Publix Super Markets Inc.

Long tenures make for a tight team

Can you name the exact date you started your job with your current employer? Mike Booher can: Aug. 23, 1993. And he says he's not the only one who closely tracks his anniversary with Publix Super Markets Inc., a supermarket chain based in Lakeland, Fla. Maybe it's the celebrations held for every five years of employment, the 10 opportunities per year to win a superior-performance award, or the holiday bonus equaling a month's pay. Or maybe it's the fact that employees are also part owners, thanks to the company's stock ownership program, in which employees become fully vested after five years.

"If an associate stays past the three-to-five-year mark, our retention rates soar," says Booher, director of IT finance. "That's when they really start to see the benefit of associate ownership."

Take 16-year veteran Steve Reed, who started at Publix washing trucks and is now a senior systems engineer. "The longer you stay, the more you love it, partly because you're a stock owner and also because of the ownership you take in what you do," he says. The long tenures within the IT team create a camaraderie and culture that's "second to none," says Reed.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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