Joe Kenner is the President and CEO for Greyston Bakery. For 38 years, Greyston has opened its doors to those who face rejection elsewhere. When people say they want to work, Greyston gives them a chance through Open Hiring® — no resumes, no background checks, no interviews needed.
Understanding that a job is just the first step toward self-sufficiency, Greyston offers workforce development and community wellness services to help their neighbors pave paths to professional and personal success. By replacing scrutiny with trust, Greyston is transforming lives and communities, and breaking the cycle of poverty in the process.
On this episode, Joe shares why he moved from rales at Lehman Brothers and Pepsico to Greysto, and how that has shaped his perspective on how any organization can have a positive social impact and achieve financial goals as well.
[4:05] In life, you don’t have bad experiences, you have learning experiences.
[6:10] Greyston Bakery is solving social problems.
[11:45] So many people end up being excluded in the job market because of past mistakes (addiction, crime, and social stigma).
[15:00] Joe explains how open their “open hiring” process really is. You put your name on a list, and when a job opens up, you get hired. No questions asked.
[21:15] Joe shares a unique perspective on retention and how many of their open hire employees stay in the job.
[22:00] You must look at the social impact, not just at retention.
[23:50] Greyston is NY’s first Benefit Corporation. That’s a lot of responsibility on Joe’s plate to make sure the company operates within that vision.
[27:15] Nearly a third of Joe’s open hires are female.
[28:40] In a lot of ways, it is not HR’s responsibility to deal with housing issues, recovery, or child support, but these are issues that are important to Greyston’s staff, and therefore it’s important to the company.
[33:00] Everyone needs personalized coaching and training, not just those who are coming from the open hiring policy. This is embedded in the culture.
[35:25] Joe really takes it hard when he has to let someone go from the open hiring program.
[38:45] Joe shares advice on how other CEOs and leaders can incorporate a social impact piece into their companies.
[40:15] There are a lot of smart people out there who are just down on their luck. They’re grateful for opportunities and are willing to work hard to show their worth.
[42:35] Listener challenge: Do something, anything, about addressing the inequities our community faces every day.