Effective Staff Training

You can have the best food safety and quality management system in place, but your practice needs to match your theory in order to achieve continual compliance towards your certification.


It is important to invest efficiently in the people who assist making your business a success. Poor people management or miscommunication opens a can of worms to issues such as improper handling of product, improper cleaning of equipment, physical contamination of product, equipment malfunctions, over usage of raw materials… the list is endless.


We have listed a few suggestions that can assist with an effective staff training program.


Language barrier

Ensure staff understand the main language being used in your business.  If there are language barriers, these barriers may be minimised with the use of images included in signs or standard operating procedures.  If necessary, ensure there is a staff member that can understand both the main language of the business and that of a particular staff member for ease of translation.


For further information on ensuring you are not breaking any ethical or human rights laws, please visit Human Rights Commission (if you’re from Victoria, click here).


Plan the staff training program

As the owner or part of top management of the business, the amount of investment lies with you.  Start with budget planning.  What is important to you?  What have you identified as human weakness that you believe can be eradicated or at the very least minimised with staff training?   Careful planning is required to ensure you stay within budget.


Examples of a training program:

  • Training schedule: A list of all elements that staff are required to know in order to produce product of a high quality standard and to ensure no risk to human health
  • Induction training: a quick overall of the company with basic elements of duties, responsibilities, food safety, OHS, and other necessary information
  • On the job training: develop a “buddy system” where a qualified long term staff member trains a newbie staff member
  • In depth training: staff meetings or one on one staff training of major elements of duties, responsibilities, food safety, OHS, and other necessary information
  • Refresher training: regular refresher training such as GMP requirements may occur annually


Documentation and on the job training

We all learn in different ways, therefore it is important that you provide a variety of methods to get your information across.  With documentation, use wording that you know would be understood by your staff and where possible, provide pictures or examples.


Ensure there is a mixture of written procedures (dot point and straight to the point works best), posters, signs, labels, five-minute staff meetings, communication book, and memos.


Colour coding is also effective.  For example, green for food safety documentation and posters, yellow for occupational health and safety, pink for human resources, and so forth.


Staff handling

Know your rights as an employer, as well as the rights of your employee.  Let this knowledge empower your business rather than feel obligated or restricted by legalisation.  Visit the website www.fairwork.gov.au and familiarise yourself with the dos and don’ts of staff handling, particularly during performance management.


Performance management

Performance management allows management to work with staff to ensure company policy and procedures are being adhered to.  It allows management to identify gaps in staff knowledge and to determine their commitment to colleagues, duties and responsibilities and the overall culture of the company.
For staff not abiding by company policy and procedures, ensure you have a strong and consistent performance management system in place.

Below is an example of order for the performance management program:

  • One on one discussions held with staff member, inclusive of mentoring/guidance/training of correct company policy or procedure
  • Second one on one discussion, as above; may also include asking staff member why they cannot abide by company policy or procedure, or if they can provide feedback on improvement to current company policy or procedure
  • Letter of warning
  • An objective witness may be required to be present for any further one on one meetings with staff member
  • Supervisor to monitor staff member to observe continuous improvement


All elements of any performance management should be documented and retained in the staff member’s human resource file.


What you need to provide an effective training program

  • Communication: Signs, labels, memos, standard operating procedures
  • Induction training: Initiation to be conducted by management to make the newbie feel welcomed, continued on by the buddy system, overseen by supervisor, with documentation forward on to the quality team
  • Ongoing training: Can be conducted by the supervisor or the buddy system
  • Refresher training: Can be conducted by the supervisor, management, or the food safety team to identify gaps in staff knowledge and to identify their level of commitment towards quality, food safety, company morale, OHS, colleagues, etc
  • Performance appraisals: Conducted by the supervisor as well as management.  Through the performance appraisal reporting, a tailored training program can be developed for the staff member to ensure compliance towards company policy and procedures
  • Performance management: Performance management demonstrates to staff that breaking the rules shall not be tolerated


Download document here: effective-staff-training-ed-01-30-09-16

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