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.

Recent Posts

June 7, 2023
For those of you who know, you are probably already clicking into this post to see exactly when you will need to get to Clover. For those who are new to Clover, the Nashville Hot Mushroom is a big deal. It’s an homage to the hot chicken at Prince’s in Nashville, which has its own dramatic origin story. Our version gives you a LITTLE relief from the spice with…
June 7, 2023
Joe (SCL, customer service rep, and our resident coffee fiend) just messaged me that the new Little Wolf coffee was blowing his mind. So I figured I would let all of you know too so you can try it! The coffee is called Laayoo – it’s named after a tree indigenous to the region of Ethiopia where it’s grown by smallholder farmers. Joe tasted notes of Earl Gray tea and funky/smoky/pu-erh tea. Little Wolf folks said it reminded them of rosè wine. So that makes me curious – what do you taste?
May 24, 2023
I recently learned that garlic has 4 stages that it goes through on its journey to become the cured stuff you’re probably used to seeing. This year I learned about Green Garlic. It’s the mild, sweet, un-cured bulb, plus the fresh green shoots. We got our hands on a super limited crop from Red Fire out in Granby, and so we decided to see if we could incorporate it into every single different type of box we make next week…
May 23, 2023
We’ve intentionally steered clear of bowls for a long time. If you see Ayr tomorrow, ask him why : ) Tomorrow (5/24) we’re starting a 2-week test of bowls at CloverNTV, our restaurant in Newtonville. If it goes well, this could represent the beginning of one of the bigger changes our menu has EVER seen. We’re hoping we’ve cracked the code to bowls that are seasonal, carefully-composed, easy to carry, and craveable – all the things we love about bowls, and none of the things we don’t.
May 18, 2023
I used to eat Cheesy Grits almost every morning, and if you were eating with us around 2017, I bet you did too. We took our Plimoth-ground-grits off the menu for a little while, but now they’re back at all locations (except for the HUB for the time being). Stop in for breakfast during the next 2 weeks – we’re aiming for these to be hot and ready at 8am and we’ll be selling them til they’re out. The staff has been waking up extra early and adding a lot of extra whisking to their mornings, so we’d love to hear what you think. If you’ve never had our Cheesy Grits before, here are some things you should know….
May 16, 2023
What is Chris eating? When we toured the field at Siena, the crew was planting dahlia tubers. They get planted in warm soil, will grow all summer and will be ready for harvest in the fall. They reminded us of sunchokes, so we got to talking about whether the tubers are edible and it turns out they are! Are they delicious?
May 15, 2023
Do you want a beautiful box of produce for a fraction of what you’d pay in the grocery store? Do you want to invest in a farm’s success and be with them throughout the harvest season? Do you think you hate eggplants but you’ve just never had a good one? It might be time to look into a CSA (or farmshare).
May 5, 2023
I remember exactly the moment we started celebrating May the 4th (“May the Force” be with you). We were on a planning call about meal boxes and we were talking about how we were going to launch our Taco Tuesday program on Cinco de Mayo (May the 5th). Chris accidentally said “May the 4th” and Ayr said, “May the 4th! We should do a Star Wars Box!”
April 24, 2023
If you’ve been reading for a while you probably know we hate waste. Most of the time, minimizing waste is pretty unglamorous, but every once in a while our mission to reduce waste takes us to some very cool places. I look after Clover’s grocery marketplaces (including our Assembly Row grocery store). A few months ago I noticed that the marketplaces were going through a lot of our paper bags. They’re compostable, which is great. But I think the best bag is one you can use over and over again.
April 22, 2023
Few people know that Clover is environmental activism. This is by design.  And it works. We do these customer surveys and see that 9 out of 10 Clover customers are NOT vegetarian. Yet I’m constantly troubled by conflicting feelings about the approach we’ve taken.
April 10, 2023
Over the next 3 weeks, on a rolling schedule, most Clovers are going to be giving out a free hot or cold George Howell Montecarlos coffee to anyone who stops in between opening and 11 am. No strings— we just want to see you all and talk about coffee!! George Howell’s Montecarlos is a single-origin coffee we love for our pour-overs…
March 30, 2023
Each year, early spring is a busy time at the Clover kitchen because we have 2 of our tastiest boxes, usually back-to-back. For the Passover box, a lot of care goes into the kashering of the kitchen, with Rabbi Dolinger coming in to ensure the box is totally Kosher for Passover via Lighthouse Kosher.