Our beloved San Antonio-based grocery store, H-E-B (Central Market included), announced that it is now giving employees equity in the company. The goal? To empower and inspire its employees.
A New York Times article explains that workers — who are also referred to as partners — will receive non-voting shares valued at 3 percent of their salary, in addition to $100 in stock for each year of ongoing service.
"Under the plan, workers are able to cash out when they leave or retire from the company, and will also receive dividends based on the retailer’s earnings," New York Times writer Hiroko Tabuchi stated.
The grocery store's employees qualify if they are over the age of 21 and have worked at least 1,000 hours at H-E-B in a year. That currently applies to 55,000 employees, which is 15 percent of the entire company.
“Employees in Mexico are not eligible, for now, because federal laws that set standards for pension and health plans do not apply there,” Tabuchi said.
Started by Florence Butt in 1905 in Kerrville, Texas, H-E-B has grown to a multi-billion dollar company with more than 350 stores in the United States and Mexico. Today, Butt’s grandson Charles Butt runs the business. Forbes contributor Roger Dooley called H-E-B “the smartest supermarket you never heard of” in 2014, commending the company for its low prices, feel-good atmosphere, and friendly employees. We can attest to that.
“I learn life lessons of how to be a better person from the leadership of H-E-B almost every day. And here comes another big learning — give people your trust, responsibility, and generosity and expect good results to come,” added Leslie Sweet, H-E-B director of public affairs in Central Texas.
She explained that this new benefit will make the company stronger. “It will make us more educated about our business and more personally invested in making H-E-B the best place to shop,” Sweet said. “H-E-B partners (employees) are passionate about two things: taking care of our families and taking care of our customers. This employee stock plan will help us do both.”
The atmosphere at H-E-B is just as nice, but with happier employees.
“It’s one big party at work! I’ve had calls from friends asking me what’s going on in our stores because they are seeing the contagious excitement and energy from our partners. We’re loving the early Christmas present,” Sweet exclaimed.