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In what has become an annual tradition – the 16th annual, to be exact – Wegmans Food Markets has been named to the Fortune magazine list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

Wegmans is No. 5 on the list this year, one spot below last year’s position. The magazine with the list will hit newsstands Feb. 4.

“This ranking is a gift to Wegmans from our employees,” said Theresa Jackson, Wegmans’ consumer affairs manager. “They relayed their daily experience to Fortune magazine, and we are grateful.”

Wegmans has been in the top 10 for 11 consecutive years and is one of 13 companies to have been on the list since the list’s inception in 1998.

“Our employees are the No. 1 reason our customers shop at Wegmans,” CEO Danny Wegman said in a release. “I’m convinced there is only one path to great customer service, and that is through employees who feel they are cared about and empowered.”

The company looks for employees who are customer-minded and identifies them through an application process that includes behavioral questioning.

“We look for the type of employee that will really take care of customers and has the same values as we do as a company,” Jackson said, “and really high standards – high standards for themselves and the work that they do.”

She added that employees at Wegmans are trained to make decisions and aid customers without management involvement, a responsibility that makes workers feel valuable.

The company also offers scholarship programs to employees who are pursuing higher education, Jackson said. Since the program began in 1984, more than 26,500 Wegmans employees have been awarded scholarships totaling $85 million.

“While they are working for us, it’s a nice thing for people who need it to help them to learn and grow,” she said.

Wegmans operates 81 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.

email: esapong@buffnews.com