THOMASVILLE, GA. – In the face of a chronically difficult labor market, Flowers Foods, Inc. is launching a new program aimed at improving employee retention, said A. Ryals McMullian, president and chief executive officer.

The program was briefly described in prepared remarks issued in connection with the company’s second-quarter financial results.

“The labor market remains challenging, particularly in our bakeries,” Mr. McMullian said. “To mitigate these pressures and help build a stronger Flowers team, we have implemented a mentor program that supports our newest team members as they begin their career journey at Flowers.”

Under the program, new hires are paired with a “compatible mentor” who meets with the new employee regularly and checks on their progress, Mr. McMullian said.

“Mentors act as a resource, provide encouragement and support, and intervene when a mentee faces a challenge that might lead them to leave their job,” he said. “The program is relatively new, but early indications are that it is improving the onboarding process and reducing turnover, and we believe it will help improve efficiencies.”