- Walmart is raising wages for some 165,000 hourly workers at its U.S. stores in an overhaul of its store teams, according to a company post from Dacona Smith, COO of Walmart U.S.
- The reorganization includes new leadership roles at the salaried and hourly levels, which come with higher pay. At the same time, Walmart is nixing bonuses for those managers, saying that doing so would add "predictability" to pay, Smith said.
- Those in the previous roles not chosen for a new role can keep a job with Walmart, and the company said it will maintain their pay level through October 2021.
Walmart couched its new store team structure in terms of skills and promotion, calling the new roles "future-focused" that puts those workers in them on the path to promotion.
"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," Smith said, adding that the new team structures will allow workers to "gain more skills and be able to support associates who want to take time off or just need extra help during a busy shift."
Under the new scheme, co-managers are now store leads, making them store managers in training and responsible for the entire store when store managers are out.
Additionally, assistant managers, which oversaw merchandising in a specific area, are now "coaches," responsible for financials, merchandising, staffing and talent for a larger area of the store. Department managers are now "team leads," with a small team under their oversight.
Smith said the company was "especially excited" about the team lead role, noting that those in it "will lead and develop people, rather than focusing on completing tasks, giving associates a more direct connection to leadership." Wages for that role start at between $18 and $21 per hour and can go up to $30 an hour in Supercenters.
The retailer is also raising hourly wages for associates in its deli and bakery areas, from an $11 minimum to $15, as well as wages in its auto centers, according to the company. The changes appear to be a wide roll-out of a team reorganization that Walmart began testing last year.
A spokesperson for Walmart did not comment on whether the new structure would eliminate leadership roles overall across the retailer's stores. Some anonymous social media posts suggested that the changes would result in some lost management jobs.
An emailed statement by a longtime Walmart employee, Cynthia Murray, released by labor activist group United for Respect said the roles were being pushed out "with zero input from the front line employees," at a time when store staff were taking heightened risks by working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Raises for some staff, but not for all, will not cut it," Murray said in the statement. "All long-term workers like me deserve to get raises, and every single one of Walmart's 1.5 million U.S. employees should be making at least $15 an hour. "