For over 150 years, New Zealanders have been enjoying Griffin’s ‘bikkies’. Founder John Griffin and his team created a culture of continual improvement back then, and today it is as strong as ever. Proud to produce a continuous and innovative range of biscuits, crackers, chips and nutty bars, Griffins also invests heavily in continually upskilling its staff.
Olga Duncan is training and development advisor – supply chain and operations, working across both Griffin’s manufacturing plants in South Auckland. With around 700 staff nationally, Duncan says that, like many businesses today, hiring staff is one of the biggest challenges they face. A company-wide commitment to developing staff has benefitted the business over the years, particularly in the engagement and retention of their staff, but also the number of staff actively wanting to step up and apply for other internal roles.
More than 20 years ago, the company first implemented a staff training programme that offered a formalised career pathway. Partnering with Competenz, they have seen nearly 900 programmes completed by staff in that time. Programmes range from traineeships to apprenticeships, with the majority being in food or beverage processing, but also New Zealand Certificates in business-related qualifications and mechanical engineering.
Once on board, new recruits can expect a formalised plan to further their knowledge and job competency. New machine operators initially undertake a 3 to 4-month Limited Credit Programme in Food or Beverage Processing before progressing to levels 2 and 3.
The Griffin’s Snacks training team delivers many of their training programmes in-house and is a registered Competenz Workplace Assessor, with the ability to assess a broad range of qualifications.
Duncan says the training is tailored and reviewed regularly by Griffin’s and Competenz, ensuring it is always relevant.
“Many of the assessments are directly related to their real work and take place using the machinery they would use at their workstations – the familiar environment helps to create meaningful learning connections.
“We try to engage the staff right from the start, and we work hard to create a supportive culture to help them complete their training.”
As well as staff gaining knowledge and qualifications, the company has seen an increase in staff confidence where they will apply for higher roles and actively inquire about other development opportunities available to them.
Competenz account manager Bill Fisher has worked with Griffin’s for over 10 years. He has been impressed by the manufacturer’s commitment to continuous improvement of their inhouse training.
“The Griffin’s Snacks workplace assessor and training team have an incredible assessment scope across many qualifications and have written training and assessment material closely aligned to the business.
“The training team is very focused and over the past five years has added a framework around their internal training to produce many successful outcomes for their learners,” says Fisher.
With 54 active enrolments from a wide range of ages and nationalities, Fisher says he and Griffin’s Snacks training communicate almost daily to process enrolments and completions and to provide ongoing technical support. During the Covid-19 period, when no visitors were allowed on-site at Griffin’s, Fisher and the training team developed an excellent online working relationship. They both found it so efficient that online meetings have continued.
Duncan’s background has been working with large companies specialising in quality assurance and lean manufacturing, underpinned by training programmes. In her current role, she says she enjoys being part of a team where the company culture is focused on supporting the development of their people.
“It is so rewarding to be part of people’s learning journeys.”