Healthy Eating Is Good Business for America's Best Companies
Today, Fortune magazine released their 2016 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. The top spot went to Google, who was also in the first place spot last year and has been in that spot seven different times since the magazine first began awarding companies with this honor in 1998. The full list is a Who's Who of Silicon Valley tech companies and new media start-ups, sprinkled with law firms, healthcare companies, and insurance brands. But it's the companies like #4 Wegmans and #13 Nugget Market that piqued our interest.
Yes indeed, food retail markets and grocery stores placed a respectable 4th, 13th, 67th, and 75th in the top 100. Fortune cited, among other things, a genuine care for employees and interest in not only their professional development but in their personal health as well for their rankings. Here, the four grocery stores that made the top 100:
#4 - Wegmans: This family-owned and operated retailer has more than 100 stores throughout the Northeast. In addition to flexible weekly schedules ("Employees are able to write their own weekly schedule or take time off at the spur of the moment without question..."), the supermarket chain offers immunizations, yoga sessions, cooking classes, and a Store Wellness Champion at each of their company's locations.
In a press release, CEO Danny Wegman said, “When our people feel cared about and respected, they turn around and make our customers feel that way too. A big thank you goes to our customers and employees, because together they make Wegmans a happy place to be.”
#13 - Nugget Market: This family-owned California grocery chain has been on Fortune's list for 11 years. The company offers its employees "industry-leading" wages and pays 100% of healthcare premiums (if employees work 22 hours per week). In addition, the company takes employees for fun outside activities, like snowmobiling and whitewater rafting.
“Creating a happy workplace is key to providing our communities with an extraordinary grocery experience,” said Nugget Market CEO and President, Eric Stille, in a press release. “Our associates bring positive energy and enthusiasm to work, and our leaders work hard to provide an environment where all associates are respected, appreciated, and valued every day."
#67 - Publix: The supermarket chain boasts incredibly low turnover, averaging about 5% for full-time employees and 38% for part-time employees. How do they manage that? Well the employee-owned grocery store, which has more than 1,000 stores in the Southeast, gives stock ownership plans to each employee, and the plan automatically gives employees more shares each year. Plus, employees get discounts on their groceries and tuition benefits to help with any educational pursuits.
In a press release, Ed Crenshaw, Publix CEO, said, "The secret to our success is our associates - company owners themselves - who’ve been making Publix a great place to work for more than 85 years."
#75 - Whole Foods Market: Whole Foods wants you to know it's passionate about its mission—selling organic food, providing GMO labeling, and promoting animal welfare—and for many of the supermarket chain's employees, these philosophies align perfectly with their own beliefs. That, in part, is why employees love working for this national grocery store so much. About their spot on the Fortune list, Mark Ehrnstein, global vice president of Team Member Services at Whole Foods Market said, “This is a direct tribute to the hard-working, passionate Whole Foods Market team members who make our stores, facilities, and support offices great places to work."
But being a grocery retailer isn't the only health-related perk some of these top 100 companies have. Many, including some of the most famous tech companies, provide health and wellness incentives that include healthy food offerings on the company's campus, "mandated" time off, and prizes for developing a healthier life plan.
For example, #11 on the list, Genentech, a biotech firm, offers its employees nap pods and a cafeteria that serves vegan cuisine. In their newest facility, the company offers a farmers' market (#80 Allianz Life Insurance has one, too), massage chairs, fitness center with saunas and steam rooms, and a clinics for both primary care and urgent care. Want to get healthy by biking to work? Good news! Genetech offers bike storage, a locker room with showers, and they will even pay you $12 each day you bike in.
Recreational Equipment Inc (REI), #26 on the Top 100 List, offers their employees annual "Yay Days," paid time-off to get outside and enjoy the gear they sell. The company that encouraged folks to #OptOutside on Black Friday knows the importance of shaking the indoor ho-hum for a little fresh air and rock climbing (or just hiking, for the less intense).
Other notable healthy living mentions from the top companies: #40 VMware offers on-site "Mindfulness for Techies" classes, as well as courses in yoga, meditation, and tai-chi. Plus, you can bring your pup to work. Instant stress relief! The CEO of #44 Navy Federal Credit Union challenges all employees to pick a personal wellness goal, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, and begin a healthier journey. Those who stick with their challenge for six months receive a prize. #87 Adobe Systems, a software developer, subsidizes healthy meals for employees in their downtown San Jose office, and they provide on-site fitness centers, too. Want to get serious about your health? Employees at #91 Orick Herrington & Sutcliffe, a law firm, receive $3,500 to hire a personal coach in order to get healthier.
Keep Reading: See Fortune's entire list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.