Talking about Change

Talking about Change

We are back, fellow Food-Biters!

After a much-needed Easter break we are refreshed and ready to roll.

As promised, our theme over the next few weeks will cover various aspects of change management.  The idea is to look at the various food safety standards and use these requirements as a basis to develop systems that help us cope with change.

The ISO 22000:2018 Standard details the requirements for a change management system in clause 6.3 – Planning of changes.  BRCGS and IFS literally touch on change management and reference events that would trigger a change but only ISO 22000:2018 stipulates that changes should be communicated and carried out in a planned manner.

One of the first mistakes we make when change is affected, is that we neglect to communicate.  Whether the change involves the introduction of new technology, an update of existing processes, staff, or leadership changes, change communication is what gets people moving from where we are today to where we want to be tomorrow.

Sometimes the changes are confidential in nature and the last thing we want to do is communicate the wrong things to the wrong people at the wrong time.  This is why communication of changes needs to take place on different platforms ensuring that the content we communicate is suitable for the audience.  The best way to do this is to use the existing communication structures such as production, new product development, food safety team and management meetings.  Usually, these meetings are attended by staff from various departments, including supervisory and management levels.  Make change management an agenda item in each of these forums and involve participants in proactively identifying changes that need to be managed to ensure the production of safe food.

Of course, our notice boards are valuable communication tools too – but don’t expect too much from this type of communication especially if the notice boards are cluttered and are known to contain outdated information.  Create a section on a notice board where ONLY CHANGES are communicated and make sure that the information is presented in a manner that will catch people’s attention.

Some of us are fortunate enough to have screens/TVs in our factories and canteens.  What a wonderful communication tool!  As staff enjoy their lunch, they can watch a short video about a new product which is being developed and will launch soon…

To a certain extent the impact of the change will determine the intensity of the communication strategy.  Big changes = a lot of communication and smaller changes = less communication.  We have seen flyers distributed with pay slips, road shows, promotional gear, screen savers and many, many more initiatives all in the name of effectively communicating change!

Keep talking!

From the Food Bites Team

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