Looking for balance at your company? Hire chefs and bakers

Recruiting is a key element in any organization. If companies can’t get the right talent in the door, they will inevitably struggle.

Unfortunately, finding the right talent isn’t a simple task. There’s more to it than just developing a profile of the perfect employee and repeatedly seeking him and her out. Instead, recruiting strategies will likely need to identify a balance of employee profiles, all of which carry different — but harmonizing — strengths and characteristics.

For instance, whether your company is a technology firm, a rehabilitation center, or a horse ranch, one arm of such a strategy is to make sure your organization is open to hiring both chefs and bakers. Read on for an explanation.


A chef’s profile

Clearly, if your company is a technology firm, you may have little use for an actual chef, but you’ll likely have plenty of opportunities for chef-like employees.

The best chefs tend to be creative. They are apt to think on their feet and can easily improvise. While most chefs could certainly follow a recipe, they might see such directions as mere suggestions, not hard and fast rules to be followed.

Chefs might be prone to the spontaneous inspiration to add another ingredient or depart from a process. They may prefer to look at the available ingredients before determining what they might create. The responsibility to create something new is likely seen by a chef as a wonderful opportunity to learn and experiment.

Without chefs, companies risk stagnation. But most need bakers, too.

A baker’s profile

Like true chefs, actual bakers won’t find employment in every organization, but employees with comparable qualities and tendencies provide necessary balance to the equally valuable chef-like employees.

In contrast to chefs, most bakers are experts in precision. Recipes offer strict directions for success. Weights, measurements, and ratios are part of an exact science, which must be followed diligently to create the desired outcome. Baker-employees are meticulous, focused, and attentive.

Bakers might prefer to work with specific instructions and may be less inclined to experiment without restraint. They may, however, be inclined to make tiny tweaks until a process (recipe) is just right. Without bakers, a company may struggle with focus and direction.

It’s about balance

In short, bakers and chefs are a perfect complement to one another. Bakers can provide stability, while chefs challenge the status quo.

That’s not to say that baker-employees and chef-employees will find a consistently harmonious existence. Fortunately, constant harmony is not necessary, and it’s not even really desirable. It’s the push-pull of conflict that challenges ideas, tests processes, and keeps a company fresh and productive.

In reality, your organization may not need chefs or bakers (literally or figuratively). But if you find that all of your employees tend to fit a similar profile, consider whether you might also benefit from recruiting the yin to their yang.

In the end, your strategy for acquiring a balanced ratio of skills and personalities in your workforce may be similar to a baker’s recipe or a chef’s favorite dish: It may require tiny, meticulous adjustments, and perhaps even a bit of experimentation. A consideration, though, of the composition of your workforce and how well your employees are working together should inform your recruiting practices enough to get the balance just right.

Katie Loehrke is a certified professional in human resources and an editor with J. J. Keller & Associates, a nationally recognized compliance resource firm with more than 200 clients in the Las Vegas Valley. She is the editor of J. J. Keller’s Employment Law Today newsletter and its Essentials of Employment Law manual. For more information, visit and

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