Xtalks Voices with Food Industry Training Expert Kristin Kastrup from Intertek Alchemy

Xtalks Voices with Food Industry Training Expert Kristin Kastrup from Intertek Alchemy

In this video, Xtalks spoke with Kristin Kastrup, a Senior Consultant for HR and Training Optimization at Intertek Alchemy, about training technology for frontline workers in the food industry. Xtalks talked with Kristin about her role at Intertek Alchemy and why companies in the food industry may be having challenges hiring and retaining their workforces. Kristin also spoke about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the training of frontline workers in the food industry as well as the goals of training technology.

Kristin is a sought-after consultant for a wide range of organizational challenges. Kristin’s consulting services include food safety culture development, process mapping, organization and leadership development and training development and facilitation.

Intertek Alchemy is a global leader of training and consulting solutions for the manufacturing, distribution and food processing industries.

Kristin will also be featured in an upcoming webinar to speak more about how training technology can help engage and retain frontline workers in the food industry.

See below for the video interview with Kristin and a summary of some of the main points which were discussed during the interview.

Select questions and answers from the interview:

Xtalks (11:40 minute mark on video): How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the training of frontline workers in the food industry?

Kristin Kastrup: It was a pretty dramatic impact at first. When you think back to February, March, April of 2020, that was a really uncertain time. We didn’t know a lot about what was happening in terms of the pandemic. People who were working in jobs that either had large workforces all in the same place or jobs that involved a lot of public contact were really at risk, because we didn’t know a lot about what was happening. A lot of companies that Intertek Alchemy works with did amazing things to protect their workforces.

They put a lot of emphasis on employee safety, really making sure that people were wearing appropriate PPE, really working with employees about if you’re carpooling with others to please wear your masks, and things like that that really helped get through that pandemic piece.

At Intertek Alchemy, we were really interested and concerned about how this would impact training, and would companies continue to train on the things that are necessary to keep workers safe and to keep food safe — and the answer to that was they did. They were very creative, and they figured out how to do it. They trained in different ways, they trained in smaller groups, they did a lot more individual training, a lot more e-learning.

One of our newest products is called Alchemy Playbook, and it is a mobile learning application that you can put up on a phone or a tablet. It is very individual, and you don’t have to put people in groups to train. Our customers needed something like that, and we responded very quickly to get that out into the marketplace to help them continue to train and our customers did. They were just heroic in their ability to continue to train people during that very difficult time.

Xtalks (19:25 minute mark on video): You mentioned the benefits of the training technology. What are the overall goals of it? Is it mostly to make sure people are doing things safely or are there other goals as well?

Kristin Kastrup: In my view, there are several. One of the things that we really need to understand very clearly is that technology cannot, should not and will not ever replace human beings totally. The nirvana is to find the perfect combination of what humans need to do and how that can be supported with technology for the best, high-performing, efficient and effective teams.

Starting from there and understanding what your business processes are, how do humans work and how we leverage technology solutions to really make the best of those processes. And again, to get a return on investment so if you’re making an investment in learning technology you want to make sure it’s working. Also, to make sure that you are supporting your human resource. How you’re supporting them and how does the technology impact them in terms of their ability to demonstrate proficiency, to be trained appropriately, to get the feedback that they need. To be able to document those feedback conversations and encourage those feedback conversations between supervisors and employees because employees want that.

There’s a lot of different things that learning technology can do to really equip the workforce to do the best possible work.

Want to learn more about how training technology can help engage and retain frontline workers in the food industry? Register for this free upcoming webinar to learn about the value of this technology from the food processing and manufacturing industry’s leading training experts, Intertek Alchemy.

This content was created in collaboration with the company and the Xtalks editorial team.