One of the biggest challenges a training manager faces each day is how to get employees excited about training. Training is an essential part of any food service or hospitality role, and for many, it is also required for employment.
So, how does one get employees excited about training? And what, if anything, can training managers do to ensure that employee motivation stays high during the training process and after it is completed?
Here are some of the top ways to get employees excited about training:
1. Explain the importance of the training
If employees understand why the training is such an important part of their role or the organization, they’ll be more likely to engage – especially if there are compliance regulations around it. Many food workers are required by the federal or provincial governments to complete food safety training in order to be eligible to work. Additionally, food businesses that do not have fully compliant staff could face penalties. So, it is in the interest of both the employee and the organization to get any training done.
Training managers should ensure they’re fully explaining the reasoning behind the training so, regardless of the need, employees are being included in the process and not made to feel like they’re simply being given an order.
2. Make training part of your food safety culture
Workplace culture has become an increasingly important factor in an individual’s decision to join and stay with a company. Given the high cost of employee turnover, more and more businesses are enhancing their efforts to build a strong workplace culture in order to engage and retain staff.
In the 2022 LinkedIn Employee Well-being Report, “Opportunities to Learn and Grow” was number one on the list of top drivers of work culture, up a whopping eight positions from 2019 to the end of 2021.
According to Justin Black, Head of LinkedIn People Science, “Employees need to feel a sense of purpose at work. They need to see their skills put to good use and in a way that’s personally meaningful. They’re also eager to increase their impact by learning new skills.”
Building a strong food safety culture that includes learning and development will ensure your staff feel good about coming to work each day, and feel like they are making an impact. What’s more, an organization with a strong food safety culture sees additional benefits in employee effectiveness. Employees understand expectations and know how to do their jobs properly, follow proper procedures even if it’s more difficult to do so (or when no one is watching), and are engaged and encouraged to report food safety concerns to management, which in turn ensures customer safety and protects the business.
3. Give your staff the time to complete training
Time is often one of the biggest barriers to completing training. In order to ensure your staff are excited to take the training and don’t feel like it’s one more burden in their already busy schedules, ensure you’re giving them the time to complete it. This may include blocking off a set amount of time during their shift, or paying for overtime if staff is expected to complete it outside their regular working hours. Either way, ensure staff aren’t rushed, are given adequate time (and breaks, if needed) so they don’t feel like their time is being wasted or infringed upon.
4. Make training easy and accessible
Training managers should also ensure that the training program is easy and accessible, and be mindful about the amount of time it takes. The easier the training is – both to access and complete – the more excited employees will be to get it done. E-learning is a great training method that allows training managers to check all the boxes on accessibility, ease and timing.
At the Canadian Institute of Food Safety, we strongly believe in efficient, accessible and thorough training. Our Food Handler Certification Course is 100% online and can be completed in just a few hours. Our e-training technology is easy to use, and keeps the learner engaged, ensuring the material will be retained once the course has been completed. Plus, we offer business solutions that make staff training even easier to set up – a big plus for training managers.
5. Tie training to job advancement and promotion
Staff are more likely to stay at a company longer if they see a clear trajectory to advance. Training managers should connect training and skill development accordingly. For example, food handlers could advance to become food supervisors with training courses designed for different role types. Barbacks who complete alcohol server training are that much better equipped to become bartenders. Understanding the potential for advancement will provide an extra incentive to staff to engage in and complete the required training.
While it may be a challenging task, it’s important for training managers to remember that focusing on how to get employees excited about training will have benefits above and beyond the completion of the training itself. Not only will the workforce be more skilled, but training improves productivity, efficiency, and workplace engagement. It also allows training managers to identify gaps in training programs or employees’ abilities, which in turn, will further strengthen your team after being addressed. Lastly, don’t forget that an employee who is developed has a greater likelihood of staying in your food business, which will save money and time in the long run.