Wal-Mart is a large scale multinational retailer that employs more than 2.2 million employees in 27 countries. The management of this large workforce requires it to implement effective human resource management and employment relations policies at its workplace. Wal-Mart believes in effective recruitment and selection process in order to fill the vacant job positions with the most talented and skillful employees. It uses one way and two way virtual interviewing techniques in order to minimize its heavy recruitment and administrative costs. Wal-Mart generally fills its vacant job positions from the industry through fresh graduate induction and experienced professionals. It trains them through different methods in order to make them learn the most advanced knowledge related to their job responsibilities.
The Wal-Mart workforce consists of individuals from different cultures, nationalities, and races. In order to manage this culturally dispersed workforce in an effective way, Wal-Mart has implemented cultural diversity management policies at its workplace. It also gives focus on anti-gender discrimination and anti-sexual harassment policies in a view to make its employees ensure that they are working for a socially responsible corporate entity. However, Wal-Mart has faced severe criticism from international media and general public for its unfair behavior with female employees and some age discrimination practices with its aged employees.
The company was convicted of not providing proper accommodation to its employees on different matters like pregnancy complexities, medical leave, etc. A lot of criticism has been made on the company's employment relations practices. Being the largest employer in the world, Wal-Mart cannot compromise on this criticism. Therefore, it has redesigned its employment relations practices and instituted all those policies which can rebuild its image as a responsible employer in the industry.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is an American Multinational corporation that operates thousands of retails stores, warehouse stores, and large scale discount departmental stores around the Globe. Headquartered in Bentonville, United States, Wal-Mart was incorporated in 1969 by Sam Walton as Wal-Mart Discount City Store. It is ranked on the third position in the Fortune Global 500's list of the largest public sector companies by revenues for the year 2012. Wal-Mart is also the largest employer in the world with more than 22, 00,000 employees working in its worldwide retail stores, regional offices, and U.S. Headquarters. At present, Wal-Mart has business operations in 27 countries with 69 different brand names. The company has been pursuing a continuous growth strategy for its worldwide operations. The approximate customer servings of 200 million times per week and $444 Billion sales for the current year give a good depiction of the operational and financial strength of this huge retail giant (Wal-Mart 2012).
The mission of Wal-Mart is to provide everything which consumers from all age groups, life styles, and income classes may want in their life. Wal-Mart sells its products at discounted prices so that consumers can save money when they shop at Wal-Mart. It deals in all kinds of consumer and electronics products, household items, and office equipments; including cell phones, computers, television and home appliances, books, furniture, clothes, shoes, games, toys, gifts, jewelry, exercise equipments, pharmacy, health care, & beauty products, grocery, pets, and numerous other product lines (Wal-Mart 2012).
This paper presents the current human resource management practices and employment relations policies of Wal-Mart. It starts with brief introduction to the Wal-Mart's human resource department and proceeds by discussing its various HRM policies; including recruitment and selection, interviewing techniques, training and development, cultural diversity management, compensation packages, and FMLA compliance. The paper also highlights and explains various issues and criticism which Wal-Mart has faced during the last few years due to its unfair policies and discriminatory behavior with its employees.
HUMAN RESOURCE Management POLICIES OF WAL-MART
Being the largest employer in the world, Wal-Mart has to manage a large workforce. It has currently employed more than 2.2 Million employees in 27 countries of the world. Wal-Mart largely depends on its human resource in order to ensure an efficient delivery of products and supreme quality of customer services. It has developed strong relationships with its Human Resource Associates that directly supervise the performance of its 2.2 million employees and make efforts to improve their efficiency at work. Wal-Mart is committed to give importance to each individual employee so as to motivate the whole workforce and get the work done in an effective and efficient way. It provides them attractive salary, non-financial benefits, opportunities for professional growth, regular training and development, and an enjoyable working environment. Besides these financial and non-financial benefits, Wal-Mart also adhere to the Industrial Relations regulations in both local and international markets (Wal-Mart 2012).
Wal-Mart HR Department -- The People Division:
The founder of Wal-Mart, Sam Walton had named the Human Resource Department of his company as "The People Division." He had a strong belief in the value of human resource for an organization. He knew that his Wal-Mart cannot grow or satisfy its stakeholders if its employees would not perform efficiently. The People Division was not just a name for the department; it was a confidence which the founder used to have in his Wal-Mart team (Bergdahl 2010). The current managers at Wal-Mart believe that the company's human resource can give it a competitive advantage through different ways. It can perform efficiently to reduce costs of operations, provide highest quality of customer services to make the customers happy and put competitive pressures on the other market leaders, give innovative ideas to bring improvements in the current business operations, and enable the company to grow in its industry by leaps and bounds.
Employee Recruitment and Selection:
Recruitment and selection involves filling the vacant job positions in a company from inside or outside the organization. Wal-Mart fills its vacancies in three different ways: hiring of fresh university graduates, hiring of experienced professional, and placing existing employees at higher or parallel job positions through job advancement and rotation practices. These are now discussed below in detail:
a. Hiring of Fresh University Graduates:
Wal-Mart always tries to fill its vacant job positions with highly talented workforce. Therefore, it performs talent hunt at regular intervals in the top colleges and universities of every country. This talent search gives the company the right people for right job positions. The company can train these fresh graduates in different fields of professions and prepare them to become the leaders for tomorrow. Wal-Mart places its fresh graduates in different departments according to their interests and fields of studies. Generally, these new employees find job openings in sales & marketing, finance and audits, regulatory compliance, production, e-Commerce, Global sourcing, and supply chain sections in Headquarters, stores, and regional offices (Wal-Mart 2012).
b. Recruitment of experienced professionals:
Wal-Mart makes the recruitment of experienced and skillful people from the industry in order to fill its higher level vacant job positions. Experienced and skillful people are preferred because the nature and complexity of these jobs do not allow fresh graduates to fit well in these positions. Therefore, Wal-Mart looks for those people who have hand on experience in their field along with required qualification and skills.
c. Job Advancement:
Job advancement is a technique which managers use to fill the vacant positions in the organization through their existing employees. For this purpose, managers have to look for the most suitable employees for the higher job positions that would be able to take greater job responsibilities and perform well at those positions. In some cases, employees are only given greater responsibilities at their current job positions. Job advancement is primarily a management technique which organizations use to motivate their employees. At Wal-Mart, the job advancement is done by the HR Department (The People Division) in collaboration with the department of that employee. Job advancement is similar to job promotion where employee is promoted to a higher job position in a view to provide him professional growth within the organization.
d. Job Rotation:
Job rotation is a part of employee training and development technique. However, it is also used to fill vacant job positions in different departments. In job rotation, employee from one department is placed in another department where there is a greater and urgent need for a worker. At Wal-Mart, job rotation is usually done after performance appraisals. For example, if an employee is not performing well in one department or section, the manager rotates his job responsibilities with some other employee and assesses improvement in his performance over time.
Salary and Compensation Packages:
Like other multinational and successful business corporations, Wal-Mart also claims to pay attractive salaries and compensation packages to its employees. The major financial and non-financial benefits which are offered by Wal-Mart include life and health insurance and plans (e.g. Consumer-directed health plans, high-deductible plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA), and Health Reimbursement Accounts), transportation allowance, discounts on travel and entertainment, housing allowance, annual leaves, Associate Stock Purchase Plan, Associate Discount Card, Military differential pay, and annual memberships…