Whole Foods Culture Notes

Leaders in each store are a team store leaders in

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leaders in each store are a team; store leaders in each region are a team; the company's six regional presidents are a team. All stores also had a customer service team and a front-end team of  cashiers.  Self directed Teams that meet regularly to discuss issues, solve problems and appreciate each other's contributions. Teams, stores, and regions compete vigorously to outdo each other in quality, service, profitability -- and the results of those competitions translate directly into bonuses, recognition, and promotions. Recently, internal competition got so intense that company leaders asked the stores to tone it down. Commitment to make our jobs more fun by combining work and play and through friendly competition to improve our stores. Sensitive figures on store sales, team sales, profit margins, even salaries, are available to every person in every location. In fact, the company shares so much information so widely that the SEC has designated all 6,500 employees "insiders" for stock-trading purposes. Open salary process is very radical- people discover that the cashier in the next aisle (or city) makes roughly what they make, they focus on team goals and job satisfaction. That's not always the case at higher levels. The Whole Foods strategy combines democracy with discipline. The Whole Foods culture braids a strong sense of community with a fierce commitment to productivity. It's a virtuous circle: rank-and-file participation reinforces individual attention to performance and profits; solid financial results give people more freedom to innovate financial results give people more freedom to innovate.
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  • Spring '08
  • store team leaders

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