Founded in 1982 by aeronautical engineer turned Buddhist monk Bernie Glassman, the Greyston Bakery social enterprise, specialising in baked goods preparation, is committed to providing jobs and professional training to those who experience difficulty finding work.
A revolutionary recruitment policy
The Open Hiring® program launched by Greyston Bakery is based on the idea of investing in human potential by hiring the first applicants whom apply for a job. With no CV to present and no criminal record to disclose, all that matters here is responsiveness.
This innovative and revolutionary recruitment policy is an integral part of the brand’s DNA and is considered a fundamental part of its strategy. “We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people” is one of the mottos of the US brownie manufacturer, which notably supplies Whole Foods and ice-cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s.
Over 6 million people in the USA are unemployed and a typical recruitment process is estimated to cost over $4,000.
An inclusive dynamic that really pays off
“In moving away from background checks, we are leading the battle by showing companies that switching to a more progressive model of inclusion pays off”, a spokesperson explains on behalf of the brand’s CEO, Mike Brady. Greyston Bakery achieved a turnover of $22M in 2019.
A new take on the American dream
Make no mistake, Greyston Bakery’s recruitment strategy also makes it possible to identify high-potential profiles that could become future senior executives, offering a new take on the famous American dream by providing a better life and opportunities for everyone. Ordinary people, starting out with nothing, can make a fortune in the United States, the country where anything is possible.
A solution to the future disruption of the labour market, perhaps?
The Open Hiring® policy can be seen as an initial response to the disruption that the labour market is set to experience in Western societies.
How will companies in the future be able to identify and attract new talent if unemployment levels fall dramatically? Olivier Passet, Director of Synthesis at Xerfi, explains that “the first disruptive element is the increase in the working-age population. At full capacity, the increase in the active population is clearly much less today than it was in the past, and this will be the case for some time to come, given the demographic background. Ultimately, during a period of growth, it now takes fewer than 100,000 new jobs to reduce the number of unemployed people, whereas it would have taken 200,000 to 300,000 in the 2000s”. With the arrival of the digital age, the ageing of the population and the dependency problem, we are witnessing an explosion in the number of small, low-productivity service and logistics jobs.
The fact remains, however, that the recruitment policy adopted by Greyston Bakery is inspiring other brands, with English cosmetics retailer The Body Shop also declaring that it operates an ‘open recruitment’ policy. The model could also be adopted by all of the mission-oriented* companies that are currently emerging.
However, an Open Hiring® policy does require flawless management with the ability to train and support new employees. Is it really possible to apply such a human capital policy where high-added-value positions that require demanding skills and expertise are concerned?
*A new type of commercial entity that has a social or environmental purpose as well as seeking to make a profit.
Thierry Strickler, Retail Market Intelligence Lead at Altavia.