Fortune Magazine produces a list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For every single year, though we might start to wonder why. The names on the list rarely change, especially the representatives of the retail industry. Year in and out, list readers learn that Wegmans, L.L. Bean, The Container Store, QuikTrip, REI, and Nugget Market are wonderful companies for which to work.

But perhaps a better question than asking why we check the list each year is the consideration of why entry into the list isn’t more competitive. If retailers were actively seeking to improve their working conditions so that they could gain recognition, it seems likely that the entries would shift somewhat, as new entrants and innovations earned notoriety as a great workplace.

Instead, it appears that many retailers are satisfied with being just an acceptable place to work and choose not to invest in becoming a great employer. Some observers also cite the possibility that investing in worker benefits may be too expensive for small firms. However, the presence of regional retail chains such as Wegmans and Nugget Market challenge that interpretation.

Nugget Market has 15 supermarkets, is family owned, and has a relatively small reach. Yet it has earned a place on the 100 Best list for 10 straight years. The key, according to the retailer’s CEO, is that Nugget is a fun place to work, where employees enjoy the labor they perform, the time they spend at work, and their interactions with their colleagues and supervisors. In his words, “Encouraging our extended family to enjoy their time at work naturally creates a win-win for everyone; associates and guests alike.” Accordingly, not only does Nugget Market gain consistent recognition from Fortune, but it enjoys the remarkably low turnover rate of just 9 percent among its full-time employees.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Which retailers made Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list?
  2. Why has the relatively small Nugget Market supermarket chain made the list for the last 10 years?


Source: George Anderson, Retail Wire, March 6, 2015