Walmart Boosts Minimum Wage, Improves Customer Experience

Last week, one of the largest retailers in the world stated that it would begin paying all of its U.S. hourly workers at least $9 an hour by April, and $10 an hour by next February. The plan will result in raises for about 500,000 workers in the first half of the fiscal year and cost about $1 billion, according to a statement from the company.
The retailer has done this in an attempt to reduce turnover among its 1.3 million U.S. workers, which would in turn cut training costs and improve service at its 4,400 domestic stores. According to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, the leadership teams are extremely focused on improving customer experiences through various investments and program initiatives, and have developed and tested new ideas to reward associates for serving customers.
"We have work to do to grow the business. We know what customers want from a shopping experience, and we're investing strategically to exceed their expectations and better position Walmart for the future," said McMillon. "Our first priority is to run great stores and clubs. We will continue to integrate our physical locations with a great e-commerce and mobile commerce business. We're strengthening investments in our people to engage and inspire them to deliver superior customer experiences. We will earn the trust of all Walmart stakeholders by operating great retail businesses, ensuring world-class compliance, and doing good in the world through social and environmental programs in our communities."
While a number of factors contributed to the move, quite simply, the retailer had stopped growing. Same-store sales have seen very little change – and a slight decline – for some time. When further investigating the possible causes of this, the company's workforce and how it's managed came to light as prime suspects. However, cutting salary and benefits wasn't the solution to lowering costs. About 44% of Walmart's hourly staff turns over each year, according to reports, which is both costly and time consuming.
"As many of you know, I'm really proud to have been a Walmart associate for a long time. This company has given so many of us opportunities beyond our wildest dreams. We joined Walmart because we wanted a job but found much more than that," said McMillon. "This company is a really special place. One of the reasons we've had some success is that we've known that every person, every voice, every idea has potential. You've heard us say things like our secret to success is that we're all working together and that 'Our people make the difference.' While that phrase started as a meeting theme in 1979, it became a way of thinking. It's what we believe. It's what I believe. Our actions must match our beliefs. So today, we're announcing a series of important changes that demonstrate our commitment to you, our associates."
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