Kristen Patchett was a teacher?s aide in Northern California five years ago when she took a part-time job at Nugget Market to fill her free afternoons. Between then and now she left teaching, received three promotions, and became the manager-in-charge of the grocery chain?s West Sacramento store. When she graduated from the company?s intensive leadership program in 2013, she got emotional. ?You?ve been trusted with knowing so much about the store,? she recalls thinking. Not bad for someone who had been bagging groceries three years earlier.
Extensive training for employees and bringing workers into the family fold are signatures of the West Coast grocery chain, whose brands include Nugget Markets, helping land it on Fortune?s 100 Best Companies to Work For ranking every year since 2006. The company, which got its name from a 10-year-old who won a naming competition in 1926, is currently run by the fourth generation of the Stille family (the fifth is working its way up the ranks).
Nugget Market workers received between 40 and 140 hours of training last year. Because of that investment and its legacy, company executives take HR seriously. ?We hire the attitude,? CEO Eric Stille says. ?We?ll teach you the grocery business.? Last year the company waded through applications from 10,400 people for 273 spots. New employees who aren?t up to par are notified and coached on what to fix. ?If there isn?t an improvement, we?ll be parting ways,? Stille says
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