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What if Your Boss Tells You to Bring Your Toothbrush and Jammies to Work?
By: Cindy Wendland
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Thirty-five-year-old Whole Foods had its highest sales yet in 2013. Annual sales were $12.9 billion. CEO and Founder John Mackey believes spending time with other staffers outside of the work environment creates more trust and far-reaching relationships. Occasionally, he has executive staff stay together in the same house and make breakfast or dinner together. The bonds they build far exceed other team-building exercises.

Whole Foods does other things differently, which contributes to their success and employee engagement. After learning that in most companies, over 70% of employees either do not like their job or are not at all engaged, Mackey knew he wanted his company to operate differently.

Whole Foods works to increase employee engagement. Mackey says, “"If you want to create a good culture and a good company then people have got to have that sense that their work matters and that they matter." Hallelujah! If one is not an entrepreneur who chose their business but instead is working for another, it is imperative to career happiness to feel integral to the company. Whole Foods employs caring leadership, a consensual culture, and decentralization to drive innovation. Employee ideas are tested and implemented if successful.

It is also interesting to note that executives are capped at 19 times the earnings of the average pay of one of their full-time workers. That makes sense and is not so extreme as other executive compensation plans have become. Why 19 times and not 20? Not sure, but it sounds better.

We know people want to be inspired, and really people also want to matter. Employees at Whole Foods know they matter to the company and to Mackey. Based on this approach, expect their sales to continue to climb.

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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