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Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list is out, with just four grocers among its ranks. Coming in at an impressive No. 5 – just one rung down from its 2012 ranking -- is Wegmans Food Markets, which Fortune extolled for its low turnover, close-knit (and often related) workforce, and the ability of employees to reward one another with gift cards for good service.
“Our employees are the No. 1 reason our customers shop at Wegmans,” noted CEO Danny Wegman. “I’m convinced there is only one path to great customer service, and that is through employees who feel they are cared about and empowered.” The Rochester, N.Y.-based grocer intends to celebrate the distinction by serving cake to associates and customers at every Wegmans store on Saturday, Jan. 19, with times to be determined by individual locations. The grocer has been in the list’s top 10 for 11 straight years.
For the 8th consecutive year, family-owned and operated Nugget Market earned a spot on the national “100 Best Companies to Work For” list as well. The Woodland, Calif.-based Nugget, renowned for its devotion to its associates and communities, ranked No. 37 among the country’s top 100 companies.
“What makes it [Nugget Markets] so great? Fun, camaraderie, and long tenure are hallmarks of this grocery chain, where one employee told us, 'The company doesn't see this as a workplace; they see it as a family. This is our home, where customers are treated as guests,'” according to Fortune's write-up of the regional retailer.
“Without a doubt, our incredibly talented, passionate team of associates shape our ever evolving culture and work environment," noted Eric Stille, Nugget Market's president/CEO. "Creating an environment of trust and mutual respect is key to the development of our culture, and I thank every leader and associate within the company for their dedication and commitment to making [us] the company that we are today.”
Although its ranking tumbled quite a way from No. 32 last year, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market, at No. 71, still received the nod from Fortune for being “all about transparency,” with employees able to have a say on new hires, go on field trips to meet suppliers and know everyone else’s salaries.
"Our team members are the heart of Whole Foods Market, and it's clear we wouldn't be on the list year after year without their dedication to the company's mission and values," said Co-CEO Walter Robb.
No.77-ranked Publix Super Markets, which edged up a spot from 2012, was included for its full-time turnover rate of 3.2 percent, which Fortune noted was “unheard of in the grocery industry.” Like Wegmans and Whole Foods, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix has appeared on the list every year since it was first published, in 1998 -- three of only 13 companies to have achieved this distinction.
“Publix’s rich history and strong culture are the foundation for our success,” said CEO Ed Crenshaw.
To choose the 100 Best Companies to Work For, Fortune teams with the Great Place to Work Institute to conduct an extensive employee survey. Two-thirds of a company’s score is based on the results of the institute’s Trust Index survey, which is sent to a random sample of employees from each company. The survey asks questions related to employees’ attitudes toward management’s credibility, job satisfaction, and camaraderie. The other third is based on responses to the institute’s Culture Audit, which asks detailed questions about pay and benefit programs, as well as a series of open-ended questions about hiring practices, methods of internal communication, training, recognition programs and diversity efforts.
The list appears in the Feb. 4 issue of Fortune, which hits newsstands on Monday, Jan. 21.