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Staffing Shifts
bakemag.com, August 6, 2012
by Staff

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Recruiting, hiring and retaining good employees consumes an owner or manager’s time, but it has to be done. The best way to approach these tasks is to invest the time and effort on the front end. Sometimes good people leave for good reasons, but if you can hire the right people initially and manage them in a way that is conducive to them staying, you’ll save valuable time and resources in the long run, while cultivating solid members for your team.

In their youth, the baby boomer generation had different ideas about work, values and what it meant to be an employee. Today, the positions in a retail bakery with the highest turnover are filled by the generations that followed the baby boomers. Younger Gen Xers and millennials see their working worlds in a different way. They often get bad press for being overly ambitious and hungry for quick promotions, but that’s not necessarily a negative thing; it’s just different. While you can’t completely eliminate turnover, understanding the labor pool can lessen it.

Shift in values

When recruiting, talk about values as much as you talk about the job itself. “These younger generations are just more attuned to finding a place that fits with them for personal values,” says Sue Tinnish, Ph.D., instructor at Kendall College. “I think they’re also looking to work for companies who have organizational and cultural values to which they agree.” Baby boomers aligned themselves with the values of their company after the fact, knowing that promotions and growth would eventually come through hard work, and they accepted yearly evaluations. The younger generations concern themselves with their own values first and need more frequent praise and reinforcement.

Growth and development

Quality employees from the younger generations need to believe in what they’re doing and know that their efforts are recognized and appreciated. The greatest reward you can give a member of your staff is the opportunity to grow within the company. “You have to rethink jobs and job descriptions in ways for people to get personal and professional growth and development,” Tinnish says, “and I think that will help keep people.” This might be challenging in a smaller retail bakery environment, but it’s imperative to recruiting and retaining good staff. Good workers don’t look for dead-end jobs.

Manage each person

Using one management style or technique for multiple people can put you at a disadvantage when trying to maximize results from each employee. “Each employee is going to be motivated for very unique reasons,” Tinnish says. Catering management to each employee will take more time and effort, but it gives managers credit and creates loyalty. Managing each employee as an individual proves to staff that they matter. “The reality is, managers have to get to know what makes each employee tick,” Tinnish says. “That’s the only way you’re going to figure out the puzzle to what really motivates them and get them to stay.”

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