The largest company in the world
The problem with Wal-Mart was that, as the largest company in the world it had three times the number of employees that the second largest company behind it had, size of the company itself suggest that scope of the problems was likely to be higher. It was not practically possible for top management to know what is happening at the store level, so some stores deviate from the corporate principles. The success of Wal-Mart has long since been attributed to the company’s culture base. Wal-Mart had a kind of culture that is shared by all great companies.
Even the employees of Wal-Mart were sometimes referred to as “”Walmartians”” by outsiders reflecting the distinctiveness of the people who shared that culture. Barraged by class-action law suits, negative press and criticism from unions, Wal-Mart is throwing its managers and human resources staff a lifeline. Wal-Mart also is looking at how it can build technology platforms to improve communications between employees and managers and is increasing the frequency of its employee satisfaction surveys to keep tabs on potential issues and overall morale.
. “The one thing we have learned from our critics, even in those situations where we believed that they were off-base, is that Wal-Mart’s size and industry leadership means people expect more of us,”. The company is currently conducting a pilot in Southern California, where it has assigned a human resources executive to each of the state’s districts, each of which contains eight to 10 stores. If successful, Wal-Mart will expand the initiative to Northern California and eventually across the country, hiring at least one human resources staff member for each of Wal-Mart’s 500 districts.
Oliver says the company has more than 3,000 “personnel associates” that reside in its stores, and that “we need to supplement them on a district level. ” The district human resources support staff will help to ensure that Wal-Mart’s recruiting, selection and interviewing processes are effective and that the store’s staffing needs are met. The company will gauge the success of the pilot program by monitoring turnover, which currently is a little below 50 percent.
Wal-Mart also has created a five-person team of human resources professionals with legal backgrounds who are available to answer managers’ concerns and questions regarding employment matters 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the home office. If a store manager, for example, hires a physically disabled worker and needs information on how to best accommodate that worker, the manager can call the team for assistance. “Our theory is that we want our managers to never have a situation that they don’t feel like they have someone to call,” she says.
“The labyrinth of regulations, law and policy is so great today that we want them to have someone that they know is their lifeline on any employment issue. ” Wal-Mart is discussing how much it will expand the team to respond to the needs of its managers and has not yet made a decision. On the technology front, Wal-Mart is creating a career portal to allow employees to apply for management positions in other geographic areas and be notified automatically when desired positions are available.
The company also is automating the system by which employees put in for days off to make sure that their requests are processed efficiently. The current paper-based system is not efficient and has more room for error. It is Wal-Mart’s choice that we have to be not just attractive, but really attractive as an employer of choice.
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