Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: December 2015

November 20, 2015
By Diane Chiasson

Developing a positive and energetic attitude amongst your staff will go a long way to keeping your customers happy.

In the bakery business, staff members are frequently the only connection between the owner and the customer. A staff member’s attitude and eagerness to please are often good indications of the overall operation itself.

Proper staff training and supervision are critical to the level of customer service your bakery provides; however, unless staff is highly motivated, your customers will never be satisfied. Hiring naturally motivated and high-energy staff goes a long way in resolving this dilemma, but how does one keep staff members in the high-energy groove?

Keep the following points in mind when balancing on the high wire of staff motivation.


1. People first
Remember, your employees are people first. Not everyone responds well to the rah-rah approach; however, most people like to know that you care. Take the time to become familiar with your staff. If they know that you express a true concern about their welfare, they are likely to feel more comfortable; thus, they become more productive at work.

2. Self-awareness
Your staff is sensitive to your personality traits. They know when you are angry, and when you are in a good mood. If your car broke down on the way into work, and the supplier is late with his shipment, it’s probably not a good time to discipline a staff member. Save it for a time when you can speak without being emotional due to unrelated events.

3. Delegate and disappear
Senior staff members deserve credit for their experience. They need to have a certain level of autonomy to feel like they are making a positive contribution to the operation. Try to let them perform their duties without you taking over or micro-managing their work.

4. Appreciation
Appreciation for a job well done is a factor that always rates high on any survey of employment satisfaction. Recognize the positive behaviors and achievements of your employees. Pointing out an employee’s strengths and successes are equally as important as identifying their shortfalls.  

5. Communication
Keeping your staff abreast of what is going on within your bakery is critical to their motivation. If your employees feel left out of important events, they will respond by showing a lack of concern for the business. Further to this, if you ask them for their input on a particular problem, try implementing one of their solutions. This is imperative for strong team building.

6. Loyalty
Loyalty and gaining confidence are two-way streets. Your staff will be loyal to you if you are loyal to them, and once you have gained their confidence, their motivation will increase dramatically.    

7. Promote from within
Taking the time to train a junior employee for the next level within your operation is a key motivational tool. Even student workers need to know there is room for advancement. If middle management turnover is a problem, it may best be resolved by hiring from within. Human resources departments in many large corporations have adopted this way of thinking and the motivational results are excellent.

8. Keep their interest
From time to time, we all need change to break up monotony. Tasks that have become repetitious are uninspiring, so give your staff the opportunity to do something different for a change. Something as simple as allowing them to decorate for an up coming promotional event will help heighten their enthusiasm.

9. Rewards
An unexpected reward lets staff members know that you appreciate a job well done, while indicating that you are paying attention to their work.

Rewarding staff through healthy competition or by identifying individual efforts are both highly effective motivators. Employee motivation through compensation is a great motivational tool and can come in the form of bonuses and raises, profit sharing, or other benefits such as vacations, automobiles, or tickets to a concert or a sporting event.

10. High wages
Surprisingly, wages do not top the list of motivational tools; however, financial compensation cannot be ignored. Good wages and benefits attract good employees, while poor wages may drive your top performers to the competition.

Happy staff, happy business: use these 10 tips to help keep your employees satisfied and performing their best.  / BJ

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. She is recognized as an industry leader in providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or, or visit

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