Worker Health & Safety
The safety of our team is our number one priority. We are on a journey to safety excellence with the objective of meeting or exceeding industry standards for worker incident rates.
We strive to provide a safe working environment. Policies, procedures, and training programs are designed to ensure team members understand and observe safe practices.
We focus on continuous improvement. A few of our best practices include:
- Bakery safety training
- Safety management system (SMS)
- Job hazard analysis and training
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training for new and existing team members
- Safety focus during shift meetings
Our Safety Scorecard tracks injuries and injury rates to to highlight our progress and to ensure a shared understanding of safety performance across the company.
In 2022, we made significant strides in reducing our recordable and lost time injuries, achieving a 12% reduction in the recordable injury rate (RIR) and a 16% reduction in lost-time injuries (LTI) compared to the prior year.
With our increased focus on safety performance, eight bakeries had a 50% or greater reduction in their recordable injuries year-over-year:
- Bailey Street Bakery (GA)
- Dave’s Killer Bread (OR)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Henderson (NV)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Lafayette (LA)
- Flowers Baking Co. of San Antonio (TX)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Tyler (TX)
- Mesa Organic Baking Co. (AZ)
- Tasty Baking Co. (PA)
In 2022, we began holding quarterly Safety Summits that bring together leadership teams from our bakeries and key leased labor providers to share our goals and objectives, review safety performance, and engage in discussions around safety-related topics.
We rolled out a data-driven and comprehensive Safety Management System (SMS) in 2022. While the Safety Scorecard is a lagging indicator of performance, the SMS is intended to be a leading indicator – in other words, to help prevent safety incidents before they happen.
The SMS is a comprehensive approach to safety that actively engages our leadership team and employees as we strive for safety excellence.
The framework of the Safety Management System includes seven elements:
- Leadership accountability and management engagement
- Employee ownership and expectations
- Hazard recognition and risk assessment
- Hazard mitigation and risk management
- Communication and training
- Monitoring, measuring, and documenting
- Change management and continuous improvement
In 2022, baseline assessments of all our bakeries were completed for the seven elements, and we set the stage for an exciting 2023. We believe our approach will provide the roadmap to becoming the industry leader in safety performance.
The Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Data Management System is the key infrastructure that supports the SMS at our bakeries. Supervisors and employees record accidents, incidents, inspections, and “Great Catches” to provide the data that powers the SMS.
In 2022, we logged thousands of Safety Observations, in which leaders reviewed how our employees were conducting their work from a safety standpoint. We reported 34 “Near Misses,” where we were able to take action before an injury or safety incident occurred.
In October 2022, we introduced the Great Catch Program, which helps keep safety top-of- mind for team members every day. The program has been implemented across our bakery network and encourages employees to identify and submit best safety practices, potential hazards, red flags, and suggestions for improvement through our EHS Data Management System. By regularly recognizing and discussing safety issues, we can set our teams up for safety success.
The program got off to a strong start. Employees submitted 221 Great Catches in the first three months, enriching our EHS Data Management System and improving our safety
Flowers’ dedication to safety was recognized by the American Bakers Association (ABA). The company was one of 19 member companies to receive a Safety Recognition Award in 2022. Created in 2016, the award honors member facilities’ safety performance and implementation of effective safety and health management systems.
The ABA also recognizes individual facilities. These Flowers facilities each outperformed the OSHA Bread and Bakery Industry Average for Total Reportable Injuries and Reportable Lost Time Incidents:
- Flowers Bakery of Cleveland (TN)
- Flowers Bakery of London (KY)
- Flowers Bakery of Texarkana (AR)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Bardstown (KY)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Baton Rouge (LA)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Birmingham (AL)
- Flowers Baking Co. of El Paso (TX)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Henderson (NV)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Houston (TX)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Jamestown (NC)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Miami (FL)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Ohio (OH)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Portland (OR)
- Flowers Baking Co. of Tyler (TX)
- Franklin Baking Company (NC)
- Tuscaloosa Organic Baking Co. (AL)
Flowers provides ongoing safety-related training for frontline employees in our bakeries. In 2022, we expanded this robust training program to team members in our warehouses and retail locations.
Between August and December, those team members completed 11 essential courses focusing on important topics like fire prevention and protection, electrical safety, emergency preparedness, and more.
Flowers Baking Co. of Houston didn’t report a single lost-time incident in 2022. In fact, as of April 2023, it hadn’t reported one in 1,825 days – five years!
Julian Hernandez, environmental safety and sustainability manager, credits the bakery’s behavior-based safety program for making safety “a core value” for every team member.
“We work on these steps every day,” he says. “Our goal is to create a workplace where employees know that we care about their safety and we work together to avoid any injuries.”
Margaret Ann Marsh, SVP of safety, sustainability & environmental, applauds the Houston team. “Houston’s leadership team has built a culture of trust and accountability that keeps employees personally engaged and committed to their safety journey,” she says.
With ovens and proofing equipment running regularly throughout the day, our bakeries can become uncomfortably hot, especially in the summer, so we take steps to mitigate the effects of heat on our employees.
In addition to ongoing ventilation projects to improve fresh air flow, we focus on heat health tips in our regular safety communications, and always make plenty of water available. To keep our team cool, Flowers bakeries have even been known to bring in ice cream and frozen electrolyte pops for employees to enjoy.
Our “Cooler Uniform” program, which was introduced in 2021, was expanded in 2022. These uniforms use material that helps wick away moisture and allows better air flow. Each team member eligible to participate received three sets of T-shirts and shorts, free of charge.
Talent Acquisition & Management
Flowers aims to attract a qualified workforce through an inclusive and accessible recruiting process.
We want all our employees to enjoy the same benefits. No matter where they work or live, whenever possible, we strive to supply the same plans, access, and quality of care to every eligible team member.
We dedicate significant resources to learning and development. We believe it’s the company’s responsibility to give our team members every opportunity to grow as Flowers employees and as people.
We value our employees’ opinions and perspectives. And we turn to them to help us make Flowers a better place to work.
We believe in the power of recognition. Team and individual achievements are celebrated through our intranet, FLOconnect, and we annually honor employees who go above and beyond.
Recruiting & Onboarding
Our hiring efforts utilize a variety of channels, including online platforms, digital tools, campus outreach, apprenticeships, internships, and job fairs.
In 2022, we onboarded corporate recruiters for critical hire areas – a first for Flowers. Each is focused on a particular area: corporate and transformation positions, bakery management positions, and early-career recruitment programs.
To ensure new hires on our corporate and bakery teams are set up for success, we reevaluated and revamped our onboarding process in 2022. At our bakeries, this more comprehensive and standardized program was successfully piloted in 2022 and will be rolled out companywide in 2023.
All Flowers bakeries comply with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance related to hiring employees with criminal histories. Additionally, a number of our bakeries actively champion second chance employment by recruiting formerly incarcerated individuals who are ready to re-enter the job market. These second chance bakeries engage with judicial systems, correctional institutions, parole officers, and other community partners to identify and hire qualified candidates, providing an opportunity for them to achieve economic advancement and avoid recidivism.
Our flagship Dave’s Killer Bread bakery in Milwaukie, Oregon, is one of our biggest advocates for second chance employment – with nearly 40% of team members hired through the bakery’s second chance initiatives.
Meet Rahsaan Sloan
When Rahsaan Sloan joined the Dave’s Killer Bread bakery team in 2016 as part of DKB’s Second Chance Employment program, he remembers being overwhelmed during the transition to a “real” job with career opportunities.
Two years after starting as a production helper, Rahsaan had earned several promotions and received the L.S. Flowers Spirit Award, the highest employee honor given by Flowers Foods. Today, he is superintendent of the bun/flex line at our Canyon Bakehouse bakery.
We champion current and former military and their families through veteran employment and career development programs, such as the USO Pathfinder Transition Program, which helps service members transition into the private sector. We employed more than 530 veterans as of year-end 2022.
Meet Victor Aldana
When Victor Aldana came across a maintenance job posting at Flowers Baking Co. of Henderson (NV), he applied, but he didn’t think he was going to get it.
A transitioning veteran, he had seven years of civil engineering experience in the U.S. Air Force, but he didn’t know anything about manufacturing or bread.
“I could say I was ‘mechanically inclined’ during my interview and that was about it,” he laughs. Nine years later, he’s worked his way up from an entry-level maintenance technician to plant manager of Mesa Organic Baking Co. in Arizona. Victor hopes to serve as an example of what employees can accomplish at Flowers if they work hard and keep trying.
Meet Selena Todd
A veteran of 11 years in the U.S. Army, Selena Todd, controller at Flowers Warehouse Sales, Inc., looks back on her time in the military as “a great opportunity and an amazing place to grow.” Her mom and three uncles had served before her, so joining the Army after high school seemed like a natural next step for Selena, “to see the world and learn more about where I wanted to go in life.”
Selena credits the military for preparing her to transition into civilian life: “The military is ingrained in you as a veteran… Your work ethic, how you work – it carries over. That background gives you an amazing foundation in how to lead, how to work independently, and how to intertwine different personalities and backgrounds into one team.”
In 2022, four cybersecurity apprentices worked 20 hours a week supporting the Information Security team by applying their education to real-world cybersecurity issues. We also have an apprenticeship program in our maintenance engineering department which recruits students from technical schools and community colleges to learn how to perform preventive maintenance on our equipment.
During the summer of 2022, Flowers also hosted interns within its sales, strategy, sensory science, and R&D departments. By providing young, career-minded individuals the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and learn about our industry, we hope to build a pipeline of qualified new hires.
Meet Luis Bartolon-Ortiz & Matt Corbett
At Franklin Baking Company in Goldsboro, N.C., two members of our maintenance engineering team are busy building their skills on the job and in the classroom through the bakery’s apprenticeship program. Luis Bartolon-Ortiz (top), engineering supervisor, and Matt Corbett (bottom), engineering supervisor, have seen their careers at Flowers take off as a result of their participation in Franklin’s program, which is made possible through coordination with Wayne Community College and Apprenticeship Wayne.
Luis credits the program with teaching him skills in the classroom that he can apply in his day-to-day job, and his hands-on time at the bakery with making him a better student. And, as he has progressed through the program, he has also taken on an unofficial role as teacher: “Whenever there are new apprentices at school and they haven’t had any experience working with anything hands-on, it feels good to have the knowledge to be able to explain to them how to do it,” he says.
And the real-life applications are clear: “One of our lines in tray wash broke down one night,” Matt recalls. “It was an electrical problem. Before I came here, I didn’t even know the difference between AC and DC voltage – I was a welder – but my electrical knowledge has expanded greatly.” Matt was able to help repair the issue on the tray wash line using what he had learned through the apprenticeship program. “It was awesome knowing I had the knowledge from school that I was able to apply to the field.”
In addition to competitive pay and career advancement and development opportunities, we invest in our team by providing valuable health and financial benefits and a broad array of voluntary benefits and free resources.
In 2022, Flowers contributed 82 cents of every dollar paid toward employee health benefits.
Our Total Rewards benefits program* includes:
Comprehensive health insurance coverage for employees working 30 hours or more each week and their families
Parental leave for birth, adoption, or foster placement
Short-term disability to provide wage protection for up to six months
A 401(k) plan with generous 3% company contribution, plus a 50% match of employee contributions up to 6%
*Some benefits may vary for employees who are covered under collective bargaining agreements.
We support our team in all aspects of their lives. We believe that focusing on families and rewarding healthy behaviors strengthens employees’ commitment to the company. In 2022, we introduced a benefit for fertility treatments with a lifetime maximum of $5,000 and we are expanding that benefit in 2023.
In addition, recognizing the time and expense involved in caring for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), we introduced a benefit to cover Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, which has been shown to improve outcomes for many children with autism. ABA therapy may last one to three years for up to 40 hours a week and there is no cap on these benefits, giving parents peace of mind.
Employees can check their benefits and coverages, find in-network providers, and manage their healthcare spending 24/7 using the Engage Wellbeing App, which is available through our partnership with Anthem, our medical plan administrator.
They can also record healthy behaviors and activities to earn points toward $500 Amazon and Visa gift cards.
We award 20 gift cards each quarter through a company-wide drawing.
FLOcoach, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), provides free, confidential assistance to help with life’s challenges, including personal, legal, financial, and dependent care needs. Through FLOcoach, team members and their dependents receive dedicated, no cost, 24/7 access to an extensive network of licensed professionals.
Employees do not need to be enrolled in our medical benefits to be eligible; this program is open to all employees and their family members.
Our Sons & Daughters Scholarship Program has been in place since 1996. Over the past 15 years, the program has awarded an average of $25,000 each year to students who are dependents of full-time and retired Flowers team members. Ten members of the Class of 2022 received scholarships to pursue degrees, including nursing, mechanical engineering, accounting, and kinesiology.
Applications for the $1,000 scholarship are available each spring. Students are selected based on academic performance, leadership qualities, and participation in extracurricular activities. After the initial award, the scholarship is renewable up to three times if the student remains eligible.
Since 2004, the Flowers Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) has stood ready to assist Flowers employees, contract and leased labor, independent distributor partners, and recent retirees if their primary homes are damaged by large-scale natural disasters. Funds donated by team members throughout the year are matched by the company when disaster strikes.
DRF was there to help in the wake of two natural disasters in 2022, when historic flooding occurred in central Kentucky in July and in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Florida’s Gulf Coast in September. More than two dozen team members received assistance, 25 percent of whom suffered catastrophic damage to their primary homes.
DRF Supports Team Members in the Wake of Hurricane Ian
Meet Jackie Hall
Jackie Hall, a retail salesclerk, had been working at a Bradenton, Fla.-area Flowers bakery outlet store for about six months prior to the hurricane. When she received a check from DRF for the catastrophic damage her home suffered following Hurricane Ian, she was shocked.
“I knew it was a good company to work for,” Jackie said, “but the support from the Disaster Relief Fund was beyond any expectations. It really helped us move forward with making our home livable again.”
Meet George Leonard
George Leonard, a Florida-based area sales director who has been with the company for 14 years, agreed. “I was very grateful for the money I received from the Disaster Relief Fund. It is such a blessing for the employees and company to go above and beyond to help other teammates in this way.”
Learning & Development
We support and develop our employees through training and development programs designed to build and strengthen leadership and professional skills.
In April 2022, we instituted a new learning management system (LMS) with mandatory introductory training for all employees. It is home to our educational courses, training programs, and more.
By the end of the year, Flowers employees had completed nearly 5,000 hours of training in the new system. We also offer ongoing tactical training in areas like worker safety and food safety through a platform more conducive to team members on the bakery floor.
Our Leadership development programs include the “Flowers Front-Line Leadership Program,” “Lead Now” for leaders at all levels, and “Leading the Flowers Way” for our high potential leaders. Additionally, we offer Career Conversations training for supervisory employees to discuss career pathing and employee development.
In 2022, we celebrated 188 Flowers team members across 13 bakeries who completed this program. The intensive curriculum, which was launched in 2018, is designed to train our future leaders on the skills and knowledge they need to excel in the next phase of their careers.
Three cohorts of employees completed this leadership development program in 2022. It’s geared toward new and seasoned managers looking to broaden their leadership skills. Employees complete a self-assessment and create individualized development plans aligned with their job responsibilities.
Flowers also expanded its bakery-focused mentorship program in 2022, rolling it out across all 46 bakeries. First established in 2021, the program, which helps improve retention, pairs new employees with seasoned mentors who help them acclimate to company culture.
The Mentor Up Program at Mesa Organic Bakery launched in March of 2022 with eight mentors, and it quickly grew. “Our mentors are engaged and promote a great culture and environment,” says Sarah Vidales, human resources business partner for the facility. She notes that the bakery’s retention rate for new hires has improved by 10%, and Mentor Up played a key role.
Employee Engagement & Recognition
Whether it’s producing our beloved products or cooking up new innovations, our team is the essential ingredient to our success. We believe the talent and dedication of the Flowers team is second to none in the baking industry. Nearly 20% of our current team has been with our company for more than 20 years. For our existing team members, we are focused on ongoing training and highlighting career path opportunities. To identify opportunities to improve the overall employee experience, we conduct anonymous surveys and act on the results.
PERCENT OF SURVEYED
EMPLOYEES SAY THEY
ARE TREATED WITH
RESPECT AT WORK.
2022 Employee Survey
PERCENT OF SURVEYED
EMPLOYEES SAY THEY
ARE PROUD TO WORK
2022 Employee Survey
Anonymous surveys give employees a venue for open feedback on how we can make Flowers a better place to work.
Our surveys capture feedback from our team members on a variety of topics, including confidence in company leadership, competitiveness of our compensation and benefits package, career growth opportunities, and how we can make our company an employer of choice. The results are shared with team members and reviewed by senior leaders, who seek to analyze areas of opportunity and prioritize actions and activities to drive meaningful change in our overall employee experience. As a follow-up, feedback sessions in each location focus on identifying pain points and, where possible, implementing immediate fixes.
Historically, these surveys have been conducted manually, but in 2022, we transitioned to an electronic format and focused only on our corporate and office-based bakery staff. In 2023, the electronic survey includes team members on the bakery floor.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
Diversity enriches our perspective. We believe in the power of people from diverse backgrounds and experiences coming together under a common set of values to achieve uncommon results.
We aspire to be an inclusive workplace – where all perspectives are valued, all contributions are celebrated, and everyone has equal opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. As a way to foster a greater culture of belonging, we added inclusion training to our existing annual anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.
We empower our people. Our culture of appreciation and belonging means Flowers is a place where all employees can learn, grow, and thrive. We offer mentoring opportunities, apprenticeships, and learning and development programs across our organization. Additionally, our employee resource groups (ERGs) are open to everyone and designed to cultivate connections for employees with shared identities or interests.
We seek out employees with diverse backgrounds and skillsets. Flowers aims to attract new employees through an inclusive recruiting process. A number of our bakeries actively champion second chance employment by recruiting formerly incarcerated individuals who are ready to re-enter the job market. We are building relationships with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to expand our reach and recruit more diverse talent.
We want to make Flowers even better. We are committed to understanding more about each other and the value of each person’s contributions. And we are turning to our employees to help us chart what’s next on our DEI journey—through intentional conversations and anonymous surveys. Additionally, we are continuously monitoring our progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and we are investing to advance diversity and inclusion to move our company and the baking industry forward.
Gender, race and ethnicity categories are reported consistent with EEO-1 reporting requirements.
In 2022, we hired the company’s first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Additionally, we laid the groundwork for new relationships with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to expand our reach and broaden the talent pool from which we recruit.
This was additive to existing recruitment efforts that include second chance employment opportunities, internship/ apprenticeship programs, and veteran-focused outreach through our partnership with the USO.
To foster a greater culture of belonging, Flowers invested in inclusion training companywide in 2022, supplementing our existing annual anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training. By year’s end, more than 95 percent of employees had completed the training, and it is now part of the expanded onboarding process for new corporate and bakery employees. We also continued to roll out additional voluntary training, education, and resources, such as training on building an inclusive culture.
We also ramped up DEI communications on our company intranet, recognizing holidays and other observances, and educating our team about their significance.
In 2022, we laid the groundwork for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These are voluntary, employee-led groups whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace; increase networking opportunities; and grow high-potential leaders. Our ERGs are open to everyone and designed to cultivate connections for employees with shared identities or interests. The first two ERGs, which kicked off in early 2023, prioritize women’s and intergenerational issues.
- Women in Search of Excellence (WISE) aims to empower female employees by creating a space for its members to connect, share, and learn together.
- Common Ingredients is designed to facilitate intergenerational collaboration and communication across the company.
Connie Dever joined Flowers in October 2022 as its first Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. She approaches DEI not as single initiative, but as an effort to build a more inclusive community that values diverse perspectives and offers every employee an equal opportunity to learn and grow.
“For me, success in DEI is a culture of belonging,” she says. “We know when people are happy at work, they’re more productive. Every employee should feel like the sky is the limit; when you put in the work and the effort – that’s what matters.”
Her responsibilities revolve around recruitment, hiring, and retention. Data also plays an important role. “We want to look at employee retention and see that number increasing,” she says. “We want to analyze our survey results and hear that our team members feel a sense of belonging.”
Flowers Spirit Award
For 20 years, the Flowers Spirit Awards have celebrated employees throughout the company who live the Flowers Spirit. These individuals, chosen by coworkers, are honored with a Spirit Award because of their exemplary work performance, their positive attitude, their encouragement of others, and the time and energy they give to their community. In keeping with the spirit of the program, Flowers makes a charitable donation in honor of each Spirit Award recipient.
The program’s highest honor, the L.S. Flowers Spirit Award, is named after Langdon S. Flowers, Sr., former chairman of the company, whose kindness, generosity, and encouragement touched the lives of many within our company and our communities.
L.S. Flowers Spirit Award Recipients
Flowers Baking Co. of Batesville
2022 Awards Video
Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Planning & Performance
2022 Awards Video
Flowers Baking Co. of Denton
2021 Awards Video
Associate Software Developer
2019 Spirit Award Newsletter
Flowers Baking Co. of Bardstown
2019 Spirit Award Newsletter