Unfortunately, employees are the most common culprits of food safety mistakes. Managers have a responsibility to ensure all workers are vigilant about good food safety practices. Whether it was an accident or not, errors must be corrected. Making corrections can seem difficult and confrontational, but following these five tips can help create a culture of reliable workers.
1. Create Strong, Professional Relationships with Employees
Having a good relationship with your employees can ensure they feel comfortable coming to you with issues. Communicate clearly what is happening within your establishment and be transparent with your employees. Working in an environment where respect goes both ways will help foster a culture that will make problems easier to fix.
Maintain a professional relationship while still having a positive attitude. While it is important to be on good terms with your employees, remember that you are still their manager. When problems arise, it is still your job to fix them. Positive relationships can help everyone, even when there are issues to be solved.
2. Set Clear Rules
Rules should be established to keep everyone safe. Communicate these rules to your employees. These rules should include who is allowed in food preparation areas, how to deal with allergens to avoid cross-contact, or what to do in case of cross-contamination.
Setting expectations can help avoid conflict and sets a standard for employees to know what behavior is acceptable.
3. Train Early and Often
Training your new employees in food safety early can help them avoid making mistakes that could endanger customers. Training is an important step in helping them learn your establishment’s system and can educate them to keep your customers safe. But training should not stop after the first few weeks.
Remind employees of the training they have received. Repetition is one of the most effective ways for people to learn. Consider adding training tips into your employee meetings. Read to them tips or articles about food safety. StateFoodSafety has many posters or cartoons that could be hung up to remind employees about concepts learned in training.
4. Be Approachable
As an employee, making a mistake can seem scary and letting your manager know can be downright terrifying. Give constructive criticism when mistakes are made. Let them know the severity of the situation while also giving them positive ways to fix it and move forward.
If an employee makes a mistake, pointing it out early and respectfully can help them fix it before it causes a big issue. One of the most respectful things you can do for your employees is to kindly give them ways to improve. If they aren’t aware of a problem, they can’t fix it.
Encourage other employees to speak up if they see something unacceptable. It shouldn’t be construed as betrayal, rather as a means to keep customers safe and healthy.
5. Keep Your Customers Safe
It’s up to you as a manager to give employees the tools to succeed with food safety. Your number one goal should be to keep the food safe for consumption. While it’s important to maintain good relationships, the most important thing to be mindful of is keeping food safe for customers.
Do your best to be positive and let your employees know that safety is a top priority, and offer criticism and suggestions when needed. If you know a food isn’t safe, don’t allow it to be served.
Being a manager is a lot of responsibility. It requires a watchful eye, but following these tips can help create a culture of reliability and food safety consciousness.
For more information and training tips, visit StateFoodSafety.com.