Walmart Is Making These Changes To Attract And Retain Employees

On Wednesday, Walmart announced that it would transition two-thirds of its workforce into full time positions. Moreover, these full time schedules would remain consistent from week to week, as opposed to issuing a schedule composed anew every seven days.

The announcement was made via a blog post written by Drew Holler, Senior Vice President and head of Walmart U.S. People Operations, on the corporation's blog. "We're uniquely positioned to offer a combination of stability and room for growth that few others can match," Holler writes. The stability now consists of regularly planned hours and benefits which Holler believes will translate into greater worker retention and a development of talent, all of which will mean better customer service for Walmart.  

Interestingly, a reason Holler gave the Star Tribune (that's not found on the corporation's blog post) is that workers themselves are demanding better health and dental benefits, which are typically only available to full time employees. The piece also quotes Cynthia Murray, a member of the worker advocacy group United for Respect. Though pleased that Walmart has made these concessions, she indicated in an email that these were half measures. "If Walmart truly wants to retain associates and offer 'stability and room for growth,' we are happy to meaningfully engage with them on our requests, which include moving to a full $15 minimum wage for all employees immediately, cost-of-living increases to longtime employees, and giving us a seat on the board."

Workers have been grumbling

Though absent from Holler's presentation, such discontent amongst the workforce was clearly bubbling back in February when Walmart declared it would raise their average wage to $15 per hour. As CBS News reported, those receiving the wage hike were in digital and stocking positions, both of which grew in importance during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, cashiers would receive nothing. "Most of us cashiers along with hundreds of thousands of others are once again left out of the raises Walmart is giving," Mendy Hughes, a Walmart cashier and a leader with United for Respect, told CBS News in an email. "Being a cashier in the COVID-19 pandemic is among the most dangerous jobs there is."

Noting this and the recent attempt to unionize Amazon workers, the writer of the Star Tribune piece wondered whether this expansion of consistent hours was an attempt by Walmart to head off action amongst their own workers. No comment came.