Finding skilled labor is consistently identified as one of the biggest challenges at bakeries. In order to succeed at recruiting and retain great employees, operators should find new strategies that are based in technology or financial incentives.

The National Restaurant Association recently shared successful recruitment strategies from leading restaurant companies and innovative independents.

1. Throw a party – Hold hiring parties that offer free food in a festive atmosphere with on-site applications and on-the-spot interviews. Some sites report receiving twice the number of applications needed to fill open positions.

2. Reward recruitment – Corner Bakery Café in Dallas gives any team member a $75 bonus after a recruit they found completes two weeks on the job and another $150 after 60 days if they and their recruit still work there. Bigger bonuses are given for higher-level and hard-to-fill positions.

3. Point system – To reward managers who foster employee growth and advancement, you can develop a point system that measures their efforts, with enough points earning something significant.

4. Games – Push employees to improve their operational skills, the guest experience, and company knowledge through contests with prizes.

5. Dine together – Hold staff dinners, where everyone cooks dishes from the menu for each other. These family-style dinners generate camaraderie and allow employees to experience the food they serve firsthand.

6. Mentors – Promote and train high-performing hourly employees as mentors to get a taste of management and earn higher wages as they coach new hires for a short period of time.

7. Set a tone – Follow the TEAMS mnemonic: Encourage the staff and management to (T)alk openly, (E)xcite passion, (A)ct as one, (M)ake time, and (S)ay “good job.”

8. Build financial security – Some businesses are able to offer 401(k) programs to employees.

9. Help with tuition – Emphasize and provide the benefits of education by helping with culinary school costs.

10. Good scheduling – Schedule well in advance and allow staff to trade shifts online. Also, giving employees consecutive days off when possible is advantageous.