Training & Development
Let Your Passion Ripen Here
Consumer interest in natural foods is expanding rapidly, and we plan to be there to meet the demand. Achieving our growth goals will take creativity, dedication, and commitment to growth and change on the part of every team member.
This is why we provide numerous training opportunities for our team members, and why we have stepped up our recruiting, succession planning and career development training for our future leaders. Many leaders in the highest-level positions at Whole Foods Market today started out stocking groceries! Everyone has an opportunity to succeed at Whole Foods Market – regardless of age, race, education, gender, etc.
Learning & Training
Each region in our company has a regional trainer who is responsible for overseeing the orientation and training of all new and existing Whole Foods Market team members. In addition, many of our stores have "in-store educators" or "store trainers" and many individual teams have a team trainer.
Throughout the company various learning techniques are utilized for training, including personal one-on-one, group, video, computer-based and printed study materials. If you join us, here are some of the ways you will learn about our business:
New team member orientation: culture, benefits, team structure, who's who, core values
Store tour: walk the store, meet co-workers
Department-specific training: core job responsibilities and "how to"
Product knowledge training: our product categories, product use/preparation, taste-testing
Customer service training: how to "wow" our most important stakeholder
"Good Organics" training: product segregation and handling requirements per the USDA Organic Rule
"Green Mission" training: recycling and composting at Whole Foods Market
Safety training: how to work safely and avoid on-the-job safety hazards
Benefits training: preparation for enrollment, being a wise health care consumer
Employment-related training: preventing workplace harassment, diversity in the workplace, etc.
Computer training: on- and off-site training for company-specific applications
Buyer/Specialist training: margin math, paper flow, managing inventory
Career development and leadership training: see below
Whole Foods Market University
Our online "Whole Foods Market University" (WFM-U) was created to provide team members with information and education on a vast array of topics. WFM-U taps into the great wealth of information and creativity found among our team member base and in our company's leadership, making learning personal and fun.
The education and development tools available through WFM-U – which include self-paced courses and video vignettes – are intended to connect team members and team leaders to our core values, and to improve and deepen their knowledge of our company and our industry.
The WFM-U website is accessible internally to all team members, and is frequently updated and enhanced. Examples of self-paced courses available to all team members:
Introduction to Organics
Dietary Supplements and the Law
Introduction to Quality Standards
Gainsharing for Team Members
Team Member Development
All stores have budgets to be used for enhancing team member job skills or performance. This might cover classes or trade shows, ESL resources, books or magazine subscriptions related to the business, etc.
Our 330+ locations in the US, UK and Canada include retail stores, distribution centers, bakehouses, commissary kitchens, seafood processing facilities, a coffee roasting operation, and global and regional support offices. With so many, there's bound to be a fit for you!
At Whole Foods Market we encourage all team members to explore other job opportunities around the company so they can find the location and position that's right for them. Transferring from one team, store, state or region to another is quite common. In addition to keeping our team members happy and engaged, it spreads our unique culture to new locations.
Co-President Walter Robb encourages team members to include a store-opening experience as part of their Whole Foods Market career plan. This isn't too difficult as we continually have new stores in development. Our growth means great opportunities: all of those new stores will require skilled team members and leadership, plus additional support at the regional, national and global levels.
We believe that leaders who work their way up through our company have a natural advantage, and we promote from within as much as possible. We also appreciate the new talent that we bring in from outside our company.
Whole Foods Market seeks to create an empowered learning environment that promotes self-motivation, and we encourage team members to take responsibility for their own success. For new and existing team members who want to reach their potential, we offer various forms of assistance.
If you're interested in promotion, join us – and then keep your eye on our internal job bulletin! Openings for all positions at team leader level and higher are listed there along with many other openings from all over the company.
Career Development Programs
The main targets of our various career development programs are team members, associate team leaders, team leaders and associate store team leaders. The positions these people will move into are the most common leadership positions in our company – as well as the most crucial for providing support to the team members who serve our customers.
If you have demonstrated leadership talent and/or experience in a retail, food or service industry, you may be a good candidate for one of our career development programs. Because our culture thrives in a team environment, we look for "team leaders" rather than traditional "managers." Watch our career opportunities for postings such as Career Development Associate Store Team Leader, Associate Team Leader in Training or Future Associate Store Team Leader and apply. We will provide you with the training and tools you need to succeed.
Career development team members should be prepared to work at several different locations during their training period. Training programs are hands-on and involve working shoulder to shoulder with existing team leaders and team members in various locations, as well as attending leadership development classes. In this way you will experience our unique culture, products and processes – as well as our commitment to teamwork and customer service. After training you will be able to apply for available positions you are qualified for. Refer to individual postings for details on the programs in your area.
Upon hiring or promotion, we provide leaders with the tools they need to become even better. Some may be assigned a "buddy" – like a more experienced team leader from another department, or an associate store team leader. The store team leader also works closely with a new team leader.
Through a mix of verbal instruction, written materials, video and other formats, our leadership classes offer practical knowledge in many fundamental skills as well as insight into personal challenges and how to improve your leadership style. Topics may include:
Whenever possible, all of our learning opportunities for leadership are made available to team members interested in promotion. Rare among other companies, we believe in providing all team members the opportunity to develop their skill set alongside existing leadership.