It takes a village to keep our employees, guests, and communities safe. Creating an organizational culture centered around food safety begins with creating a system of shared values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors at the top level. It also requires commitment from top leadership.
Food safety culture involves creating an environment where food safety is a top priority and all team members—from leadership to front and back of the house employees—are committed to ensuring that the food provided to guests is safe.
Optimizing your food safety culture through the intersection of technology, human resources and people strategy is critical to gaining a competitive advantage. When developing or re-imagining a food safety culture, it’s important to create a people strategy for your organization that is focused on recruiting and developing individuals with drive and passion who already have or have the willingness to gain knowledge, skills and experience of food safety practices. Additionally, providing ongoing training and education to ensure that employees are aware of the latest food safety practices and regulations should be an integral part of workforce development.
Developing a strong food safety culture requires a multi-prong approach that includes:
- People strategy. This is the way a business or organization manages its workforce. In the food industry, this can include hiring, training employees, and developing employee engagement and compensation programs. A well-though-out people strategy can help organizations attract, recruit, and retain top talent, build a strong company culture, and improve overall business performance.
- Technology helps to support the people strategy by streamlining processes, reducing manual labor, and improving employee engagement. Food businesses using tools such as automated scheduling, workforce management tools, digital training, and development tools to upskill employees can improve efficiency, reduce labor costs, and provide their team members with the knowledge and resources needed to excel in their individual roles. Leveraging technology to support food safety and the overall people strategy can improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance the experience of customers by delivering high-quality service and products.
- An organization’s human resources strategy plays a critical role in developing and maintaining the food safety culture. Owners, operators and HR professionals should work closely together to develop policies and procedures to promote food safety that include training programs, performance metrics, accountability procedures and incentive systems to reward safe practices.
- Maintaining a food safety culture built around accountability and open and clear channels of communication and encouragement, allows employees to report food safety concerns without fear of retaliation. In this environment employees feel more comfortable both raising concerns and trusting that their concerns will be taken seriously and addressed promptly.
Businesses that prioritize food safety culture, people strategy, human resources and technology can create a competitive advantage in the food industry.
Hetler, A. (2022). The future of the food industry: Food tech explained. https://www.techtarget.com/whatis/feature/The-future-of-the-food-industry-Food-tech-explained
Febes, C. (2020). A Well-Rounded Restaurant Staffing Strategy Includes New Technology. Forbes
Mulligan, S. (2018). HR 2025: 7 Critical Strategies to Prepare for the Future of HR Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)