When Scott Baker was developing 5 Generation Bakers, he brought a lot of his own experience from his time working at the family bakery, Jenny Lee Bakery. While he brought along the family formulation for cinnamon swirl bread, a commitment to integrity and a hard work ethic, he wanted to leave some things behind.
“We had a tough culture at Jenny Lee, and I wanted people to come to work and enjoy their jobs,” the founder and president of 5 Generation Bakers said.
While his dad, Bernie Baker, current director of operations, is the hardest worker he knows, Scott Baker has been known to cut production to ensure people aren’t working 10 to 12-hour days.
“We will lose the employees who are showing up if we push them too hard,” he said.
Scott Baker’s work culture starts with open communication. He realizes that not everyone in the company has his entrepreneurial drive, so he is constantly communicating with his staff.
“We’re always evolving, so I have to communicate the changes that are coming,” Scott Baker explained. “We were having multiple meetings per month at the beginning, just giving people the opportunity to ask questions and let them know the direction of the company. That allows people to be included in the company’s goals.”
Even though 5 Generation Bakers is a family-owned company and the latest iteration of a long line of Baker family bakeries, Scott Baker said the company is more than just family.
“We’re a community,” he said. “We strive to work together and achieve trust. We want to help you be the best person, beyond just the best baker.”
In the daily life of 5 Generation Bakers, this looks like catered lunch on Fridays and an attendance drawing for two $50 bills. And there is even a formal loan program that employees can tap into when they need help. There are stipulations — employees must have been with the company for at least six months — and despite its cost, Scott Baker said it’s worth it to him to be able to offer his support.
“Losing a couple hundred dollars on this program is not going to stop me from trying to help my employees,” he said.
That help is getting more extensive with the Employer Assisted Home Ownership Program that 5 Generation Bakers developed with a local nonprofit. The program acquires local blighted homes, renovates them and sells them at a fraction of assessed value to local families who qualify for HUD approval and other pre-requisites. 5 Generation Bakers provides $2,000 to candidates who make it to the closing table. Every McKees Rocks resident can apply, but the partnership with the bakery pushes employees of 5 Generation Bakers to the front of the line.
This article is an excerpt from the May 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on 5 Generation Bakers, click here.