
The Global Food Safety Training Survey reports that 76 percent of food companies that responded still rely on reading materials and on-the-job instruction to deliver training. But for many frontline workers, reading complex safety procedures and standard operating procedures can be difficult.
More effective means of communication that encourage interaction can keep workers engaged and paying close attention. Research also shows when workers recognize themselves or their work environments in training materials, they’re more likely to remember what they have learned.
“When we customize the programs, it takes it out of a generalization and puts it in a real-time format for the employees so that they can recognize the different scenarios to help them better perform their positions,” says Cindy Fedde, training coordinator at Dorada Foods, a large poultry processor.
Workers tend to glaze over generic content when it doesn’t resonate, failing to commit important concepts to long-term memory. Incorporating food production-specific imagery and video from your workplace, even featuring your employees, can be an effective training method, which then translates into correct action on the floor. Advance course authoring software makes this easy to do with little to no technical background.
Challenge #4: Verifying Training Occurred and Was Understood
Here’s the deal with food safety training: Just because it happened doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. It’s one thing to get all employees onboarded, but documenting that training occurred—and was understood—presents a new set of challenges entirely. Tracking training manually can be time-consuming and invites inaccuracies. Yet, according to the Global Food Safety Training Survey, 66 percent of the food companies that responded say they still use paper-based documentation to track training, and more than half use Excel.