Associates with masks standing in front of Poptarts

Sept. 17, 2020
By Dacona Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Walmart U.S.

During this trying and uncertain year, one thing has remained a constant: Our associates have done an incredible job serving customers and making a difference in their communities. They’ve gone above and beyond to make sure customers have access to the items they need while making health and safety a top priority.

As a company, we’ve prioritized their physical, emotional and financial well-being: We’ve distributed $1.1 billion in bonus payouts, created an emergency leave policy, adjusted store hours and taken numerous safety measures. More broadly, over the past few years, we’ve made significant investments in associates’ pay, benefits, training and career opportunities.

Today, we’re taking the next steps by 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. In turn, associates will have more room for career and pay growth.

Across the store, we’re 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. This means they’ll gain more skills and be able to support associates who want to take time off or just need extra help during a busy shift. 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.

To lead these new teams, we’re introducing new, future-focused leadership roles in our Supercenters, both at the salaried and hourly level: store lead (formerly co-manager), coach (formerly assistant manager) and team lead (formerly department manager). These new positions will develop their teams, deliver our strategic priorities and be responsible for empowering our more than 1 million associates as they take bigger roles in the business – something they’ve proven they’re more than capable of doing during this pandemic.

New Roles Graphic 2020

We’re especially excited about the team lead role. 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.

As we make these changes, all associates will be able to continue working at Walmart if they choose to, even if they are not selected for one of the new roles. They will either remain in their current roles or be offered a similar position. They’ll keep the same pay through at least October 2021. We’re committed to taking care of our associates during these unprecedented times, and in turn, taking care of our customers.

Bakery Team Lead graphic 2020

We’re also making investments in associates’ pay. This new structure is built around higher-skilled jobs of the future, and the compensation for those roles reflects that.

The new salaried and hourly teaming leadership roles will come with higher pay, and we’re also raising pay for the current salaried digital, asset protection and auto care center assistant manager roles in the store. 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. 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.

In addition, we’re investing in specific, skilled frontline hourly positions in Supercenters. The minimums for hourly associates in the deli and bakery areas are increasing from $11 an hour to $15 or higher. 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. These specialized roles are an essential part of our business.

Overall, we are raising wages for approximately 165,000 hourly associates across all Walmart U.S. stores.

We are re-investing in several ways to provide associates with higher and more consistent base pay. All of the above associates will get an increase in pay in October, taking the place of the annual increase they typically have to wait until February or April to receive. Likewise, 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. 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.

We’re thrilled about how we’re shifting our business to meet the needs of customers and investing in our associates at the same time. At the end of the day, our associates are the key to making every day easier for busy families.

They’ve done a remarkable job this year. I can’t wait to see how they excel in these new roles and continue to make such an incredible difference in their communities.