Walmart has given employees an alternate career path opportunity, joining a team of full-time associates focused on remodeling stores. The retailer currently has more than 500 full-store remodels each year in addition to thousands of special projects, and one of the biggest challenges is finding the labor to complete these jobs.
In a blog post, Matt Smith, Walmart Corporate Affairs, says that it takes up to 60 temporary associates to complete a 12-week remodel, but current Walmart employees already have a lot of the skills needed to do the job.
"For an established Walmart associate, building merchandise displays throughout the store from the ground up can be an opportunity to expand knowledge and advance a career," he writes. "These reasons led Walmart real estate to build new teams of full-time associates focused on remodeling stores. Each team is made up of around 30 Walmart associates."
In the past year, more than 1,000 associates have been hired to the new remodel teams, mainly in urban markets with high concentrations of stores.
The new remodel positions have a starting rate of $16 per hour, and the plan is to hire more than 400 more remodel associates in 15 markets in early 2020.
"The underlying intent for these positions is for them to be a training and development program that helps to put talent back into stores," says John Clarke, Walmart vice president of real estate.
In April, Walmart revealed plans to remodel 500 stores and open just 20 new locations in more than two dozen states as part of an $11 billion cap ex investment.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries, and ecommerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. The company is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.