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5 reasons why it’s great to work at Whole Foods

Health rewards, transparency, employee recognition, and perks galore: It's easy to see why Whole Foods has some of the nation's happiest workers.

Established decades before the terms "natural" and "sustainable" were in vogue, the healthy, wholesome grocery chain has grown to more than 300 locations in the U.S. It's also a 14-year veteran of our Best Companies to Work For list, thanks to perks like health care coverage for part-timers and a generous employee stock-purchase program. Here are some other ways Whole Foods (wfm) keeps employees happy -- and healthy.

1. Healthy habits

All employees get a 20% discount on store purchases -- with discounts up to 30% if they meet certain criteria for blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking status, and body-mass-index screenings. A company website allows employees to track their eating habits.

2. No secrets

Whether part-time or executive level, all employees have access to an annual report detailing how much each worker -- from the CEO to hourly cashiers -- took home in pay last year. Benefits package options are voted on by the entire workforce every three years.

3. Kumbaya culture

Managers and executives are interviewed by a panel of peers; regional presidents are hired in town hall-style interviews where employees ask questions and then select from the top five candidates. Instead of performance reviews, employees have "job dialogues."

4. Power to the people

The company encourages employees to submit ideas -- and is known for actually taking the good ones. Its bestselling Seeduction bread recipe originated from an employee in Santa Fe; bicycle delivery was started by a cycling enthusiast in Austin.

5. Cushy extras

Perks are plentiful and vary from region to region based on employee requests and local interests; they include massage therapy, yoga, and language classes. All employees are eligible for six-week unpaid sabbaticals for every 6,000 hours of service.

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