2nd Best Company to Work For

Fortune Magazine’s 2017 “100 Best Companies to Work Forrated Wegmans Food Markets as the second best company to work for.

As Inc. Magazine’s article reports, Wegmans does not pay the highest wages compared to many of the other companies on Fortune’s list. However, it does have some attractive perks for tuition reimbursement and health care insurance but, in comparison to others on the best to work for list, it falls well short.

Why the high rating? Its culture and its management style receive high grades. This is true even though Wegmans has strict rules for its employees such as: the precise number of minutes for a break and the speed at which cashiers check out customers’ purchases.

Marriott International is number 33 on Fortune’s Best to Work For list. I became aware of Marriott’s rating when I was Chief Executive Officer of a distressed company in Austin Texas. The company I was managing had high hourly employee turnover. We paid minimum wage. Marriott also paid minimum wage to its hourly employees but had virtually zero turnover. I met with the hotel manager. Spent time learning how it was accomplished.

Marriott has similar reasons for being on Fortune’s list. Its culture and its management style. Heavy on employee recognition. Its support of employees and their families when they have a medical or personal issue. At the same time, Marriott also has strict performance measurements for it employees.

One minor example. A Marriott hourly laundry employee’s mother died. The hotel gave him paid time off to take care of the funeral arrangements. The hotel manager attended the funeral. The employee deeply appreciated it. He was moved to tears because the manager attended the funeral. He had thought he was a nobody at Marriott, fungible. He never forgot this gesture. He stayed with Marriott and was eventually promoted to a supervisory position.

It is not difficult to have a Wegmans’ and Marriott’s culture. It is not expensive. It pays off with higher than average profit margins and return on total capital.

Wegmans is a privately owned company. Some estimates put its operating profit margin at above 7% – higher than its largest competitors and Whole Foods.

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Robert Amter
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