Starting a company is one thing. Building a bakery is another. Getting employees engaged, however, requires constant communication and shared values, according to David D’Onofrio, Specialty Bakery’s senior vice-president of sales and marketing.
That’s the subtle message from the moment employees enter the door. “We built an entrance for everybody who works here,” he said. “There are no assigned parking spots. We’re family. Everybody comes in the same way. Everyone leaves the same way.”
To improve communication, the top management team stages weekly town hall meetings where all facets of the business are discussed with the bakery’s supervisors. “They hear from all of us about what is happening in the business, and they convey it to their leads in their departments,” Mr. D’Onofrio said.
Specialty Bakery refers to all of its employees as “bakers,” whether they work in accounting, receiving, packaging or maintenance. Each employee carries a wallet-sized card that literally spells the company’s “bakers values.”
Those include: Be a contributor. Act now! Keep commitments to colleagues, customers, community and family. Ethics and integrity are key ingredients to success. Respect each other. Steward resources, equipment and customer service as if they were your own.
“It’s all about engagement,” said Ahmad Hamade, CEO. “Building the right culture is about ensuring we put quality first. You can have new buildings and equipment. If you don’t have people who are engaged and have a commitment to drive the highest level of quality, then none of it matters.”