WASHINGTON, DC — October 24, 2002 — Recognizing successful practices and accomplishments in the human resources and training and development fields of the food retail industry, Food Marketing Institute (FMI) recently named Big Y Foods, Springfield, MA the winner of the first-ever Awards of Excellence competition. FMI also announced plans for an expanded program in 2003.

     “There are hundreds of HR and training and development success stories throughout our industry, with many companies deserving recognition,” said Michael Sansolo, FMI senior vice president. “FMI is pleased to recognize Big Y with the inaugural Training Excellence Award to spotlight excellence in this profession and recognize outstanding achievement.”

Big Y was awarded the Training Excellence Award for creating and implementing a program that blends e-learning and hands-on training. The placement of learning centers in every store and the implementation of a Learning Management System (LMS) created flexible training options to suit the training needs of individual employees. Judges felt that the company’s forward-looking approach was something that could be shared industry-wide.

Entrants were required to submit a 1,000 – 1,500 word report describing the focus, scope and context of how their initiatives positively improved their company. Entries were then reviewed by a panel of judges consisting of training professionals from food retail companies and educators from colleges and universities specializing in food retail programs.

Submissions were evaluated based on defined criteria:

  • Development of a needs assessment — internal surveys or other methods of capturing critical employee data

  • Formulation of program goals and learning objectives

  • Originality in project development and implementation

  • Good use of training materials — handouts, manuals, videos, computer-based programs and so on

  • Comprehensive evaluation and follow-up

Finalists made a brief presentation to the judges at the recent 2002 FMI Human Resources/Training and Development Conference in Scottsdale, AZ.

The two other finalists for the 2002 Training Excellence Award were Bi-Lo, Inc., Greenville, SC, and The Great A&P Company, Montvale, NJ.

Bi-Lo developed and implemented a comprehensive management training program called The Bi-Lo School of Business, which includes on-the-job-training and a two-week course at the company’s corporate university. The program highlights skills training and corporate policies and procedures.

A&P introduced its Leadership Development Initiative (LDI), a management training program that embedded new company strategies and competencies into the organization to improve overall business performance and drive accountability.

Program Categories Expanded for 2003

FMI is expanding the Awards in Excellence program in 2003 to include three categories:

Training Excellence: Given to the company that most effectively demonstrates a training initiative to help employees improve their skills and performance, ultimately achieving a business goal. Examples include: a customer service training program that is tied to sales improvement; a management development initiative that enhances the skills and performance of the management team; or a safety training program that significantly reduces injuries and associated expenses.

HR Excellence: Given to the company that has demonstrated excellence for an HR initiative that maximizes the achievement of company business goals. Examples include: a benefits initiative that significantly reduces costs; an employee relations program that enhances retention or reduces turnover; or a compensation program that increases employee morale.

Excellence for Employer of Choice: Given to the company whose commitment or actions successfully differentiated itself from other employers by adopting an innovative, sustainable and cost-effective approach to the employee-employer relationship. Examples include: a “cafeteria” benefits program that gives employees freedom of choice, leading to improved satisfaction as measured through an employee attitude survey; a child care or health-related program (e.g., an exercise program) that enhances employee lifestyles and morale, while reducing sick days; or a variety of fun-at-work initiatives that improved the working environment, reduced stress and led to increased productivity or reduced turnover.

In addition to adhering to the guidelines established for the 2002 competition, entrants for 2003 must be a supermarket retailer or wholesaler from an FMI member company, and they must be willing to share information concerning the initiative with the general public. Finalists will be evaluated and awards presented at FMI’s 2003 Human Resources/Training and Development Conference in Washington, DC.

For more information about the 2002 program, visit the FMI Web site at www.fmi.org or contact Kim Roberts, FMI awards program manager, at 202-220-0720 or kroberts@fmi.org.