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Whole Foods Compensation Essay

To give you an idea of the hourly rates per position at Whole Foods, here is a short list: Cashier-hourly-$10.36, Team Member-hourly-$10.85, Prepared Foods Team member-hourly-$10.85, Customer Service-hourly-$10.31, Grocery Team Member-hourly-$11.39, Team Leader-hourly-$11.39, Team Leader-hourly-$22.45, Produce Team Member-hourly-$11.18, Associate Team Leader-hourly-$17.17, Buyer-hourly-$13.56, Bakery Team Leader-hourly-$11.41, Specialty/Wine Team Leader-hourly-$11.52, Customer Service Supervisor-hourly-$13.43, Prepared Cook-hourly-$12.50, Front End Supervisor-hourly-$14.41, Associate Store Team Leader-annually-$60,171, Team Leader-annually-$55,914, Seafood Team Member-hourly-$11.03, Buyer/Specialist-hourly-$14.56, Demo Specialist-hourly-$13.08, and Prepared Foods Supervisor-hourly-$13.78. These are the main positions in the store and along with their wages listed.

Employees up and down the food chain at this natural foods market have benefitted from its rapid growth. The stock has tripled in the past three years, and even part-timers are eligible for stock options (2006, http://money.cnn). In an article that appeared in the magazine, “Fast Company”, Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey stated that the board of directors has voted to raise the salary cap from 14 times the average pay to 19 times the average pay effective immediately (2007, FastCompany.com). Raising the salary cap had become necessary to ensure the retention of key leaders.

Most large companies also pay their executives large amounts of stock options in addition to large salaries and cash bonuses. However, this is not the case at Whole Foods Market. The average large corporation in the US distributes 75% of their total stock options to only 5 top executives with the remaining 25% going to everyone else in the company (actually most of the remaining 25% goes to the next level of executives below the top 5). At Whole Foods, the exact opposite is true, the top 16 executives have received 7% of all the options granted while the other 93% of the options have been distributed throughout the entire company with all Team Members eligible for a grant after 6,000 hours of service to the company (2007, http://management.curiouscatblog.net).

At Whole Foods, the organic superstore, they pay for 100% of all its employees’ health insurance premiums. Whole Foods Market benefits include medical, dental, vision, and a wellness plan, which helps cover the costs of qualifying out-of-pocket health expenses. Life insurance, disability insurance, and a 401(k) are also standard. As an added bonus, workers can apply for credit union membership and are eligible for paid leave of absence and an employee discount of 20% off items (2012, http://www.mainstreet.com).

As John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, traveled throughout the United States visiting his stores, he often would be approached by employees who would ask him if the company could implement this benefit or that benefit, which caused him to re-think how benefits are offered (A., Davis, 2012). Now, Whole Foods Market-which has 300 stores in the US, Canada and the UK-puts its benefits to a vote. Every three years, the company lets employees nominate benefits and if other employees agree, the benefits are added. It’s just one of the ways the company empowers its employees and encourages innovation, Mackey told as packed crowd in this Wednesday morning opening keynote address at the Great Place to Work conference in Atlanta (A., Davis, 2012).

Mackey also briefly outlined the company’s total immersion health program whereby people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, or those already diagnosed with the disease, are encouraged to attend a one-week immersion program that teaches them about the importance of diet and exercise in managing-or-even eliminating-their disease (A., Davis, 2012).

“What really makes a difference is when team members are transformed and they become missionaries for better eating, diet, and exercise. Their productivity goes up,” said Mackey, noting that he’s been approached by tearful employees who’ve gone through the program and want to thank him. “But it’s their hard work,” he added. “It requires a radical shift in your diet but it changes lives.” (A., Davis, 2012).

One of his company’s higher purposes is to bring this knowledge to the world. He also discussed the lack of authenticity in corporate America today and argued that this lack of authenticity is just one reason why trust in corporate America is so low (A., Davis. 2012). As an organization, Whole Foods Market decentralizes its decision making as much as possible. “You should decentralize as far down in the organization as you can, unless there are overwhelming economies of scale that would lead you not to,” said Mackey. “Decentralization enables more participation to occur and encourages innovation. It’s always appropriate to ask ‘Who should be making this decision’.”(A., Davis, 2012).

References:
A., Davis, 2012, Whole Foods Take Benefits to a Vote, retrieved from http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/WholeFoods
F., Torabi, 2008, Six Companies with Amazing Employee Benefits, retrieved from http://www.mainstreet.com/article/moneyinvestments
2006, Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies
http://management.curiouscatblog,net/2007/02


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