Walmart is increasing pay for workers and changing some job and leadership roles — steps that the retailer said will give its employees more room for raises and career growth.
According to Dacona Smith, COO for Walmart U.S., the retailer is “introducing a team-based operating model in our Supercenters – similar to the one that has been very successful at Sam’s Club over the past year and in our Neighborhood Market stores this year. We’re investing in new roles and skills training to give us the flexibility to serve customers anytime and anywhere.”
More specifically, Walmart is creating small teams of associates who will be cross-trained and given ownership of the work and their area for everything from in-stock to visual standards, Smith said. Workers will gain more skills via this new structure, which means that they can better support co-workers and help peers who need help during busy shifts, or fill in for absent associates.
“For example, associates who prepare fresh food will be trained to maintain pricing and standards in their area – giving them broader skill sets that allow them to help customers and grow their own careers,” Smith said.
Leadership is also changing as part of the new structure.
The new roles in the chain’s supercenters, at the hourly and salaried level, will include store lead (formerly co-manager), coach (formerly assistant manager) and team lead (formerly department manager). These new positions will develop their teams, deliver Walmart’s strategic priorities and be responsible for empowering the chain’s more than 1 million associates as they take on bigger roles at work.
“We’re especially excited about the team lead role,” Smith said. “These associates will lead and develop people, rather than focusing on completing tasks, giving associates a more direct connection to leadership. As we’ve tested this team approach, associates have gravitated to the connection and camaraderie that come with being part of a small team that supports each other and works together toward shared goals.”
Not all Walmart workers will be offered new roles, of course, but even so, Smith said that no one who wants to remain with the retailer will be pushed out as a result of these changes. “They will either remain in their current roles or be offered a similar position,” he noted. “They’ll keep the same pay through at least October 2021.”
As for pay, those new hourly and salaried leadership jobs will come with raises.
“The new wage ranges for the hourly team lead roles start at between $18 and $21 an hour and can go up to $30 an hour in Supercenters,” Smith said. “Through this new tiered structure for team leads, we’re creating room for pay and career growth while investing in areas like pickup and delivery as customers increasingly turn to those options. Those parts of the business will only continue to grow.”
Walmart also plans raises for other workers — including for specific and skilled front-line hourly supercenter jobs. The minimum pay for deli and bakery workers is increasing to $15 an hour or higher, from $11 an hour. “Pay is also being raised for several hourly auto care center roles. Most associates in these roles will receive a base pay increase of $1 or more per hour,” Smith said, adding that about 165,000 hourly Walmart employees will receive raises as soon as October.
“For these select hourly roles, this increase will also take the place of the regular quarterly bonus and become part of their base pay going forward, offering more predictability and more pay in their hourly wages,” Smith noted. “These associates will continue to be eligible to receive quarterly bonuses for Q3 and Q4 of this year. When we’ve asked associates, the overwhelming majority say their hourly wages are the most important part of their pay, well ahead of quarterly bonuses.”
Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, PG’s list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam's Club ranks No. 9.