November 10 2020  |  Catering

Q&A: How LSG Group is sharing essential knowledge during COVID-19

By Waldo Martin, Director of Global Communications, LSG Group

This is a special feature from PAX International's October 2020 digital edition.

Thorough handwashing is a must at LSG Group units, and everywhere, to reduce the spread of contagious viruses

As an essential business, LSG Group knew from the beginning of the pandemic that its inflight catering units would have to adapt quickly to a new way of working – one that would take prevention, safety and hygiene to a whole new level.

This would require a plan for full compliance with the new rules and provide necessary knowledge to keep all employees safe and allow the operations to continue producing meals, not only for their traditional customers but for several new ones acquired during the crisis.

In this industry Q&A, Director of Global Communications Waldo Martin talks to Edgard Graterol, Head of Operations Value Chain (OVC) in North America, about how the pandemic training package was developed and how the Group has conducted more than 16,000 COVID training sessions, and 5,000 Return to Work programs with the help of an online learning management system.

Edgard Graterol, Head of Operations Value Chain North America, LSG Group

WALDO MARTIN: What triggered the idea for creating a new training curriculum for employees on duty and those returning from leave?

EDGARD GRATEROL: The idea goes back to March when the infection rates were just beginning to spike and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines to help blunt the spread of COVID-19. Right away, we knew we had to adopt them and ensure that our employees followed them, not only in our units still in operation, but also at our regional headquarters. Therefore, we began drafting an instructional plan for on-duty staff members and those coming back to work under our current conditions. This is knowledge they can also apply outside their working hours in order to protect themselves, their families and stay healthy.

MARTIN: What do the training sessions cover and how long are they?

GRATEROL: The sessions cover basic facts about the virus and how to fight it with simple habits like wearing masks, keeping proper distance and assiduously washing our hands. They also cover food and ramp safety, regulated garbage and some modules on how to manage change. The idea is to solidify our knowledge in these areas while operating in the middle of this pandemic. In terms of the length, some can take 10 minutes or less, making them easy to digest and retain. Taken all together, the entire training package for returning employees would require about half a day. But, of course, we break it up in modules. The four courses related to COVID are mandatory for everyone. Returning employees have to take an additional three COVID sessions.

Temperature checks are conducted upon entering each LSG Group facility

MARTIN: How are you conducting the sessions, and how have you managed to provide so many so far?

GRATEROL: Most sessions are conducted with properly distanced and mask-wearing groups in meeting rooms. Alternatively, people can take individual sessions on their own computers. Our learning management system gives us the ability to assign training and track progress regardless of the way it is administered. One big advantage is that most of the modules are available in English, Spanish and French, the most commonly spoken languages in our units. In the last month alone, we facilitated some 5,000 training sessions for our returning employees and 20,000 overall in the last two months. Installing the Alchemy system has been effective in consolidating and standardizing our onboarding modules. Another advantage of this platform is that it gives us visibility in terms of how our overall training is progressing. It also offers hard evidence of our proactive reaction to the pandemic.

Working stations with partitions to minimize contact is one of the newly enhanced hygiene features in LSG’s inflight catering kitchens

MARTIN: Who else is working with you on this project?

GRATEROL: The entire OVC team in North America is involved in this effort under the leadership of Charles Bravo, Director of Occupational Safety, who is temporarily steering our COVID response. There is also Rosie Miranda, Director of Quality, who is monitoring the implications of the pandemic as they relate to quality. Tatiana Bergantin, who is in charge of training and development, Jennifer Echeverry, Head of Lean and Process Management, and Charles Wright, Area Safety Manager. Their teams have been heavily involved in producing and vetting the necessary material. The amount of information that we have had to sort through and adapt in order to have it ready for consumption has been tremendous. But they have been able to successfully create great manuals, training modules and communication aids to help us navigate through this crisis. We believe the knowledge we are providing is positively impacting the lives and safety of all of our employees and their families.

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