Whole Foods Market Reviews | Glassdoor

Whole Foods Market Reviews

Updated May 22, 2017
586 reviews

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John Mackey
11 Ratings

586 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • great culture amongst team members (note: experience based on a smaller store) (in 544 reviews)

  • Great company to work for with great benefits (in 326 reviews)

Cons
  • Team members are becoming more jaded about the direction of the company (in 481 reviews)

  • Some differences when it comes to work life balance (in 94 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Metro Marketing Lead"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Metro Marketing Team Leader in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Metro Marketing Team Leader in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Whole Foods Market full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Incredible learnings in culture, leadership and team building. Access to the best vendors and people on this planet. Priceless networking opportunities to connect with artisan food makers, incubator kitchens, non profits, schools, local businesses, government agencies and the community.

    Cons

    As a publicly traded company, WFM is highly scrutinized about everything it stands for. Continually working to dispel the myth of "whole paycheck " despite uphill battle. The fate of marketing becoming painfully apparent with two huge disappointing reorganizations with ONE year. Sadly and bittersweet, the writing was on the wall. Tons of talent, across all teams, regions and the global office started their exodus to fulfill their dreams to work at game-changing and stable companies offering to truly lead.

    Advice to Management

    Lead by example. Micromanaging does not work. Power tripping and insecure leadership running teams based on fear, retaliation and poor judgment is running rampant. The highly prized culture of transparency is sadly not a priority any longer hence the mass exodus.


  2. ""Team member happiness" is only a label"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Front End Cashier in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Front End Cashier in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Whole Foods Market part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You get an employee discount of 20%. And they'd let you do your shopping while on the clock. That was nice

    Cons

    I should have known this was a cult like environment. The first 10 people I asked if they liked working there said something like "Oh my goodness! I love it!" It's amaaaaaazing". You're a cashier at a grocery store. You're not a skydiving instructor. What is going on here??

    Well, this place has cult qualities. Management seemed to deliberately use the co-worker voting system to intimidate me into becoming more subservient and afraid of being disliked. Your co-workers probably didn't hate me and/or my work ethic enough to destroy my career by voting me off, but management told me that this may be the case. By extending my probation in order to give me a "second chance with my coworkers", it made the boss seem like the good guy and everyone else seem bad.

    Advice to Management

    Not sure! It's such a cultish environment that I'm not sure that there's much you can do to break that. One thing I would say is to stop teaching people to be fake. Friendly customer service is great, but don't be fake. That is, don't teach your employees to allow customers to abuse them. Let them stand up for themselves and/or leave the situation if a customer is out of line. Be better to your employees and they'll be better to customers naturally. No one deserves to be abused just because they work for you.


  3. "Promises Not Kept"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Prepared Foods Team Member in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Prepared Foods Team Member in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Whole Foods Market full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Most Coworkers are likable people
    -401k plan is acceptable
    -If you want to move up with the company you can do so easily
    -The employee discount is nice

    Cons

    -Coming in, they promise you flexible hours. What they mean is inconsistent hours.
    -They constantly are finding ways to cut costs, which often times means providing a inferior product to the customer
    -They will find any reason to not give someone a raise, even if said person didn't know what was keeping them from getting a raise was an issue
    -Team Members are rarely listened to about what would be best for their store and the company, instead, management implements corporate ideas without first consulting the people who are on the floor with customers on a daily basis
    -Customers are immensely rude to team members
    -The company doesn't practice what they preach. They don't compost. They rarely recycle. They aren't nearly as health or environmentally conscious as they claim to be.
    -Team Members are treated more like numbers than human beings
    -There is a inconvenient tardiness policy that doesn't account for outside forces
    -They are now requiring everyone to only wear only Whole Foods sanctioned apparel, seemingly wiping out any sense of individuality
    -They are opening too many stores too close together too quickly, wearing the staff, and profits, thin

    Advice to Management

    -Listen to your employees when they have ideas on how to better the store/company
    -Pay people more
    -Be open and honest with people


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  5. Helpful (2)

    "A Decent Job, But Don't Believe The Rhetoric"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Team Member in Cincinnati, OH
    Former Employee - Team Member in Cincinnati, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Whole Foods Market full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Decent minimum pay, paid time off, insurance, good food.

    Cons

    Whole Foods is failing.

    Growth opportunities are shrinking, and it's hard to make more money without getting promoted. The company has drastically reduced the amount of positions that exist above regular "team member. " For example. the bakery and the prepared foods department used to each have a person in charge of their ordering. Now, those departments are merged, and one person is literally expected to do both jobs, meaning neither are done as well. This is happening company wide, with multiple departments merging.

    Whole Foods used to have a solid policy in place regarding raises. Each position had a minimum and maximum pay per hour, and during your yearly review you were given a percentage increase based on performance, up to that ceiling. The numbers ranged from no raise if you weren't meeting expectations, up to over 10 percent if you were doing a great job. This meant that after a few years, if you did not move up, you could still make pretty decent money. I think that's a great idea, it keeps people who don't necessarily want managerial responsibilities in their positions for a long time, and builds up an experienced staff.

    Now, the numbers seem to come out of thin air. I was given 25 cents after my 2 year review. This was after frequently being told what a great job I was doing, being given more responsibilities and receiving 75 cents after my first year. I applied for a supervisor position that would have paid more, but was told we were not filling the vacancy. To me, this means that growth would have been very difficult and it was not worth my time to put in another year just to get 25 cents more.

    You're supposed to sugar coat things a lot there. Using negative language is not encouraged, even if it's the honest truth. This can be very counterproductive. I've had complaints lodged against me for being short with leaders from other departments. When discussed with people in my department, they all agreed I was just being succinct and trying to get back to the task at hand. It seems like I hurt their feelings, so they told on me, which is a ridiculous way for grown adults to act.

    Team Members are not treated equally. If people like you, you can get away with a lot. If they don't, you're in bad shape. We have a Team Member leadership doesn't care for, and they watch him like a hawk. Things that wouldn't raise an eyebrow if done by others are instantly talking points if done by him. And I say this from the positive side of the equation, I got along great with my department leaders and could tell I was given more free reign than some others might be. This isn't fair, plain and simple. Maybe that's just how the world works, but Whole Foods claims to be better than the petty world it exists in, and it's not.

    Regarding the culture... it's a mirage. Maybe it was real at one time, but financial reality has set in for this company. They can't skate by on huge profit margins anymore and have to act like a real business, but the illusion of hemp and free love still prevails. There are a lot of people who I would describe as being more disappointed than angry about their experience at Whole Foods(although some are definitely angry). It just isn't what it pretends it is. If a regular business did the things Whole Foods does, I would be okay with it, but Whole Foods does it and claims it doesn't.

    As an example of the above, how much food do you think they waste at Whole Foods? If you said "a whole lot" you win. We throw away literally hundreds of pounds of food a day. I'll be honest, this is the reality of the grocery industry. The logistics don't exist to make use of every scrap of food. We give some to food banks, and we try and utilize items as best we can, but you have to throw a lot away. Again, this is not an issue necessarily when it is acknowledged and presented as a hard truth of the food business. But Whole Foods would have you believe it recycles and composts a LOT more than it does. Want to know what happens to most of what you throw in a recycling container at a Whole Foods? It goes in the garbage. See, we can't send off a bag that might accidentally have chicken and stuff in it to a recycling plant. So if it seems like it does, in the garbage it goes.

    Let's be clear too, Whole Foods is expensive. They are trying to fight this image as much as they can, and they are not succeeding. Because they are. I, and 100% of the people that work there also shop elsewhere. There's more than one reason for this. First, the prices. Don't get me wrong, the 365 Brand makes some seriously good stuff. I genuinely love a lot of the products, but a great deal just isn't worth buying there.

     Second, and more egregiously, Whole Foods doesn't carry a lot of stuff people need when they go to the grocery. As part of their commitment to only carrying "natural" ingredients, you can't buy things like tylenol or ibuprofen at Whole Foods. The only "medicine" they sell is homeopathic, which makes me sick just thinking about. It's one of my largest complaints about the company, honestly. More than once, somebody has had a headache or allergies or whatever, and they've needed to clock out and go to the convenience store down the street to buy real medicine. How can we have truly loyal customers when you're almost forced to shop elsewhere to buy everything you need?

    Our catering is out of control expensive. I'm suprised when people aren't upset at the price of their orders, because that's the norm. There is essentially no discount for buying large quantities. And at least in our store, catering is a complete afterthought. It's nearly always thrown together as fast as possible at the last second, using whatever subpar ingredients we can get for free from other departments, then put together by whoever is most expendable in the department that day. Got one extra person in the kitchen and might actually get some stuff done? Too bad, that person needs to do catering now. I know many other stores have somebody dedicated to catering, but it was a joke in our store.

    There is more, I don't want to come off as disgruntled. I'm not. I for the most part enjoyed my time there, and I worked with a lot of good people. But I just can't sit and watch the company smile in people's faces and then stab them in the back and essentially punish those who are most loyal by heaping on responsibility and not offering compensation for it.

    Advice to Management

    I think this company once stood for something, and now it still wants to but can't. Because it's a business, doing competition in the real world against other real businesses. Whole Foods can only tread water before ultimately failing. I don't have any real advice, because nothing is going to help. But stop pretending to be the same company you were 20 years ago.


  6. "Meh"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Barista in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Barista in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Whole Foods Market part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    When I originally started working there, work was really excited and we had a lot of opportunities to learn stuff (I worked as a barista, but we also had control of the aisle). The best thing was that they were flexible, at least with me, about my schedule.

    Cons

    The downside is that after a while, things became more about churning out more drinks for the customers, and we started cutting a lot of stuff that really pissed customers off which ended up as a vicious cycle. This meant we had less people working, which meant less customers, which meant more cutting deals and complicated, yet favored menu items. You get the idea.

    Advice to Management

    Care more about team members and actually listen to them about their qualms instead of pretending that 'things will get better with time'.


  7. "Meat Monger"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Meat Clerk in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Meat Clerk in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Whole Foods Market full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible Scheduling, good discount, inexpensive health insurance very good PTO for long time employees

    Cons

    understaffed constantly, took away team gainsharing, raises are terrible. Health insurance is cheap, but not very good for people who have regular prescriptions. Company is consistently becoming more centralized, TM happiness is no longer very important, no incentive for long term employees to stay. They keep getting rid of positions/jobs. Ever shrinking to cut corners in the guise to save money. This used to be a place I was so proud to call my employer. Now it just makes me sad.

    Advice to Management

    Really need to focus on what made this company so special, the employees. I fear it is too late for this.


  8. Helpful (4)

    "In chaos."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Team Leader in Orlando, FL
    Former Employee - Team Leader in Orlando, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Whole Foods Market full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    -The benefits. You will absolutely be hard pressed to find similar benefits anywhere else.
    - Growth Potential, personally and professionally. Opportunity to make a living without an education. I know people that did not graduate high school or college that have been able to provide for themselves and their families by staying with WFM. There is definitely a lot to learn if you want to...however, you will usually be expected to learn it without any help.
    - The people. Most of the people you work with are generally pretty nice, so are the customers.

    Cons

    - The slow death of the culture. Wall Street is not happy with WFM and their declining comp trend. Thus, we are cutting corners and back peddling on so many pieces of our culture that made us so great!
    - Communication. There have been so many reactionary changes, and the communication about each and everyone one of them has been AWFUL from global, regional, and store leadership.
    - Cowardly Store Leadership. They all only care about saving face and looking good to Regional and global. I've seen store Leadership do so shady, questionable things in an effort to look good to the regional or global presidents. Some silly (hiding backstock in weird places so that no one sees it before a visit) and some downright wrong (using scare tactics, fear mongering, and various other techniques to manipulate team members and middle management). It's all a game, and they're all playing it. It's disgusting, and made me lose a lot of respect for people that I had admired or respected for many years.
    - Reactionary changes. There have been drastic changes to our overall business model that have been great and not so great. We needed to catch up to the competition on some things, but the labor cuts are ridiculous. They expect team members and middle management to pick up the work of multiple team members without being compensated for it. The stress weighs on the few solid people on a team, ultimately driving many of them out. They're working people to death to save a few dollars because Wall Street told them too. It's awful.
    - Work Life Balance. This used to be one of the best things about WFM. Now with all of the labor cuts, department merges, and elimination of positions it's is impossible especially as a member of leadership. Most days were 10-12 hours easily.
    - No understanding of what happens on a sales floor level from Global, Regional, or store leadership. They simply underestimate what happens on a regular basis or how it impacts the people one the ground floor.

    Advice to Management

    Take care of your people on the sales floor. Genuinely, honestly do this like we used to. Those people are your bread and butter. Take care of them, and treat them with the respect that they deserve for making your pockets flush with cash.


  9. "%%%%%%"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Buyer in Devon, PA
    Former Employee - Buyer in Devon, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Whole Foods Market full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    good benefits and friendly people

    Cons

    undeserving people being promoted to leadership turns teams into a disaster

    Advice to Management

    promote others for their success in the job, not their friendship to you


  10. "Graphic Artist / Sign Maker"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Graphic Artist in Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Current Employee - Graphic Artist in Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Whole Foods Market full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The pay is reasonable, and if you work at the right store under the right management, they do treat you with respect.

    Cons

    Your job here is greatly impacted by your upper management, and they get to determine whether you deserve a raise or not. It's also starting to sound like the Graphic Artist position is going away; it used to be a point of pride for Whole Foods that each store had a unique look and feel, but it seems like now they want to unify everything so it feels more like a Smith's or a Target, something that will be consistent across the country because they're currently losing out to competitors too much right now. So the Graphic Artist position has become much more monotonous and boring, it should be called "Sign Printer" instead of "Sign Maker"

    Advice to Management

    Start offering more products that people actually want, not only specialty organic / non-GMO products. I personally could never do all my shopping at Whole Foods, I'd have to go somewhere else to get many of the brands I want. I can still get healthy and organic products at Smith's, but I can also buy Goldfish and Cocoa Pebbles cereal.


  11. "Everyone is expandable including managers"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Produce in San Antonio, TX
    Current Employee - Produce in San Antonio, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Whole Foods Market part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Everyone is incredibly friendly. Come as you are audited ok customer discounts

    Cons

    There is no absolutely no structure in this company and to much seniority.


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