At Whole Foods Market, one of our seven Core Values is: To Support Team Member Happiness and Excellence — an important goal that we put at the forefront of our business every day. To help us strengthen this value, each store dedicates seven days each year to "Team Member Appreciation Week."
At my store, the week's activities are planned by store leadership as well as the store's TIME group — Team Member Involvement Means Excellence. Team Members from all different departments meet and bounce ideas off of one another. What kinds of things would mean the most to their teammates? Free ice cream one day? The ability to pick the store's radio station for their shift? A week of VIP parking in front of the store? After TIME gathers the ideas and suggestions of the store's Team Members, it is up to Store Leadership to put these plans into action. Here’s how our week turned out this year.
Monday was Ice Cream Social Day! Team Members enjoyed the ice cream of their choice scooped and served by their Store Team Leader (that’s me) and Associate Store Team Leader Donna Turcotte. Those smiles on our faces are definitely genuine — there is nothing that makes us happier than appreciating our Team Members! We also handed out Team Member Appreciation Week T-shirts on Monday so that everyone could show their Whole Foods pride.
Tuesday was Trivia Day! We gathered interesting tidbits of information from all of our Team Members, such as:
"Which Wayland Team Member also works at Fenway Park?" (Kyle in Specialty)
"Which new sport is Ilda in Customer Service learning?" (Kickboxing)
"What department did Store Team Leader Kate start out in?" (Specialty)
"How many hours has Peter in Grocery worked for a natural foods market?" (50,000)
Our In-Store Education, Susan Phinney, asked the questions over the store loudspeaker, then walked around collecting guesses. Team Members with correct answers got a prize!
Wednesday brought our Team Member Appreciation Week Cook-out. Wayland lucked out with a beautiful sunny spring day for our Payroll Benefits Specialist turned Gourmet Burger chef, Leslie Herger, to man the grill. With a selection ranging from burgers with Halloumi, bacon and onions to Cheddar Cheese hotdogs, and from Roasted Pepper topped Veggie Burgers to Tofu-Pups, everyone at the store got a chance to relax in the sun with a delicious meal. Last year at the Prospect Street store we rented a dunk tank for the day and spent the afternoon placing friendly wagers on who could dunk who the fastest. Team Members loved the chance to dunk their Team Leaders!
Thursday was Movies and Popcorn day. We asked Team Members to bring in their favorite (store friendly) movies to play in the breakroom all day long. A steady supply of popcorn and drinks made sure that every Team Member had a relaxing break that day! We also brought back the trivia questions on Thursday — they were such a big hit on Tuesday everyone wanted another chance to learn about their fellow team members! At our Hingham store, Store Team Leader Matt Cook went the extra mile and set up a car wash for his Team Members! Take a look at Matt, his Seafood Team Leader Francis, and his Customer Service Team Member Sandra smiling as they spend a great spring day outside. You can bet that when they heard Matt was going to be washing cars, his Team Members lined up around the block!
On Friday and Saturday at Wayland we focused on raffles! Each department donated a gift basket of goodies, and we had plenty of other surprises on hand as well _— footballs, frisbees, beach towels, iTunes gift cards, Red Sox sweatshirts and more. At the beginning of each shift we handed out raffle tickets to each Team Member and every forty-five minutes we announced another winner over the loudspeaker! With such a large amount of prizes from both the raffles and trivia, we made sure everyone went home with a memento from the week. Take a look at Lexi showing off her new frisbee! We also supplied lunch and dinner for all of our Team Members on Friday and Saturday, just another thank you for all the amazing work they do each day.
On Sunday we capped off the week with a thank you cake and more of what turned out to be everyone's favorite — Whole Foods Trivia! Mixing in questions about our company as well, ("How many days a week do we receive seafood deliveries? Six days a week!" "Why is our meat 'uncured?' Because we never add nitrates or nitrites to our products!") we made the last day fun and educational.
Really, the best part of Team Member Appreciation Week was getting to say thank you to all of the people who fill every day with fun. Without our team members, we'd just be four walls and lots of lonely food. It’s the people who make our company come alive!