What will going to mostly full-time staff mean for Walmart’s stores?
Walmart says it expects that by the end of the year two-thirds of the hourly associates working in its stores will be employed by the retailer on a full-time basis with consistent week to week schedules.
Drew Holler, senior vice president, Walmart U.S. People Operations, on a company blog, writes that the decision to focus on providing full-time employment will provide a means for stores to recruit strong candidates for careers with the company. It is also a reflection of demands placed on the retailer’s business at this point in its history.
The executive posits that Walmart is “uniquely positioned to offer a combination of stability and room for growth that few others can match.” He added that providing workers with consistent shift schedules and skills training enables associates to pursue careers with the chain rather than just filling jobs.
Mr. Holler points to the changing nature of store operations that continue in their traditional role of serving customers but increasingly act as fulfillment centers for online orders, as well.
“We are following the full-time staffing approach that has been successful in our distribution centers and fulfillment centers, where more than 80 percent of our current associates are full-time,” Mr. Holler writes.
The move to full-timers is not a recent decision, according to Mr. Holler.
“We were on this journey well before the pandemic began. In 2016, about 53 percent of our U.S. hourly store workforce held full-time positions. Reaching the two-thirds mark by the end of the year means we will have approximately 100,000 more full-time positions than we did five years ago — representing meaningful investments in our associates’ pay, hours and stability.”
Walmart’s scheduling is also intended to develop strong internal teams — small groups of eight to 12 associates and team leaders working together on a consistent basis. Associates are cross-trained within their departments to provide better support for one another.
The latest move by Walmart follows others it has made to burnish its image as an employer. Last month, the retailer increased wages for 425,000 associates who stock shelves and fulfill orders. The pay raises will range between $13 and $19 an hour, lifting the average paid to store associates above $15 an hour. Walmart did say that it will eliminate quarterly bonuses for these workers after the first quarter.
- Emphasizing Opportunity, Walmart Moves More Associates to Full Time – Walmart
- Walmart gives workers a raise and weighs in on the minimum wage debate – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Walmart’s emphasis on full-time employment for store associates with consistent week to week schedules significantly boost its recruitment and retention efforts? What will this mean for other retail store operators?