According to Mike Duke, Walmart employees are all a part of “onebig family”. This statement however was laughed at by a loyal, long time worker,stating that he did not know who Mike was, but he was not a part of his family.It is obvious that Walmart is a huge employer to a substantial portion ofpeople from all over the world, boasting that they have accumulated nearly 2 millionemployees. While it is evident that Walmart tries desperately to maintain apositive image in the eye of both the customer and the community, they do notalways succeed in this endeavor for many reasons. Several examples have beengiven in the case of instances where small, content towns have been notified thatthey will shortly be receiving a Walmart, but more often than not this resultsin petitions by the towns folk and other residents to the area. Walmart is aprofit driven company, so from a business standpoint it is very acceptable tobranch out and occupy new regions in order to generate profit wherever possible.In the video, a team was assembled that went and scouted possible zones that aWalmart would be most effective in, however it seemed that this team lacked theability to assess the emotions of the community and their feelings towards thisnew era.
Many small towns were extremely content with their current stores,bakeries, and other shops which generated just enough income for residents tolive comfortably on. The ease of living in a “small town” is easily thwarted bythe idea of placing a giant store such as Walmart which results the loss ofjobs for merchants in these areas, disrupting the quality of life forindividuals in certain areas. Clearly Walmart has the consumers best interestat heart, their slogan being “save money, live happy”, however these low pricesthey proudly set are dangerous to other merchants in the area. In normal smalltowns, there is typically one store for everything and the prices are oftenreasonable but could usually be a bit lower. When a huge company like Walmartrolls in, these merchants and store owners are not able to compete with theprices and instantly lose all of their customers which results in the loss ofjobs and/or income. I would argue that Walmart even verges on the definition ofa Monopoly in these smaller parts of the US where they have taken root, due tothe extent of their competition. Clearly,Walmart has some contemplating to do based on their location and the reaction fromthe supporting community, but this doesn’t mean that on the inside Walmart isnecessarily a happy place ready to take root wherever they go.
Many currentemployees such as the man mentioned in the video dedicate all of their time tothis multi-billion-dollar company that they seem to see so little of that shareof money. A large portion of Walmart employees are the result of young adultstrying to make a living for themselves during college or older people lookingto settle down soon and simply establish a retirement fund. No matter whichscenario an employee falls under, it is evident that Walmart is not doing itsfair share of providing its workers with adequate wages and/or other coverageslike insurance. Young adults working at Walmart are trying to start theircareers on the right foot and establish some kind of hold both on theirfinances and connections within the businesses world. It is without a doubt thatemployees of Walmart establish very useful connections while on the job, thepayouts of a company this large are often frowned upon. Walmart needs to focusmore of their money to the bottom of the pyramid where all the support lies,instead of concentrating such a large money on the high ranks of the company.These people seemingly devote their lives to the wellness of their respectedstore, and in return receive nothing more than minimum wage, and a lacklusterinsurance plan that less than 55% of their employees can even afford. I find ithumorous that the same people who claim Walmart is nothing but a “family” tothe very ones who are taking a large chunk of the profits, leaving their socalled families with nothing but crumbs to hardly get by on.
Legally,Walmart meets its standards to pay its employees minimum wage, however it hasbeen nailed for claims against improper/unfair working conditions from manycountries such as China that it has decided to outsource work to so that it isable to operate much cheaper than they already do. It is only because employeesof Walmart’s overseas are not deemed to be third party beneficiaries that theyare not entitled to compensation for the poor working conditions that Walmarthas provided/is currently providing. In Walmart’s vision statement, they almostguaranty that each and every worker will be provided with a safe and cleanworking space, but this is only to protect them from potential backlash fromtheir own workers.
It looks great on paper to be able to claim how nice ofworking conditions are supplied from all stores, but when people take theinitiative to file claims against Walmart for the exact opposite as what theyclaim to provide to all employees, it is really just nonsense. Walmart knowsthat these employees in China or Hong Kong or Japan do not qualify as third-partybeneficiaries, so they do not bother changing/helping their current conditionswhich is highly unethical. Ethically,it is very difficult for any store of Walmart’s proportion to truly carry outthe act of being one big family. I believe teamwork and camaraderie isessential to the growth and well-being of a work environment, neither of which seemto be attainable to a company of this size however.
While it is the businessesgoal to enhance the experience that each customer has with their respected store,the basis of most encounters has to do with the employees. I am aware that in orderto be hired at a Walmart you must undergo a relatively relaxed interview, inwhich you will be assessed and deemed to be a good fit for the store or not. Ithink that it is hard for corporate to even attempt to speculate and agree ordisagree with the stores decision regarding the future of each and every prospectiveemployees career and that can pose a potential threat to customers. It isprobably not in Walmart’s best interest to hire someone who can be moody and inreturn dampen a customers day, but corporate will never know that this personeven exists which disproves the claims of a big family. If Walmart’s goal istruly to entice their customers with the thought of a family orientedatmosphere, it is my opinion that they need to crack down a little bit more intheir interviews and truly hire people who have a strong heart for the job andwill leave a lasting, positive impression on customers.
I am wellaware that Walmart only has the best intentions for both its employees and itscustomers, but for a company its size, both of these factors are going to be difficultto moderate. It is in Walmart’s best interest to breed employees that arehighly outgoing and energetic in order to satisfy the claims of a family likeatmosphere. Although not all employees will have this same mindset towards thestore, I think it is in Walmart’s best interest to try and entice employeesinto a more positive state of mind through bonuses and wage increases. As faras I know, employees who have worked at Walmart for 5 years and employees whojust started this week get paid the exact same amount, and action needs to betaken. What incentive do employees have to stay with Walmart if they are stuckat a stagnant minimum wage for their remainder of time at the store? One of theemployees in the video made the point that he is not able to fully provide forhis family nor afford healthcare which is a serious problem for the business. Although I cansee from the perspective that struggling/developing families have towards thewages that Walmart pays, I believe Walmart can use the argument of the type ofjobs they supply as a defense to their backlash concerning wages. Walmart is alow skill cap job, which requires little to no formal education and is otherwiseclassified as an entry level job.
I understand that this is the only type ofjob available to some people, but I believe if you truly which to provide foryour family then working full time at a store such as Walmart is notnecessarily going to be the bets way for you to do so. On theoutside, Walmart keeps a relatively clear image to the publics eye. They holdlow, competitive prices, and their stores are clean and easy to navigate. Theyare a little bit dirtier from the inside, considering they pay employees thelowest legal amount they are able to and do not provide healthcare to allworkers. The pyramid scheme of Walmart’s income as a business is far tooconcentrated at the top and it is my belief that they finally take initiative andshare their wealth with their full-time employees. Walmart also needs to bemore conscious of the effects they have on the public when settling into a newstore, and the potential changes in the local economy they pose once they moveinto a new area.
Besides these points, I believe Walmart is run by a group ofintelligent people who ultimately have the best interest of the business at heartand will continue to make strides towards the satisfactions of employees andthe act of moving towards a true “family” like environment.