By Vikas Menon
While establishing a strong food safety culture is often a critically important task for the food safety team to lead, there is an important role for the human resources (HR) department to play as well.
In addition to screening for and cultivating employees who support food safety, HR plays a crucial role in opening the lines of communication about food safety within the organization and effectively communicating organizational food safety expectations across the organization. Their involvement in establishing and fostering a strong food safety culture cannot be overlooked.
By first partnering with HR to prioritize food safety through the hiring process, they can serve as highly visible leaders in the development and maintenance of your food safety culture.
For instance, when HR understands the importance of food safety culture, that will be reflected in the way they work with new hires. By also beneficially explaining the “why” behind food safety practices, they can play a significant role in cultivating food safety among employees from day one, while then nourishing those beliefs across the organization.
You can also then work with HR to develop a plan to effectively communicate the organization’s food safety and quality expectations through the appropriate internal tools and channels. This could include team meetings, spot briefings, short huddles, mentoring, food safety circle meetings, and awards and recognition. These should be delivered in a way that is not only informative and interactive, but also affirming of the culture you are working to create.
Vikas Menon is a food safety professional at AIB International.