Bridging the Training Divide in the Digital Era
Training is a vital piece of any industry. New employees may arrive with experience and knowledge, while others are brand new. Most companies have a set program of training for new and existing employees. However, high staff turnover and limited staffing have made it harder for companies to identify gaps in knowledge and address even the most essential topics like food safety and hygiene, and more advanced ones, such as HACCP and regulatory compliance.
What Is Considered a Must-Training Topic?
- Food Safety and Hygiene: Ensuring food is safe for consumption is critical. Many foodborne illnesses and outbreaks can be traced back to improper handling, storage, and food preparation. Training should cover food safety regulations, proper hygiene practices, cross-contamination prevention, and more.
- Regulatory Compliance: The food industry is heavily regulated to ensure public safety. Training gaps can arise when industry professionals are not up-to-date with the latest regulations and standards that govern food production, labeling, and distribution.
- Allergen Awareness and Management: Proper training on allergen awareness and management is crucial with the increasing prevalence of food allergies. Food industry workers must understand how to identify allergens, prevent cross-contact, and communicate accurate allergen information to consumers.
- Crisis Management: Food recalls, contamination incidents and other crises can happen. Training programs should cover crisis management protocols, communication strategies, and steps to mitigate potential damage to reputation and public health.
- Supply Chain Management: Understanding the complexities of supply chain management, including sourcing ingredients, transportation logistics, and inventory management, is essential for smooth operations and cost efficiency.
It is important to note that the training gaps can vary based on the specific segment of the food industry and regional factors.
Finding the Time
Having the time to conduct training is also an issue for many companies. Few facilities can spare employees for hours or days at a time for training.
What Is the Solution?
For front-line employees, short microbursts of learning that are 15-20 minutes long are ideal. Streaming videos or self-paced eLearning are easy to implement and will take only a few chunks of time away from the floor.
For supervisors and managers, a combination of self-paced eLearning that can be completed as time permits and virtual training allows for the flexibility they often need.
A good training program will consist of courses that scaffold knowledge. This “scaffolding” of knowledge will help employees at all levels better understand what they are learning and how they are connected.
Silliker University’s Food Safety and Quality Professional Program is designed to assist companies and their employees in filling that gap, finding the time, and building knowledge.