Great Retailers Work for Workers
Fortune magazine recently released its annual 100 Best
Companies to Work For list and, no surprise, Wegmans ranked number one
among retailers and number three overall.
The editors at Fortune said
Wegmans shows it cares about the well-being of its workers as much as its
customers. In 2010, 11,000 employees took part in a challenge to eat five
cups of fruit and vegetables a day and walk up to 10,000 steps a day for
eight weeks. Another 8,000 took advantage of health screenings that included
a flu shot and H1N1 vaccine — all covered by Wegmans.
The second highest
ranked retailer was Zappos, coming in at number six. The magazine said its “quirky,
happy culture remains” despite its sale
to Amazon.com. Free lunches and vending machines and a company commitment to “create
fun and a little weirdness” are among Zappos’ guiding principles.
in third among retailers was REI. Employees receive 50 to 75 percent discounts
on full-price REI branded merchandise, free skis and kayaks rentals, and an
annual gift of REI gear. After 15 years with the company, employees are entitled
to a four-week paid sabbatical, After that, they can take one every five years.
retailers landing on the list included:
Stew Leonard’s (18): This family-owned supermarket doesn’t give special
treatment to relatives. The “13 third-generation members” who work
at Stew’s had to find employment with other companies after college before returning
to the family business. Their first job? Working the register.
Container Store (21): The focus here is on training. First-year, full-time
employees need to log a minimum of 263 training hours. The chain is also credited
for its comparatively high pay with full-time sales clerk salaries averaging
Whole Foods Market (24): Company employees get behind the chain’s goal
of promoting healthier lifestyles. New hires get a 20 percent discount off
all items in the store and those meeting the goals of the company’s healthy-living
challenge get up to 30 percent.
Build-A-Bear Workshop (48): Part-timers get health, dental, and vision
benefits, while HQ staff enjoy on-site yoga and Zumba workout classes.
Nordstrom (74): The upscale department store, according to Fortune, “continues
to live by its one-sentence doctrine: ‘Use good judgment in all situations.'”
Aéropostale (94): With four out of five employees at the teen
apparel chain under 25, Fortune reports that the company can “harness
their energy for good with paid time off to volunteer.”
Discussion Questions: What makes a retailer “great” to work for? How much of it is attributable to pay versus perks and other factors? How are the underlying reasons changing between younger and older generations?