Walmart adds perks to pay increases
Beyond its widely covered wage increases, Walmart is taking several other steps to improve employee morale, including relaxing wardrobe requirements, changing in-store music playlists and adjusting store temperatures.
Last Wednesday at a pep rally for 3,000 U.S. store and distribution center employees at the University of Arkansas, Greg Foran, who took over Walmart’s U.S. division last August, announced a number of employee-friendly initiatives. These included:
Wardrobe: Starting July 1, stockers and other back-of-store workers will be allowed to wear blue jeans and T-shirts. Service oriented associates can wear black or khaki colored denim. Previously, only khaki or navy pants with a white or blue collared shirt and blue company vest could be worn. On special occasions, like days with sporting events or seasonal holidays, team jerseys, ugly Christmas sweaters or pink shirts to support breast cancer awareness may be worn.
Temperatures: Store temperatures are being adjusted in answer to complaints stores were too cold or hot. In the East and Central regions, temperatures will raised to 75 degrees from 74 degrees during summer months. In the West, average temperatures will be lowered to 75 degrees from 76 degrees. Temperatures are controlled centrally.
Playlist: Wal-Mart Radio, produced by an on-staff DJ and broadcast to individual stores, is being brought back after nine years to add more variety to each store’s playlist. Most recently, stores were allowed to pick their own music, which sometimes led to certain CDs being heard repeatedly. Jokes were made at the meeting of endless plays of Justin Bieber and Celine Dion.
Sales incentive: Walmart is bringing back VPI (Volume-Producing Item), a program that enables associates in each store to select hot items to emphasize in talking to customers and in visual displays. Cash prices will be given for the top VPI on a monthly basis at each store, across regions and companywide.
Last Tuesday, Walmart said it would raise the starting hourly wage for managers and workers in specialized departments, such as the deli in the U.S. Earlier this year, management indicated it was increasing the minimum wage for entry-level workers to $10 per hour by February 2016
"Our job, my job, is to make your life easier," Mr. Foran said at the meeting, according The New York Times.
- Wal-Mart relaxes employee dress code, allows some jeans – Los Angeles Times (tiered sub.)
- Why Wal-Mart is ditching its Celine Dion soundtrack and getting a DJ – The Washington Post (tiered sub.)
- Walmart to let workers wear denim pants – The Associated Press/SFGate
- Walmart Adjusts the Thermostat to Warm Worker Relations – The New York Times (tiered sub.)
- Wal-Mart says it’s listening to employees, makes several store changes – The City Wire
What do you think of Walmart’s latest moves to boost employee morale? How do you think Walmart’s work environment now stacks up to its competitors?