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Wal-Mart Named Canada's Best Retail Employer

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - In stark contrast to much of the negative press it has received in recent months, Wal-Mart was named the best retailer to work for in Canada, on the annual "50 Best Employers in Canada" list, from Report on Business Magazine of the Toronto Globe and Mail. This marks the third time in four years that the mega-retailer has been chosen the best place to work in the Canadian retail industry.

Additionally, Wal-Mart ranked eighth on the list of best company overall to work for north of the U.S. border, up from its No. 14 ranking last year.

Compiled by international consulting firm Hewitt Associates, the list was amassed from independent employee surveys and an exhaustive review of company human resource and compensation policies and programs. Employing more than 70,000 associates nationwide, Wal-Mart Canada is also, not surprisingly, the biggest employer in the ranking by a wide margin.

According to Wal-Mart Canada president and c.e.o. Mario Pilozzi, "The fact this ranking is based largely on how our own associates rate Wal-Mart as an employer makes this recognition very special to us."

Wal-Mart Canada's director of corporate affairs, Andrew Pelletier, told Progressive Grocer that the company's high ranking is mainly attributable to a couple of primary components: a share purchase program allowing associates to own a piece of the business through profit sharing; and a policy of " unprecedented" open communication that includes an Open Door Policy and a Grass Roots Program providing all associates with an avenue for feedback on company policies, practices, issues, and ideas. The Grass Roots Programs consists of surveys of associates to find out their views on the company. Pelletier noted that such open communication exists throughout the retailer.

Wal-Mart's stunning international success owes much to the company's strategy of adaptation to every country's culture, including Canada, added Pelletier. For instance, Wal-Mart Canada has taken a "very Canadian approach" to business by hiring a homegrown work force. "People really are what makes the business work," he said.

Also, Wal-Mart Canada last month was named one of the best companies to work for in British Columbia, in a listing of the 25 top employers in B.C. Business Magazine.

Established in 1994, Wal-Mart Canada operates an expanding network of 248 stores across the country.

--Bridget Goldschmidt
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