Training Time vs Quality Training? Key Issues for Successful Learning Outcomes

By Jennefer Griffith

There’s little doubt that food safety training is top-of-mind in any food business today but it can be tough to determine how best to put together a training program. Trainers and others in the food safety matrix are faced with the age old question of “quality versus quantity”—which should you put your money on? The answer could be “either.”

Let’s look at quality: lessons don’t have to be long to be effective. Can you think of a great, short song, and how it has stayed with you? That’s quality over quantity.

Sometimes quantity is the answer. You can’t teach someone to properly dismantle, clean, and reassemble a specialized piece of equipment with just a “Here are the tools, good luck” approach. And repetition can be an effective teaching tool, but it takes time.

That’s the mark of quality training: accessible and memorable, regardless of how much “quantity” is involved.

Perhaps a more pertinent question is, “How do you know when your employees are getting the most bang for your food safety training bucks?”

There are a few ways to tackle that question:

  • You could simply ask them if they got anything out of the training
  • You could test them to see what they’ve retained or
  • You could take the same course and see for yourself what value it has

It’s also a good idea to do an A/B type of assessment and put some employees through a long course, and others through a shorter version, and see which group performs better on a standardized evaluation.

Another alternative is to just wait and watch. See which employees perform better after training. Then you’ll know who “got it.”

Any training program you offer your employees should be succinct, with a carefully crafted message that employees will retain and be able to use on the job. That’s the mark of quality training: accessible and memorable, regardless of how much “quantity” is involved.

According to information from consulting and advisory firm Deloitte, employees only have about one per cent of their work week to commit to learning, and will only watch videos if they are less than four minutes long. This suggests that providing quality training in short spurts is the best way to approach learning in the workplace.

What do you have more of, time or money? Most people are going to say, “neither.” But we know one thing for sure, you can always get more money; you can’t get more time. Keep that in mind when you’re looking for a training solution; money wasted is one thing, time wasted is another. The two wasted together is a crying shame.

How do we get the value we need in the time we have? The Canadian rock band Trooper sang “We’re here for a good time, not a long time.” Keep that in mind with your training, pack a good message into a good amount of time, and you will have found the secret of training success.

About the Author
Jennefer Griffith is Executive Director for the Food Processing Human Resources Council (FPHRC) – the workforce and skills development non-profit organization for Canada’s food and beverage manufacturing industry. At FPHRC, food and beverage manufacturing businesses have access to the Canadian Food Processors Institute, which includes a portfolio
of food safety training resources, and the Skills Library for job descriptions, profiles, standards and competencies.