No matter the size of the company, food and beverage manufacturers should take employee training seriously. Not only does effective training help you create a quality product, but it also helps keep employees safe on the job, increase employee production and efficiency, and improve employee retention and job satisfaction.
Additionally, the food and beverage industry is dictated by strict regulations like Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), HACCP, ISO 22000, FSSC 22000, and FDA labeling requirements. Keeping your employees trained on your quality processes can help you meet compliance and avoid regulatory fines. We’ve compiled four best practices to help your company improve the efficiency and impact of your employee training processes. Read on to learn more.
1. Define and Understand Your Training Goals
The first step your company should take when creating an employee training program is to outline and communicate your training goals. To begin this process, consider what your employees’ training needs are and what gaps exists in their current job performance. Ask your management level workers if they notice any negative trends in their team’s knowledge and use that information to put together a comprehensive list of areas to focus on.
Once this gap assessment is complete, define your expected training outcomes and develop key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your employees’ progress. These training outcomes are the measurable goals trainees are expected to accomplish by the end of your training program. They help you determine how well your training strategy worked for your employees and demonstrate the areas you may need to revisit during your next training cycle.
When creating your desired training outcomes and choosing your KPIs, be sure to be specific and leave nothing to interpretation. To do so, consider using the SMART method when writing your objectives to ensure they’re specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely:
Having a detailed plan for how your objectives will be measured, tracked, and stored is necessary for a comprehensive training plan that will benefit your employees.2.
2. Utilize Employee Opinions
It’s important to take your employees’ opinions into account when formulating your training program. This can be done in a few different ways. First, meet them where they are. Before you choose what method of training you’re going to offer, find out what technology your employees have access to and poll your team on how they want to learn. Then, use that information to choose one or several training approaches. These are some of the most popular training method options:
- Written training materials
- Video-based training
- One-on-one training
- In person instructor-led training
- Mentoring, shadowing, and/or on the job training (OJT)
- Online training materials
Secondly, be open to feedback during or after training is completed. Once your employees have started their training journeys, check in to see if they’re liking the method you’ve chosen or if there’s possibility for improvement. If your employees point out that something in the training process isn’t working, it’s important to take that advice and make adjustments to create a training strategy that fits with their needs.3. Encourage Continuous Training
Even after your training program is completed, your work is far from over. In order to ensure your employees are fully knowledgeable you need to promote and reward continuous learning beyond the initial training cycle. Here are a few methods to make continuous training a reality:
- Prioritize learning goals: Your employees are busy. So, it’s natural for training objectives to fall to the side while they try to meet their productivity goals. To prevent this, make learning goals tangible by discussing individual learning KPIs and milestones with each employee during their performance reviews. Make a point to reward them for focusing on continued learning.
- Provide flexible training options: After the initial training cycle is over, be sure to make your employees aware of the various other training options available to them. If they were trained on webinars, maybe they’d like to try OTJ training or a one-on-one session for a topic they may have had trouble understanding. If you fit the training to the employee, they’ll be much more likely to prioritize learning.
- Perform casual learning check-ins: One of the easiest and most economical ways to encourage continuous training is to personally check in. Check-ins help employees appreciate how they’ve been growing through their work and training. Try adding a learning check into your department meetings, or even work them into your routine company-wide emails.
- Build a library of learning resources: If you begin compiling a library of various training resources and your employees know these resources exist, they’ll be more likely to utilize them. Make this resource database readily available, digital, and well-organized so your team doesn’t need to waste their time tracking various documents down.
With the world becoming increasingly digital and fast-paced, food and beverage organizations are opting more and more for online training options. One reason for this is that online training is often more effective than traditional learning because it gives your employees flexibility. Since they can open study videos when they have time to, there’s no need to attend classes in person.
Additionally, certain online training resources that are built with document control capabilities offer database benefits. Your documents will become centrally located, enabling you to define training requirements based on job title, manage rosters, test comprehension, and track the results of training events all in one place. Your company will be provided the tools needed to deliver training to all your employees, whether they’re in your office or across the world and confidently demonstrate your training compliance to auditors within a few clicks.
Food and beverage companies who prioritize their employee training process benefit significantly in the long run. They retain employees, save money, and meet their regulatory and quality goals. By creating specific training objectives, utilizing employee opinions, encouraging continuous training, and investing in online resources your company can ensure that your training process is thorough and valuable for both your employees and your business.
Contact DocXellent today to learn how our ENSUR Document Management System (DMS) can streamline every aspect of your employee training process.