How can bakeries help their employees not only succeed, but also want to stay with the company? Trina Bediako, chief executive officer of New Horizons Baking Co., embraces what she calls a speak-up culture in its facilities. Listening to workers, she added, helps the company stay agile and flexible.

“You can say what’s on your mind, and we’re not going to hold that against you,” Ms. Bediako told Michelle Smith, features editor, for the September issue of Baking & Snack. “We have an HR hotline that employees can call when they have concerns. That information will be handled confidentially, and we’ll deal with each issue one on one. This workforce is requiring attention in a different way. The status quo isn’t good enough anymore. It’s about feelings, you’ve got to listen to them and see how we’re going to adapt.”

Mike Porter, president and chief operating officer, noted that New Horizons is committed to not just training workers about how to run equipment but also teaching soft skills and how to make good decisions on the job.

“One of our core values is that we behave as an owner,” he said. “We want our people to understand that when it comes to their decisions they make on the floor, we want them to think as an owner would: that this is your product, this is your business, your name, which it is. We want them to have that same belief as we do. And that’s a challenge. You only build that through leadership.”

Retaining good employees starts by creating a dynamic organization and a commitment from the top.