“We are a healthy business today because we took the steps necessary with Staub Leadership to turn our business around.”
– Paula Marshall, CEO & CPO of The Bama Companies, Inc.

bama-logoFounded in 1937, The Bama Companies, Inc. is a leading, innovative manufacturer of wholesome bakery products focusing on business-to-business relationships in the Quick-Service and Casual Dining markets. The company maintains long-term partnerships with highly visible companies, such as the number one hamburger chain, pizza chain, Mexican chain, casual dining chain, and the largest retailer in the world.

The company received the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award in 2004.

As a privately held company, Bama and it’s founders have enjoyed a close relationship with the workforce. Even the CEO, Paula Marshall knew many of them by name, and the names of their children. This closeness was attributed to a climate of favorable morale and high employee retention.

Developing overseas opportunities regularly kept the CEO away from the main facilities for a few years. Consequently, she was required to rely on trusted individuals in supervisory positions to maintain morale, quality and productivity.

During those few years, the closeness and high morale the company enjoyed degraded to the point where a crisis situation emerged with a key client in terms of quality outcomes.

The situation required a review of human systems within the company. The leadership team, including the CEO, COO and CFO began reviewing people practices in the main facility in Tulsa, OK. Marshall even spent two months at the facility, seeking the source of the problems.

The inquiry uncovered some of the problems. However, it became clear that a more in-depth analysis was required to identify the root cause of the breakdown and help design effective intervention steps to generate higher levels of employee engagement, increased productivity and superior quality. Dusty Staub with Staub Leadership was chosen for this process.

Staub interviewed Senior Managers to gather pertinent information and set the scope and focus for the intervention. Staub recommended a 6-week investigation of all personnel at the main plant. The Senior Team decided quick action was needed and approved the plan.

The plan involved a thorough analysis, conducted by Staub’s team of consultants, of each individual who worked in our largest facility, from plant manager to the sanitation crew, to measure job satisfaction, trust of management, management practices, work environment, communication & feedback flow, supervisory behaviors, leadership modeling, performance culture dynamics, and employee engagement. The analysis included interviews, surveys and focus groups in order to conduct the most accurate assessments for thorough analysis and efficacious solutions.

By utilizing Staub, an objective third party with decades of experience in uncovering motivations and causes of specific behaviors, Bama received a candid and well-documented assessment. Staub’s comprehensive report disclosed that numerous company policies related to human resources were being violated and that leadership behaviors were problematic with supervisory practices exhibiting excessive variation. The result was a breakdown in morale, management effectiveness, quality and safety.

Based on Staub’s recommendations, Bama systematically employed corrective measures, including installing temporary senior management, and relocating the COO, senior managers and the head of HR to the facility to help support our team members there and intensify focus on product quality and safety. Many personnel changes were also made.

Bama also re-engineered their HR department to better serve the workforce and Marshall received the new title of CPO, or Chief People Officer, to signify the company’s new focus, “People Helping People Be Successful.” The company also appointed an officer of EQ (emotional quotient: a measure of emotional maturity or intelligence).

People and performance initiatives implemented as a result of the recommendations include “ People and Customers Are Wildly Important at Bama,” “Improve The Business Every Day,” and “Smart, Fun Growth.”

As part of the “People and Customers Are Wildly Important” initiative, Bama is focusing on placing employees in jobs that maximize their skills and challenge them. Furthermore, the company has rewritten many job descriptions to better acclimate and prepare candidates. Individual development plans and integration training is also taking place to help individuals in new positions succeed. In addition Bama has implemented a customized training process designed by Staub on Six Core EQ Methodologies that all Change Agents (anyone in a supervisory role all the way up to the CEO) attended and then had to use to train and develop others in the organization. Finally, new candidates for any Change Agent role and new employees are tested for their EQ level as well as competency level of expertise.

Employee benefits packages have been overhauled to build loyalty and improve morale. Initiatives include special grants, a health and wellness program, the Bama clinic, fitness centers with trainers, on-site chiropractic care and preventative safety training and workers compensation prevention training.

Not only was the client crisis resolved, the leadership at the company has gained new skill sets and discipline and the company has regained a healthy and sustainable culture that contributes to client satisfaction, quality, productivity and safety.

Courageous conversations have replaced damaging behaviors. Workers are no longer afraid to voice concerns, ideas or complaints. Managers are listening and providing constructive feedback. Employee morale has increased and there is more empowerment and higher levels of productivity.

And Bama is on a path of growth with increasing profitability and a more joyful work environment.