Walmart Inc. has released its "2020 Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report," which details its progress to create greater racial equity across society and in the company.
Last year, Walmart said that as "part of its journey to become a more inclusive and transparent organization," it will be publishing two workforce diversity reports each year instead of just one.
Ben Hasan, SVP and global chief culture, diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Walmart, describes three themes evident throughout the retailer's latest report: representation matters, education is the foundation of progress, and investing in change is key.
Representation matters: Walmart is focusing on increasing diversity and equity in the workplace. Progress includes:
- Representation at the officer level is more diverse year over year, with a 1.03% increase for women and 0.61% growth for people of color. The latter was driven by a 1.97% increase in Black and African-American officers.
- Women representation in U.S. management is up year over year by .026%, likely aided by a 7.69% annual increase in hourly-to-management promotions and 4.46% gain in total management promotions for women.
- Walmart remains one of the largest employers of Black and African-American people, comprising 20.70% of its total U.S. workforce.
- Walmart hired more than 480,000 new associates in the United States last year, with total people of color representing 55%, women 49.42% and Latinx 18.02% of new hires.
Education is the foundation of progress: Walmart is investing in programs to equip associates with the training, tools and resources they need. Examples of this include:
- A new Race & Inclusion curriculum introduced in August 2020 on Walmart’s ULearn platform. The program contains seven learning paths for home office associates and four field-focused paths. More than 105,000 cumulative learning paths have been completed as of January 2021.
- Walmart created the RACE Ahead series to provide a space for transparent, relevant and solutions-oriented conversations. It had more than 17,700 total live connections for nine 60-minute sessions.
- Each of the retailer’s Shared Value Networks (SVNs) – Criminal Justice, Education, Financial and Health – has identified pillars of focus that will inform its work to help influence social systems toward more equitable outcomes.
Investing in change is key: Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are striving to create more equitable opportunities through giving. Noteworthy contributions include:
- A five-year, $100 million philanthropic commitment to create a new Center for Racial Equity. The first $14 million in grants from the center was revealed on Feb. 1, 2021.
- A five-year, $5 million commitment to the Equity in Education initiative in collaboration with North Carolina A&T State University, which is the first outcome of its SVNs. This commitment is from the business and is above and beyond the $100 million Center for Racial Equity philanthropic commitment.
- Other recent grants include support of the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition; the Aspen Institute’s Weave: The Social Fabric Project; PFLAG National; and the Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels campaign.
Meanwhile, Walmart recently filed its proxy statement and issued its 2021 Annual Report, which includes financial details and the retailer’s positioning for ongoing success, in preparation for its upcoming virtual Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on June 2.
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, Progressive Grocer’s list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam's Club ranks No. 9 on the list.