Digital Transformation Tips to Improve Your Food Safety Culture
It’s become a cliché, but we all know what it means when we hear “there’s an app for that,” referring to taking a physical process and making it digital. While the digital evolution has been widespread, sometimes it takes longer for businesses to pivot their existing systems, such as with digital audit tools. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst to more rapidly move away from paper-oriented processes toward a digital format as organizations seek to facilitate information sharing and quickly adapt to fast-moving regulations.
If you’ve been hesitant to move processes to a digital format, now might be the time as we see the convergence of two important trends — the rising efficiencies of digital audit tools and an increased focus on food safety culture.
One concrete step is moving your in-store processes and other quality management systems from manual to digital, thus allowing more frequent checks and better visibility into how your food safety culture is performing. If you’re planning to initiate a move, here are some digital transformation tips to help you achieve buy-in.
1. Show your commitment first.
As we discussed in a recent post on boosting your organization’s food safety culture, the adoption of any new tool must start with a top-down focus. After all, if you don’t believe in a new tool like a mobile auditing app, neither will your team.
That includes becoming well-versed on the ins and outs of the safety assessment checklists and digital audit tools through firsthand experience. By knowing how the mobile auditing app works yourself, you can introduce them and underscore the benefits with authentic enthusiasm, as well as answer practical usage questions your team will have.
2. Position it as an addition or upgrade, not a replacement to your current process and systems.
Let your team know that your store’s goals remain the same. With the new mobile app, you are taking what you already do and just improving on it. It helps to focus on the value digital audit tools can provide, beyond just serving as an assessment or checklist tool.
Show your team how it will enhance your food safety culture by offering:
- Better visibility: With more complete and frequent assessments, inspections, and audits, you can help bolster customer confidence in your health and safety protocols, a key consideration in the post-COVID-19 environment.
- More helpful training opportunities: Your employees are grappling with a number of new procedures designed to increase health and safety, and this allows for more through and consistent training.
- Faster corrective action: Mobile auditing apps encourage you to conduct audits and inspections more consistently, and then provide instant feedback on failed items so you can work with your team to fix the issue and review how to avoid it.
3. Help employees feel “ownership” of the new system.
While the goal is to encourage adoption, the key is in the tone. Even if change is eventually positive, it’s human nature to be resistant. However, a new option is more acceptable if the user determines it’s something that benefits them. So, instead of “mandating” use with a directive, show the value and build a passion that will inspire your team to want to use a mobile auditing app.
Start by explaining why digital audit tools are important — namely, to help achieve a more robust food safety culture. Focus on the benefits a positive food safety culture offers them specifically, including more personal safety, a more collaborative team spirit, and better store performance, which is positive for everyone. And then explain how mobile auditing apps can make their jobs easier and help keep them and customers safe.
Finally, remember that everyone likes acknowledgement: Consider implementing a reward system based on adoption, perhaps a small gift or a special pin they can wear. But make it clear that the reward isn’t based on results, but rather for giving the new system a try. Chances are good that once they try it, they will realize how intuitive and beneficial the digital audit tools are.
Looking for affordable, convenient digital solutions to help boost your food safety culture in the post-COVID-19 world? Find out more about our checklists and training solutions that can help you stabilize your business with an increased emphasis on health and safety.