Retail giant Walmart has just announced big plans to support their workers this fall, just as peak season begins for most stores. These changes are intended to reward and thank employees for their work during the pandemic, while also creating more space for career growth at Walmart. So what is Walmart changing and how could these changes it affect you?
Walmart is recognizing its employees for their dedication, hard work, and bravery in 2020 by
And these benefits aren’t just reserved for corporate employees. Walmart expects their hourly wage raises to affect roughly 165k Walmart associates who are working hard in stores every day.
Walmart is boosting the base hourly rates for Fresh Food Associates and deli/bakery workers in their stores. Instead of a base hourly rate of $11/hr, these associates will see their wage increase to $15/hr or higher depending on their store. Team leads can see an increase in their pay up to $30/hr or more as well.
In surveying Walmart employees, Walmart found that their workforce values a higher paycheck more than a big quarterly bonus. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Many of us would rather have a fatter paycheck every week than a single bonus check once every few months. Knowing this, the company is ensuring that it's not just a pay increase, but that they're paying its workers in the way that works best for them.
Walmart wants to encourage their workers to grow their careers, and the first step to making that happen is by offering career growth opportunities at Walmart. By restructuring their teams to include more tiers of growth, associates can see a clear path upward from where they start. Creating these tiers also allows Walmart to change existing roles to include more responsibilities (as well as more pay) for several roles across all stores. It’s basically an instant promotion for many Walmart employees that allows them to take on more responsibility and develop important leadership skills while working there.
**Here's one example of their team lead structure: **
Promoting these roles doesn’t just help the people who are currently working them. For those on lower tiers, it gives them the opportunity to be part of smaller teams where they can get more individual attention from their direct manager and have clearer goals that apply more directly to their store or department. This fosters a better environment for floor associates where they feel more connected to upper management and can have more agency within their team structure.
Walmart is committed to keeping their employees around for the long haul. They’re doing this by offering clear paths upward and increasing training opportunities. When you work at a company where you feel heard, cared for, and feel that the company cares about your professional growth, you’re likely to stick around.
Although this is an excellent move to improve employee satisfaction, Walmart isn’t doing this simply out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s good business to invest in your workforce and reward high performing employees. If you don’t do this, your most talented hires won’t stick around for long.
While quarterly bonuses may not be the single focus in paying employees more, Walmart is committed to continue offering quarterly bonuses for their employees. Throughout this year, Walmart has paid out $1.1 billion in bonuses to reward employees for their hard work through the unique challenges of the #Coronavirus pandemic...and they’re not about to stop there. Through the end of this year, employees will still be eligible to earn quarterly bonuses, even if they already received a bump in their pay.
Walmart recognizes the risk their workers have put themselves under by working in a front-line industry through a global pandemic. These jobs have historically been under-appreciated, but for a retail company like Walmart, front-line workers make up the backbone of their company. These bonuses are an important part of saying "thank you" for the risk workers continue to be under as the pandemic threatens people's health all over the country. Walmart has also implemented emergency leave policies and taken safety measures to protect workers, an important piece of demonstrating gratitude toward these crucial roles.
You may not be a Walmart employee yourself, but these changes do affect the landscape of work on a larger scale, and that may very well affect you. Walmart is a massive employer and a titan in the retail space. When larger companies like Walmart publicly make sweeping changes to support their workers, other companies take notes. Even for Walmart, some of these ideas were inspired by successful programs run by other retail stores.
The important indication there is that employers don’t just compete over sales, they compete for talent, and the best way to do that is by offering the best benefits and work environment. Walmart’s recent changes could spark a trend in employers to compete a bit harder for front-line workers, which could be great news if you’re looking for your next job in this space.
**Inspired to look for work at Walmart? Take a look at their popular jobs and apply here. **
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