At the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Baker’s Quality Pizza Crust, Waukesha, Wis., had to lay off its entire workforce due to a lack of business. Once it bounced back, all of the company’s employees returned.
“Looking back, I’m grateful for the culture that we had built with our employees because they all came back,” said Anne Cookson, vice president of sales and marketin at Baker’s Quality. “They had just as much faith in the business as we did. The second we called them, they were walking in the door.”
That culture leans heavily on the Miller family that owns Baker’s Quality.
“We are one team,” Mrs. Cookson said. “There isn’t a separation between me and the people on the production floor.”
That’s largely because when Mrs. Cookson and her brother, Chris Miller, director of operations, decided to join their parents’ company, they had to work their way up the ranks, performing the same job functions as their workforce. And many of the employees have been around long enough to have worked side by side with Mrs. Cookson and Mr. Miller on the production floor. One employee has been around for 50 years, but most are closer to 15- or 30-year tenures at Baker’s Quality.
“We try to treat everyone with the respect they deserve and not make people hate to go to work because it’s a huge part of your life,” Mr. Miller said.
When Baker’s Quality hires a new employee, the family support starts right away in the training with a mentor/mentee relationship. The newly hired worker shadows established employees to learn their job functions.
“This buddy system gives them someone they can go to with their questions,” Mr. Miller said. “If you just throw someone into the pit, they don’t have any support. Here, everyone knows each other, so we try to bring new people under a wing.”
This mentality of support and making work a pleasant place to be has given Baker’s Quality a loyal workforce with minimal turnover, even during a pandemic.
This article is an excerpt from the June 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Baker's Quality Pizza Crusts, click here.