Will Walmart’s career path strategy give it a recruiting advantage?
Walmart is serious about recruitment and retention. The retailer has created a series of career path programs designed to let associates pursue advancement opportunities throughout the organization, from store-level to its headquarters in Bentonville.
A blog post co-authored by Amy Goldfinger, senior vice president, global talent & workforce strategy, and Lorraine Stomski, senior vice president, learning & leadership, lays out elements of the company’s plan to keep its talent pool rich.
Walmart expects to grow its Home Office internship program 30 percent over last year. Students pursuing undergraduate and master’s degrees in fields including finance, human resources, merchandising, supply chain and technology are assigned to projects that match their skill sets and interests.
The student projects are not just make-work — contributions are expected “to make an impact on the company, our customers, members and associates.” Interns are given the opportunity to make connections with leaders at Walmart and most are expected to transition into full-time positions with the retailer upon graduation.
The retailer is also piloting a new program this summer that will give recent college graduates and those graduating within the next year a means to become store managers within two years.
College2Career, as the program has been named, includes classroom training, hands-on experience and mentoring with company leaders to learn what is required to be salaried managers at local Walmarts.
Those successful making it through the store manager program are offered the newly-created job of emerging coach with an annual salary of $65,000. College graduates will be able to move into the role immediately, and those finishing up school will go into the position upon receiving their degrees.
Walmart expects emerging coaches will step up into store management roles within two years. The average store manager for Walmart earned $210,000 in 2021.
The retailer is also looking to provide opportunities for frontline associates to move up to corporate roles. The company in March launched Home Office Pathway Experience, a program that connects frontline workers pursuing college degrees in in-demand roles such as cybersecurity and merchandising to corporate positions. The program, which runs eight weeks, enables associates to build on existing skills and learn new ones. Those that do well in the program are eligible to pursue a full-time position upon completion of their undergraduate studies.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How do Walmart’s store and corporate recruitment and training programs stack up against other large retailers? What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses in Walmart’s HR strategy?