Food safety training is critical for preventing contamination and foodborne illnesses that harm not only the health of consumers but also your brand’s reputation and bottom line. However, whether due to the pressures from the labor shortage or demands for higher productivity, food manufacturing employees may not always effectively apply their food safety training in their day-to-day work.

To close the gap, it’s important to find strategies to maximize the impact of food safety training for frontline employees. Here are four tips to help you get started.

1. Provide on-the-floor coaching

On-the-floor coaching provided by either a manager or supervisor is a great way to make sure employees are applying their training and being held accountable for any lapses.

The best way to implement an effective on-the-floor coaching program is by training leaders to provide feedback on food safety practices by frontline employees. Rather than offering criticism when something goes wrong or negatively calling out nonconformances, they should offer constructive and corrective feedback that ties actions back to broader food safety principles. Tactful coaching requires a mix of good communication, reinforcement, and teaching skills, as well as the ability to quickly identify food safety risks.

One solution is AIB International’s PCQI training program, designed to upskill your facility’s managers or supervisors. Developed by a team of PCQI food safety professionals, the course helps leaders develop the necessary skills, knowledge, and competencies to go above and beyond compliance.

2. Create training reinforcement materials

All too often, facilities have complex SOPs written in jargon-heavy language that requires effort to contextualize in day-to-day frontline operations, making food safety a barrier to overcome rather than simple top-of-mind knowledge.

Consider reinforcing training using simple materials, such as digital signage or posters placed in high-traffic areas that quickly communicate fast facts and key concepts using images and callouts. Rotating different visuals can also keep skills fresh and attention-worthy.

Similarly, providing frontline employees with easy-to-use food safety checklists and handouts rather than hefty training manuals can help them easily find the information they need — the more easily digestible the content, the better.

3. Choose the right training provider

To maximize the benefits of food safety training, you must ensure it’s delivered properly in the first place. Nobody enjoys days-long sessions with little interactivity; instead, choose a course that is more agile and hands-on for frontline employees. We recommend keeping these features in mind:

  • Microlearning modules that are easy for employees to digest on busy days, such as AIB’s Food Safety Essentials course made up of 15 half-hour lessons. By breaking up large chunks of information into bite-sized pieces, frontline workers can better retain what they’ve learned on any given day.
  • Performance support, such as quizzes, to ensure frontline employees are truly internalizing new knowledge while you determine whether additional training is needed. They’re also a great way to reinforce core concepts over time.
  • Personalized training, whether virtual or in-person, for your facility to better apply information to requirements and workflows in frontline employees’ day-to-day work.

4. Provide continuous learning opportunities

The world of food safety is ever-changing, and frontline employees must stay up-to-date on the latest best practices and requirements. As a result, consider providing continuous training, learning opportunities, and resources to ensure your facility’s food safety is up to standard.

One of the best ways to do that? By partnering with AIB. Our training is designed to help frontline employees feel more empowered to maintain high standards of food safety — learn more about our food safety training programs today.

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