NJ locations: Princeton (division HQ); seven NJ stores
NJ employees: 3,800
Chief executives: Danny and Colleen Wegman
Who they are: National grocery retail chain
What we love: Live-healthy slogan, a family-oriented culture, and green initiatives
After 22 years, Craig Franklin still calls Wegmans “an exhilarating place to work.” Franklin, manager of the chain’s Bridgewater store, has much to thank Wegmans for. A beneficiary of the company’s scholarship program, he even met his wife at work.
It’s not unusual for Wegmans to play such a big role in an employee’s life. “Even though we sell groceries, we say it all the time that we are really in the people business,” says Ruth Ann Virgil, human resources manager in New Jersey. “We are family oriented and very passionate about doing the right thing.”
That’s all part of the Wegmans culture. The company strives to provide the best possible work environment and to promote a healthy lifestyle. “There is not a day that goes by that Danny [Wegman] is not speaking about living a healthy life,” says Jerry Troisi, Bridgewater’s perishables manager.
Two free programs support the workplace ethic. Eat Well Live Well is a twelve-week course where employees are required to wear a pedometer and track their intake of fruits and vegetables. There are prizes for the winning teams. QuitNet is a tobacco cessation program that provides therapy and quitting options for smokers. “We no longer sell tobacco. It didn’t make sense with our message and our culture of better health and well-being,” says Franklin.
To encourage employee growth, Wegmans has a unique Bubble Chart that indicates essential skills needed to succeed at each level within a store. Growth is also fostered through employee travel. Groups have been sent to salami factories, beef-cattle ranches, vineyards, and cheese farms, among other suppliers. “The products come to life for [our employees], and then they bring that to the customer,” says Virgil. Franklin adds, “If we take care of employees, they will take care of the customers.”
Wegmans also emphasizes green initiatives. The stores practice energy and waste reduction by turning off equipment when not in use; switching to fluorescent lighting; offering reusable shopping bags to customers; and using recyclable plastic take-out containers. They also sell organic and eco-friendly products.
The chain regularly recruits for a variety of career paths, from cashier positions to entry-level managers to experienced culinary professionals and pharmacists. “The Wegmans family has made a commitment to continue for us to grow,” says Virgil. “The stronger we are as a company, the more that can be offered to all of us as employees.”
To comment on this company, or any company featured in our Great Places to Work article, please click here to visit the main page.Click here to leave a comment