When it comes to finding a food safety training solution, most companies look for an off-the-shelf option. It’s easier, and often cheaper, to buy training courses for your employees than to create your own training program from scratch. Buying training off the shelf also allows you to pick and choose courses that meet the local regulatory requirements.
For years at StateFoodSafety, we focused exclusively on providing off-the-shelf training. We did everything we could to create training that was effective, affordable, and regulatory-approved, and our efforts paid off! Being able to provide food safety training in more areas of the United States than any other provider is something our clients have found to be essential. It’s also a huge reason why they pick us from so many available options.
But there are downsides to off-the-shelf training. Not only is there no good way to incorporate company-specific practices or guidelines into a course created by somebody else, it just doesn’t have the same feel as an in-house training program. That’s why some companies decide to develop and run their own training program.
The benefits and challenges of in-house training
When you create your own training program, not only can you present food safety information to your employees in a way that’s more relevant to them, you can customize it to match your company brand. Many large companies find this sort of training helpful in reinforcing their food safety culture.
Aside from the cost of investing your own time and resources into training, the main issue with this process is course accreditation/approval. Most of these company-developed courses do not go through the same approval processes as the courses provided by training companies like StateFoodSafety.
At first glance, it may seem like you have to choose one set of benefits over another: the ease and affordability of off-the-shelf training or the customized feel of an in-house program. But what if the gap between off-the-shelf and in-house training could be bridged?
Bridging the gap between off-the-shelf and customized training
Over the past five years, StateFoodSafety has worked to build on the trends we’ve been seeing in food safety training across the industry to provide training that is both customized and regulatory-approved to a variety of different customers.
With our customizable off-the-shelf training option, not only can you meet all state and local regulations, you can also reinforce your own brand’s food safety culture.
The following are some customizations we’ve made to courses for our corporate partners:
- Entirely custom course with avatars wearing your company uniforms, doing things that your employees would do regularly
- Custom introductions for each training section in which team members from your company introduce the topic and why it matters specifically to your employees
- Custom slides that teach about unique topics or clarify internal company practices
- Changing the order in which employee information is collected in order to match your company’s HR processes
- Changing our certificate delivery method so that certificates are emailed not just to the student but also to their manager
- The ability to add certificates obtained from other food safety training companies to our system so that you can manage all certificates in one place
- Redirect students to approved training in the few areas where a health department has its own training program
- Added functionality and tracking in our LMS to view seat time for each student in order for your company to get an average seat time for each of your employees
- Flexible LMS integration processes (we’ve integrated with nearly two dozen Learning Management Systems to meet our clients’ needs!)
- Reporting integration that allows your company’s LMS or HR system to pull training reports
- Creating an autofill option for addresses so that all food handler cards get sent to company headquarters or the employee’s store in areas where the health department mails out official cards
- Custom fields added to our registration process in order to track things important to your company, like an employee ID number
- Custom monthly training snapshots that give you a broad overview of information that matters to you
- Ability to limit our collection of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to meet your company’s information security standards
- Custom and flexible billing options
- Creating retail-specific course modifications
- The ability to mix and match any of the above options!
It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive of what we can do, just some examples of modifications we’ve made to our courses to meet our clients’ needs over the years.
Whether you want a completely customized course that looks like you built it internally while still meeting local jurisdictional requirements, or you just need us to capture an employee ID in our registration process, we can do it!
If you’re looking into either purchasing off-the-shelf training or developing a training program in house for your employees, please don’t hesitate to ask what is possible. You may be surprised at how affordably and how quickly your ideal training process can be set up for you.
Contact us today to see if your dream training setup is possible!
— Thomas Larsen