The crucial long-term benefits of employee training can often be underestimated by food businesses.More than 80% of respondents to the 2014 Global Food Safety Training Survey reported that effective employee training delivers an improved food safety culture.
Food manufacturers and processors at more than 25,000 sites worldwide were invited to take part in Global Food Safety Training 2014, the second benchmarking survey conducted by Campden BRI and Alchemy in partnership with SGS, SQF and the BRC.
The results reveal that more than 60% of respondents are satisfied, or very satisfied with the quality and quantity of training activities undertaken in the past year. When asked to compare the quality of training undertaken, to the previous year, 37% described it as better, just 1% felt that quality was worse.
Food safety training supports business development and employee personal development, as well as compliance with GFSI, regulatory and client specific standards. However, the most important training goals identified in the survey were the development of an organisation’s food safety culture, followed by delivering safe, wholesome products, ensuring effective employee performance and promoting positive behaviour changes.
Underlining the importance of training and up-skilling a workforce, and despite difficult global trading conditions, 37% of respondents reported an increase in the quantity of training undertaken. 

A trained workforce improves product quality

Measuring the success of any training programme is key to understanding its value to the business, its employees and stakeholders. In this survey, more than 60% of respondents said they measure success by product quality. A trained workforce improves product quality, internal measures are achieved and complaints are reduced. Product safety and employee performance/behaviour were the next most frequently used measures.
Training is about more than ‘ticking boxes’ in an audit. Hence, the survey asked how an employee’s learning was measured, as well as how the benefits were measured over the longer term. The two most popular ways for employers to evaluate a person’s understanding of a training activity are by completion of a quiz and the simple act of recording attendance. Other evaluation methods include on- the-job reviews, measuring performance/behaviour, formal examination and post course assignments.
For longer term evaluation, almost 80% of respondents measure sustained positive food safety behaviour through their internal audit programme. Other popular methods, used by more than 50% of respondents, include tracking/trending of food safety objectives, as well as observation and measurement by supervisors. 

Most important training goals

Results suggest that effective training has helped many organisations achieve their most important goals. More than 80% of respondents say that effective employee training has improved their food safety culture. Other benefits identified include improved product quality and fewer mistakes, fewer food safety incidents and a reduction in customer complaints.
As in any industry, training in the food industry faces obstacles to deliver success. By far the biggest training challenge identified by respondents is making time available for staff, away from their everyday responsibilities, to participate in training activities.

About the Global Food Safety Training Survey

Responses were invited from 25,000 food manufacturers and processors around the globe. The questionnaire covered many aspects of the business including its size, location and sector. It explored which individuals take responsibility for training, how it is documented and managed, training types and topics, success measurement and selection criteria for providers
For more information please visit the Global Food Safety Training Survey 2014.

Training from SGS Academy

SGS Academy delivers professional, consistent and globally accepted training courses around the world. For details of our comprehensive food safety training courses, please visit SGS Training Courses and Seminars page.