Wal-Mart Stores: Managing Diverse Organizations
Angela L. Farrish
Ms. Amy Thenor
In 1970, Sam Walton the founder of Wal-Mart implemented an extremely significant warehouse distribution system. This new system evolved into Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and in that same year the company was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The company began to expand extremely rapidly throughout the 70’s. During this period Wal-Mart started incorporating pharmacies and auto service centers into its stores which incited even more growth. By 1979, there were 276 Wal-Mart stores in 11 states. During the early 1980’s Wal-Mart’s sales exceeded one-billion dollars. Sam Walton soon began to buy out competitors and incorporate his low cost/high volume concept into these newly purchased companies. In 1987, Sam Walton started what we currently identify as the Wal-Mart Superstore. These superstores consist of a grocery store, a general merchandise market, and service outlets such as restaurants, banks, vision centers and videotape rentals for a one stop shopping experience.
EMPLOYEE PROGRAMS AND PRACTICES
Peterson, points out in “Employee Retention: The Secrets Behind Wal-Marts Successful Hiring Policies” that a major concern of any corporation is employee retention. Motivated employees are seen as a competitive advantage in today’s society. One of a manager’s main tasks in any organization is to motivate the employees to make them more efficient and effective. Therefore, making motivation one of the most important concepts in good management practices. Wal-Mart has employed numerous motivational methods to increase motivation in their employees. These motivational factors include; career opportunities, incentive/bonus plans, educational programs, health benefits, profit sharing, 401K, and stock options. Wal-Mart solicits feedback from all their associates annually, which provides their opinion of their work experience and the company’s implementation of Wal-Mart’s basic beliefs and values. Wal-Mart uses the associate’s feedback to improve job conditions and thus increase motivation. In addition to this Wal-Mart also offers career opportunities to their associates. The associates have the opportunity to change career paths and unlimited career advancement opportunities available within the company. According to Wal-Mart’s web site “more than 65% of Management Associates started out as Hourly Associates (Wal-Mart).” Along with career opportunities, there is also incentive/bonus plans. These incentives are based on the company’s performance. Both hourly and management associates are eligible to receive a percentage of their wages as additional income. The associates are also eligible for merit increases throughout the year. Merit increases are also based on performance. Associates also receive a holiday bonus, which is based on the length of time they have been with the company. Another good motivational factor that Wal-Mart employs is the alliance they have formed with many colleges and universities to provide educational opportunities through the “My Education Connection” program. These benefits offer all associates the opportunity to take online GED preparation, college courses, language courses and personal enrichment courses. Along with this, associates and their spouses are reimbursed for GED completion. Scholarships are also offered to associates and their families. Sixty-two million dollars in scholarship funds have been awarded since 1975. Wal-Mart associates become eligible to receive a share of the company profits after being employed for one year and providing 1,000 hours of service through the Profit Sharing Program. Wal-Mart has contributed more than $2.7 billion toward this plan since 1972. Wal-Mart makes contributions to associate 401k plans based on company performance....