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Loblaw program engages fresh grads in groceries

By Laurie Blake
| www.cos-mag.com

Loblaw is on a mission to find more of Canada’s best and brightest graduates and help them build a rewarding career in retail, and they are currently accepting applications for the grad@loblaw program.

At the heart of the

grad@Loblaw

program is the company’s commitment to recognizing the fresh perspectives that recent graduates often bring to their jobs while creating a dynamic environment that offers mentorship and experiences to nurture their talent and skill set.

Victoria Bennett, a University of Guelph graduate who joined Loblaw this year through the grad@loblaw program had the opportunity to develop ideas for new products to help learn what is involved in getting a new product on store shelves.  

During her rotation in a Loblaw retail store, Bennett noticed President's Choice did not have its own pickle. When presented the opportunity to learn what is involved in getting a new product on store shelves, Bennett decided to create a President’s Choice pickle for consideration by senior executives.  Through this process Bennett learned the key components of a successful product development pitch –everything from what the label should look like to how the pickles should be displayed for tasting.

Victoria’s story is just one example of the types of opportunities

grad@Loblaw

participants are having.

The company attributes part of its recognition, for the second year in a row, as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc. to the grad@Loblaw program. The only grocery retailer on the list, this honour was given in recognition of the company’s many colleague engagement programs and its overall commitment to creating a great workplace environment.

 “We are very proud to be recognized once again as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. This award is an acknowledgement of our continued work to develop innovative approaches to creating a culture of success and a supportive work environment,” says Judy McCrie, executive vice president, Human Resources, Loblaw Companies Limited. “It is critical to our progression that colleagues feel part of the Loblaw team.”

Being a Great Place to Work is one of Loblaw’s five corporate social responsibility principles and helps shape the company’s approach to employee engagement. Some of the initiatives that helped Loblaw earn its place on Canada’s Top 100 Employers list this year include:

•     Morning “Huddle” Program

– To make sure colleagues have the most up to date information to do their jobs well, teams across the company “huddle” each day for a short meeting to connect colleagues to the business, their department and to each other. This is an extension of an existing in-store practice that now takes place at regional offices and distribution centres across the country.

•     Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Program

– This colleague recognition program acknowledges colleagues who go above and beyond what is expected in their job. Colleagues are nominated by customers, their peers, colleagues in other departments or their managers and are presented with a pin at their huddle.  Those colleagues that have been recognized in all categories receive a special recognition from our company president.  

•     Colleague Volunteer Grant Program

– Loblaw gives colleagues the opportunity and resources to participate in their organization of choice in a meaningful way.  The company supports colleague volunteerism by making select financial contributions to charities and non-profit organizations in which colleagues are actively engaged within their communities.  

•     grad@Loblaw

– Launched in 2009, grad@Loblaw is a unique 18-month program for recently graduated university and college students.  Graduates are hired as full-time salaried staff, rotating through various roles in-store, central merchandising, and the position they were hired to fulfill.

“When I heard about the grad@Loblaw I was really intrigued by the opportunities the program provided to learn many different areas of the business,” says Carly Harris, colleague in the grad@Loblaw program.  “After a few short months the program has surpassed my expectations, providing me with the hands-on experience and knowledge I will need to one day be a successful store manager."

Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is a food distributor and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ over 138,000 full-time and part-time employees. 

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