Whole Foods Employee Benefits Review: Are Their Careers Worth It?

Whole Foods Employee Benefits Review: Are Their Careers Worth It?

Whole Foods is a global supermarket chain. It is dedicated to providing customers with natural and organic foods that do not contain preservatives, artificial flavors or artificial colors. Whole Foods started as a single store in 1980 in Austin, Texas. Today, there are about 500 stores around the world. Whole Foods was acquired by Amazon in 2017 for $13.7 billion, which made the grocery chain’s stocks soar. Since then, workers’ careers have evolved to include more aspects of online technology.

Many employees who join Whole Foods do so because of the company’s commitment to community giving and transparency. As the company grows with the resources of Amazon, it encourages people who want to be a part of changing the future of grocery shopping to join. Whole Foods has a reputation for rewarding its dedicated employees with perks and benefits. There are also many opportunities for advancement.

Whole Foods Employee Benefits Team

Brian O’Connell, Global Vice President of Team Member Services

Brian O’Connell earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Boston College, and he is a CPA. His career at Whole Foods spans 17 years. O’Connell started in San Francisco as a director of finance. The company later moved him to its headquarters in Austin to be the global VP of finance. In 2018, he became the leader of team member services and HR activities. As the overseer of all regional management offices, he is responsible for more than 86,000 team members. There are many regional HR managers, benefits analysts and HR staff who work under his direction.

Find Brian O’Connell on:

LinkedIn

What are Whole Foods’ Employee Benefits?

Whole Foods has created a brilliant employee benefits package. Here are just a few of the perks they offer their employees.

Employee BenefitsDescription
Health InsuranceAccess to comprehensive health cover.
Dental InsuranceCoverage to ensure all employee's dental needs are met.
Vision InsuranceCoverage to ensure all employee's optical needs are met.
Wellness Program"Green Trek" program encourages employees to stay fit and healthy.
Health Immersion ProgramWhole Foods selects employees to send on an all expenses paid health tour for a month.
Training and Personal DevelopementWhole Foods encourages learning and growth through comprehensive training programs.
Volunteer ProgramFor two to three weeks every year, employees can apply to travel to and volunteer at the communities where Whole Foods sources products.
Employee Assistance PlanTools and resources are available for staff going through hard and stressful times.
Health Savings AccountHelps employees save money for any medical costs.
Paid Time Off Cash OutAny unused paid time off can be given in cash at the end of the year.
Employee Discount20% employee discount on wide range of products and services.
Credit UnionEmployees have free checking, mobile banking, and other perks.
Legal AssistanceWhole Foods will partially cover some legal fees.

What Employee Benefits Is Whole Foods Known For?

Employees and analysts alike often rate the benefits of Whole Foods highly. According to a Forbes article and Amazon, Whole Foods is one of the few companies that earned a spot on Fortune’s Best Places to Work list for 20 consecutive years. Employee benefits are a big reason for this, and these are some of the top benefits for Whole Foods employees in the United States:

  • Access to good health insurance for salaried, full-time and part-time workers.
  • Comprehensive vision and dental care options.
  • A points-based prize system for healthy eating, exercising and community involvement.
  • Four chances each year to attend an expenses-paid health getaway trip.
  • Volunteer programs and learning development programs.
  • Mental health assistance coverage.
  • Exclusive discounts on Apple, Yeti and many other products.
  • 401(k) and HSA options.
  • Annual PTO cash-out option for unused PTO.
  • A 20% in-store discount that could increase to 30% after the first 180 days of employment.

To earn the 30% discount, employees must meet health status criteria. For example, cholesterol, blood pressure, and BMI thresholds must be met. Another little-known Whole Foods benefit that Fortune mentioned was sabbaticals. After 6,000 hours of service, employees are eligible for an unpaid six-week sabbatical. Overall, the company’s benefits focus on rewarding and encouraging healthy living. Since management candidates are decided on and hired by a panel of employee peers, group collaboration is also a benefit of the company culture.

How Does Whole Foods Help With Student Loans?

Today, some companies offer student loan repayment assistance as a perk. Although Whole Foods does not list this for a specific position or for a set of positions, it offers all employees the benefit of joining the CDC Federal Credit Union. Members have free checking, mobile banking, and other perks. For those who qualify, there are low-interest loans available. Some students who need money to cover extra education costs may find the credit union’s rates affordable. Whole Foods does not currently offer tuition reimbursement. However, Amazon has been making changes to the company and will likely continue to do so. Since Amazon has its own generous tuition reimbursement program, it is possible that it may add a tuition assistance structure for Whole Foods in the future.

How Do Whole Foods Benefits Change for Different Jobs?

The benefits listed previously apply to most salaried, full-time and part-time workers in the United States. However, some employees with jobs that are partially or fully completed on a computer may have the benefit of optional telecommuting. Employees who work at the headquarters facility in Austin or the Glendale facility in California have access to on-site fitness and medical centers.

Whole Foods also has a substantial presence in the United Kingdom, and the UK employee benefits are structured differently. For example, all UK employees are enrolled in a company pension plan. Their minimum in-store discount is 25%. The company gives its UK workers 28 vacation days each year. Whole Foods offers similar types of benefits to its Canadian workers. They also qualify for special life insurance and disability coverage.

Executives of Whole Foods have additional or exclusive benefits. Its full executive benefits are listed in its Executive Retention Plan, which the Securities and Exchange Commission published in 2010. Some examples of benefits are a tiered non-compete payment structure for termination and voluntary resignation, equity compensation for stock options and COBRA coverage for up to 18 months after termination. There is also limited coverage of some legal fees, and executives may qualify for an annual bonus.

How Whole Foods Improved Its Benefits Package Over Time

One benefit that Whole Foods employees gained in 1986 was the ability to look up other workers’ salaries. While most companies keep these concealed to avoid conflict, Whole Foods keeps them transparent. The CEO started this policy to encourage discussions about salaries, which vary based on duties, performance and other metrics. He said that it fosters better performance. According to the company’s 2010 report, the salary cap for any executive or salaried worker is no more than 19 times the average worker’s salary.

In 2010, the company announced its Team Member Healthy Discount Incentive Plan. Although it was initially met with controversy, it gained support eventually and still exists as a way to reward employees who commit to healthy living. When the Affordable Care Act negatively affected benefits for other companies’ group insurance participants, the excellent health benefits for Whole Foods workers remained the same.

In response to increased pressure about minimum wage, Amazon boosted its starting wage to $15 in late 2018. People who were paid under $15 saw an increase to that amount, and some people who were paid more than $15 saw modest increases. This applied to Whole Foods employees as well, and the increased pay demand caused the store to cut hours for some workers.

Are Whole Foods Careers Worth It?

For executives and salaried workers, the perks and benefits are generous and attractive. The same is true for hourly workers in stores. The recent boost in the minimum wage has certainly attracted more applicants. Since the store is condensing hours for some workers, this could be beneficial to a person who wants part-time work. It could be a drawback to someone who needs that wage with full-time hours.

The health insurance options and an array of other benefits for part-time workers are also positive aspects of Whole Foods jobs. For anyone who is focused on living healthy, the company rewards that mindset in more ways than just its employee discount program. It also provides a way for employees to save a considerable amount of money on organic foods.

Discover Whole Foods Jobs and Careers

These are some resources for current Whole Foods careers:

  • The Whole Foods global job search feature allows customized searches by country, region, job type and other categories.
  • The Indeed job search page for Whole Foods offers categorized searches and customized email alerts for job openings.
  • The Glassdoor job search page offers customized searches and access to reviews, salary information and more.

 

Published in Supermarkets

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