YONKERS, NY — Attracting workers for mechanic, engineering and production floor jobs is the first workforce hurdle the baking industry must clear as it addresses the workforce gap. For Greyston Bakery, Yonkers, NY, an unorthodox hiring model has opened the doors to overlooked labor pools to fill open positions, and in the process the company is rewriting the rules on employment.
In this episode of Since Sliced Bread, Joe Kenner, president and chief executive officer, and Rich Jamesley, vice president and general manager, explain the company’s open hiring policy, how it works and how it has benefited the bakery.
“Our folks were still struggling when it was the best of times and now it’s the worst of times,” Mr. Kenner said. “I think our unemployment rate is around 19%, just over in Yonkers. It’s even more important to have something like open hiring in your organization.”
While there can be different forms of open hiring, Greyston hires people for open positions regardless of resume, criminal background, housing insecurity or other barriers to traditional employment. Through this, the company is able to hire from populations that typically cannot find a job, such as those in addiction recovery, formerly incarcerated or those who are dealing with housing insecurity. With this extra support, Greyston has been able to tap into a loyal and driven workforce. Out of 70 bakery positions, the company was able to retain about 50 of those employees hired last year, a testament to the dedication of the workforce and the support they and the company receives.
Listen to the conversation to find out how this has worked out for the company, and how Greyston is trying to create a more equitable job economy for everyone.