Frequently Asked Questions
As a proud member of the B Corp network, we practice the values of transparency and accountability.
Greyston and Open Hiring
What makes Greyston different from other businesses?
As well as being a profitable business, with Greyston Bakery currently making 35,000 pounds of brownies a day for partners like Ben & Jerry’s, Whole Foods Market and Delta Airlines, Greyston is a pioneering social enterprise that has been at the forefront of socially conscious business practices for more than 36 years.
What makes Greyston a social enterprise?
Greyston has been providing job opportunities and resources to individuals who face barriers to employment since 1982 through our Open Hiring model, helping transform lives and break the cycle of poverty in the community. We are a business that puts equal emphasis on social purpose, people and profit. We are also proud to be a certified B Corp, committed to putting social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency at the core of everything we do. To be a certified B Corp, Greyston has completed a rigorous assessment to ensure our business practices and legal structure comply with the established guidelines. Greyston was also the first registered B Corp in the state of New York.
What is a B Corp?
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. As a proud member of the B Corp community, we are part of a movement to accelerate a global culture shift to redefine business success and build a more inclusive economy. The B Corp community is working to reduce inequality, lower levels of poverty and create a healthier environment and stronger communities by harnessing the power of business as a force for good.
What is Open Hiring?
Open Hiring is a model based on radical trust in human potential, providing access to employment to anyone, without judging applicants or asking them any questions. By focusing on human potential rather than a person’s past actions, Open Hiring removes unnecessary barriers to employment and offers opportunities through employment, training and benefits to marginalized groups: formerly incarcerated, trauma, lack of education, language barriers, disabilities, veterans, refugees, and more.
Why is Open Hiring important?
Open Hiring eliminates systemic barriers to employment and is good for the economy. It helps address some of society’s greatest challenges including unemployment, homelessness, food security, education, housing, nutrition, crime rates, and recidivism. It benefits a wide range of people and encourages inclusion, acceptance and diversity in the workplace and wider society.
How does Open Hiring work at Greyston?
At Greyston, the Open Hiring process is simple. Anyone interested in working puts his or her name on the list, and when the next opportunity becomes available, he or she gets a call to come into Greyston Bakery, and gets the job – No questions asked. Individuals who are legally authorized to work in the United States and who demonstrate they are ready and willing to work by completing a paid apprenticeship, are then offered full-time employment with benefits within the Greyston Bakery. As well as the opportunity to train and work, employees receive access to other wrap-around support services to help them and their families thrive in the community.
How many full-time and part-time employees are trained and employed at Greyston Bakery?
Every new apprentice is trained and we typically hire between 100-200 people per year, generally on a full-time basis. Typically, 75 of these have been Open Hired and work within our two production lines and our sanitation team. All apprentices typically start at minimum wage but also get access to various production and attendance bonuses, time-and-a-half pay for overtime, medical benefits and paid-time-off equivalent to over $7 per hour in additional pay.
How do you ensure quality and standards are upheld at the Bakery?
We ensure quality is upheld in the Bakery in the same way any other good organization would: by having strong processes and standards in place around health and safety, quality control, and employee support. We regularly review our processes and standards to ensure they are following best practices. Greyston Bakery meets the requirements of the Safe Quality Food (SQF) program and is certified as an SQF supplier by the Safe Quality Food Institute.
Who benefits from Open Hiring, and how?
Open Hiring has proven social and economic benefits, extending far beyond just employees.
- Open Hiring improves, resilience, productivity, brand equity and CSR. It also creates a more diverse and inclusive culture and attracts millennials and others wanting to be part of a more inclusive, progressive workplace. There are proven economic returns. In the last four years, Greyston has consistently improved its financial performance and profitability as it has practiced Open Hiring.
- Open Hiring helps the most economically disadvantaged to find opportunities, providing individuals and their families with a community to thrive in through additional support services such as community wellness and workforce development. Open Hiring is proven to reduce recidivism and crime rates, providing people the dignity of gainful employment and hope. By offering those who have previously experienced barriers to employment, Open Hiring helps break the cycle of poverty and boosts the economy.
How do companies get involved in Open Hiring, or adopt the model?
To advance widespread adoption of Open Hiring worldwide, Greyston opened The Center for Open Hiring at Greyston in June 2018 working with partners to help them better understand the Open Hiring model. The Center provides partners with education, training, advisory services, and research and program options. The Center also offers management teams the option to explore the Open Hiring model together, and start to develop a customized human capital strategy.
Greyston and the Wider Impact
How is the Open Hiring Model currently having an impact?
In the last 36 years, Greyston has created 3,500 job opportunities and supported 19,000 families. In 2016, 1,342 hours of job training were offered to employees and in 2017, we employed 135 individuals through Open Hiring. We have built a reliable workforce that makes 7 million pounds of product a year at the Greyston Bakery through Open Hiring. We further the impact of our mission through community services for the residents of southwest Yonkers – ensuring they have the support to successfully work and thrive in their communities.
How does Greyston support the wider community?
As part of our commitment to using business as a force for good, we support employees, their families and the community through a number of initiatives.
Workforce Development. We recognize that everyone is on their own path and we want to help people find their right path. Our Workforce Development program provides free hard and soft skills training taught by experts, for low income individuals to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to obtain employment in industries including culinary arts, security, construction. All participants leave with a nationally recognized credential and active job development, placement and retention follow-up
Community Gardens, Community Wellness. At Greyston, we recognize people need a place to socialize, eat, and learn about how they can improve their emotional and physical health and wellness. Through our community gardens program – where participants can grow their own produce and help develop green spaces in urban environments – we help create thriving, healthy, and sustainable communities through social engagement, food solutions, and health and wellness services
Housing & Health Services. Issan House, operated by Greyston, is a safe space for residents in Westchester county who are formerly homeless with HIV or AIDS, the majority of whom have mental illness and substance use addictions. The facility provides a safe, communal spaces that supports body, mind and spirit.
Structure and Governance
What is the relationship between Greyston Foundation, The Center for Open Hiring, and Greyston Bakery?
Greyston Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity dedicated to serving the community of southwest Yonkers, NY, and to scaling and replicating our cutting-edge Open Hiring Model around the globe. Supplemental fundraising is needed to support Greyston’s worldwide expansion efforts and community programs including workforce development, community wellness, and housing
The Center For Open Hiring at Greyston, under the Greyston Foundation umbrella, The Center for Open Hiring at Greyston, is a program which provides a range of services to promote awareness and adoption of the Open Hiring Model, as well as research and programs to advance Open Hiring.
Greyston Bakery is a for profit company. Profits from Greyston Bakery are used to grow the business and provide more jobs for people in need, as well as being invested back into Greyston Foundation.