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Walmart raising wages for some 165,000 hourly workers; adding new roles

Walmart is introducing a new team-based operating model for its supercenters that includes higher wages for some of its salaried and hourly store employees.

The nation’s largest private employer said that the new model is similar to one that has been “very successful” at Sam’s Club during the past year and in its Neighborhood Market stores this year.

“We’re creating small teams of associates who will be cross-trained and given ownership of the work and their area for everything from in-stock to visual standards,” Dacona Smith, COO, Walmart U.S., wrote in a blog on the company’s website. “For example, associates who prepare fresh food will be trained to maintain pricing and standards in their area – giving them broader skill sets that allow them to help customers and grow their own careers.”

To lead the teams, Walmart is adding “future-focused leadership roles,” both at the salaried and hourly level. The new roles include store lead (formerly co-manager); coach (formerly assistant manager); and team lead (formerly department manager). The team leads will lead and develop people, rather than focusing on completing tasks, giving employees a more direct connection to leadership, according to Smith.

“These new positions will develop their teams, deliver our strategic priorities and be responsible for empowering our more than 1 million associates as they take bigger roles in the business – something they’ve proven they’re more than capable of doing during this pandemic,” Smith said.

The new salaried and hourly teaming leadership roles will come with higher pay. Walmart is also raising the pay for its current salaried digital, asset protection and auto care center assistant manager roles in the store. The new wage ranges for the hourly team lead roles start at between $18 and $21 an hour and can go up to $30 an hour in supercenters.

In addition, employees in specific, skilled frontline hourly positions in supercenters will see their pay increase. The minimums for hourly associates in the deli and bakery areas are increasing from $11 an hour to $15 or higher. Pay is also being raised for several hourly auto care center roles. Most associates in these roles will receive a base pay increase of $1 or more per hour. 

Overall, Walmart is raising wages for approximately 165,000 hourly associates across all Walmart U.S. stores. The increase will start in October, taking the place of the annual increase employees usually receive in February or April. 

“Likewise, for these select hourly roles, this increase will also take the place of the regular quarterly bonus and become part of their base pay going forward, offering more predictability and more pay in their hourly wages,” Smith said. “These associates will continue to be eligible to receive quarterly bonuses for Q3 and Q4 of this year. When we’ve asked associates, the overwhelming majority say their hourly wages are the most important part of their pay, well ahead of quarterly bonuses.”

All employees will be able to continue working at Walmart if they choose to, even if they are not selected for one of the new roles. They will either remain in their current roles or be offered a similar position, keeping the same pay through at least October 2021.

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