Everyone's Favorite Grocery Store Was Named America's No. 1 Employer

It’s no secret Trader Joe’s has die-hard shoppers. It’s also no secret Trader Joe’s has some of the best customer service out there. And now the grocer has another accolade to proudly wear like a badge of honor: According to Forbes’ Best Employers report, Trader Joe’s is America’s No. 1 employer.

Trader Joe’s, which was founded in 1958 in Pasadena, California and is now headquartered in Monrovia, California, has steadily climbed Forbes’ list. In 2017, it was ranked No. 19 and last year No. 2. This year, the grocer came out on top, edging out Southwest Airlines, which fell into the No. 2 spot, and Lilly No. 3. Costco ranked No. 4, overall, with Google at No. 6 and Wegman’s at No. 19.

“We’ve been around for over 50 years, and we’ve never had layoffs. We stay true to what we know works for Trader Joe’s and our crew members,” Jon Basalone, president of stores at Trader Joe’s, tells Forbes. “You combine that with the pay, benefits and supportive, fun environment, and people tend to want to stick around.”

The pay at Trader Joe’s is competitive. According to Forbes, TJ sets its minimum wage based on the market in which its stores are located. This is the grocer’s way of attracting only the best employees, which can earn up to a staggering $24.75 per hour working at TJ’s. To add, Trader Joe’s also offers health insurance, paid time off, a company-funded retirement plan and flexible hours.

“No matter what people have going on in their lives, whether they’re students, whether this is their second job, whether they’re pursuing other interests and just need a job, we can help them,” Basalone says. “We hire individuals, we embrace their individuality and we get the work done through teamwork.”

But don’t just take Basalone’s word for it. Trader Joe’s employees have been known to sing Trader Joe’s praises. For example, just a couple weeks ago, one employee conducted a Reddit AMA, or “ask me anything,” stating: “We’re treated very well.”

“There is no bureaucracy in place, meaning that everyone — crew members and managers alike — are heard and their input taken into consideration. You’re not forced to do [eight] hours of register every day, and if you’re really not comfortable doing a task, as long as you can do something else, it’s [OK],” the employee writes. “The managers and regionals are sensitive to the fact that we’re all human, and we can only do so much.”

The TJ’s employees go on to say that employees qualify for raises every six months, and they can review their managers, as well — “meaning that abuse of power is hard to do. Everyone is held accountable. Even if they’re in a position of authority.”

Forbes teamed up with Statista, a market research company, to compile and rank the top companies, both large (more than 5,000 employees) and small (more than 1,000). Statista surveyed 50,000 Americans working for said businesses. Anonymously, participants rated on a scale of zero to 10 how likely they would be to recommend their employer to others, as well as nominate organizations in industries outside their own.

Take a look at the full list of America’s Best Employers on Forbes’ website.

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