Human Resources Practices in Walmart

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Analysis and Recommendations
Introduction – Wal-Mart, founded by Sam Walton in 1962, is one of the world largest companies by market capitalization and number of people employed and touching millions of customers everyday. There are more than 7,800 Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Club locations in 16 markets worldwide and there are more than 2 million associates serving more than 100 million customers per year (About Us, n.d.) It is the largest grocery retailer in the United States with an estimated market share of around 20% of the retail grocery and consumables business. To be able to efficiently operate such a complex operation at such a large and do it consistently would only be possible by the huge effort by Wal-Mart’s ‘associates’ as its employees are called. This papers looks at the human resources practices of Wal-Mart with a special focus on group and team behavior, leadership, conflict and negotiation, human resource practices and organizational culture and diversity within the company to understand them and also provide some recommendations to make them better in the future. Analysis of various HR related areas of Wal-Mart – One of the reasons why Wal-Mart has been so successful and scale up its model across so many locations is the values and beliefs established by its founder and the customer centric culture that is replicated across locations. The company right from the time of its inception has a clear mission which is to save its customers money and enable them to live better. Below is an analysis of current Wal-Mart practices across various areas and how Wal-Mart has align then to perfectly with its mission statement Group and team behavior – There has been a focus on achieving things together as a team right from the days of Sam Walton. Sam Walton firmly believed that all the people working in Wal-Mart are ordinary people and as a team they are able to do extraordinary things, growing together and accomplishing much more than each of them could individually (Teamwork, n.d.). This same spirit is ingrained even today into the day to day operations of Wal-Mart all over the world, where they leverage team work to overcome obstacles as they all work together to serve their customers the best. The manner in which they work as a team and the single mindedness in which they serve their customer is given to them in the guidelines that the employees follow to extract the maximum value out of working together. Leadership – To manage the complex operation of the huge number of super stores across the world, there are store managers who are given complete ownership of store operations and given a lot of data that in other companies would not be shared with the middle management. This trust that management has in it increases their ownership in the business and they are motivated to put in better performances and also motivate their team to achieve their targets while ensuring complete customer satisfaction. The focus on the customer is seen here also with the philosophy of ‘Servant Leadership’. As per this philosophy, it is their strong belief that effective leaders don’t lead from behind a desk and that it is important to develop leaders who are servants to the customers, can work with partners and who are able to motivate the team to perform well. Across stores all over the world, the managers at Wal-Mart can be seen right on the floor working along with other associates (Servant Leadership, n.d.). This enables leaders in Wal-Mart to lead by example which is very motivating for the associates as well to put in their best effort. Conflict Resolution - Wal-Mart also realizes the importance of free flowing communication to being responsive to customer needs and actively encourages two way communications across the organization both top down and bottom up. To encourage associate to come up and speak with the management, Wal-Mart actively promoted the open door policy where associates can walk up to many...
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