Celebrating New Food Professional Certifications!

We want to congratulate one of our Avon team for being the FIRST employee to achieve our SAFE Champion certification. Here is a little bit from Racheal:
“My name is Racheal Szany and I am currently the Human Resources Specialist here at Harlan Bakeries. I have over 10 years of Customer Service and Food Manufacturing experience with various companies. I also have my Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing Communications from Purdue University. My strengths are planning, scheduling and multitasking.”
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
#innovation #food #foodmanufacturing #continuousimprovement

3 secrets to kickstarting upward mobility in your career

These secrets are what drive Harlan’s Food Manufacturing Professionals to succeed

Here at Harlan, we are always working to improve.  Operational excellence and career path growth for our Food Manufacturing Professionals is very important to us.  To improve your career, you have to improve yourself.

In the last year, Harlan has launched a number of programs designed to help our team members grow and succeed in their careers as Food Manufacturing Professionals.  These  include our Mentorship Program, Our Apprentice Food Professional Program, Our Certified Food Professional and Master Certified Food Professional certifications and our Safety Sweepstakes just to name a few.

We decided it was a good idea to share some of the career secrets we use at Harlan.  If you feel that the approach we take to employee success is something you’d like to know more about, we would love to talk to you about joining the Harlan team.  You’ll find a link at the bottom to help you get started.

Opportunity Often Hides in Plain Sight

Why do we go to work?  Every day we trade our time for money.  A paycheck, right?  Well, that is true for most people. However, you are NOT most people!

Have you ever wondered what it would take to have more?  Have you ever thought about where you wanted to be in a year?  Two?  What would your life look like?   Does it have a nice new car or a better place to live?  College courses?  Maybe a better vacation? More money in the bank?

What does your future life feel like?  Do you feel happier, more satisfied, more confident?  Does your ‘Future You’ feel more at ease?  Less anxiety about money?  Imagine that feeling.  Do you like what the ‘Future You’ looks like and feels like?

So how do get from your ‘Right Now You’ to the ‘Future You’?  Actually it is pretty simple and it doesn’t matter if you are working your first job, are under employed  or are the CEO of a company.  Put these 3 secrets to work and you will improve!

Secret Number One:  Invest in the ‘Right Now’ You

Improvement happens one step at a time.  It is a process, to improve your career, you have to want to do it.

In order to get to your ‘Future You’, you have to describe what goals the ‘Future You’ has achieved and the steps the ‘Future You’ took to achieve these goals.  In other words, you have to invest time and effort into the ‘Now You’ to get to the ‘Future You’.  Here are some examples of how to do that:

  1. Improve my communication skills.  I am going to work on communicating with others by not just listening to what they say but observing their body language.  I am going to do a better job in listening to what others say and how they act.  I am also going to learn 2 new words a week and work to include them in all of my communications.
  2. I am going to smile more and make better eye contact with others.  The vibe I put out is the vibe I will get back.
  3. I will practice constructive feedback.  At work and at home, I will ask those who I respect and trust as well as work for what I can do to improve.
  4. I will improve on being curious.  I will work to ask more questions and learn from what I hear.
  5. I will practice these activities until they become a habit.
Smile more

Harlan employees putting the three secrets to work by smiling more

Secret Number Two: Build Upon Your Success

Once your Secret Number One activities start to become a habit, build on them.  How do you do this?

Here are some examples:

  1. Be confident.  Know what your are doing to improve yourself is the right thing.  Confidence like the other steps above comes from practice and habit.  Know that your current situation doesn’t define you.  What you do defines you.
  2. Look for opportunities to learn a new skill or master a new task at work.  Master these new skills or tasks.  Take inventory of the improvements you have helped to make.  Communicate these improvements to your boss and ask for more.
  3. If new opportunities or responsibilities are not available to you at work, you might be in the wrong job.  However make a list of the tasks and responsibilities you want to take on.  This will help you in interviewing for a new and better job.
  4. If your situation or work environment is holding you back from improving, change it.  Move on.  The worst thing you can do is go to work every day and never improve your career path.

Secret Number Three: Teach Others What You Now Know

Helping others learn

Harlan Food Professionals are always helping others learn

Secret Three builds on the activities of Secrets One and Two.  The only difference is you now are sharing these knowledge with others to help them on their career path.

Moving up and improving your career and in turn your life requires only a couple of things.

  1. Always work to be improving and learning.
  2. Be friendly and approachable.
  3. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities.
  4. Be able to communicate well.  This includes asking for and taking feedback.
  5. Be willing to help others improve.

These five things are all forms of good leadership and it’s mastering these things that will transform the ‘Now You’ into the ‘Future You’.  By adopting these three secrets and working at it consistently, in two years, you and your life will look very different.

Ready to get started on the ‘Future You’?  Your path to success is just one click away.  Just look for the ‘Get Started at Harlan’ form on the home page.

Reason number 3 to join Harlan

There are a lot of good reasons to come to work here at Harlan.  Free healthcare for one.  But free Smart TV’s?   Ok wait.  Let’s back up and cover reason number 3.

Reason Number 3: Harlan invests in the well-being and happiness of our Food Manufacturing Professionals.

There are lots of reasons to consider taking a new job.  Here at Harlan, not only will we work to outline the 25 reasons to become a Harlan Food Professional, we will also provide you with tips and tricks to help you land a better job, no matter where that is.

Free Health Care

That’s right.  Free health care for you.  Harlan has partnered with Proactive MD to deliver an end-to-end healthcare clinic to address virtually every health need you have from prescriptions to check ups to testing just for our employees!  And…

It’s free.

We’ve put together this video of what our Proactive MD clinic provides for our Food Manufacturing Professionals.  Click here to check it out.

As a Harlan Food Manufacturing Professional, free healthcare is one of the many benefits you get working for a food manufacturer that delivers safe, nutritious and delicious food to 1 in 10 Americans.

Free Health Care is amazing but what’s that about free TV’s?

Open Enrollment Prize Winner

One of our Food Manufacturing Professionals shows off the new Smart TV he won from Harlan

During our Harlan’s recent open enrollment, Harlan raffled off a big screen smart TV.  Win a free TV by signing up for free health care?  Yep, that is how Harlan rolls.

The winner of that TV was our Bake Line 3, Avon, Indiana Senior Team Leader employee, Felix Sanchez Aguiar. Felix has been with the company for nearly 8 years, and he is responsible for oversight of all the 2nd shift BL3 line employees. Felix has successfully moved up the ranks of management during his career at Harlan.


Careers at Harlan are rewarding.  In multiple ways!  Get started on your upward journey today by clicking here.



The 1 thing that is critical to know before taking a new job

Interview your interviewer

Most employees think they are getting interviewed for a job.  It never dawns on them that they should be interviewing the company they are considering for employment as well.

Find an Employer Who Will Invest in You

Most people don’t think about what their job means.  Think about it.  Where is the one place you spend most of your time?  It’s probably a tie between with your friends and family and at your job.

You invest your time for a paycheck.  But what else should you get out of the time you spend working?  Experience?  Sure.  Shouldn’t you get something more though?  After two years with an employer, should you be the same person as when you started?

If you are, your employer isn’t doing you any favors.  Often, employers see employees as just workers, not a valuable asset.  How do you see yourself?  How does your family see you? Can you be replaced without any thought or are you valuable?

If you see yourself as valuable, look for employers who think the same way as you.  After two years of employment, you should not be the same employee as when you started.

Recently, Harlan opened its Workplace Simulation to help prospective employees identify a role they will love.  Instead of taking the traditional approach of simply describing a job, we allow future Food Manufacturing Professionals the opportunity to experience a variety of roles and select the one they feel is best for them.

Harlan’s innovative approach has proven very successful.  Since the simulation opened, new employee retention and satisfaction is up significantly.  Take a look at Harlan’s workplace simulation here.

5 tips to identify employers who will invest in you

  1. Make sure the employer is willing to show you exactly what the work environment is like.
  2. Make sure that the employer help you match your interests with different types of work.
  3. Make sure the employer provides you pro-active support and resources that extend beyond the first day or week.
  4. Make sure the employer provides you in-depth and on-going training that has some form of certification or certificate of completion.
  5. Make sure the employer can clearly outline to you the advancement and/or promotion path and can validate to you that the path is real.

Let’s break these 5 tips down

Make sure the employer is willing to show you exactly what the work environment is like.  While you are interviewing for a job, you have to do that job somewhere.  What is that ‘somewhere’ like?  Some questions to consider:

Job candidate participating in simulation activity

Harlan job candidate participating in a simulation activity

Make sure that the employer help you match your interests with different types of work.  There is more to a job than what’s in a job description.  Let’s use a job we have open as an example.  Quality Assurance TechnicianHere are 3 of the job responsibilities:

If you don’t like technology, are not good at concentrating for extended periods of time, are not super-detail oriented and are not naturally curious, you won’t like this job.  At least not for long.  But these things are not always in the job description.  So the only way to find out if you will like it is to experience what it is like first hand.  By simulating what the job is like and what the environment is like, you get a really good idea if it is a good fit for you.  So invest in interviewing employers who provide you this opportunity!

Bake Line Simulation

Harlan’s Bake Line Simulation Area


Harlan's Bake Line

One of Harlan’s actual bake lines

Make sure the employer provides you pro-active support and resources that extend beyond the first day or week.  Most employers have an ‘on-boarding process’.  Often, this can last a day or a week.  After that, well, you are on your own to figure it all out, which can often be difficult and sometimes frustrating.  Invest in interviewing employers who have a solid mentorship program that lasts at least 2-3 months.

Master CFP Mentor

Harlan Mentors are both knowledgeable and fun to be around


Harlan Mentor

One of Harlan’s Master-Level certified mentors

Some questions you might want to consider asking the employer:

Make sure the employer provides you in-depth and on-going training that has some form of certification or certificate of completion.  If you have ever played a video game, you know that the better you get at the game, you advance upward and often collect badges which recognize your achievement.  The same should hold true with your job.  After two years with your employer,  have you moved up based on mastering certain skills and activities?  Did you get any additional or advanced training as part of your employment?  Did you receive any certifications?  Ask these questions when you are interviewing your next employer!

Make sure the employer can clearly outline to you the advancement and/or promotion path and can validate to you that the path is real.   The best way to explain this is to outline what we do here at Harlan.

Our SAFE program, which stands for Standards Based, Accountability Driven, Food Excellence, has several certifications within it.  Every employee goes through the process and is required to achieve 2 of the 3 certifications.  Once the employee achieves the second certification, they are eligible for advancement and promotion.  This can happen within the first year of employment!  If you chose to interview with us, make sure to ask about our certification programs.

We’ve created a video that helps to bring some of the things we have touched on here to life.  Our goal is to help you find a place you can build a meaningful career, not just find a job.  Jobs are plentiful.  Opportunities to grow and advance from that job require a little more effort on your part.

If growing and advancing is important to you, please use this information as a guide and if you are interested in joining Harlan, simply click here.

Finding a job you love can be a guessing game

Let’s face it.  Today, if you want to find a new job, it’s pretty easy.  Just drive down the highway or city street for 10 minutes and you’ll see ‘NOW HIRING!’  billboards and signs everywhere.

Interviews can be informative for the employer but not always for the prospective employee

Most employers have to offer competitive wages and benefits if they want to have a chance at attracting potential employees.  If you are a job seeker, you have lots of options right now.

So which one is best for you?

When you go to an interview, how honest is that employer going to be about what that job is really like and what task it really includes?  Think about your last job interview.  Did the person interviewing you really work to match your interests with a job description or did you just interview for a generic open job?

Harlan believes that it is important for our job candidates to know exactly what a Food Manufacturing facility is like and what a Food Manufacturing Professional is responsible for doing day to day.

Harlan Work Place Simulation Station 5. Bake Line. Notice that not only are the tasks outlined but what a prospective employee should consider.

Why is this so important? 

Because food manufacturing isn’t a distribution job.  It isn’t a services job.  Harlan approaches getting started very differently that most other companies.  This is because our employees are required to become Certified Food Professionals through the training Harlan provides.

Why do does Harlan do this?

Because 1 out of 10 Americans have had a food product made by our Food Professionals.  Feeding America’s families is a very important responsibility.

To ensure we consistently deliver on our promise of Safe, Quality Food, Harlan attracts the highest quality candidates who are looking for a work place they can stay for 10+ years instead of just a few months.  We take our role and duties as Food Manufacturing Professionals very seriously.

By the way, over 21% of our Food Manufacturing Professionals have been with Harlan for 10 or more years and many of our supervisors and managers started out in entry level positions!

One 9 different stations in Harlan’s Workplace Simulation-plenty of different options to try!

To help attract the right candidates Harlan has opened its Workplace Simulation Center to help job applicants understand what it is like to work as a Food Manufacturing Professional and to help them find a role they will love and can excel in.  We built our work place simulation so prospective employees who are unfamiliar with our industry can experience it all first hand BEFORE they sign on.  Our simulation also helps job candidates determine what role is most interesting and will help to fast track employees for growth and advancement.

A prospective employee trying out one of several hands-on tasks at the Simulation’s Warehousing Station.

After all, we know that if you have doubts on day one, you won’t stay.  We also know that if you don’t love what you do, you won’t can’t build the foundation for a solid professional career.  To help bring this to life, in this Workplace Simulation image, you see a prospective employee trying a task in a specific department she doesn’t have much interest in.  Instead, she was able to try other tasks in other departments and found something she loved to do and was passionate about!

Lots of job advertising talks about careers right now, however, few companies actually are investing in providing the tools needed for employees to love their jobs and to excel.  A great career can begin with a solid job but it also requires access to training, learning, growing, more responsibility, advancement and access to better benefits and pay.  Great careers are the by-product of employers and employees working together as a team.

If you are looking for more than you are currently finding, then come visit Harlan.  You’ll quickly experience the difference just like our most recent hire, Omo.

Oma’s search for a role she loved ended at Station 6, Packaging in Harlan’s Workplace Simulation.

“The Harlan Workplace Simulation gave me the opportunity to try different things and find something I can do very well.  This was the only employer I have interviewed with that cares about helping me find something I want to do.   I can’t wait to start.  I am going to be a Food Professional!”

Get started today on YOUR journey to become a Harlan Food Manufacturing Professional by clicking here to schedule your interview and Work Place Simulation visit.