Walmart is testing a new employee framework in 75 Neighborhood Market stores to measure how it compares to the present store management structure. Called “Great Workplace,” the initiative is expanding to departments across 50 supercenter locations over the next month.
The retail giant is testing whether it can employ fewer midlevel store managers overseeing employees. These managers would see both their responsibilities and pay increase.
Supercenter locations will be staffed with approximately 15 to 20 teams, each with one “Academy Trainer” who will train employees and make sure they “understand the correct way to perform their jobs,” according to internal documents viewed by Bloomberg.
Every store in the program will receive a toolkit with magnetic boards, to be used to assign employees individual responsibilities. Employees who perform well will earn “stars” that could eventually lead to a reward from store leadership.
Walmart already has taken steps to make its store employees more dynamic, employing “customer hosts” at the front of the store to personally process shopper returns in select stores. These hosts are equipped with technology to manage refunds, including providing customers with cash.
Walmart has been piloting the customer host position since 2016 as an evolution of its people greeter role. In addition to greeting shoppers and bidding them farewell, as people greeters have primarily done, customer hosts also must perform activities such as scanning receipts and checking shopping carts.
The decision to phase out the traditional greeter role came under scrutiny earlier this year due to its alleged bias against those with specific physical disabilities that prevent them from performing these new tasks. Greeters at nearly 1,000 stores anticipated losing their jobs by the end of April 2019.