Walmart Restructures Store Management and Operations
BENTONVILLE, AR - When retailers seek to improve their business models, it helps to start at the ground floor—and Walmart is doing just that. The mega retailer is debuting a new model called “Great Workplace,” which will create a new framework for how Walmart operates its stores, focusing on employee growth and satisfaction. Already in place in around 75 locations, the new model will make changes to roles and responsibilities, emphasizing accountability, skill improvement, and teamwork.
“Associates like smaller teams, and they like having a connection with a leader. They want something they can own and to know if they are winning or losing every day. And today that does not always happen,” Drew Holler, U.S. Senior Vice President of Associate Experience, said in an interview reported by Bloomberg.
Great Workplace aims to rehabilitate Walmart’s reputation as an employer—a reputation that has been under fire from labor activists who accuse the retailer of not paying employees during shift breaks, and gender and age discrimination, according to the news source. Walmart has also begun implementing robots to fulfill certain tasks like cleaning floors and sorting deliveries, though the retailer claims the robotic additions will not replace human employees.
“We will compete with technology but win with people,” Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in internal documents viewed by Bloomberg laying out the new structure.
The new model will impact top store managers to the lowest level employees. Pay raises will be given to some hourly and salaried supervisors, who will take on more leadership responsibility, while lower-level employees will receive more training, additional support, and better recognition for good work.
Management structure will change under Great Workplace, because while Store Managers will still be at the top, about a half-dozen “Business Leads” will take on management of the store’s finances, hiring efforts, and other duties. The Business Leads’ salaries will begin at ten percent higher than current Assistant Store Manager wages, according to a Walmart spokesperson. “Team Leads,” who will report to the Business Leads, will supervise groups of eight to ten front-line associates and will see a starting salary of $18 per hour.
A “toolkit” will be provided to each store employing the new model and will include a magnetic board that managers can use to assign employees individual responsibility, dubbed “ownership” by the retailer. The “ownerships” will correspond to specific areas of the store, such as the wall of prepackaged salads. Also included in the toolkit are “Attitude Cards,” which managers will carry around throughout their shift to remind workers of the four behaviors promoted by Great Workplace: Be bold, be an owner, be open, and be kind.
A “star” system is also set to be implemented, wherein employees can earn blue stars for good performance. Multiple blue stars can be traded in for a silver star, and multiple silver stars can be traded in for a gold. Gold star earners will be rewarded by leadership, with a lunch with the Store Manager, according to company documents. This system was not instantly beloved by all, as the news source reports that some employees found the star system to be childish.
Team meetings are addressed in the Great Workplace plan, dictating that meetings are to begin with Walmart company cheer before moving on to discuss assigned work and review sales data. Critics who considered the star system childish, would probably not enjoy the Great Workplace suggestion to “bring a bag of candy and toss a piece to those who bring up ideas discussed in meetings.”
The new Great Workplace model is planned to expand to certain departments in more than 50 of its massive Supercenter locations in June.
How will employees respond to Great Workplace? Will it result in an increase in sales and customer satisfaction, or will it lead to worker disillusionment? AndNowUKnow will continue to report.