December 28, 2015

Life in a worker owner corporation

US Uncut - Publix became the nation’s most profitable grocer by doing the opposite of what Walmart does. Publix, the fastest-growing grocery chain in America, isn’t a corporate giant that exploits workers, but an employee-owned company that’s more profitable than any of its competitors.

Unlike Walmart’s hourly workers, who just got a raise to $9 and $10 an hour, Publix workers get a piece of the company after putting in 1,000 hours and working for the company for over a year. Each employee-owner takes home an additional 8.5 percent of their take-home pay every year in stock options. According to Forbes, 58,000 of the company’s 159,000 workers are on track to become owners, and the company makes sure each potential owner gets a broad sense of the business by rotating them through its grocery sector, distribution network, and real estate division.

This year, Publix was ranked as one of Fortune's top 100 companies to work based on an anonymous employee survey, which asks questions based on pay and benefits, working conditions, communication with management, and diversity. Publix is only one of 12 companies to be consistently listed by employees as a top place to work every year since the list’s inception in 1998. But Publix isn’t dominant in just the grocery industry — its pharmacies are also consistently outperforming top pharmacies. A 2013 Marketforce survey of customers at CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Publix rated Publix as providing the most satisfying customer experience.

That high rating by customers is the driving force behind Publix’s success. CEO Todd Jones — who was a Publix bagger in the late 1960s — told Forbes the company’s success depends on keeping customers happy. In 2007, Publix ranked first in the same American Consumer Satisfaction Index that ranked Walmart last.

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