Best Practices in Employee Relations: Wegmans

In this episode, we talk about making those end-of-year “Best Companies to Work For” lists and what it takes to become an Employer of Choice with your current and future employees. This week on ProjectHR, Karen Loughlin, Talent Sourcing and Diversity Manager for Wegmans Food Markets, talks with us about Wegmans company values which include:

  • How a regional supermarket chain gets recognized nationally as a great place to work
  • The importance of corporate values
  • Why employees are Wegmans' best brand ambassadors
  • How happy employees make happy customers

Karen Loughlin

Human Resources

“Our late Chairman of the Board, Robert Wegman, used to say ‘We can only take care of our customers if we first take care of the needs of our people’ – and that continues to be a key to our success.”

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Why Focus on Wegmans?

Wegmans Food Markets – Fast Facts!

  • Regional northeast supermarket
  • Corporate headquarters located in Rochester, NY
  • Currently have stores in 7 states – opened first store in North Carolina in 2019!

What Is It About Wegmans That Causes Such Employee Loyalty?

  • Wegmans is a family company, mission-driven and values-based.
  • Most importantly, employees feel they are treated well, and they have the opportunity to grow their careers with Wegmans.
  • Having those opportunities makes employees feel like they are part of something bigger.
  • Employees feel appreciated and respected for the work they do.
  • Wegmans provides competitive total rewards package for its people:
  • Do analysis within industry to make sure wages stay competitive
  • Focus on employee wellness (physical AND financial wellness)
  • Wegmans environment encourages longevity
  • Flexibility (appealing to student employees)
  • Wegmans Scholarship Program
  • Personal interactions with Wegmans family members throughout the year. 

Wegmans “Who We Are” Values

  • We care about the well-being and success of every person.
  • High standards are a way of life. We pursue excellence in everything we do.
  • We make a difference in every community we serve.
  • We respect and listen to our people.
  • We empower our people to make decisions that improve their work and benefit our customers and our company.


  • These values aren’t just words on a wall -- Wegmans lives by its values, and communicates them to employees from Day One.
  • During recruitment they look for employees that are a values-fit.
  • Employees hold themselves accountable to modeling the “Who We Are” values.
  • Values are even a part of Wegmans Employee Recognition program – where employees can recognize one another for living those values.
  • Employee Communications team makes an effort to explain and demonstrate what those values mean and look like in action.

Employees Are Wegmans’ Best Brand Ambassadors

  • Recruitment tagline is “Love What You Do at Wegmans” and they try to live up to that.
  • As such, Wegmans leverages employees to tell their story to candidates and communities.
  • Best compliment is when employees recommend Wegmans as a great place to work to friends and family members!

Wegmans Recruitment Strategies

  • Wegmans’ team is focused on hiring the very best employees
  • Candidate experience is important, as is onboarding, post-hire.
  • With such a tight labor market, even a company with as great a word-of-mouth reputation as Wegmans must engage in recruitment marketing
  • Wegmans usually starts the recruitment process for a new store, 12-15 months out, in order to find the right people.
  • The process begins with internal job postings, so folks who are interested in transferring or relocating to a new store can get the first shot. This core group of experiences Wegmans employees helps keep the company’s values and job practices alive and consistent, even in a new store.

Employee Retention

  • Wegmans works really hard to keep their people
  • To that end, they invest a significant amount of training in new employees – because Wegmans wants to set them up for success!
  • Company philosophy is to promote from within, across all areas of the company so that they can see all the different ways they can grow their career.
  • Leadership is tasked with creating that kind of opportunity-friendly environment in their store.
  • Wegmans wants people to enjoy coming to work and to be passionate about customer service and food!

Happy Employees, Happy Customers

  • “Our late Chairman of the Board, Robert Wegman, used to say ‘We can only take care of our customers if we first take care of the needs of our people’ – and that continues to be a key to our success.”
  • Wegmans employees are passionate about providing incredible service to customers – and they build relationships with customers.
  • Not everyone loves to grocery shop, so Wegmans employees aim to make that shopping experience more enjoyable.

Tips to Maintaining Wegmans’ Positive Culture

  • Be humble – there is no perfect company out there!
  • Try to focus on improving every day.
  • One of Wegmans’ core values is respecting and listening to people, so listen when employees talk and problem-solve together – they are the experts, they’re the ones talking with the customers, so keep that two-way communication going.
  • Make sure everyone understands company values and priorities.
  • Keep leaders accountable for business measures and people measures. Culture maintenance starts with them.
  • That said, it’s absolutely a team effort!

Karen Loughlin: Backstory

  • B.S. in Human Resources from Ithaca College
  • MBA in Marketing from University of Scranton
  • Began career at Wegmans Food Markets as an Assistant Store Manager
  • Ms. Loughlin is still with Wegmans and currently serves as Talent Sourcing and Diversity Manager for the organization.


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