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Make-Up Training with a Language Barrier

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Posted 28 April 2020 - 01:40 PM

We are a small company with about 80 employees.  We have a fairly extensive annual re-training program and typically do each of our "Big 9" trainings separately - usually done during a weekly pre-shift meeting.  (With quizzes and the like)


HACCP/Food Defense/SQF/FS Policy/GMPs/Handwashing/Sanitation/Foreign Material Control/Allergens


We have training materials on each in both English and Spanish as well as quizzes. 


We're very pleased with the results of separating these trainings vs. trying to mash them all into one intense session.  We've found it's increased employee awareness and long-term understanding by focusing on one topic/Significantly related topics at a time.  (Example:  We do SQF and the FS policy at one time, GMPs and Handwashing together, etc.) 


That said - the challenge has been make-up trainings, as due to a weekly schedule (employees work 4-10s 5 days a week), anywhere from 8-15 employees (most of which are Spanish speaking) miss each session.  I am not fluent enough in Spanish to do the make-up training without a translator, and due to reading comprehension concerns (or lack of ability to read) we don't feel that just giving everyone who misses the training material to read and take a quiz on will be effective.  Currently this has fallen on our production supervisor, which frankly the task is too large for this given his other responsibilities.  


So that leaves us with a few options (that I've thought of).  1)  Scale back our training 2)  Hire someone with enough free time who can translate/facilitate the training 3) use some other system, like videos, to do the make-up training. 


So that said - has anyone else tackled an issue like this?  What was your ultimate decision as to how to address?  Any low cost video/online suggestions?  (I've strongly considered making our own in English and Spanish, but again - comes down to a time thing.)   


Thanks in advance!







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Posted 28 April 2020 - 03:44 PM

So that said - has anyone else tackled an issue like this?  What was your ultimate decision as to how to address?  Any low cost video/online suggestions?  (I've strongly considered making our own in English and Spanish, but again - comes down to a time thing.)   




Yes, and found it a lot easier to make the time to do your own video trainings vs. outsourcing or purchasing ready made training. You'll be able to customize the training instead of having to accept one-size-fits-all or make-it-fit trainings that are out there.

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Glenn Oster
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Posted 28 April 2020 - 09:46 PM

We have a similar issue at our company. My Spanish is good enough that I can have daily conversations with employees that don't speak English in order to make sure things get done on the floor, but I always get embarrassed giving presentations in Spanish because I have to prepare so long to make sure I sound minimally eloquent to a large group. Videos can help, but I've found that nothing is a substitute for actually speaking to someone in person, even if a translator is present, because most people don't process information well through video or through summary sheets. It's the reason why online learning almost invariably is inferior to being in a classroom with a knowledgeable instructor and curious, engaged peers. Most people learn as much from seeing others learn, and then act on that learning, as they do from simply trying to "absorb" information on their own.  


We haven't found a solution, but videos are certainly one option. What we do is delegate when there is a language barrier and we can't do a large retraining. Someone fluent is responsible for giving another small session and for making sure that those being trained actually comprehend the material. Having a strong Food Safety Culture helps too, because people should be able to point out when someone is doing something wrong and correct them. 


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Posted 30 April 2020 - 01:43 PM

We have trained other production employees on our Food Safety Team to help with translations as well as having the documents translated. After going through the train the trainer training, we give the trainer materials used in the presentations and have them sit with them to understand the information. This way it's one person out of production but we try to keep it one on one or two. Testing is done the same way, translated tests after the translated presentation.


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Posted 30 April 2020 - 04:26 PM

Even though I'm bilingual and did both languages training. Sometimes it became a little overwelming, so My solution was to add my voice to both videos (English and Spanish) so anyone could play them for the employees at any time. In case of questions. we gave them the oportunity to write it down in their language and addressed one on one at the first opportunity.

Edited by MaAra, 30 April 2020 - 04:27 PM.

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