Tag Archives: employee engagement

Wegmans Wins High Rating on Fortune Best Places to Work List

Once again Wegmans has been recognized as one of the best places to work in the country, as they ranked #2 on Fortune’s 2018 list.

“Company loyalty runs deep at this more than century- old grocery chain, which spent $50 million on employee development last year (plus $5 million in scholarships) and filled half of its open positions internally,” the Fortune web site states.

The piece went on to share that staffers say “fulfilling” work gives them a “sense of purpose,” thanks to Wegmans’ mission of “helping people live healthier, better lives through food.” The civic spirit helps too: The chain reclaims millions of pounds of food every year to feed the hungry.

Salesforce was listed atop the list, which, according to the company’s website, measures companies on the following characteristics:

  • Executive team effectiveness
  • Innovation
  • People-focused programs
  • “Great Place to Work For All”

In a Great Place to Work For All, employees report high levels of trust, credible and respectful leadership, pride in the work, and camaraderie.

More than 315,000 employees provided feedback to determine the winners of the 2018 list. To be considered, companies needed to have at least 1,000 employees and receive enough survey responses to achieve a 95% confidence level with no more than a 5% margin of error.

Employee Engagement Might Be the Key Differentiator for Lidl

Based on statistics published by smallbusiness.chron.com,  employee turnover averages 100 percent in the grocery industry. Cashiers, order fillers and stock clerks have the highest turnover rates, and the cost of replacing just one supermarket cashier is at least $3,637.

But more troubling than the cost, this turnover has a negative impact on the customer experience.

This perspective is consistent with information shared recently on fooddive.com, which states, “Never mind store designs, or prices, or any of the other issues potential competitors have been concerned about: While those issues are all important, so are the ways employees are treated… retaining employees helps to build a cohesive team and a solid shopping experience.

The article goes on to cite the rapid growth of German grocery chain Lidl, whose accelerated U.S. expansion is making many take notice. The grocery chain’s first 20 stores will open this summer in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

But along the lines of engaging employees, the chain has a plan to attract and retain the best talent by offering one of the most generous benefits and compensation packages in the industry. “The program is designed to ensure that Lidl U.S. employees are recognized and rewarded for their talents, feel valued for their contributions and are motivated to continue to grow their careers with us,” the article said.

Store associates will receive starting salaries of $12 per hour, plus benefits, according to a Lidl press release.  Possibly more important than the robust pay rate is the robust benefits plan, which includes medical, dental and vision insurance with flexible spending accounts, a 401(k) and retirement plan with employer contribution, life insurance, disability insurance, an employee assistance program, paid time off, time off for volunteering, commuter benefits and company sponsored social and fitness events.

Clearly Lidl leadership has a strong appreciation for its workforce and values the concept of employee engagement. If the correlation between employee engagement and customer satisfaction proves true, which we believe it will, it will be interesting to see what happens over the course of 2017, during which time Lidl plans to open 100 U.S. stores.

5 Grocery Retailers Listed Among Top 50 Places to Work…

A recent Business Insider article shared a list compiled by jobs and recruiting site Glassdoor with this year’s Employees’ Choice Awards, which features the 50 best places to work in 2017 across the US.

Five grocery retailers made the list, which are:

  • Wegman’s
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Trader Joe’s
  • HEB
  • QuikTrip

Among the quotes from various employees of these retailers:

“It’s an exceptional culture with exceptional customer service standards, and where co-workers treat each other like family.”

“…managers take employee development to heart.”

“The company is focused on employee growth and well-being.”

“People matter here. It is easy to move up or advance.”

Disengaged Associate & A Disappointing Supermarket Shopping Experience

It seems that every supermarket is looking to increase engagement between their store associates and their customers. 

Most times, it seems to be improving… but this past weekend, not so much! 

On Saturday, I was at the supermarket and was struck by the lack of engagement shown by the cashier.  As I watched her interact with the customers in front of me, I wondered if she were a trainee.  Her pace was deliberate and agonizingly slow for a Saturday morning.  She was disorganized in how she scanned items and placed them for bagging.  She made no eye contact with any of the customers in line as she worked; when she had to ask a question about a produce item, there was still no eye contact or engagement. 

I had two large items in the bottom of my cart and while she asked the bagger to scan the items, she paid no attention to him while he did so or when he was done. 

I commented on the price of one item.  She ignored me and then admitted that she wasn’t paying attention.     

In an age where every retailer is working to engage customers, this was a disappointing experience… it was a dud! 

So many stores are working so hard to improve the customer experience…and yet, this one failed.  It makes me wonder how this can happen given the competitive nature of the marketplace!