ARLINGTON, VA — September 23, 2008 —The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) presented the 2008 Maximizing People Potential Award (MAXX Award) to Superior Grocers, Santa Fe Springs, CA, and Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, NY, recognizing superior training and human resource programs. The companies were honored at the FMI Human Resources/Training and Development Conference.

Superior Grocers

     Superior earned the award in the smaller company category (up to 4,000 employees) for their New Employee Career Development program. In response to high turnover rates, Superior created a program that focused on managerial support between associates and management, career advancement opportunities, and training programs.

     The program is a six-week course that promotes strong communication between employees and store management through weekly meetings. To enhance the content of the meetings, employees are given a workbook that concentrates on the company’s culture, policies and expectations.

     After just one year of the program’s
implementation, the employee turnover rate decreased by 14 percent, which resulted in a savings of $1.2 million for Superior.

Price Chopper Supermarkets

     Price Chopper was recognized in the larger company category (4,001 or more employees) for a program they call TEAM, an acronym for The Efforts of Associates Matter. This program encourages associates to participate, communicate and give feedback in order to share new ideas and help make improvements at the store level. A key part of TEAM is Continuous Improvement training sessions. Associates are taught how to facilitate through the problem solving process. In addition to the initial meeting, follow-up meetings occur, which allow for further development and an opportunity to present recommendations to store management.

At the end of the fiscal year, TEAMs from each store district are asked to present their project to senior management. This program has been so successful that many of the projects have been applied chain-wide. The program has resulted in changes to various company operations including training, communication processes, customer service, safety, shrink prevention and store cleanliness.

Runners-Up for the 2008 MAXX Award were:

  • SUPERVALU Inc., Eden Prairie, MN, for its Distribution Management Training Program. While in the program employees learn to understand how personality type affects results and how to cultivate new relationships in a large company.

  • Thrifty Foods, Saanichton, BC, Canada, created an online training and development program that prepares staff for more senior-level positions, supports career development and succession planning.

The winners were selected by attendees at the 2008 FMI Human Resources/Training and Development Conference, who judged the programs based on criteria including program and learning objectives, originality, return on investment and cultural impact.