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Who Tops Fortune's Best Workplaces in Retail 2021 List?

4 food retailers make the cut amid labor crunch
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Who Tops Fortune's Best Workplaces in Retail 2021 List?
Great Place to Work and Fortune magazine have ranked Wegmans No. 1 on the list of the 2021 Best Workplaces in Retail.

For the sixth consecutive year, Great Place to Work and Fortune magazine have ranked Wegmans Food Markets Inc. No. 1 on the list of the 2021 Best Workplaces in Retail in the Large Company category. Close behind, Target Corp., Nugget Market Inc. and Publix Super Markets ranked Nos. 2, 3 and 5, respectively.

“The Best Workplaces in Retail have used the COVID-19 pandemic to inspire much needed change in the industry. These companies pivoted to new ways of working while putting the health and safety of their employees and customers first,” said Michael C. Bush, CEO of Oakland, Calif-based Great Place to Work.

The Best Workplaces in Retail award is based on an analysis of survey responses from more than 1.3 million current employees working in the retail industry.

“The family feel across our company defines who we are at Wegmans, and continues to help us earn this special recognition,” said Colleen Wegman, president and CEO of Wegmans. “We are extremely grateful to our people for all they do for each other and our customers. This award means the world to all of us.”

The Best Workplaces in Retail stand out for creating great environments for all employees, regardless of position or other personal characteristics. Eighty-nine percent of employees at Wegmans say it is a great place to work compared to 59% of employees at a typical U.S.-based company.

Company rankings for Best Workplaces in Retail are derived from 60 employee experience questions. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees say about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization. Great Place to Work analyzes these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup and what’s typical relative to their peers in the industry. The remaining 15% of the rank is based on an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values and the effectiveness of their leaders.

The list of best places to work comes at a time when many companies are scrambling to fill and retain positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the number of people quitting their jobs in the United States reached yet another record high in August, with about 4.3 million Americans leaving their jobs behind — especially in retail, where the quit rate is 4.7%.

According to a recent Axonify survey, nearly half of front-line workers are planning to leave their jobs. The annual "Global State of Frontline Work Experience Study" found that retail workers reported burnout (63%) as being a more important motivating factor for resigning, compared with compensation (50%). Grocery workers cited 56% burnout. 

Target is joining other food retailers launching programs to attract workers in the national labor crunch. The retailer said it will cover the cost of tuition, fees and textbooks for more than 340,000 part- and full-time workers who pursue a qualifying undergraduate degree at more than 40 institutions. It will also fund advanced degrees, paying up to $10,000 each year for master’s programs at those schools. According to Target, it will invest $200 million over the next four years in the program.

Family-owned Wegmans operates 106 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company is No. 35 on Progressive Grocer’s 2021 PG 100 list of the top grocers in the United StatesWith nearly 1,900 locations, Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 6 on The PG 100. Privately owned and operated by its more than 225,000 employees, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix has more than 1,200 stores and is No. 11 on the list. Davis-Calif.-based Nugget Market, Inc. boasts more than 2,000 employees across its 16 locations in Northern California.

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