Walmart Human Resources: What You Need to Know

Walmart Human Resources: What You Need to Know


Walmart operates globally with over 10,500 stores in 19 countries, employing 2.1 million associates worldwide, a significant chunk in the U.S. It ranks next to Amazon and holds a 6.3% share in the U.S. retail eCommerce sector. The importance of Human Resources at Walmart is immense—it shapes strategies aligned with company goals, ensuring competitive prowess. HR's role in recruitment, competitive compensation, and retention stabilizes Walmart's workforce.


This article goes deeper into how Walmart's HR practices bolster talent management, skill development, and employee retention, highlighting its investment in strong HR strategies to maintain its global leadership.


Structure of Walmart's HR Department

The structure of Walmart's HR department involves a stratified approach to HR planning and management, with a focus on tailoring programs and solutions to specific operational areas. Here are some key points about the structure of Walmart's HR department based on the provided sources:


1. Stratified HR Planning: Walmart takes a stratified approach to HR planning, with most planning carried out at the executive level and each store around the world having its own dedicated HR managers.

2. Local Adaptation: HR managers at each store interpret company-wide policies according to the specific needs of their location, taking into account local customs, religions, and training methods.

3. Specialist Software and Data Analysis: Walmart employs specialist software to gather and analyze HR data, which is gathered from the stores and fed into a central database for analysis. This data analysis allows for the prediction of possible changes in the workforce.

4. Employee-Oriented Approach: Walmart has shifted towards an employee-oriented HR strategy, emphasizing empathy, strategy, and decision-making to improve employee morale and performance.

5. Talent Acquisition and Management: Walmart has a dedicated focus on talent acquisition and management, with recruitment efforts targeted at colleges and universities to attract the best candidates.


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Walmart's Recruitment and Hiring Process

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Walmart's hiring principles and practices are designed to attract a diverse and skilled workforce, ensuring that the company remains competitive in the market. Some key aspects of Walmart's hiring principles and practices include:


1. Streamlined Application Process: Walmart offers a simplified hiring process, allowing applicants to apply in-store, online, or through the Me@Walmart app. In many cases, the company makes same-day job offers.

2. Valuing Skills and Knowledge: Walmart values skills and knowledge gained through work experience, volunteerism, military service, or formal education, as well as individual interests and aptitude. The company believes that an emphasis on relevant skills and knowledge makes it easier for job-seekers to find opportunities that match their abilities.

3. Recruitment Sources: Walmart uses various external recruitment sources, including job advertisements, campuses, and previous applicants. The company's website serves as the main human resource management portal for these recruitment sources.

4. Selection Criteria: Walmart's selection criteria depend on the job position, with basic criteria including education and training background and results of criminal background checks. For hourly sales positions, the company focuses on knowledge retention and interpersonal skills.

5. Compensation and Benefits: Walmart offers competitive compensation and benefits packages, prioritizing the financial, physical, and emotional well-being of associates. Many of these benefits start on the first day of employment.

6. Employee Retention and Development: Walmart's human resource management strategy includes a continually evolving compensation program, employee relations management, and career development. The company aims to provide opportunities for all associates to learn and grow through in-house training and an industry-leading education platform.

7. Structured Interviews and Job Knowledge Evaluations: Walmart's method of recruitment includes structured interviews and job knowledge evaluations to assess candidates' suitability for the positions. The selection criteria depend on the job position and may include education, training background, and results of criminal background checks.


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Training and Development Programs at Walmart

Training initiatives for Walmart employees

Walmart has implemented various training initiatives for its employees, aiming to enhance their skills, knowledge, and job performance. Some of the key training initiatives at Walmart include:


1. Process-Oriented Program Design: Walmart uses a process-oriented program design to develop training programs for employees involved in inventory and supply chain management. These programs are designed to ensure effectiveness in handling daily job tasks and the capacity to adjust to emergent conditions in the retail industry.

2. Job Rotation and Mentoring: Walmart utilizes job rotation as an on-the-job training method by rotating management trainees through various roles. Additionally, mentoring from existing leaders is optimized as an on-the-job training method, where district managers and regional vice presidents share their knowledge, skills, and experience with new employees.

3. Virtual Reality (VR) Training: Walmart has introduced VR training initiatives for in-store associates, providing virtual reality training experiences for employees at all levels. This VR training strategy is aimed at driving customer experience and has been trialled in several Walmart locations.

4. Walmart Academy: Walmart has launched the One Global Walmart Academy, providing job-specific retail training to millions of associates. This initiative focuses on creating better customer experiences, higher associate engagement, and bringing together all training and development programs across Walmart.

5. People Development Program: Walmart offers a People Development Program, which provides in-depth training, field immersions, and a virtual international experience to strengthen HR knowledge and skills. The program also includes mentorship, sponsorship, and tailored Walmart People Development events.

6. College2Career Program: This is an initiative designed for recent and soon-to-graduate college students. This program offers a blend of classroom learning, practical experience, and personalized mentoring with company leaders, allowing participants to kick-start their careers within Walmart stores.


Employee Relations and Engagement

Walmart has implemented various initiatives to enhance employee relations and engagement. These initiatives include:


1. Employee Engagement Surveys: Walmart administers engagement surveys to identify the proportions of employees likely to exhibit certain behaviors. These surveys are completed by a large number of workers and are used to assess and improve employee engagement at the company.

2. Training and Development Programs: Specialized training like the Walmart Academy shapes associates with job-specific retail skills, aiming to boost their expertise and knowledge. These programs play a crucial role in elevating employee engagement and job contentment within the company.

3. Listening to Associates: Walmart provides multiple channels for associates to be heard, including in-person dialogue, insights, engagement, and pulse surveys. The company values the feedback and engagement of its associates and uses this information to address issues and make improvements.

4. Leadership Philosophies: Walmart recognizes the importance of good leadership in driving employee loyalty and engagement. The company emphasizes the need for distinct leadership philosophies at different levels and among different teams to achieve operational excellence and staff engagement.

5. Addressing HR Challenges: While Walmart has faced criticism for poor HR practices in the past, the company has been working to address these challenges. It has implemented various initiatives to improve employee management, job engagement, and the overall quality of its human resources practices.


Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Walmart has implemented a range of diversity and inclusion initiatives to create an equitable and inclusive workplace. These initiatives are designed to foster a culture of belonging, celebrate differences, and empower all associates. Some of the key diversity and inclusion initiatives at Walmart include:


1. Associate Resource Groups (ARGs): Walmart supports nine Associate Resource Groups to create a sense of community for associates and promote diversity and inclusion within the organization.

2. Philanthropic Efforts: Walmart and the Walmart Foundation focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in their philanthropic efforts, striving to create equitable opportunities for all. They aim to invest in equitable outcomes and transform systems to help create more opportunities for underrepresented groups.

3. Belonging Experience: Walmart is committed to creating spaces where all associates feel valued and heard. The company's approach focuses on improving the associate and customer experience through inclusive communities and governance and measurement.

4. Inclusive Sourcing and Marketing: Walmart uses the power of its purchase orders and voice to promote equity with inclusive sourcing and marketing strategies. The company believes that by doing so, it can use its business to accelerate progress toward a more equitable and inclusive society.

5. Racial Equity Initiatives: Walmart has committed to addressing systemic racism and accelerating change both inside and outside the company. This includes investing resources to increase fairness, equity, and justice, as well as supporting initiatives to tackle drivers of systemic disparities.


Performance Management and Rewards

Walmart's performance evaluation methods

Walmart's performance evaluation methods involve a yearly evaluation of employees based on their attendance and job performance. Supervisors keep track of attendance using a points-based system, where associates are docked points for being late or absent. The evaluation process also includes questions about customer service, problem-solving, work experience, and work personality. Walmart uses an HR software product that analyzes individual and team performance levels, and the company typically applies the Kirkpatrick Hierarchical Model for evaluating training programs. Walmart's performance management practices are based on three main dimensions that relate to the needs of its retail business: customer service orientation, decision-making and results orientation, and analysis and problem-solving. Walmart's High-Performance Culture (HPC) aims to elevate, engage, and connect employees, driving business and talent by elevating expectations.


Recognition and reward systems in place

Walmart has implemented various recognition and reward systems to motivate and retain its employees. Some of the key methods include:


1. Pay-for-Performance Compensation Strategy: Walmart uses employee recognition as part of its pay-for-performance compensation strategy, offering incentives for its workers. Awards are given to employees who demonstrate exceptional behavior, effort, or business results that support the organization's goals and values.

2. Quarterly Bonus: In addition to the recognition bonus, Walmart has rewarded all employees with a quarterly bonus worth $319 million. This bonus reflects the company's appreciation for employees who have shown up to work each day to serve customers and provide relief for millions of members across the country.

3. Non-Financial Recognition: Walmart also offers non-financial recognition, such as plaques or small gifts, for exceptional employees. This type of recognition can significantly boost employee morale and motivation.


HR Challenges Faced by Walmart

Walmart has faced several HR challenges in recent years, impacting its workforce and operations. Some of the specific challenges include:


1. Low Employee Morale and Tardiness: Walmart has encountered performance problems such as low employee morale and tardiness, which have reduced the firm's financial performance.

2. Poor HR Practices and Disparity in Policies: The company has faced severe backlash for poor HR management practices, including allegations of harsh treatment of employees, unethical work hour expectations, and discrepancies between HR policies and real-life practices, leading to the deterioration of its corporate image.

3. Fair Compensation and Benefits: Walmart has faced challenges related to fair compensation and benefits, with instances where employees have not received promised benefits and proper wages, leading to dissatisfaction and criticism.

4. Balancing Standardization and Localization: Walmart's decentralized approach to HR planning has led to challenges in balancing standardization and localization of HR policies, resulting in inconsistencies in HR practices.

5. Employee Turnover and Retention: The company has grappled with employee turnover and retention issues, which can impact the quality of service and the company's reputation as an employer.

To address these factors, Walmart has employed various strategies, such as improving HR practices, increasing wages and employee benefits, workforce planning and development, balancing standardization and localization, and employee engagement and recognition. These strategies reflect Walmart's commitment to addressing the challenges it faces and improving its HR operations to ensure a motivated, engaged, and productive workforce.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are human resources at Walmart?

Human resources at Walmart refers to the strategies, policies, and programs used to address workforce issues and problems in the retail industry. Walmart's HR management involves addressing issues such as workforce planning, recruitment and selection, retention and training, performance management, compensation, and career development, which contribute to the productivity of the firm's workers.


How do I contact Walmart personnel?

To contact Walmart customer service, you can call them at 1-800-925-6278 (1-800-WALMART). For general inquiries, you can visit Walmart's contact page at.


What challenges in human resources has Walmart experienced?

Walmart has faced several HR challenges, including poor HR management practices, low employee morale and tardiness, discrepancies in wages and benefits, and balancing standardization and localization in HR policies. The company has been criticized for poor HR practices, where employees have been treated poorly, forced to work overtime, and even denied justified wages, leading to poor quality of service and affecting the company's corporate image.


How do I contact Walmart customer service?

To contact Walmart customer service, you can call them at 1-800-925-6278 (1-800-WALMART).

Conclusion

Walmart's global success hinges on its Human Resources (HR) strategies, evolving from talent-centric roots to contemporary approaches prioritizing retention and talent acquisition. These strategies align with its multi-local expansion, catering to diverse communities while maintaining a competitive edge. HR drives strategic alignment and talent dynamism, excelling in talent acquisition. Yet, persistent challenges in engagement, satisfaction, and diversity management prompt Walmart's strategic shift towards improved practices, fair compensation, robust planning, and diversity initiatives. Walmart's commitment to nurturing a motivated, diverse, and skilled workforce underscores its resilience and continued global leadership.


As Walmart navigates the retail landscape's shifts, its HR evolution reflects adaptability from talent-centricity to employee-centric strategies. Despite excelling in talent acquisition, challenges persist, spurring Walmart's strategic pivot towards fair compensation, improved practices, and diverse initiatives. This commitment to nurturing a motivated, skilled workforce ensures Walmart's resilience and continued global prominence.


Belinda Pondayi
Consultant
This article was written by Belinda a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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