But what if it really works?

By Steve Moran

Greystone is a bakery that was founded in Yonkers, New York, by Bernie Glassman who pioneered the concept of Open Hiring. It is insane and flies in the face of the idea that companies should use high-tech screening tools to find those people who are the right fit for open positions.

More details to follow, but the essence of what they do is to hire on a first-come, first-serve basis. An applicant applies and they go on a list, when they hit the top of the list, they are hired. No background check, no drug testing, no application, no interviews, no resume, and no references . . . nothing.

You might think this sounds like insanity, but it’s not. Here are some numbers:

  • In similar manufacturing and production companies turnover ranges from 30%-70%. At Greyston Bakery it is right at 12%.

  • Because they don’t use a typical hiring process, they spend no money on testing and background checks, which saves them money they use to pay higher wages.


I recognize that hiring anyone to work in a senior living community is far different from hiring folks to work in a bakery. Lives are at stake and the risks are more immediate. In many states, it would not work exactly. But as a concept, it is a pretty cool idea and it has some serious merit when it comes to senior living:

  • It would mean taking a very different approach to the onboarding process. One of the things they do is to start everyone at minimum wage. They can do this because they mostly end up hiring people who have no hope. People who might very well be forced back into the underground economy or to illegal activity to survive. What they are doing is offering hope to the hopeless.

  • Because they are offering hope to the hopeless those who go to work are highly motivated to succeed. These are people who have decided they want to turn their lives around. These are people that are in essence getting one final chance.

  • They do lose people. Not everyone has the drive and motivation to make it work.

  • A big part of the reason it works is that they offer an opportunity to grow their starter jobs into real careers. Those careers are not handed to them on a silver platter, they take hard work, but if they work hard they can be certain that the bakery will have a job for them or will help them find a job at another company where they can continue to grow.

Think about what this could do for your organization. It could open a fresh pool of candidates that would be highly motivated. It would be a great story to tell, giving you serious storytelling chops that would help market your community.

What ultimately intrigues me most is that we struggle in senior living to find ways to give residents the ability/opportunity to live purposeful lives. Can you imagine how your senior living organization could change the world if even a handful of your residents took a mentor role with these new hires?

It makes my head spin with joy at the thought of some senior living organization taking this on.