Too often, we hear stories that organizations are unwilling to commit dollars to the budget for meaningful development of their food safety and quality (FSQ) teams. The outcomes of those actions are pretty apparent, given there is a 2.5 times higher turnover rate for managers within the food and beverage industry compared to an industry average of 10 percent.1 Clearly, people want to be set up for success, or they will exit the organization.

News flash: It is not just the FSQ team that gets the runaround for development. 

Consider that in 2018, over $87.6 billion was spent on corporate training and development across the U.S., and a fair amount of that went to waste because it was a one-off, generic training for everyone in the company and not aligned with the bigger picture.2 With those numbers, we can see why companies are hesitant to commit meaningful dollars for development. If companies think surplus dollars can be earmarked for development, there is plenty of evidence to show that usually is not the case, as there are never surplus dollars in food. 

While the last few years have had challenging financial environments with supply chain, inflation, and labor, cutting dollars from development is a short-term gain for long-term loss. 

Studies show that companies with better training and workforce development experience incredible returns such as 15 percent greater employee productivity, 26 percent decreased employee turnover, 20 percent less employee absenteeism, and 65 percent greater share prices.3 While decision-makers can be hesitant to approve dollars for development, they are willing to if the business case is strong enough to show a return on investment. 

That is where we come in. As leaders in food safety, it is our responsibility to develop the influential skills to "manage up" and "train upper management" on food safety risks and opportunities to secure the necessary funding for continued development. Consider that the skills that helped a manager or leader get to their current position are not the only skills that will be necessary to develop the desired food safety culture. As Francine Shaw illustrates in her article, "Food Safety is Really About Leadership," even the most talented and intellectual team members must up their leadership game.4

To be a great leader, you have got to be the catalyst, develop your leadership skills, and bring people with you. The new saying is "IQ got you here, but EQ will get you to the next level, so investing in development is critical for any organization's food safety success." Furthermore, "leadership—or at least the potential for leadership—exists at all levels," so developing food safety leaders across and within your teams is mission-critical for regulatory compliance and best-in-class systems.5

Building a solid business case for your food safety leadership development budget with likely positive outcomes—or, conversely, explaining what happens if you do not invest—is powerful. Here are 15 stats you need to know to effectively advocate for a meaningful budget for your and your team's development.

  1. 41 percent of people have quit jobs because of a lack of career development and advancement6
  2. According to a survey by TalentLMS, 76 percent of employees say that they are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training, and 86 percent of HR managers find training beneficial for the retention of employees7
  3. 41 percent of business leaders believe that their organizations fail to meet the needed leadership standards8
  4. In 2018, on average, companies gave employees 12 minutes of manager training every six months9
  5. 70 percent of employees have not mastered the skills they need for their jobs today10
  6. 74 percent of employees say lack of professional development prevents them from reaching their full potential11
  7. Strong culture increases net income by 765 percent over 10 years12
  8. Companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218 percent higher income per employee than companies without formalized training13
  9. 87 percent of millennials say professional growth and career development are very important14
  10. Managers spend, on average, only 9 percent of their time developing their direct reports15
  11. When companies invest in leadership development, they post a 25 percent increase in organizational outcomes; this figure rises significantly when leadership training is extended to personnel beneath senior levels16
  12. The industry average training budget per employee is 1–5 percent of salary17
  13. 45 percent of managers lack the confidence to help employees develop the skills they need today15
  14. 82 percent of talent development teams say that their executives fully support employee engagement and training18
  15. MIT research showed a 250 percent ROI within eight months after providing a year-long soft skills development program.19

By working with allies within your organization, such as finance and human resources, these statistics can be translated into real dollars and outcomes for your organization. Before you know it, you will be intentionally developing yourself and your team every week, every month, and every year by having a solid business case for dollars for development in the budget. You will be one step closer to improving leadership skills that drive food safety culture and the bottom line.


  1. Robinson, Brettlyn. "Reducing Employee Reducing Employee Turnover Rates in the F&B Sector Rates in the F&B Sector." Johnson & Wales University College of Business. August 15, 2021.
  2. Pontefract, Don. "The Wasted Dollars of Corporate Training Programs." Forbes. September 15, 2019.
  3. Alchemy webinar. "Global Trends in Employee Engagement" (North American results cited). Hewitt/Queen's University.
  4. Shaw, Francine L. "Food Safety is Really About Leadership." FSR Magazine. October 2015.
  5. McEntire, Jennifer. "Building Food Safety Leaders." Food Safety Magazine. April 1, 2015.
  6. De Smet, Aaron, Bonnie Dowling, Bryan Hancock, and Bill Schaninger. "The Great Attrition is making hiring harder. Are you searching the right talent pools?" McKinsey Quarterly. July 13, 2022.
  7. TalentLMS. "The State of L&D in 2022."
  8. Deloitte. "2023 Global Human Capital Trends." Deloitte Insights.
  9. Tschohl, John. "Are You Worth More than 6–12 Minutes of Training?" April 13, 2018.
  10. Glaveski, Steve. "Where Companies Go Wrong with Learning and Development." Harvard Business Review. October 2, 2019.
  11. Clear Company. "5 Surprising Employee Development Statistics You Should Know." September 9, 2021.
  12.  Coyle, Daniel. The Culture Code. January 2018.
  13. Business Training Experts. "The ROI of Leadership Training."
  14. Giulioni, Julie Winkle. "Career 2022: What Does It Mean?" Training Industry. Winter 2022.
  15. Baker, Mary. "Gartner Says 45% of Managers Lack Confidence To Help Employees Develop the Skills They Need Today." Gartner. September 18, 2019.
  16. Bouchrika, Imed. "24 Leadership Training Statistics: Data, Insights & Predictions." June 15, 2023.
  17. Westfall, Brian. "Training Budget Calculator: Here's What You Should Spend on Employee Training." Capterra. October 5, 2018.
  18. M., Maria. "28 Interesting Employee Training Statistics." Leftronic. March 23, 2022.
  19. Walsh, Dylan. "Soft skills training brings substantial returns on investment." MIT Management Sloan School. December 11, 2017.