FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., June 3, 2015 – Today Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran and COO Judith McKenna outlined associate-focused steps to drive greater simplicity, provide associates the tools they need to serve customers and continue to listen to and act upon associate ideas. The Walmart U.S. leaders spoke to nearly 3,000 associates from around the country as part of the week-long events surrounding Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting.
“The best part of my job is getting out in stores and learning from associates. There is nothing I like better than hearing about your jobs, your ideas, your hopes and dreams, your frustrations and listening to how we can make your lives easier,” said Foran.
Remembering one of his early days in retail, Foran ended his shift full of ideas about how things could be done better. “One of the most important parts of my job is to listen to our associates. You are closest to the customer and you make a difference for our customers every day. I learned very early on that you have great ideas.”
In February, Walmart announced a $1 billion investment in its U.S. workforce, including raising its minimum wage to $9 an hour, implementing new training programs and giving associates more control over their schedules. In addition, the company’s U.S. leadership has committed that stores will be cleaner, faster, and friendlier and have better in stock by the start of the holiday season. The U.S. business has recorded three consecutive quarters of positive comp sales and solid growth in store traffic, which has been positive the past two quarters. Shoppers are also starting to take notice, over the last quarter, customer experience scores improved across all Walmart formats.
McKenna, a 20-year associate who became COO of Walmart U.S. in December, has spent a lot of time in the stores listening and said she is hearing that associates, while excited about the changes they are seeing with pay, training and scheduling, also want leadership to reduce the complexity that has gradually been added to store jobs.
“You told us we've made it harder for you to do what you do best, which is serving our customers. Your feedback is helping us understand how we support you better and remove the distractions that get in your way,” said McKenna. “Taking care of our customers begins with taking care of you. It's that simple. My commitment to you is that we will continue to listen, and, more importantly, act on what we hear.”
To underscore this commitment to its workforce, McKenna announced the company is making a small, but significant change to its name badges, to make sure everyone knows who makes the difference at Walmart. “I'm proud to say that we're bringing back ‘Our People Make the Difference’ on our badges. These words are just as important today, and to our future, as they ever were.” Every associate in the U.S. stores will have the new badge by the end of the year.
Foran pledged to continue working for associates to make it easier for them to serve customers. “We know you need the tools to do your job well. You make a difference for customers, so our job in Bentonville is to get you what you need. We will win one customer at a time and if we work together, we will get the army that is Walmart to march and we can make a difference for our customers.
“Thanks for everything you do,” he concluded.
For more information or to watch the shareholders meeting webcast, please visit stock.walmart.com and join the conversation.
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