Whole Foods Better BusinessConscious capitalism is not just high theory: the book contains numerous case studies, starting with the $16 billion grocery-store chain that Mackey has been directing since the early 1980s. In the grocery business, traditionally known for its low margins, Whole Foods has achieved high margins and does so with little advertising: customers are the stores’ best advocates. Despite volatility, its stock has handily outperformed every index, has a return on equity of 13.7 percent, and is near an all-time high.
Whole Foods has been listed on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For rankings since 1998. Employees—“team members”—receive above-average wages and benefits, including medical savings accounts and “wellness centers.” There are lots of built-in incentives to improve performance and earn more.
Whole Foods has created some of the most innovative labor policies anywhere, including a.) a cap on total compensation, including bonuses, for any employee at 19 times the average pay of all workers; b.) total transparency in salaries and wages; and c.) the same benefits, including stock options, for all full-time employees. This radical approach seems to be working: the company has a turnover rate of less than 10 percent a year.
Though I know they've experienced controversy for being anti-union, they as a business are fairly impressive, and operate so ethically, that just perhaps, they actually don't need a union policy?
What do you think?