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    Retention and Growth Key HR Factors for Independents: NGA Study

    ARLINGTON, Va. -- Preparation for the future is a key aspect of most independent grocers' human resources plans, according to a study released yesterday by the National Grocers Association.

    ARLINGTON, Va. -- Preparation for the future is a key aspect of most independent grocers' human resources plans, according to a study released yesterday by the National Grocers Association.

    Developed in partnership with People Solution Strategies, the report, the "2006 Supermarket Store Management Comprehensive Compensation and Benefits Survey," showed that health, training, and retirement were areas of strong participation among retailers surveyed.

    "N.G.A. recognizes that in today's competitive environment, performance excellence in execution is the key to success and a significant point of marketplace differentiation," said Frank DiPasquale, s.v.p. of N.G.A. "Companies that excel in their execution understand the importance their employees and an effective human resource management program."

    The survey was designed to help independent grocers develop strategies for determining salary increases, creating structured performance appraisals, developing annual incentive plans, and offering cost-effective health plans and retirement benefits.

    Among the reports findings:

    Medical Plans:
    -- 62 percent of the respondents offer a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) as the primary medical plan.
    -- 33 percent offer an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization).
    -- 15 percent offer a POS (Point of Service) plan.
    -- 57 percent offer Dental benefits.
    -- 80 percent require employee cost sharing for health plan participation, an increase of 5 percent from 2003.
    -- 62 percent require 90 days as the minimum amount of service for health plan benefits eligibility, representing an increase of 12 percent from 2003.

    Retirement Plans:
    -- 74 percent offer a 401K pre-tax plan.
    -- 10 percent offer no retirement plan at all.

    Human Resource Initiatives -- Top three areas that human resource separtments will be placing the most emphasis on over the next year:

    -- 70 percent will emphasize employee training and development
    -- 48 percent will emphasize employee recruitment, selection, and placement
    -- 38 percent will emphasize management training and development

    The annual survey compares its results to previous years, in addition to offering new salary information for all store level management positions, information on pension 401-K programs, and health care.

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