Baking & Snack - December 2022 - 8

editorial
Reflecting on change
O
One of the standout characteristics that led us to name
Mike Porter, president and chief operating officer of
New Horizons Baking Co. (NHBC), Norwalk, Ohio, as
Operations Executive of the Year for 2022 is his willingness
to adapt and change. While it would be easy for
someone in his position to remain stuck in the past, Mr.
Porter doesn't. He sees that times are changing, and he's
choosing to change with them.
" Whenever I hear people say, 'We've always done
it that way,' I always remind them that we also used to
ride horses to work, but now we drive cars, " he said. " We
have to evolve. We have to make changes. "
This most often comes up in issues of workforce.
While the baking industry struggled to find and keep
workers before 2020, the coronavirus pandemic only
made things worse. It gave people an opportunity to
reevaluate their lives and priorities, and quality-of-life
values like work-life balance became more ubiquitous.
" It's taken some companies longer than others
to realize that this is more than just a millennial
issue; the philosophy of what's important
changed for everyone, " Mr. Porter said. " The
pandemic broke down the walls between
professional and personal. Everything is personal
now. "
Rather than buckle down on the way it's always
been done, Mr. Porter and the company's
Chief Executive Officer Trina Bediako have been
willing to look in the mirror and see how NHBC
can do better by its employees and, in turn, attract
and retain talent. They brought in Mr. Porter's son Noah
as an intern to evaluate company culture from a millennial
perspective and implemented some of his ideas,
such as a renovated break room and conference room.
He's now on the recruitment team for NHBC and helps
the company update its facilities and programs.
Probably the most insightful mirror, however, was
when the executive team asked employees to anonymously
write down their thoughts and feelings about
working at NHBC.
" I had to walk into the conference room and look
across the wall and see what people felt, " Mr. Porter
said. " And that was hard. But if we're not willing to get
into the raw details of the business, then we shouldn't
be here. "
Overwhelmingly, people reported a desire for predictability
in their schedules and quality of life. NHBC is
trying to deliver by offering more flexibility in the work
schedule. The company offers employees a variety of
shifts to choose from so they can build their own schedule
that works for them and their families. The program
is still in the beginning phases of implementation, but
Mr. Porter hopes it gives his people what they need to
build the life they want.
" As long as the industry continues to evolve to understand
that we're in the people business more than
the baking business now, we'll be better off in the long
term, " he said.
- Charlotte Atchley, Editor
catchley@sosland.com
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8 Baking & Snack December 2022 / www.bakingbusiness.com
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Baking & Snack - December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - December 2022

Baking & Snack - December 2022 - Intro
Baking & Snack - December 2022 - 1
Baking & Snack - December 2022 - 2
Baking & Snack - December 2022 - 3
Baking & Snack - December 2022 - 4
Baking & Snack - December 2022 - 5
Baking & Snack - December 2022 - 6
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Baking & Snack - December 2022 - 8
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