Today’s business environment is more challenging than
ever for anyone trying to create a strong food safety culture.
With the economic forces of increased M&A activity, zero-based budgeting focuses, changing demographics, and the
transformation in the traditional employer-employee contract,
there are compelling influences that make it difficult to engage an organization’s leadership and employees in instituting
and sustaining a food safety culture. This requires different
approaches in this climate to be successful. Many companies
have tackled these same issues and have developed successful
approaches to deal with these challenges. There are common
threads among those successful organizations around leadership alignment, role-specific expectations, active communication, incentive/disincentive programs, heavily supported education, and employee engagement efforts. While there is no
one-size-fits-all approach, we can learn from those companies
that have succeeded and pick and choose the programs that
would best be utilized in our own organizations.
Beyond the recommended activities, we reiterate three key
themes that resonate with all and should be remembered:
o Keep it simple. Make sure the message is easy enough to be
well understood and communicated effortlessly. Ensure that
you aren’t trying to do too much. Limit the objectives to ensure you don’t make it too complex and confusing.
o Make it specific. Ensure that you cascade expectations down
so that they touch each individual. Make sure that they’re role
specific, so each person understands their part of the change
and you get everyone engaged. Don’t leave the expectations
o Communicate, communicate, communicate. Use every available
method to communicate the message. Never underestimate
how much communication a culture change requires. Over-communicate! n
Charlean Gmunder is former vice president, manufacturing, prepared meat for
Maple Leaf Foods. Bill Cunningham, M.B.A., is dean of SugarCreekU.
5. Ball, B, A Wilcock, and M Aung. 2009. “Factors Influencing Workers
to Follow Food Safety Management Systems in Meat Plants in Ontario,
Canada.” Int J Environ Health Res 19( 3):201–218.
6. Groysberg, B, et al. 2017. “How to Shape Your Culture.” Harvard Business Review.
7. Ebbinghaus, H. Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology
CATALYS T FOR SUCCESS
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