Whole Foods Market
3.6 of 5 1,120 reviews
www.wholefoodsmarket.com Austin, TX 5000+ Employees

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5 people found this helpful  

WFM takes care of its people, coworkers are great, company has a conscience

Team Member (Current Employee)
Austin, TX

I have been working at Whole Foods Market full-time for more than 5 years

Pros1. The CEO is a visionary. Even though I don't agree with ALL of his opinions (about which he can be rather vocal, writing op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere), and even though he makes a mistake now and then (we ALL do -- we're just not all as much in the public eye as he is), I love that he is a philosopher, a visionary, an optimist, an idealist, and a very conscious and courageous person and businessman.
2. The company has had a real impact on: organic standards, humane treatment of farm animals, fair trade practices, micro-loans to poor people in developing countries and to local farmers in the stores' communities, helping to install salad bars in school cafeterias, a significant percentage of profits are given to charities, etc.
3. Even though they're essentially 'grocery stores', the stores are aesthetically pleasing -- nice places to spend time, whether you're shopping or working.
4. Great benefits.
5. The team members (your coworkers) are fun and creative people, who generally share your ideals. Many of them are artists, musicians, well educated and curious types.
6. In general, managers are cool.
7. Opportunity for advancement is huge, as the company plans to have 1,000 stores by 2020 (it currently has fewer than 400). That would mean opening about 2 stores a week between now and then. Translation: Plenty of room for advancement.
8. There is an emphasis on health in the workplace. In fact, you can increase your employee discount from the base of 20% all the way up to a whopping 30% if you meet certain health benchmarks (blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, non-smoker).
9. Overtime is practically forbidden, so it's relatively easy to maintain some work/life balance, as you will rarely be asked to work more than 40 hours a week. As a former teacher, who worked long hours and was still never done, working only 40 hours a week feels like heaven.
10. Work schedules are somewhat flexible. I hate working 9-to-5 every day of the week -- I prefer variety -- so I like having some early shifts, some late shifts, a weekday or two off every week.
11. Employees are empowered to make decisions in real time, regarding how to deal with problems that arise, rather than having always to go to one's superior to get an answer.
12. Corporate structure is quite decentralized and 'flat,' as opposed to being centralized and like a tall, skinny pyramid.
13. Domestic partnerships are recognized for benefits, not just the traditional marriage.

Cons1. The interview process is a bit dysfunctional. Your resume', experience level, education, references, etc. all matter relatively little compared to your 45-minute 'performance' (and that is an apt word for it) during the job interview. I actually heard someone heading into an interview panel say "I hope So-n-So does well in this interview, because he really is the best person for the job." Really? Then, if he is the best person for the job, hire him! They seem to want to see "ENERGY!" "PASSION!" etc. in an interview. It matters relatively little if all your past employers would rave about your previous work experience -- not sure Whole Foods even contacts references or past employers. The result is that I have seen the 'less-than-best' person hired for some positions, and then, six months later, when it becomes obvious that that person is not working out, they get rid of that person and then have interviews again and hire the person they should have hired in the first place. This also results in people believing (with reason) that they have to be less-than-genuine in their interview -- be someone they are not -- prostitute themselves -- in order to get a job they deserve anyway. It is not necessary to be a 'performance artist' to be a good customer service provider, so why require it of interviewees? Oh well.... This doesn't happen 100% of the time, but I've seen it happen enough (and fell victim to it once or twice) that it is a little disturbing. The strategy to take is just to not ever take it personal, just keep applying, keep working hard. Eventually your talents will get recognized and rewarded.
2. It's retail, so you will be getting precious little holiday time off to spend with your family. Indeed, you will be working MORE than usual, not less, around Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, etc.
3. On a related note, the company is a bit skimpy with the paid time off. It seems customary in the U.S. to get a couple of weeks of vacation time, a couple of weeks' worth of sick time, and up to 10 holidays off a year, sometimes a couple of 'personal days.' At Whole Foods, you get about 3 weeks off, total. It gets a little better the longer you work for the company, but that takes a while (longer than it seems it should). People need more of a break than this. If you get the flu and miss 3 or 4 days, and need another few days to attend a wedding or a funeral or to see your family out of town, and take another day or two off to work on your house or to meet the plumber or the roofer or whatever, and take your kid to the doctor a couple of times or stay home with him or her when they are sick, boom -- you've used up all your paid time off. No vacation for you this year! It can be a little exhausting.

Advice to Senior Management1. Utilize more of a balanced weight in selecting people for promotions -- not just a relatively brief interview, but also previous work experience, education, references, etc.
2. Be careful about growing too quickly. Your ability to staff all these new stores might get stretched thin at this pace.
3. Keep up with the Whole Planet Foundation, Whole Kids, Green energy initiatives, etc., as these components of the company add a lot of meaning to our work and keep many of us here and happy. I love working for a boss who actually believes (as I do) that global poverty can be eliminated and that we can make a significant contribution to that.
4. Keep the corporate structure flat, and keep your team members empowered.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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5 people found this helpful  

You may need to drink the cool aid.

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Whole Foods Market


Pros: Healthcare benefits are significant. Especially rewarding to work for them… Cons: You will end up babysitting stoned kids. Being whole foods… Advice to Senior Management: The best managers at whole foods encourage good work rather… More

1 person found this helpful  

Bakery

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Whole Foods Market


Pros: Lot's of opportunity for advancment Cons: The interviews are ridiculous, They require so much time and… More

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​​Our Motto Our motto — Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet — emphasizes that our vision reaches beyond food retailing. In fact, our deepest purpose as an organization is helping support the health, well-being, and… Full Overview

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