To overcome these, follow the best practices of leading companies:
Challenge: Scheduling Time for Training
• Align training with production. Instead of 2-3 days of intense onboarding training, spread it over two to three weeks. The employee gets the critical safety basics down and gets on the production floor quickly. The training then continues on more advanced topics.
• Take advantage of down-time. Provide employees with access to e-learning through training kiosks in breakrooms and HR offices. Short 5- to 15-minute bursts of training can improve engagement and learning retention. One Canadian food processor experienced a 20% increase in passing rates when integrating instructor-led onboarding with training kiosks.
• Implement shorter sessions. Because today’s employees are easily distracted due to rapidly changing technologies and constant connectivity, this can help sharpen focus and increase retention of important messages while minimizing time off the floor.
• Example: “We provide monthly food safety training for all employees that describes our food safety vision and highlights a few specific GMPs that are top of mind.”
Challenge: Verifying Effective Training
• Automate documentation and reporting. Implement a learning management system (LMS) that combines digital sign-ins with a verification process. This also helps companies identify workers who need more attention. This is especially helpful at facilities with large workforces or companies with multiple facilities.
• Incorporate adult learning. To drive training effectiveness, use active learning which requires the trainee to do something every few minutes to demonstrate his or her understanding, and facility-specific content with a structured program of one-on-one, on-the-floor coaching and corrective actions.
• Example: “We use quizzes at the training opportunities to have documentation of training as an audit requirement. But more importantly, (Lean) Gemba walks are used to see at the shop floor level what employees are doing.”
Challenge: Organizing Refresher Training
• Bring it up to date. Take refreshing training from the old-style “nice to have” to today’s “need for knowledge” of increasingly complex regulatory and compliance requirements by making it a critical part of the learning plan.
• Use multiple methods. Incorporate team huddles, e-learning, digital signs, and posters to reinforce key safety messages. One company that deployed a structured refresher training program experienced a 17% increase in knowledge retention across its workforce and had a 36% increase in knowledge retention among workers who’d scored lower in the onboarding tests.
• Example: “The best food safety system is meaningless without proper dissemination and buy-in from all employees. We always stress how important a part all employees have in providing a safe product for our customers. Speaking monthly on food safety ensures that food safety is front of mind for all employees.”