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Modern day management is seeing a shift in paradigm. Organizations that value food safety and quality rely on forward thinking managers to manage people, processes, and priorities simultaneously. In addition to this, federal agencies such the Food Standards Agency, U.K., are requiring food businesses to obtain evidences of management commitment within their established Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems. Over the years, strong management commitment, or the lack thereof, has proven to directly impact the effectiveness of a food safety and quality system. With more food establishments aligning themselves globally, thanks to integrated systems such as blockchain, there is a growing need for leadership to demonstrate their commitment to food safety and quality. While it is challenging to directly measure commitment, below are a few examples that illustrate how leaders can positively impact an organization.
Lead by Example
Rules are blind to title. During my past experiences as a third-party auditor, I found it counterintuitive to witness a few supervisors or managers skip certain rules or procedures such as washing their hands, utilizing a hairnet, wearing the required personal protective equipment, etc., even though there were policies visibly displayed at the entry points to the facility. Leading by example reinforces the behavior that promotes good food safety culture.
Invest in Training and Coaching
Food safety and quality is purely technical. Yet, with the right approach, it can be made relatable to all learning groups. Since middle managers directly oversee the activities of front-line employees, it is important for them to support the learning and development initiatives that impact the staff. Blended learning solutions can ensure engagement as well. To supplement this, it is important for managers to coach their employees and teams to ensure clarity of both short-term and long-term goals. Traditionally, training is viewed as an annual event to obtain or renew required food safety licenses and/or certifications. Conversely, adaptive training is an environment wherein committed managers immerse themselves in learning with the employees to stay updated on current trends.
Allocate Sufficient Resources
Resources such as time, funding, space, technology, consulting expertise, etc., are pivotal to the development and maintenance of a management system. Committed managers balance business acumen with their understanding of risk mitigation, standard operation procedures, CCPs, and employee engagement. When done right, funds allocated to food safety and quality management is an investment, and not a cost.
About Judy Sebastian
Judy Sebastian, Food Quality & Safety's blogger, has a dual specialization in public health and safety and organizational development. Equipped with over 10 years of experience in food safety systems implementation, workplace culture assessments, and talent development strategies, she is passionate about global food culture and how it impacts our daily lives. Judy is a certified trainer and consultant with Dubai-based consultancy Apex Food Consultants and is currently based in Portland, Ore. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.