Garbage has become pretty golden for John Cundy. In July, he attended Walmart’s Open Call for products that support American jobs, and his creation, Trash-Ease, was chosen by our buyers to soon be added to store shelves. The invention is simple: a portable metal frame that allows a trash bag to hang on almost any type of flat surface. But the idea has changed his life and is supporting jobs in Detroit. Watch how he turned his concept into reality – and then later entered the world of retail.
With more than 4,600 locations in the U.S. – and online shopping, too – odds are most of us have connected with Walmart at some point in the last year.
But helping our customers check off grocery lists and wish lists wouldn’t be possible without one important thing: our people.
Delivering on this expectation every day requires a lot of support not just on the front lines at our stores, but also behind the scenes at our fulfillment and distribution centers and corporate offices. Walmart is a place where anyone can build a career, and it’s my role to ensure job seekers know about the opportunities that exist.
1. Expect the unexpected. Careers at Walmart are as individual as the people who work here. We employ a wide range of roles from store managers and software engineers to pharmacists and pilots.
Our CEO Doug McMillon is well known for working his way up from unloading boxes in a warehouse to where he is today, and he’s just one of many associates who found their dream job among the many opportunities here at Walmart.
2. Counting on success. Employing more than 2 million associates worldwide – 1.5 million in the U.S. alone – is a huge responsibility. However, the size of our workforce is just one number worth knowing. Here are several other stats that make us proud:
More than 75% of our store management teams started as hourly associates.
We promoted 200,000 U.S. associates last year to jobs with more responsibility and higher pay, and more than 9,000 hourly associates were promoted to salaried managers.
More than 225,000 associates will graduate from our Academies training program by the end of 2017 – emerging prepared to better serve customers, lead teams and take the next step in their careers.
3. Digital first. With more than 1.6 million visitors each month, WalmartCareers.com is a first impression for many candidates – and we want it to be a great one. The site was recently redesigned to:
Invite visitors to experience our culture.
From day-in-the-life videos to real images of our offices and associates, the site opens our doors and invites visitors to experience Walmart like never before.
Make it easy for applicants to find their perfect fit.
With so many opportunities available, finding the perfect role can be challenging. We used this as inspiration for the newly designed site navigation, department pages and job search.
Showcase our commitment to innovative digital experiences.
We love the unexpected (and the delightful!), and the refreshed careers site is one way we are showcasing our efforts to create great, immersive experiences for our candidates.
4. The future’s so bright. Through our physical locations and digital capabilities, we’re committed to creating an easy and time-saving shopping experience for our customers. But whether it’s online grocery pickup or changing our in-store setup, we can’t make that happen without bright people to drive innovation and bring ideas to life.
Technology will continue to change the world around us, and associates at all levels are helping us change with it. As I’ve heard our CEO say, “Bring it on.”
There’s a game that my husband, Brendan, and I play every time we go to a trade show.
We flip the products over to see where they were made, and usually we see the name of a country overseas, like China or Taiwan. When I ask the sales manager why, I usually get one standard response: “You can’t make this in the U.S.A.”
This has always been interesting to me because I know that you can make a lot out of plastics in the U.S. – my family has been doing it every day for the past 35 years! Not only is it possible, it’s work that has provided for us since my father founded Precision Thermoplastic Components, Inc. in 1982. What started out as a fun little game pushed my husband and me to address what we saw as a real need for even more American-made products. In 2012 we started our company 50 Strong in Lima, Ohio, producing U.S.-made water bottles, bottle cages, and tire repair levers for Walmart’s bike accessories department.
As the brand grew, we were constantly looking to innovate. I began to spend weeks in the housewares aisles of various stores, watching how people shopped and asking about their water bottle must-haves and pet peeves. Our designers took the responses and created a line of the top 10 bottles that folks were looking for. Innovation is at the heart of what we’re doing at 50 Strong, which means we’re dedicated to making smarter products with better manufacturing processes that we engineer ourselves.
When we started the brand, we also started the 50 Strong Foundation, our nonprofit that receives 10% of all sales to fund education for manufacturing workers. It doesn’t matter if these people are going to work for us or some other company; any time we can add skilled workers to the industry is a true benefit for the future of American jobs.
Our family is competitive, and we feel great pride being able to say that we’re making a better, smarter product with great quality at a competitive price. Partnering with Walmart is another big source of pride for us because we know that their commitment to U.S. manufacturing is as real as ours is. When a retailer is willing to develop a team to focus on finding more suppliers of U.S.-made products, that’s when you know they truly care.
The name “50 Strong” stands for the 50 states, and came from our vision to make America stronger by making more of the products that we use here, in America. For every job that we’re able to fill with an American worker, we know there will be a ripple effect throughout that person’s community. Maybe they’re coaching youth baseball, maybe they’re volunteering at church, or maybe they’re just spending more time helping their kids with homework.
The feeling of providing meaningful jobs is hard to put into words, but our mission is simple: When we start making more things in America, it’s a win for our workers, our families, and our communities.
This might not seem like a big deal, but it’s a real change for a brand whose toughness has been represented by a plaid-clad guy for more than 40 years. So we are excited to bring this limited edition packaging design to Walmart customers. Who says a woman can’t take the place of the Brawny Man? Not us.
While simple, the idea that being strong isn’t limited to men was a new way for us to think about Brawny. And in that thinking, we found a connection with consumers that goes way beyond paper towels. As a result, the #StrengthHasNoGender initiative was born last year as an extension of the “Stay Giant” campaign for our paper towels.
This year, we found more inspirational stories to share. From the first African-American female combat pilot to a college student who developed an app that detects breast cancer, strong women are making a difference and breaking barriers in so many different fields. You can view these films on our website, and I encourage you to do so. These achievements inspire us all to reach higher and push further – no matter what barriers we may face. They’re truly inspiring stories, and they get to the core of what our brand is about.
But why these stories? Because we know that women are currently underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Empowering women and girls in STEM seemed like a great way to inspire young women with our campaign. That’s why we partnered with Girls Inc., to encourage girls to participate in hands-on activities, explore, ask questions and solve problems. And because someday we want these same girls to consider a STEM job with a manufacturing company like ours, making Brawny stronger.
#StrengthHasNoGender is part of the evolution in the way we talk about our brand: that strength goes way beyond paper towels. Overall, we hope the campaign and packaging change promotes a conversation about what it means to be strong and resilient. We hope women and girls everywhere are inspired to pursue their dreams no matter what obstacles they face. And finally, we hope that one day, the notion that Strength Has No Gender will be universal – understood and accepted by everyone.
I am a woman of Walmart. There are more than a million of us across the globe. We're a part of everything this company does.
From producing and stocking your Great Value morning coffee to designing the systems that allow you to order from your couch while finishing a cup with a loved one, we are there.
Celebrating International Women's Day yesterday was the perfect time to reflect on the opportunities I've had here. The list is long and it grows every day. In my six years with this company, my coolest opportunities have been working with our stores and clubs. Because my job is based at Walmart’s home office, having the opportunity to work side-by-side with our people on the front line (more than a million in the U.S. alone!) is enlightening and empowering. And it has certainly helped build my confidence as a female leader. I've met many women of Walmart in various roles from Bentonville, Arkansas, to Shenzhen, China. One thing they've all had in common is confidence. Confidence to represent the No. 1 company in the Fortune 500, confidence to make a difference in people’s lives, confidence to think differently and confidence to challenge the status quo.
We still have diversity and inclusion work ahead of us to ensure every woman at Walmart feels the same way. This week we took another step in that journey, by announcing our commitment to continuing to accelerate diversity, inclusion and gender equality as our CEO Doug McMillon joined Catalyst CEO Champions for Change. This is an important transformational opportunity for Walmart and the more than 40 other companies on board, as not only are they making bold organizational and personal commitments to continue to accelerate inclusion, but they also will transparently report their companies’ collective progress.
So yesterday I added another cool opportunity as a woman of Walmart to my list: The opportunity to help transform our company by making a personal commitment to diversity and inclusion. And I'm feeling pretty confident about the journey ahead.