Food safety training has made great strides in the last several years — especially in onboarding — as
more companies recognize the role strong
employee engagement plays in successful
Yet, a big opportunity still exists to
increase engagement and ensure initial
training is applied long after onboarding
is finished: refresher trainings. These
reinforcements can be delivered in
several ways, and should be designed to
maximize effectiveness and minimize time
off the floor.
Holding short learning sessions ( 5-7
minutes), or “bursts,” that reinforce
initial onboarding keeps key concepts
top of mind by creating a continuous
learning environment. Among most food
manufacturers, however, finding the time
for refreshers is easier said than done.
According to the latest Global Food Safety
Training Survey, the top three food safety
training challenges are scheduling time
for training, verifying effective training and
organizing refresher training.
Finding the time for training is always a
significant challenge, as it often cuts into
production hours. This is one reason why
many training programs rely heavily on
onboarding to deliver key safety concepts.
Unfortunately, this “spray and pray”
method of training, which amounts to
showering the employee with
important messaging and hoping it sticks,
means some critical information may slip
through the cracks. Refresher training that
repeats and reinforces knowledge
is more likely to remain “fresh” in the
minds of employees, resulting in smart
action at work.
It’s not surprising that the same
research also finds that “late or lack
of refresher training” is among the
most frequent training deficiencies
cited in audits. To combat this, forward-thinking companies are looking beyond
traditional one-way methods of training
to using multi-channel methods, like
breakroom videos and mobile supervisor
The Global Food Safety Training Survey
also reports that more than three quarters
of food companies still rely on written
materials to train frontline employees.
Unfortunately, this method is often
ineffective because today’s workforce
learns differently. Modern workers rely on
technology and digital tools for gaining
knowledge. They experience more
distractions, and learn best when made to
interact by demonstrating understanding.
A multi-channel approach that
incorporates refresher training is your
best bet. Effective reinforcement can be
conducted in several ways:
• Mini-videos played on a continuous
loop in breakrooms and other high-traffic areas.
• Eye-catching, multi-lingual posters that
rotate to feature known trouble areas.
• “Huddle guides” that offer scripts for
supervisors to emphasize important
concepts before or during shifts.
• Mobile coaching tools that equip
supervisors with pre-scheduled
“observations” to verify — and
reward — correct behaviors.
The sum result of these refreshers
is magnified when each component is
coordinated to the same topics and
“We use posters, digital videos and
huddle guides, along with monthly training,
to really reinforce topics that we cover
and drive the safety culture throughout
our organization,” said Amanda Moss, HR
manager of food manufacturer Chudleigh’s.
Chudleigh’s isn’t the only food
manufacturer seeing success from a
continuous learning environment. When
Green Valley Pecan Company implemented
regular refresher trainings, the company
experienced a 17 percent increase in
training retention across its workforce. More
importantly, it saw a 36 percent increase in
knowledge retention among workers who
needed it most. Overall, leading companies
that incorporate refreshers into their training
programs see the best results.
Holly Mockus is a Senior Product Manager
at Alchemy Systems.
Training Beyond Onboarding: Filling
The Gaps In Food Manufacturing
By Holly Mockus
An example of a huddle guide being used by a supervisor to engage his
team and reinforce training.