Case Analysis - Walmart Staffing

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Case Analysis: Staffing Wal-Mart Stores

Wal-Mart has been ranked in the Fortune’s list of the top 100 companies to work for in the United States (Mark, 2003). Wal-Mart had increased their workforce from 1996 to 2001 by almost 50 percent, of which the percentage of women decreased from 67 percent to 64 percent during this time. Wal- Mart had used a hierarchical human resources (HR) structure that consisted of several levels of management, divisions, and regions. “In 2001, management employees earned about $50,000 on average while hourly employees earned $18,000” (Mark, 2003). Wal-Mart’s “Division One” had over 2,600 stores which were organized in five or six divisions, with five or six regions within their given area, and 80 to 85 stores within each region (Mark, 2003). Policies were set on a computer-based information system that employees could access at any time, along with watching videos on the company’s history, and reading the associate handbook. Promotions were given based on performance evaluations and requirements. Certain allegations were made that Wal-Mart was more male oriented in higher-level positions, and overall hiring more men than women. Wal-Mart created a goal to make the percentage of women employees 50 percent of the workforce.

A problem exists in that Wal-Mart has fought off any organizing attempts of unions by their employees, which limits employees’ influence on policies and company process’s. This problem filters down to the hiring and promotional process that occurs within the company. As stated in the case study, “…from date of hire until first being promoted to an assistant manager was 4.38 years for women and 2.86 years for men. For store managers, the times were 10.12 years and 8.64 years respectively” (Mark, 2003). From the numbers, men were promoted faster than women, but Wal-Mart states that promotions were given based on performance evaluations. Furthermore, it was stated store managers filled positions with lateral moves and waiving minimum requirements as a way of bypassing the process (Mark, 2003).

Wal-Mart published documents to reflect how committed they are to fair practices. On the flip side, the public can now scrutinize Wal-Mart by using their public reports against them. A public article stated, “women associates had stated that Wal-Mart supervisors told them that men were paid more because they had families” (Mark, 2003). Included in the same article was a Wal-Mart official that admitted to writing that customers should feel as if they can trust Wal-Mart employees “with their wife and their wallet” (Mark, 2003).

Additional information would have to be offered pertaining to the required practices and process’s Wal-Mart has in place for the hiring of employees and promoting employees from within the company. Does Wal-Mart have a policy where an entry-level employee can be hired, and managers and supervisors are promoted from within the company? Surveys and reports taken from current employees for their thoughts on the numbers of men to women in various positions will help with determining where and how severe the problem is. Why is Wal-Mart continuously voted one of the best company’s to work for if there was a serious problem internally?

Possible solutions to the problem can range from having more People Division (HR) employees to oversee a smaller number of stores, to filtering public reports that may potentially create a negative perception of the company. Implementing more People Division employees within each region will allow more attention to be given for each store. Wal-Mart looks to move towards making their employment equity record balanced. This is apparent when taking into consideration the numerous letters to managers to push for making the numbers of men to women more equal.

Wal-Mart can filter applications submitted and have them separated and reviewed on an as needed basis on what gender is needed more at a specific...
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