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Is Wegmans Successful Because of Their Engaged Organization?

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“FORTUNE has named Wegmans to the magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, every year starting in 1998 through 2016. The company ranked first in 2005 and ranked fourth in 2016.”1

Being a great company to work for has translated into solid business results.  According to a 2015 Consumer Reports survey: “Wegmans was the only chain among the 68 included in the rankings to receive the highest-possible ratings in each of the six main categories.  ‘Results like these are only possible because of our people and because we are paying attention to the things that matter most to our customers,’ said Danny Wegman, the chain’s CEO, in a statement.”2

How did they do it?  Was it luck?  Was it one charismatic person on a mission?  Or does Wegmans have a systematic approach your company can apply too? After extensive research, we believe that Wegmans has developed a systematic approach to gain success.

Wegmans’ Elements

First, begin with how people are treated. Wegmans has a pro-employee environment and realizes that their employees are their best resource. How do they prove that to their employees?

  • "At Wegmans Food Markets, a $5.15 billion supermarket chain with 35,000 employees and 80 stores in the northeast United States, you state your commitment to your workers in your tag line. Simple and powerful, Wegmans’ philosophy is ‘Employees first, Customers second."
  • To attract and retain the best workers Wegmans relies on traditional methods – competitive pay, solid training and comprehensive benefits. But it goes further with values and best practices that make its stores a place employees love to work and customers love to shop. Here are some examples.”3

Training

Wegmans invests time in training its people. “Jo Natale, Wegmans director of media relations, says the store spends $1.5 to 2 million on labor costs in the six months prior to opening a new store. She says the company wants to be sure all employees have adequate time to participate in its onboarding programs, as well as live training in the store.”4

This doesn’t take into consideration the other education opportunities. Wegmans is “known for offering school scholarships and other benefits to its employees. It also dedicates resources to ensuring its workers move up the ladder: 66 percent of its promotions are internal.”5

Communication

“Communication is critical for building trust with your employees. In its best places to work poll, Fortune magazine asked Wegmans’ employees, ‘Does management have a clear vision where it is going?’ A whopping 96 percent of Wegmans employees answered yes. The dynamic builds trust with employees fulfilling their need for job security.”6

Investment in relationships

“Wegmans leadership invests time and energy into developing relationships with its workers. For example, both HR executives and company leadership make frequent store visits to talk to its employees about their concerns and share best practices.” 7

Managing autonomy and flexible scheduling

“Wegmans empowers its managers to work creatively and autonomously with its staff to meet their needs. Flexible scheduling, while often unheard of in retail, is standard at the stores. We work with our staff so they can have a work-life balance.”8

Any company that wishes to move in that same direction as Wegmans can begin with research on becoming an engaged organization, either online or through their local business support organizations or associations. It is within the grasp of any company who wishes to reach for it.

 


1 wegmans website as of June 5, 2017, https://www.wegmans.com/about-us/company-overview

2 David Robinson, “Wegmans ranked No. 1 grocery store again in Consumer Reports survey, The Buffalo News website as of April 3, 2015 http://buffalonews.com/2015/04/03/wegmans-ranked-no-1-grocery-store-again-in-consumer-reports-survey/

3 “Employee Appreciation |the wegman way,” Chart Your Course International website as of June 6, 2017, http://www.chartcourse.com/appreciate-your-staff-the-wegman-way/

4 “Employee Appreciation |the wegman way,”

5Jenny Che, “Why Wegmans is America’s Favorite Supermarket, The Huffington Post website as of April 6, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/03/wegmans-fresh-supermarket_n_7000976.html

6 “Employee Appreciation |the wegman way,”

7 “Employee Appreciation |the wegman way,”

8 “Employee Appreciation |the wegman way,”

 


About the Authors

Sandra Glanton is owner and managing consultant of Projects Accomplished!. She spent many years working at Xerox Corporation in a variety of roles, including Facilitator and Trainer for their Employee Involvement and Leadership through Quality programs. Sandra can be reached at 585-230-0649 or sg@projectsaccomplished.biz.

Robert Lewis was the owner and operator of the local Manpower Staffing franchise for over 30 years and was owner and head coach of the local Advicoach advisement firm for 6.5 years. His current business is Enterprise Performance Matters, supporting organizations to achieve their staff’s full potential and yield abundance for all. He can be reached at 585-385-2087.

Posted in: Business Tips & Advice, Eastman Business Park, Small Business
Tagged: Business Development, business strategy, employee engagement, Wegmans