August 23, 2011

Clover new roles and pay rates

This is going to be a long post. Just warning you.

I had a conversation with Jim Moore the other day. After hanging up the phone I had a notepad full of changes to make to Clover. This post is going to be focused on role definition and pay. Future posts will address recruiting, interviewing, and employee development.

But before I get to the changes I’m going to go off track for a minute. Sorry, warned you this was going to be a long one. When I was a student at MIT I had a summer job at Polaroid. There were 2 scientists there I was dying to work with and the job was really fun. This was 1999. It was clear the company was heading in a tough direction, but I loved silver halide photography, the world experts were working there, and these 2 great scientists (Steve Telfer and Bill Vetterling) were teaching me tons of new stuff. I was invited to work part time while in school and continued that through my graduation in Spring 2000 then went to Polaroid after graduating.

By the time I left R&D at Polaroid went from 1,200 to 120. That’s something dramatic to live through. And at a macro level the right thing was happening. Most people found jobs in growing companies. But there were also casualties. Folks who were too young for retirement but too old start a new career. Marriages that fell apart. People who had to move away from their families. A lot of fear and uncertainty. These were people I knew and worked with. When I found myself in business school a year later listening to the professors talk about customers and investors as key “stakeholders” all I could think about were employees. In almost every single company the impact on your employees dwarfs the impact on all other stakeholders combined.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re all in this to make you the best sandwich you can get anywhere. But the worst thing I can do to you is give you something bad to eat and waste a bit of your time and money. The worst thing I can do to my investors is give them bad returns and waste their time and a lot of money. The worst thing I can do to my suppliers is to stop buying from them and disrupt their business. But the worst things that could happen with employees are far more devastating.

On the other hand when you start thinking about a company’s impact on employees the opportunity to do good is magnified. If we succeed in creating a driven, caring, and fun workspace we can have an enormous impact on the day-to-day lives of our employees. I mean, what’s better than looking forward to going to work everyday? We can create careers for people who were previously bouncing around. We can create an environment where folks take pride in their accomplishments and growth. We can introduce employees to new food and new ways of eating and have profound impact on their health. We can give folks a way to work towards making the world a better place in a meaningful and tangible way.

Back to Jim. Jim used to be the HR director of Fresh Direct. They have more employees than we do. A lot more. Jim has a few connections to me, we worked at the same place (McKinsey), I worked with his wife, and one of our current investors knows Jim very well. But to be honest I didn’t expect much when Jim offered a phone call to discuss HR stuff. I was so wrong. He had thoughtful suggestions to deal with all of the HR questions we’re struggling with.

So here’s our new roles and pay structure and some explanation behind the reasoning. We started this practice of posting pay online a year ago or so. I don’t know if it will work forever but for now we’re going to keep this all transparent and in the open, at least until it backfires on us.


When you start working for Clover you are hired provisionally. You will be considered for the position of Team Member after 4-8 weeks of work. If you are not invited to join the permanent team we will explain our reservations and may offer you an additional 4 week period to try for a permanent position. If we still have reservations we will shake hands and part ways as friends.

TEAM MEMBER $9.50 – $11.50/ hr

If you are invited to join the permanent team you will become a Team Member. You will start at the base pay rate ($9.50) and be eligible for a $0.50 raise to $10.00 after 6 months. Following that you will be eligible for a $0.50 pay increase every year to a maximum of $11.50/ hr. You will receive monthly feedback from your manager about your performance.

You might be making sandwiches, taking orders, keeping everything sparkling, smiling, laughing.

TEAM LEADER $11 – $14/ hr

All team leaders start as Team Members and are expected to demonstrate the qualities of a Team Leader before being awarded with that title/ pay. Team Leaders will receive feedback from their manager once a month. Team Leaders will be eligible for annual pay increases of $1/ hr after their first anniversary in the role.

You will oversee a shift at Clover coordinating the activities of 2-15 employees. You’re going to make sure the food is perfect and get to know your customers by their first name.

ASSISTANT MANAGER $30,000 salary, benefits, average of 50 hrs/ wk

You will need to work into this role. You’ll be the right hand to a Clover manager running the ship when they are not there.

MANAGER $45,000-55,000/ year, benefits, average of 50 hrs/ wk

You’ll be running a not-so-small business. This is where Clover’s future leaders are forged.


All employees are eligible for health insurance after working full time for 90 days (3 months). Salaried employees receive unlimited yoga classes and gym access as part of their benefit plan. More details in the employee handbook.

In compliance with all state, federal and local laws, we observe the rights granted to all persons, stated under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

That photo is a picture taken at our last all company meeting.

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