Walmart is growing its workforce and expediting the hiring process to keep up with surging consumer demand during the coronavirus outbreak. It also announced $550 million in bonuses to reward workers.
The nation’s largest private employer said it is hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. The roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time, Walmart said.
The discount giant is also implementing a new process to dramatically expedite hiring for key roles such as cashiers and stockers. What is usually a two-week application cycle will be reduced to a 24-hour process.
“We know millions of Americans who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work, and at the same time we’re currently seeing strong demand in our stores,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Walmart. “We’re looking for people who see Walmart as a chance to earn some extra money and perform a vital service to their community.”
Walmart said it has reached out to industry groups representing restaurants and hospitality to facilitate temporary roles “that can be a bridge for their employees during this difficult time.”
Walmart also plans to provide a special cash bonus for all U.S. hourly associates for “their hard work and dedication to serving customers in a time of an unprecedented national health crisis.” The bonus will be $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates and will add up to more than $365 million. Every hourly associate employed by the company as of March 1 will qualify, and it will pay out on April 2.
In addition to the bonus, the retailer will accelerate the next scheduled quarterly bonus for store, club and supply chain associates a month early. When it pays out in late April, it will help provide more cash in hand for associates sooner. The company will pay those bonuses as if the company achieved its first-quarter plan.
At the regularly scheduled time for bonus payout in May, that amount may increase for associates based on performance. In no case will an eligible associate receive less than the first quarter plan bonus payment. The early payout will add up to $180 million.
In total, Walmart’s new outlays amount to nearly $550 million going into associates’ pockets and the economy at this important time,” Walmart stated.
“Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times,” said McMillon. “We want to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us.”
Walmart currently employs approximately 1.4 million associates in the U.S.