Building and Maintaining a Strong Food Safety Workforce

Mar 30, 2020

A behind the scenes look at how PSSI trains and supports its employees.


The work we do to own the standard of protection for our food processing partners takes a depth and breadth of resources and talent across multiple areas. Our team at PSSI takes our commitment and responsibility very seriously, preparing to make sure we have the right experts in place to execute on that promise every day.

But, one thing we’ve learned is that talent isn’t always simply hired.

Just like contractors you have at your home, you want to see the same faces and not a constant churn of people coming through your doors. High turnover rates not only result in higher costs, but also present significant risks in terms of team member safety and food safety.

That’s why PSSI places a strong emphasis on training, mentorship and professional development. From day one, we ensure every employee, regardless of their position, has a training and support plan in place to help them succeed in their position and grow to the highest level they desire. We have a plan for everyone, whether that is a new food safety sanitor or an Operations Vice President. Each job at each level requires its own specific training and support needs.

“We have a strong family-oriented culture centered around growth and development,” said Margie Loeffelholz, Field Human Resources and Training Director at PSSI. “No matter what a person’s experience or education level, we work hard to foster career and advancement opportunities for everyone.”

In fact, more than 25 percent of PSSI’s workforce of more than 17,000 employees were promoted in 2019. Additionally, more than 80 percent of PSSI’s key leadership team, including vice presidents, division managers and area managers have been promoted from within to their current role, including the company’s own President and CEO who started working on a hose as a food safety sanitor.

“It is truly something we live and breathe at every level of our organization,” said Katie Lange, Senior Talent Development Manager at PSSI. “We believe every leader is a mentor and has a responsibility to support others and share knowledge.”

PSSI manages this training and career development through its own Training Pyramid. This pyramid is a lock-step plan used to execute customized education and development programs for employees across every level of the organization.

From the foundational Employee Retention Program (ERP), addressing new Food Safety Sanitor hiring and on-boarding, to the University of PSSI (U.P.), an executive leadership program, there is a strategic path to support every employee and their growth regardless of education level.

Each level has a defined checklist of on-the-job activities, training modules, and performance reviews every team member must pass in order to graduate to another level. The goal is to make sure everyone feels engaged and confident in their ability to successfully execute the job, while also sharing knowledge and mentoring others along the way.

Employee Retention Program (ERP) – An intensive 4-week training program that integrates HR, Operations, Safety and Food Safety priorities to prepare new sanitors. Every new hire is assigned their own personal trainer/mentor to help support them through the training process. ERP ensures a consistently trained workforce that can be mobilized when needed.

ERP Trainer Development – A train-the-trainer program designed to transition frontline food safety sanitors to trainers.

Frontline Leadership Training – A program dedicated to train supervisors and managers on how to become a manager and leader the team will follow. This includes work related to understanding organization processes, time management, communication skills, mentorship, strategic thinking and goal setting.

AMT Weekend Roadshows – Offsite convention-style training meetings that leadership within each division attend. These meetings including team building activities and informational discussions from key Subject Matter Experts across the organization.

RISE– A succession planning program specifically designed to deliver training to our next-in SM’s and AM’s.

Operations Management On-Boarding Program – A 4-week training schedule to teach operations leaders how to effectively execute their training at their assigned plant.

Management Trainee Program – A 3 to 4-month program specifically designed for developing high-level management across the PSSI organization. MTP allows PSSI to be positioned for rapid growth with existing and new customers.

University of PSSI – A nomination-driven executive training program designed for high-potential managers preparing them for the next step. This one-year program focuses on leadership, communication and strategic thinking.

PSSI’s training strategy creates a unified, aligned team working together toward one goal. The result is happier, more engaged employees which leads to much lower turnover and higher productivity to deliver consistent results for each of our partners.

Your investment in a specialized food safety partner who already has the expert resources can save time and money, avoiding internal recruiting and training issues and ensuring safe, on-time production schedules.

To learn more or to schedule a plant evaluation, visit or to inquire about potential job opportunities at PSSI visit


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