Managing Quality-Whole Foods Inc


Whole Foods Inc. is a renowned supermarket of natural food in the United States. The company has outlets in Canada and the United Kingdom. Its stores mainly trade in products that have no artificial preservatives, flavors, colors and sweeteners. In addition, they provide a variety of organically grown foods. Many locations include cafes, in-store and juice bars.  Also, the company has a line of private label food products such as roasted nut butters, organic pasta, aromatic teas and oak-aged wine vinegars. Since its establishment, the company witnessed a drastic growth establishing more than 100 stores in at least half of the states, and Canada.

In 1980, the first Whole Foods opened in Austin, Texas marking the company’s foundation. The company’s founders were John Mackey, Mark Skiles and Craig Weller who owned Clarksville Natural Grocery. The Whole Foods Inc that Mackey, Skiles and Weller opened in 1980 after they merged their businesses was big, and by comparison, the store essentially appeared as a supermarket. It was not the first organic food business though the existing similar businesses were small. The entry of the Whole Foods did not face much competition and they got the market with ease.

The first store penetrated the market successfully beating products of the existing natural food stores. It offered: dried beans, whole grains, organic fruits and vegetables. Also available were locally baked bread, fresh fish, natural beef, and selections of cheese, wine, beer and coffee of high quality that outshined the existing products. The business’s presentable, clean appearance and helpful members of staff attracted individuals already using natural foods and those who had never walked into a health food store. The founders of Whole Food Inc found out that many people could pay a higher price of products that are devoid of artificial ingredients; considered more healthful and more nutritious. In May 1988, the company ventured outside Texas when it acquired the Whole Food Company, which had a large natural food outlet in New Orleans. The business had existed since 1981; after taking Whole Food Company’s first store that was founded in October 1974. Thereafter, in 1988, the seventh Whole Foods outlet was opened in Richardson, Texas (Daft, 2010).

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From the beginning, Mackey promoted a team-oriented environment at Whole Foods, believing that it is a collective duty of both the management and staff to achieve the business’s goals by working together. He maintained that unions were unnecessary for workers. The company was criticized for being anti-union, an accusation that first began when the company opened its second store in Berkeley, California; the Co-Op’s previous site. From the grand opening day, the United Food and Commercial Workers union protested that the company paid its workers less than other similar companies paid comparable employees (Hunt, 2007). They also protested that Whole Foods assumed discriminatory procedures in relation to hiring in terms of race and age. For example, the company avoided all individuals who had initially worked served at Co-Op. Picketing continued for about one and half years to no avail. In the following years, similar union protests took place at Whole Foods’ stores in such union strongholds such as Los Gatos, Madison, St. Paul, and Wisconsin (Hunt, 2007).

Problem Statement

Rapid increase in customers has led to long queues at the cashier’s point. Workers are being overworked hence reducing the quality of services. This brings about the need of an effective strategy to foster quality in their services considering the high sensitivity of the modern consumers. It is apparent that only organizations that are capable of providing outstanding services have the potential of surviving the modern day stiff competitions. In addition to overworking the workers, there is little recognition of worker’s efforts hence discouraging them from performing exceptionally. Additionally, lack of motivation to the employees has reduced their speed and efficiency in service delivery. As a result, many customers are becoming dissatisfied hence moving to other competing businesses to Whole Foods Inc.

Literature Review

Focusing much on company revenue and cutting costs of business operations leads some employers to forgetting employees’ welfare. This includes low staffing levels hence resulting to employees being overworked and having low morale. This perception of business management may lead to employee dissatisfaction, and lower the company’s turnover rate. Dissatisfaction also arises when the work environment does not have any source of amusement for the employees especially when it is inflexible. In such a case, the tone of the business will become stressful or tedious (Daft, 2010). Lack of good communication between management and the workers is a major contributor to employee dissatisfaction. This usually happens when the managerial staff is inaccessible and does not know better ways of relating to the employees on a professional level (Burkholder, Edwards & Sartain, 2004). Bad communication makes employees feel isolated from the business. This is disadvantageous to the wellbeing of the company because when an employee feels disconnected, he or she tends his or her performance reduces. The situation makes employees feel insecure in relation to retaining their jobs or position in the organization. Employees may not know how their performance affects that of their colleagues and have no idea of how they can get better. Without proper communication, it becomes difficult for employees to make any progress in their efficiency (Venkateswaran, 2012).

Employees want to know that their management recognizes their efforts in the workplace. They should feel appreciated and their efforts acknowledged (Ferguson, 2005). Often, businesses focus more on production, more revenues and reduced cost of business operations and forget their workers. The workers may not be commended and their efforts rewarded for excellent performance. If the management conducts performance appraisals, but instead of motivating their employees to improve, they condemn the worker hence intimidating and making the employee feel uncomfortable in the workplace, instead of being encouraged to achieve more. It may be common for top management in the business workplace to take the opinion of lower ranking employees lightly, or even ignore them altogether, which leaves those employees feeling neglected and worthless (Hunt, 2007). It becomes hard for workers to see a future working for such a company. Those employees who do extraordinary work for the business may not get compensated for their efforts. The management that chose to under-compensate their workers assumes that they will work hard for minimal pay, and such businesses compensate accordingly (Devinney, 2010). At the same time, the same company pays more to other workers who do not accept low compensation. This compensation disparity results in dissatisfaction because once the hard worker realizes, his or her morale will significantly go down due to unfair treatment by the management. Furthermore, failure to provide workers with opportunities to advance their skills within the company results in worker’s frustration. Barriers within the company structures may also prevent some workers from attaining their full potential (Bechet, 2008). Such barriers are: favoritism of some employees or company policies that do not allow promotion from within. If a business does not provide adequate training for its workers is also doing itself damage slowly (Drucker, 2008). Such a business misses out on most committed employees and has the potential perform better if given opportunities for training.




It is important that the management of a business care about the welfare of their employees. Even in an economic challenge, the management should spend a sufficient amount of money training the workers on the latest ways of customer service. Dissatisfaction has many adverse effects on the business, while satisfaction results in a higher employee retention rate. The effects of dissatisfaction may be in a worker’s resignation from a job can range from mild to severe. Slowness in reporting for work and resuming duty from breaks indicates lack of interest by the worker towards his or her duties (Burkholder, 2004). This may lead to the worker not showing up for work completely. Some less obvious signs of lack of commitment for the job include: taking care of personal issues while at work, ensuring that employees are participating in auxiliary activities, spending time on social networks and other social activities such as games and diminishing job performance. These behaviors lower the output of workers and may lead to an employee leaving the workplace (Koslowsky & Krausz, 2002). Therefore, withdrawal will lead either to the worker voluntarily leaving the organization or being sacked for unprofessional conduct. On the other hand, happiness and satisfaction in the workplace result in high levels of output. It increases a worker’s morale; hence employees work harder to improve the business and its goals. According to Ferguson (2005), businesses with higher employee satisfaction also have higher customer ratings, more success in lowering turnover, higher profitability, higher profitability and better safety records. Success of the business needs good and knowledgeable workers. If the workers are not given a fair treatment, they will take advantage of other job opportunities that will provide more benefits, more stability and more compensation hence leaving the organization understaffed Devinney, 2010).


The business management has a responsibility to provide and maintain the satisfaction of all of its workers. Managers should take several precautions to make sure that they meet the targets of the company’s workers. Employers also should be more careful during the hiring process to ensure that they hire qualified professionals who are able and competent to deliver. Having a larger team interviewing short-listed candidates for company’s jobs will help ensure that the employee works well with the business. During interviews, the managers should ask questions relating to the type of work and the working schedule that the potential employee would prefer. It is important to match the personal attributes and values of specific employee with the organization. Managers should ensure good preparation for the job interviews by doing job assessment to see what skills are required for the position, then testing applicants to determine whether they possess skills and knowledge relevant to the job requirements and whether they have ability to be trained to the company’s structure (Hunt, 2007). It is imperative that during this phase, the managers give an accurate description of the job to new employees even before they report to duty to give them more time to prepare for the challenges ahead. Moreover, managers must communicate better and with respect to the lower-level workers. Connection to the company determines whether the employee will be committed or not. It gives staff a feeling of belonging and worth. Managers should set an example by creating and enhancing friendly relationships with the staff to make the work environment healthier (Devinney, 2010). Whole Foods Inc managers need to learn to listen to the employees whenever they have any concern about their work activities or the operations of the company. It is very important that managers show respect for all worker regardless of their job positions. Their opinions and their work matter. Managers should pass a good and clear understanding of the goals that the business is aiming at attaining so that the staff understands what the company is working toward. Clarification of any query from the workers assists them understand their direct relationship with the business and how their work affects the company. Performance reviews are a good tool for management because they give managers an idea of those workers whose performance is satisfactory and the ones who should improve (Drucker, 2008). It also offers every employee the ability to gauge his or her performance. Mostly, workers may think that they are doing better or worse than their managers assess their work to be. Implementation of a performance review will present the right time to bring together the different perspectives, to reward productivity and to correct negative behavior. Providing workers with the opportunity for growth is also a major factor in achieving satisfaction. Since performing the same job over and over becomes uninteresting, it is important for the management to challenge workers with work that they can accomplish but improves their abilities (Bechet, 2008). It offers a good opportunity to get the abilities and skills of junior workers. Giving employees new tasks or goals helps them become creative and skilled in new areas. This broadens their knowledge and confidence while they become a more valuable component of the business and increase business’s revenues while lowering costs.

Horizontal movement does not change the status of the worker, but helps them learn more about different areas of the business. Performing a different task entirely gives the worker a change of pace and direction. The workers may find that they enjoy and perform better in a different branch of the workforce than the one previously held. Recognition of an employee’s hard work is important to his or her happiness in the workplace (Daft, 2010). Involving employees in the decision-making processes gives them a feeling of appreciation that their contribution to the company is appreciated and that they are important to the business. In order to get skilled employees and retain them, the management should offer competitive compensation to the employees. Making a good connection between money and performance encourages workers to be more productive and to go even the extra mile in performing their duties (Hunt, 2007). Caring about the workers and showing them how their work is very important and the quality of life they lead, also are of benefit to the business. The management should make sure that workers are aware of their achievements. The company’s leadership can show appreciation for those achievements through rewards and promotion. Conversely, the management should take notice when workers become overwhelmed and try to improve the daily burden by giving more help when it is needed (Daft, 2010). Moreover, there should be complaints box for the customers to give their complaints. This will help the management to get direct views from the customers. Finally, the management should implement self-service facilities where possible to reduce the amount of wages and increase efficiency.


Implementation of these recommendations will improve the output per employee hence higher prices. Moreover, more awareness by the company’s employees to the customers on the importance of eating healthy will attract potential consumers into the stores. Many people have the misconception about the cost of healthy foods and they do not even get to inquire. Since the prices of natural food are relatively affordable, the management should sensitize potential consumers about the prices. Whole Foods management should change the attitude of such consumers. This can be effectively achieved through a motivated staff.

At a time when the economy is low, Whole Foods Inc should find a cost effective way to reward customers and win their loyalty by giving a something back to regular customers and try to bring in new customers in the same manner (Venkateswaran, 2012). Making free rewards cards after so much purchase or points earned, a customer can get a price reduction on the next shopping or get something free from the store, however how little. The company can also sponsor more events to increase awareness of the new products that they bring to the market. The management should promote and build brand identity with natural foods, eventually making people think “Whole Foods” whenever they think of “organic”. Whatever assignment is given to an unmotivated worker, the output of the worker is low due to lack of dedication to the job. This is why maintaining a good and satisfied workforce is a very crucial requirement to the success of any business.


Whole Foods Inc management should ensure that all their customers are satisfied. This means they should ensure right staffing levels to keep the employees motivated for higher output and implement self-service where applicable. Good management is the driving force towards either success or failure of a business. A company’s leadership should ensure effective running of the business and keep the employees up-to-date in the best customer service practices (Drucker, 2008). If employees are dissatisfied, they will be too slow or even rough when serving the customers who will lower the number of customers and company’s revenues. Satisfied workers will work harder for the business and remain in the company for quite long hence reducing the company’s cost of hiring and training new members of staff. A business operating in a competitive environment must lower its total costs to increase its profits. Quality of services or products it sells is a key factor in lowering costs. The management should ensure high quality in customer service and quality of foods sold in order to increase sales, thus resulting in increased profits at lower prices.


Bechet, T. P. (2008). Strategic staffing: A comprehensive system for effective workforce planning. New York: American Management Association.

Burkholder, N. C., Edwards, P. J., & Sartain, L. (2004). On staffing: Advice and perspectives from HR leaders. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

Daft, R. L., Kendrick, M., & Vershinina, N. (2010). Management. Andover: South-Western/Cengage Learning.

Devinney, T. M., Pedersen, T., & Tihanyi, L. (2010). The past, present and future of international business & management. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

Drucker, P. F., & Maciariello, J. A. (2008). Management. New York, NY: Collins.

Ferguson, M. (2005). The business of staffing: Working with clients of achieve success. United States: Aspatore.

Hunt, S. T., & Society for Human Resource Management (U.S.). (2007). Hiring success: The art and science of staffing assessment and employee selection. San Francisco: Wiley.

Venkateswaran, N. (2012). International business management. New Delhi: New Age International.

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