Assign trainees to mentors

Let new employees shadow more experienced and skilled employees.

The retail bakery environment has a core set of skills across most of the positions that make up ownership, management and staff. While specific bakeries will have certain areas of uniqueness that set them apart in terms of operation, there’s still a lot of commonality in the industry.

When it comes to training new employees, the best way a retail bakery can get the job done without spending a lot of money is to set up the new employee in a mentor relationship with one of the best people at the job. If it’s a new sales person, they’re paired up in a mentor relationship with the bakery’s top sales person, a new decorator gets paired with the best decorator, baker with best baker, etc.

Shadowing

It’s not in the best interest of bakery production to pull a star employee away from the tasks they do best to train a new hire. Instead, have the new employee shadow and simply observe the star player in action for the first few days.

Because a continuous learning curve exists in any workplace, once all parties involved feel that the new employee is ready to begin working on their own, have the mentor supervise and be available to answer questions, give advice and tips while the new hire continues to learn the job. Have the mentor give management/ownership and the new employee updates on the new hire’s performance, their areas of strength and areas that need improvement with follow up from all parties

Specialized Training

Even though the retail bakery environment consists of specific and highly specialized skills, technology permeates all areas of business operation in today’s world. From new equipment and machines, to new software systems for point of sale, inventory control and customer service management, technology training is must for all employees, new and veteran.

When the time comes for new technology implementation at your shop, always remember to cross train your employees in the case that someone from the back of store might need to fill in for a missing salesperson, and in rare cases that production might need help from a front of store employee. While these scenarios are not ideal in the bakery setting, it’s always a good idea for coverage in emergencies.

If closing down the shop for employee training doesn’t fit into the store’s schedule, it might need to be done on a day when the shop is closed for business. If that’s the case, incentivize the training so employees come into it with a good attitude. Either of these might cost some time and money in the short term, but will be worth it in the long run.

Retention

Once you’ve helped employees with initial training and skill building, retaining them over the long term will prove beneficial to business. The best way to accomplish this is by promoting from within. Current and long term employees will already have the best understanding of how your bakery operates, but in addition, this sets an example for younger employees that the company will reward loyalty and hard work.