Walmart and Target are stepping up their crisis management efforts by pouring money into their strained workforces.
Both retailers are rolling out robust new hiring initiatives and programs to pay bonuses and additional leave benefits to employees who are all currently working full-out amid a crush of panicked shoppers buying toilet paper and other goods during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Walmart will provide its hourly associates with a special cash bonus for their dedicated efforts during this time. Full-time hourly employees will get $300, and part-time hourly associates will receive $150, or more than $365 million across the mega-retailer's U.S. stores, clubs, supply chain and offices.
“Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart. “We want to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us.”
On top of the bonuses, Walmart is hiring another 150,000 full-time and part-time workers to help meet the needs of its customers.
“We know millions of Americans who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work, and at the same time we’re currently seeing strong demand in our stores,” said McMillon. “We’re looking for people who see Walmart as a chance to earn some extra money and perform a vital service to their community.”
For its part, Target said that employees 65 and older, pregnant, or with underlying medical conditions can access paid leave for up to 30 days. Target is also temporarily raising pay by $2 an hour until at least May 2 and giving to 20,000 hourly employees who oversee individual departments in Target stores bonuses that will range from $250 to $1,500.
"We continue to experience incredible demand across our business, and Target's ability to help our guests in this unprecedented time would not be possible without the strength of our team. I am proud and humbled by the dedication and humanity they show to our guests every day," said Brian Cornell, CEO of Minneapolis-based Target. "Increasing their compensation for a job incredibly well done and ensuring continued compensation for those who need to care for themselves and their families is a reflection of our company's values and simply the right thing to do."
Target's team member investments also include $1 million that will be donated to the Target Team Member Giving Fund to assist team members who are most affected by coronavirus. Established in 2018, the fund has supported hundreds of team members year-round through times of hardship, and Target will match up to an additional $1 million in contributions from fellow team members who seek to assist their colleagues in need.
"Families across the country are counting on Target in so many ways during this pandemic, and our team has been nothing short of remarkable," said Cornell. "The commitments we're making today will provide additional resources for our most valuable asset – our team, their families and the communities impacted by the coronavirus."
In addition to the $1 million donation to the Target Team Member Giving Fund, Target and the Target Foundation have committed another $9 million to expand relief and assistance to organizations helping respond to the coronavirus. This commitment is the retailer's largest donation to a single relief effort.
Many other retailers have also stepped up hiring and other efforts during the crisis.
Walmart Inc. operates about 11,500 stores under 56 banners in 27 countries, and ecommerce websites, employing more than 2.2 million associates worldwide. The mega-retailer is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.Target operates more than 1,800 stores, 39 distribution centers and Target.com. The company is No. 15 on PG’s 2019 list.