Gulf Stream Search > Mish Mosh > Food Safety > Food Safety & QA Best Practices * Performance Profiles

This is another installment of Best Practices for hiring Food Safety & Quality Assurance talent.

In this post, we’ll focus on Performance Profiles – at a high level, what they are and how they are different than job descriptions.

Food Safety & QA Best Practices

This is another installment of Food Safety & QA Best Practices for executives looking to hire the best Food Safety & Quality talent in the food, beverage, ingredient and flavor industries.

In this post, we’ll focus on Performance Profiles – at a high level, what they are and how they are different than job descriptions.

You’ve just gotten approval for a new role on your team.

Now what?

Have you been asked by Talent Acquisition to dust off an old job description?

Have you brainstormed the top responsibilities and activities this new hire will be responsible for?


Before it’s too late.


Updating job descriptions and assigning responsibilities and activities is an outdated and ineffective way of identifying and capturing top Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory talent in the food, beverage, ingredient and flavor industries.

Here’s the problem

Actions don’t equate to results.

For example, an outdated job description might require a QA Technician to

monitor all HACCP & Critical Control Points daily 

Consider a 3rd shift QA Technician with no supervision tasked with monitoring HACCP and CCP points.

Now consider the facility the QA Technician works at has harborage points for bacteria that are hard to get to and monitor.

This facility is a major source of concern for the executive team – the company has invested heavily in sales and marketing for a new line of products – a recall or even social media backlash about a food poisoning case could cripple the company.

If a recall occurred, the Technician could say – “I did my job”.

As it stands, the 3rd shift QA Technician could just “do their job” and monitor the critical areas, nothing more.

If the Technician was reprimanded or terminated for not finding potential outbreaks, the terminated employee would have a strong case of wrongful termination if they went back to their job description – “my job was to monitor, nothing else”.

The issue – there is no performance element to the behavior assigned.

There is no “purpose” to the behavior – there is no “why” – there is no “hook” or “engagement” between the task and the employee that elicits high performance.

In short, this bullet point “monitor all HACCP & CCP points daily” is an activity, nothing more. 

It’s not attached to performance, good or bad. 

It’s not going to be a bullet point you can objectively assess at performance review time. 

Worse yet, if the Technician is “doing their job” of monitoring(nothing more), you as a Food Safety and Quality leader are enabling a “false positive” to perpetuate. 

In a Food Safety environment where “doing your job” is just activities without performance thresholds or purpose tied to them(I’m not referring to just passing an FDA or USDA audit), you as a Food Safety executive are crafting a recipe for potential problems down the line

  • increased turnover
  • poor employee engagement
  • poor cross-functional collaboration
  • potential recall threats
  • a knock on your reputation as an effective leader

Critical Control Point #1 – The Scope Phase

Now consider the following verbiage that speaks to PERFORMANCE, less so to activity.….

As part of our broader food safety program that’s critical to our company’s new product launches, the QA Technician will be tasked with finding innovative and creative ways to assess, collect, monitor and report areas of concern and historically challenging harborage points.  

Successful QA Technicians will continually drive down negative test results in challenging harborage points, diligently assess the potential for “false positives” – your performance will be based on specific key performance indicators such as:

Timely reporting of potential new harborage points through identification and proactive monitoring.

Identification of new monitoring techniques for historically challenging harborage points.

Can you see and feel the difference?

Can you see how different behavior would manifest with a performance and purpose-based profile vs. an activity-based profile?

This is one small, albeit critical part of the SCOPE PHASE we go through when working with our Food Safety and Quality clients in the Food, Beverage, Ingredient and Flavor industries.

In follow up posts, we’ll dive deeper into Performance Profiles and how we integrate them into our Talent Acquisition Methodology for our Food Safety & Quality Assurance executive clients.

Bob Pudlock

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Great food, beverage, ingredient and flavor companies lean on Gulf Stream Search to help them optimize their Food Safety & QA Best Practices for hiring and on-going professional development.

You can connect and follow Bob at his Linked In profile or at the Gulf Stream Search company page.  You’ll find more Food Safety & QA Best Practices there.