Comprehensive Plan to Improve Human Resources Essay

Whole Foods Market- a company that doesn’t think of itself as a company, but as a community of people working to make a difference in the world. At Whole Foods, the mission matters as much as the bottom line. But who is Whole Foods Market, and how does their Human Resource Management (HRM) play a role in the development of their culture or work environment? This comprehensive plan will describe Whole Foods Market’s history and the challenges and/or opportunities of the company.

It will explore the effectiveness of the organizations current human resource practices with regard to the employees and describe strategies to improve the quality of those practices. Additionally, the impact of implementing the strategic improvements and how the organization would measure success upon implementation will be discussed. Whole Foods Market: The Organization Whole Foods Market is the world’s leader in natural and organic foods.

With more than 270 stores in North America and the United Kingdom, the organization seeks out the best natural and organic foods obtainable; while preserving better-quality standards in the industry. According to Porter and Kramer (2009), the intention of the organization is to sell organic, natural, and healthy food products to its consumers who are passionate about food and the environment. Whole Foods Market focuses on unrefined foods, health and nutrition. They are definitely not like any other grocery store.

Their ultimate goal is to become an international brand identical with not just natural and organic goods, but also with being the greatest food retailer in every community in which they are located. Therefore, Whole Foods Market must purposefully plan and assess the marketing of its goods according to the demand of the customers (Whole Foods Market, n. d). For the last thirteen years, team members at Whole Foods Market, named their company as one of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to work for. ” In 2010, they were ranked number eighteen.

Whole Foods is acknowledged for its team-based operations and employee-oriented work culture, which are considered to be the foundations of its development and success within the industry (Whole Foods Market, n. d. ). Whole Foods Market takes pride in setting themselves apart from their competitors within the industry. No matter how much the company excels in size or makes changes to the organization, the organization supports change by establishing and maintaining seven core values.

According to Whole Foods Market (n. ), the core values are “selling the highest quality of natural and organic products available, satisfying and delighting customers, supporting team member happiness and excellence, creating wealth through profit and growth, caring about the community and environment, creating an ongoing win-win partnership with suppliers, and promoting the health of stakeholders through healthy eating education. ” Included in these core values are open communication and transparency, education and training, and staff empowerment. No matter how large a company Whole Foods Market becomes, they preserve what makes them unique through these core values.

Whole Foods Market: Challenges and Opportunities As with many organizations, the past economic down turn has caused many organizations to face a lot of challenges and to make difficult business decisions. Whole Foods Market created a permanent modification in how they operate many vital areas of the business. This year, 2010, the company’s business model includes continued focus on vital areas of the company by focusing in on purchasing with regards to the business while creating more worth for the consumer regarding pricing (Whole Foods Market, n. d).

In the letter to the stakeholders (2009), Mackey, CEO desires to stay focused on dropping operating cost without harming the customer experience. Additionally, he states that as an organization they are committed to being better custodians of capital and producing free cash flow on a yearly basis. In the future, Mackey foresees new smaller stores that are less expensive, and an increase return on invested capital. A recent 2009 SWOT Analysis of the organization from Datamonitor (2009) listed some additional opportunities such as the recent strategic acquisitions that helped in strengthening their market position.

These acquisitions also help the organization to expand its operations in the natural and organic foods markets as well as increase its client base and the number of product categories. One acquisition in particular is the merge with Wild Oats Market in 2007. Other opportunities recorded by Datamonitor (2009) include the growing demand for private label products. Recent economic conditions have warranted companies to offer less expensive private label products as an alternative to the customers’ needs. Whole Foods Market: Human Resource Management Strategies

What makes Whole Foods stand out from others in the industry is not a single management process but a distinctive managing structure which includes Human Resource Management support. According to Rose and Kumar (2006) it is important that organizations utilize HRM practices that make best use of its employees, and that is just what Whole Foods Market has done. For example, at Whole Foods, the basic organizational unit isn’t the store but small teams that manage departments such as fresh produce, prepared foods, and seafood.

Teams are consulted on all store-level decisions and they have been given a degree of independence that is very unique in the industry (Whole Foods Market, n. d). According to Hamel (2006), each team makes decisions concerning stock, and new hires. Bonuses are paid to the teams, not to individuals. Members have access to comprehensive fiscal information, including the details of every coworker’s wage. Whole Foods Market has been very successful with their ability to recruit and retain good employees. The recruiting process is exceptionally unique.

According to Whole Foods Market (n. d), applicants are generally screened by store management or by a human resources person through a preliminary interview. Once the individual is screened for overall job skills and qualifications, the application is referred to the appropriate department managers for a final interview. The final interview process may be conducted by a team or panel depending on the position. Team member’s partaking in group interviews is one way the company puts its culture of empowerment into action.

Hamel and Breen (2007), state that this recruiting process is used for all new employees; including those hoping to join teams at Whole Foods’ center of operations, such as the national IT or finance groups. Additional HRM practices include the organizations focus on compensation and incentive based rewards. According to Erickson and Gratton (2007), this is one of the main components of their rewards system within the organization. Each team’s compensation is directly linked to how well that team functions.

Team performance is considered in terms of overall productivity; profit-sharing based on those numbers are added directly to each team member’s compensation. Teams are responsible for a different product category or aspect of store operations such as customer service, prepared foods, or grocery, among others. Whole Foods believes in a company-wide awareness of sharing the fate of the business by combining the wellbeing of team members as directly as possible with the interests of the shareholders. The organization uses a gain sharing program to reinforce concept.

This program rewards things that members of the team can control such as work efficiency which gives members a direct stake in the victories of the company (Whole Foods Market, n. d). Whole Foods also encourages stock ownership options in plans such as the Team Member Stock Option Plan. Within this plan, all members are entitled to receive a grant of stock options each year. According to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (2007), the grant has two components: the Annual Leadership Grants identify and motivate team member performance; and the Service Hour Grants identify team member service within the Company.

Another plan is the Team Member Stock Purchase Plan. Through payroll deductions, all non-seasonal team members with at least 400 service hours may choose to buy unlimited shares of stock at 95% of market worth on the purchase date. Whole Foods Human Resource practices are effective because the culture allows for an atmosphere of transparency, with open books and open people. These processes include the organizations team process which allows for autonomy and a high level of responsibility of line staff. Through such a practice, members use their decision-making authority to take part in driving the business forward.

Additionally, the team process promotes healthy competition, trust between members. Whole Foods Market: Recommended Strategies for Improvement Although Whole Foods HRM practices seem successful, there is room for improvement. The following strategies are recommended in the area of team implementation and practices: * If the organization maintains the team concept it is important that management ensures that members do not to obstruct the team authority over the individual.

Members should merely feel responsible to each other, but still free to be themselves. Members should also be recognized as individuals. Individuals have a need to be recognized for hard work and individual achievement. Providing a reward system for individual milestones and achievements might also allow for successful company performance. * The organization should provide opportunities for personal growth and promotion through training and education.

* The organization should ensure that there are no cliques within the teams. Cliques could make it difficult to maintain cohesion and cooperation within the team. Management should also ensure or encourage subtle unsanctioned norms that steer the actions of team members, saying what’s suitable and what’s not suitable behavior especially within the recruitment process in which members choose their team members.

* The organization should periodically evaluate the alignment of team compensation and incentives for the work that is likely to be performed. * HR should monitor changes in team compensation systems to ensure the organization’s compensation is clearly understood by staff and that any changes, including team incentive pay, is also communicated. HR should ensure that employees within the team are able to see and understand the goals of the team, and gain an understanding of his or her importance as a member. These improvement strategies can only make Whole Foods Market more successful than they are already. These improvements will drive the business success, by assisting in promoting productivity, by increasing job satisfaction and retention, and by increasing profits within the organization. Whole Foods Market: Plan Evaluation and Measurements

Before implementation of new strategies, employees will be informed of the proposed implementation and changes. Managers will ensure that staffs understand what is being implemented and the impact to employees if any. The success of this plan will be evaluated by reviewing the success of the implemented strategies periodically to ensure continuous improvement. The evaluation of the strategies will include internal assessments and/or employee surveys/questionnaires. The internal assessments and/or employee surveys/questionnaires will be aimed to ascertain the employees’ satisfaction of those methods and strategies.

Results of the evaluation and measurements will be compiled and reviewed by the organizations HR team. The team will seek to: (1) determine if implemented strategies are predictive of organizations mission and business plan, (2) understand how implemented strategies improved or did not improve current HR practices and finally, (3) determine if there is a relationship between the implemented strategies and overall retention and job satisfaction. If the results are satisfactory, strategies will continue to be implemented monitored and reviewed.

Results that are unsatisfactory will be discussed with employees to determine why the implemented strategy was not a success and to determine necessary changes if applicable. Whole Foods Market: Conclusion In conclusion both management and HR play an important role in the strategy and betterment of Whole Foods Market. This organization has already established a culture that reduces fear and increases trust. The company prides itself in the transparency between management level staff and line staff. Implementation of these strategies will only assist to increase employee satisfaction and retention.

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