JANESVILLE

Two Janesville-based companies, Woodman’s Food Markets and Blain’s Farm & Fleet, were included in Forbes’ latest list of “America’s Best Mid-Size Employers.”

Nationally, Woodman’s ranked 218th and Blain’s was listed 253rd in the 2018 Forbes list, which ranks the top 500 midsize companies based on an independent, confidential survey of 30,000 employees across the U.S.

The two companies fared especially well among corporate peers in Wisconsin. Of the 19 Wisconsin-based companies on the list, Woodman’s ranked seventh and Farm & Fleet ranked 10th.

Both Woodman’s and Farm & Fleet fit into Forbes’ category for midsize employers that employ between 1,000 and 5,000 workers. Rankings on the list are based on how “happy and inspired” workers are and how an individual company’s employee pay ranks compared to other companies, according to Forbes.

Farm & Fleet employs 4,000 people throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa and is in the midst of an expansion into new retail locations in Michigan, it announced last year.

Woodman’s has more than 2,000 employees and is a wholly employee-owned company, according to company information.

Woodman’s President Clint Woodman said he believes his company has been named to Forbes lists in the past.

Woodman said he’s not sure how many job-seekers consider the Forbes list when they’re reviewing companies they might want to work for, but he said he thinks it’s a good sign his company’s workers had enough good things to say in the Forbes survey that Woodman’s made this year’s list.

“I think it’s a vote of confidence when you see your company’s name on lists like this. It’s good to know that employees working for you see you in that light. Being employee owned, it’s really good to see that,” Woodman said.

In a statement, Blain’s Farm & Fleet CEO Jane Blain Gilbertson said the recent Forbes ranking “means more than any industry award” because employees themselves rate the companies that make the annual list.

Dennis Armstrong, chief human resources officer at Farm & Fleet, said the ranking might come in part because Farm & Fleet has a “track record of keeping store associates for long careers, which is unusual in the retail world.”

Blain Gilbertson said it’s the first time Farm & Fleet has made the Forbes list. She believes the designation could help with recruitment at a time when local and regional labor markets have become historically tight and competition for workers has intensified.

“It should only bode well for our future because future associates have so many choices out there. Why wouldn’t they choose a local company that has supported our customers like neighbors and now has been recognized by Forbes as a great employer that is ‘best at making their employees feel happy, inspired, and well-compensated’?” she said.

Some other midsize Wisconsin companies that made the Forbes list include:

  • Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Wauwatosa, ranked 18th.
  • Land’s End, Dodgeville, ranked 21st.
  • CUNA Mutual Insurance Agency, Madison, ranked 308th.
  • Alliant Energy, Madison, ranked 445th.

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