Genevieve Martin's work at Dave's Killer Bread has always been about helping people belong. She joined the company as a retail and cafe manager in 2010 and helped create a space where workers could get drinks, snacks and meals on the company. Martin now serves as executive director of the Dave's Killer Bread Foundation and guides other companies to become second chance employers by adopting employment policies that are inclusive of people with criminal backgrounds, like Dave's Killer Bread.
"If you're not taking care of the people who deliver your services and products, at some point you're going to lose and you're going to fail. People are your No. 1 asset," she said. "We don't have any policies and practices that I would say are above and beyond, but finding these other creative ways to create a thriving workplace, both where people feel included and that they belong here, helps to do that."
Dave's Killer Bread's commitment to second chance employment is personal, Martin previously told HR Dive. The company's namesake returned to the business — then a family bakery — after serving jail time on four separate occasions. After his return he developed the recipes for the bread that is now distributed across the country. The company now employs 300 workers, a third of whom have a criminal background, according to the foundation.
The company acquired this blend of talent "sometimes accidentally, sometimes on purpose," Martin said. But by 2014, it was ready to become more intentional about its efforts in second chance employment. "We really decided to take a look at our bigger cause," said Martin, who at that point had taken over the organization's corporate social responsibility initiatives as community development manager. "That's when we started the research and networking and landed on second chance employment."
The company launched the Dave's Killer Bread Foundation in 2015, with Martin at its helm. It claims it is the only organization whose sole purpose is "to equip and support businesses as they embrace and adopt Second Chance Employment." As its executive director, Martin has advocated for and coached employers to adopt second chance employment practices.
"We don't have to actively recruit any longer. Every day, we have people come in the door asking to fill out applications, seeing what jobs are available, so we are literally turning talent away every single day."
Executive Director, Dave's Killer Bread Foundation
As the foundation advocated for second chance employment, it eliminated for the company a challenge that many manufacturers face. "We don't have to actively recruit any longer. Every day, we have people come in the door asking to fill out applications, seeing what jobs are available, so we are literally turning talent away every single day," Martin said. "We cannot hire all the people that are perfectly capable of working, but they know that this is a place they can come and belong as their whole selves and not have to hide pieces or facets of who they may have been at some point."
In the next three years, the foundation will aim to make this true of every employer it works with. It will launch a nine-month corporate cohort training. And it will create an online training to help companies make their recruitment processes and workplace cultures more inclusive to individuals with criminal backgrounds.
Even as the Dave's Killer Bread Foundation sets out to help companies become second chance employers, Martin holds that being inclusive of those with criminal backgrounds shouldn't come as a revolutionary prospect.
"This isn't a charitable or altruistic ask that we make of companies. We're saying, you're a company with a bottom line that needs to be successful, but you need talented people," Martin said. "This should be an additional way that you would go about getting the best people for your jobs to make your business stronger."