43. Great Harvest Bread Company

Dillon, MT

From the Company

Outside editors excerpted this information from the Employer Questionnaire submitted to the Best Companies Group.

Great Harvest Franchise is devoted to attracting health-conscious, community-focused and entrepreneurial people seeking the freedom of owning and operating their own neighborhood bakery. Owners receive as much or as little support from the franchise office as they like. We're the nation's first freedom franchise. We provide training and support to help bakery owners achieve their goals of creating an enjoyable, life-enhancing lifestyle/career.

Great Harvest attracts fun, health-conscious and self-motivated individuals.By far the most unique aspect of our culture is a genuine desire to continually provide the best service and support to bakery owners. Employees are passionate about their respective contribution to the greater good. Humor is very important to our culture, too--we work hard and laugh hard. If something unforeseen happens within the course of our work, we figure out how to correct it and don't let it feel like the end of the world--it's a learning experience and something to laugh about, hopefully sooner rather than later. The culture is also very level and democratic. All employees have a voice and a vested interest in the success of co-workers and bakery owners.

Employees often negotiate unique hours during peak outdoor activity months, so long as responsibilities are covered.

Showers, bike racks, and dressing rooms are available. Great Harvest pays half of YMCA dues to encourage participation and to financially support the local YMCA. Employees promote observances of national fitness activities. A personal trainer at Great Harvest promotes the local university's annual fitness challenges. Great Harvest is proud to be a sponsor of many outdoor activities/events/competitions that our employees participate in locally. Without our support, some of these activities would not exist.

Great Harvest participates with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Employees who volunteer are paid during the period of the participation. Every quarter, we host a Bake Day fundraiser for a local cause. All proceeds from the Bake Day go directly to the recipient organization. This accounts for approximately $20,000 of donated funds annually from Bake Days. The company also supports various community events every year (approx. $2,000) and is a major supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

We continually evaluate our packaging and introduce environmentally friendly offerings for bakery boxes, bags and totes. We support family-owned farmers vs. agro-corporations for whole grains, knowing their practices are environmentally responsible (no GMO). We encourage bakery owners to purchase locally for honey, butter, fruit, produce and add-on products such as jams and dipping oils to reduce our carbon footprint and to support local neighborhood vendors. Our breads are never wasted. Every evening, fresh whole grain bread is donated to shelters nationwide.

Employees meet weekly and co-workers share stories about excellent job performance. This is a peer-to-peer way to share best practices with the entire company. It raises the bar on job performance. Each week an employee receives $100 if entered into the "Way To Go!" drawing. Employees receive bi-monthly reviews from managers, which contribute to their annual ratings from 1-4, with 1 being the highest. Employees at a "1" receive the highest company bonuses and the highest raises. The bonus and raise allocations are tiered down based on evaluations of 1-4. The company hosts informal parties throughout the year, with the Holiday party being the "big one." Gifts of appreciation are purchased and given to all employees.

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