Wawa Spotlights Associates in ‘Big Six Values’ Program

With two innovative programs that recognize and assist its associates, Wawa has made its core values tangible.

The c-store operator gives life to its core values — Value People; Delight Customers; Embrace Change; Do the Right Thing; Do Things Right; Passion for Winning — through its Big Six Values program, an initiative that spotlights associates who live those values each day, noted Barbara Ennis, executive office relationship manager.

The Big Six program encourages Wawa’s 16,000 associates to share examples of coworkers living Wawa’s values in and outside the workplace. Those selected as Values Champions are recognized in a number of ways. Some receive customized Wawa greeting cards from President and CEO Howard Stoeckel, many with a personalized recorded message that plays when opened. They may also receive “value pins” — which embody each value with an Olympics-like icon — to wear on their uniforms.

These Value Champions — there have been 3,000 peer nominations for recognition via Wawa’s internal Web site in the last two years — are spotlighted in Wawa’s internal Uno newsletter and its internal My Wawa Web site. Some extraordinarily outstanding associates are invited to Wawa’s headquarters for a special lunch with Stoeckel.

Each submission — individual, store team or department — is evaluated with Wawa’s CHAMP test: the behavior has to be a Consistent action, Heartfelt, Awe inspiring, Meaningful and Progressive. Each submission is rated by an outside program partner on a scale of one to six for each characteristic, for a possible total score of 30. The score determines the level of recognition.

For example, Amanda Wynne, general manager of Store 853, was recognized after William Wright, general manager of Store 848, submitted her name for consideration. Wright noted he joined Wawa one month before his first child was born, and that going through a career change, having a child and participating in an accelerated training program was difficult. “Mande spent a lot of time making sure I understood information that I was learning, because she knew the experience of having a first child and a job transition,” he wrote. “She kept making sure I was prepared, and my wife and I were able to reach out to Mande on a personal level to ask for help. I am grateful to Mande for helping me complete the training in the timeframe required, because she helped me stay focused through it all.”

The Big Six program, Ennis said, is “a unique and exciting program that is a direct extension of [Chairman] Dick Wood and Howard Stoeckel,” she explained. “Imagine how an associate feels when the chairman and CEO takes special notice of what he or she does. There is no ivory tower here. The Big Six Values program isn’t a competition or about winning something. It’s about celebrating your peers and sharing the stories of Values Champions who go above and beyond each and every day.”

The ultimate recognition is to be honored by Wawa’s Dream Maker initiative. “We try to make the dreams of the most deserving Wawa associates a reality,” Ennis said. “We know countless associates live our values every day, but we want to identify and select a special few.”

In the last two years, the chain honored three with its Dream Maker program. “The Dream Maker award goes to the associate who demonstrates our values in an outstanding way over and over, and we feel they deserve their ultimate dream to come true,” Ennis explained. “We don’t guess what their dream is, we speak to their families and loved ones, who know them the best.”

For example, Wawa’s second Dream Maker recipient, Michael Porcella, was credited by his peers with soliciting the most charitable contributions during scanned campaigns, such as paper balloons sold to benefit The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.