In order to attract and retain the best employees, more retailers are sweetening their offers with such incentives as tuition reimbursement, flexible work arrangements and subsidized childcare. Fortune has for the past 23 years highlighted the companies it deems most worthy to punch a clock, and its 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2020 has several retailers making the grade.
Created in partnership with Great Place to Work, a provider of corporate culture management solutions, the 2020 Fortune ranking was determined by an online survey. Companies must employ at least 1,000 U.S. employees to be considered, and they must submit an application documenting over 200 data points describing their HR practices. Great Place to Work then conducts a confidential survey of each company’s workforce.
Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, Fortune said, with experiences then analyzed relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical for their industry and region.
Also considered: an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, employees’ ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders.
Here are the top five retailers that made the list. (The top five retailers that made last year’s list can be found here.)
1. Wegmans (3)
With a hyper-devoted customer base, the grocer has been on Fortune's list every year since it first started — just one of eight companies that can make that claim. It's also been in a top 10 spot 16 times. Wegmans, which has just over 51,000 employees, also captured the No. 3 spot last year.
Fortune noted that produce workers have the chance to be farm-to-table ambassadors on the organic farms supplying their stores, and all employees can communicate with Bob Farr, operations SVP, through an “Ask Bob” Q&A platform.
"There is nothing more important to us than being a great place to work for all,” said Colleen Wegman, president and CEO of the grocer. “The values we share across our company, starting with caring and high standards, are the foundation, and our customers appreciate our people for demonstrating those values. We are so grateful to our employees and continue to make the commitment that Everyday You Get Our Best."
2. Publix (39)
Like Wegmans, Publix is one of eight companies to land on the Fortune list every year since its inception. This year, however, it faced stiff completion and plummeted down from 2019’s enviable No. 12 spot.
The grocery chain, which has over 206,000 employees, provides such benefits as tuition reimbursement for even part-time associates once they’ve been there for at least six months.
“I’m proud we continue to be recognized as a great place to work,” said Todd Jones, Publix CEO.” “These honors show the dedication our associates have to perpetuating the values Mr. George founded Publix on 90 years ago. We know these values are what make our company great and what make Publix the place where shopping is a pleasure.”
3. REI (60)
REI has been on Fortune’s list for all 23 years, although it did sink down from its perch at No. 43 last year.
In addition to holding listening series for its associates and the community, the retailer provides its employees with grants to complete a personal outdoor challenge, Fortune said.
“Through awakening and enabling a life-long love of the outdoors, our employees are so passionate about the work we do,” said Raquel Karls, senior vice president of human resources at REI. “This passion is what continues to unite us.”
The company, which has over 14,700 employees, is also regularly celebrated for its decision to close its doors on Black Friday as part of the #OptOutside movement.
4. Nugget Markets (79)
Marking its 15th year on the list, and up two positions from last year’s No. 81 spot, Nugget Markets has developed a culture of professional development that includes such opportunities as classes, field trips and college scholarships.
It also brings incentives like 401(k) match, flexible work schedules and zero healthcare premiums for even part-time associates to the table. (The cash prizes probably don’t hurt.)
“We have a strong culture of family and fun at the core of everything we do,” said Eric Stille, president and CEO of Nugget Markets. “We come together as one family to create something very special and have fun with our guests and each other.”
He continued: “As a company, we have three main goals: guest satisfaction, constant improvement and to be a world-class employer. I am so proud of our teams for making these goals become a reality—they aren’t just words on a wall, they’re what we live by.”
Also worth noting: The company said it’s never had a layoff in its 94-year existence.
5. Sheetz (80)
Sheetz has landed on the list six out of the last seven years, crawling its way up from its No. 85 spot in 2019. It has 18,400 employees across over 600 locations.
The company was lauded by Fortune for its across-the-board wage increases, as well as its credit for past service for returning employees and peer-to-peer kindness recognition.
“It’s our employees, who come to work with a smile, work hard every day to provide total customer focus and do it with a special Sheetz attitude who make this company great,” said Joe Sheetz, Sheetz CEO, about the ranking. “We are truly honored by this recognition and are deeply committed to investing in our people by providing competitive wages, substantial benefits, career growth opportunities and more to ensure they feel valued and have the resources they need to succeed.”