While compensation is a critical component to hiring and retention, it’s not the whole story. When pay is competitive, how people are treated and career growth will determine whether they stick around. 

“We regularly ensure our pay practices are in line with the market, but historically, employee engagement surveys tell us people stay at an organization when they feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves,” explained Rob Weber, chief people officer, Hostess Brands. 

Much of this boils down to culture, and if there are policies in place that allow employees to believe the company is fully invested in them, that they can bring their full selves to work and they are important to the organization. 

“Helping employees understand how the work they do supports our mission of inspiring moments of joy is a critical element in building an engaged team,” he said. “When our people understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ they do in their job, they can connect the dots of doing great work for our customers, consumers, stakeholders and each other.”

Outside of on-the-job training, Hostess Brands offers employees advanced training through local colleges and trade programs in management, mechanical and technical skills. The company also uses these resources to help employees complete their GEDs and improve their math, computer and English language skills if necessary. 

“This year, we’re launching a tuition reimbursement benefit that allows employees to invest in themselves while earning a good living,” Mr. Weber added.

In addition to training and education, Hi Brands also launched an Employee Stock Purchase Plan in 2022 to provide employees a way to accelerate their financial health. 

To provide work-life balance, International Delights offers staggered starts for all departments so that employees can build a schedule that best fits their family lives. 

“For example, our mixing department shifts start at 10 p.m., 5 a.m., 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.,” Ms. Almonte explained. “Every department has multiple shifts so employees have some flexibility in their schedules. And if something changes in their lives and schedules — like if the kids are out of school for the summer — we can accommodate their needs.”

Even employees who live in New York City can take advantage of free transportation International Delights provides to its facility in Clifton, NJ.

Unique Snacks also works with employees regularly to help them achieve work-life balance in their schedule or gain extra training that will help them achieve their goals: for example, developing a work schedule around childcare needs or training someone to gain electrical work skills.

“We are often training people out of our company, but the ones who stay are very loyal,” explained Justin Spannuth, chief operating officer, Unique Snacks, Reading, Pa. 

To also ensure employees feel like they are being well taken care of, Unique Snacks also hires two supervisors per shift: one to handle production and ensure all KPIs are met and another to ensure the people’s needs are met. 

“It’s hard to train the people aspect in, so we’ve had to hire for that skill and then create policies, plans and programs to ensure everyone in the company feels cared about,” Mr. Spannuth explained. “The people manager is in charge of making sure everyone is showing up and that we’re following our policies. They become attached to the HR side of the business. It’s their job to make sure people are cared about.”

For The Good Bread Co., Taylor, Mich., employee investment runs the gamut from the town hall meetings that occur every 60 days and the training provided in both English and Spanish to the food trucks that the company provides once a quarter. 

“We have a picnic in the summer,” said Spiro Assimacopoulos, president and chief executive officer. “Those aren’t huge financial commitments, but it’s a gesture of gratitude for the enormous amount of hard work it takes to bake.”

This article is an excerpt from the April 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Workforce, click here.