Wal-Mart : A comprehensive audit study
Wal-Mart has challenges and the organization must react quickly to these challenges. On the one hand the organization is recruiting women and the same is working fine for them but on the other it has been found that Wal-Mart indulges in understaffing and the same affects the other employees. It also affects customers, many do not find what they are looking for and leave as dissatisfied customers. Wal-Mart is one of the biggest companies in the world, the organization recruits employees from diverse backgrounds, and this also includes veterans. The diversity audit mainly deals with how Wal-Mart recruits its employees, are there signs of discrimination? Is there parity when it comes to hiring women employees? Do women employees get promoted? These are some really important questions that this paper will aim to answer. In addition to this, the current Wal-Mart employees have also been interviewed to know their take about the organization. It was recently reported that trouble is brewing for Wal-Mart, the organization has been under-staffing deliberately and consequently, the other employees have reported their dissatisfaction because they have to put in extra hours of work to make up for other employees, this has also had a very negative influence on the customers of Wal-Mart. Many do not find what they are looking for and as an inevitable result of which leave the store unhappy. These findings will be discussed at length in this paper and an appropriate conclusion will be arrived at.
The process of conducting audit is extremely important, Wal-Mart has been chosen as the organization because it is a fortune 500 company, in addition this, a plethora of information about Wal-Mart was freely available. The available information is reliable and trusted sources have been used to compile this information.
The following methods will be used to conduct audit:
A fortune 500 company must always steer clear of gender bias and gender discrimination. How Wal-Mart treats its women employees is a crucial point that will be evaluated in this audit. There are countless organizations that mistreat its women employees, women are harassed, underpaid, refused promotion and so on, it will be really interesting to find out how a fortune 500 company treats its women employees.
Recruitment Policies must be fair and square, an honest company always has fair policies in place. An audit would be incomplete without shedding light upon the recruitment policies.
Equal pay for equal work:
Does Wal-Mart pay equal wages to everyone or is there discrimination? This is an important question that must be answered in an audit.
Does Wal-Mart promote its women employees? Is the criteria for promotion the same for everyone or does it differ? These questions are very important and will be thrown light upon in this audit.
Funding for projects:
Wal-Mart has been actively funding projects to help women farmers; farmers in countries like India, Nigeria have received financial help from the organization. Wal-Mart will continue funding such operations in the near future as well, by the year 2016 several more projects will be funded and countless women farmers will benefit.
To further promote diversity, Wal-Mart has strict anti-discrimination policies in place. There have been cases in the past that put Wal-Mart in bad light, there have been cases when women employees have come forward and stated that they are being underpaid, some have sued the company because they were not promoted even after numerous positive feedbacks. All this seems a thing of the past now, no such cases have been reported in the recent past and this goes to show that the organization has reacted in a positive way and have made their anti-discrimination laws better than earlier.
As mentioned earlier in the paper, Wal-Mart has begun recruiting women and they also have appropriate hiring policies in place. This has helped women tremendously, the working environment is good and employees also get promoted depending on their performance and reviews.
Wal-Mart has undertaken a five-year training program to facilitate women working in factories; these are women who are susceptible to danger. Training includes basic literacy, technical training, functional literacy, training them about health and nutrition, communication and negotiation, problem solving and decision-making.
Wal-Mart has paid extensive attention towards diversifying their workforce. The organization has strict policies in place, the minorities are not discriminated against and a healthy work culture is prevalent. After conducting research it has been found that 37% of the organization’s associates belong to the minority groups in the United States of America. It has also been found that women are encouraged to take up major responsibilities; there is no discrimination against women. The following statistics will prove the same:
- There has been an increase by 134% of female co-managers
- An increase of 42% of female store managers
- An increase of 92% of female market managers
These are some whopping numbers that clearly show that Wal-Mart does not discriminate on the basis of sex and they have also realized that hiring women will work in their favor. This has been proven in the past and things have only gotten better for the organization as a result of hiring the so-called “weaker sex”
In the year 2011 Wal-Mart launched a program called the Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, it was specifically aimed at improving the lifestyle of women and also was aimed at providing them with better opportunities. It is clear to see that by promoting women, Wal-Mart has been incredibly successful in more fields than one, this is exactly why the organization has continued to promote even more women and the same is not likely to stop in the near future.
Wal-Mart with the help of Wal-Mart foundation has managed to train over 17000 women in third-world countries like India and Bangladesh, this is an incredible achievement and the initiative deserves to be lauded. Wal-Mart is now aiming to train over 1 million women with the help of their philanthropy partners. This initiative will provide women with better working conditions, better lifestyle and most importantly, with better opportunities.
Wal-Mart also actively hires veterans this is a good initiative. Veterans often find it hard to get a good job, Wal-Mart is a really good option. This once again goes to show that the organization has taken several diversification initiatives. If the figures are to be believed, Wal-Mart will hire over 100,000 veterans in the next five years, this is a whopping number and a great opportunity for those who would like to work on the retail sector. “Our hope is that businesses throughout our country will follow Wal-Mart’s lead and find even more new ways they can commit to serving those who serve us,” these were the words of Michelle Obama, even the first lady of the United States of America appreciates the initiatives taken by Wal-Mart. 23.5% of women hold crucial positions in Wal-Mart, they mainly constitute to the board of directors. This is a much higher percentage when compared to other fortune 500 companies. The organization is not scared to promote women; they trust their employees and promote them based on their performance. This again goes to show that there is a healthy work culture that prevails in the organization.
Wal-Mart has been incredibly effective, they have been proven right and this is all thanks to their recruitment policies. Recruiting women as store managers has helped the organization grow by leaps and bounds. Training women working in factories in their-world countries has also helped the organization greatly. This has greatly improved their reputation as a fortune 500 company.
Wal-Mart has contacted its global suppliers and taken a stand against unauthorized subcontracting of work. This has worked well, the organization is more transparent now and transparency is really important. In addition to this, Wal-Mart has also taken several initiatives to put an end to slavery and human trafficking; this has yet again enhanced the overall reputation of Wal-Mart.
“We’re currently working together with Wal-Mart on the customization of an e-learning tool on human trafficking, which will be shared with their suppliers. Through this process, we’ve seen a strong commitment from Wal-Mart in addressing human trafficking in supply chains. We also participated in a number of Wal-Mart’s brainstorming sessions (in 2012), and saw as well a serious commitment from all layers of management, which is paramount in building a strong policy on human trafficking.” (Migrant Labor)
Wal-Mart has done great work in the last few years, recruiting women heavily has worked in their favor and the same has also enhanced their reputation. Wal-Mart has also looked into discrepancies reported by former employees and it was quick to rectify the issues.
It has been reported that Wal-Mart indulges in understaffing and payroll cuts. Former employees of the organization have reported this, the same is hurting Wal-Mart greatly. This should be avoided; Wal-Mart can become so much better should it keep away from such evil policies. The other employees have to work extra because of understaffing and the same affects them greatly; as a result of this some current employees are very unhappy. This also mean poor customer service, this could take a huge toll should it not be rectified immediately.
“Lower staffing levels implemented during inventory rationalization efforts, such as the “Win, Play, Show” (WPS) initiative, remain even after the company abandoned WPS and added back SKUs to the assortment. This is leaving many stores dramatically understaffed, with many over-burdened employees unable to move inventory out of the supply room onto the sales floor. Even when inventory does make it onto store shelves, some employees are forced to cut corners at cash registers, undermining the company’s point of sale data.” (Lower Staffing Levels) This can easily be avoided and Wal-Mart must work upon this and fix this at the very earliest.
I did meet some employees of Wal-Mart and overall they are quite pleased with the job. However, there have been cases in the recent past when Wal-Mart employees have stirred the hornet’s nest by stating that they are being under-paid and over-worked. With the help of my research I have found that things have become better, most current employees are happy with their job and are also happy with their wages.
If Wal-Mart staffs according to their needs, the same will never happen. This will also help them get more customers, a happy customer has more chances of returning than a customer who leaves the store unhappy for one reason or another. These are some major concerns that must be dealt with, once addressed Wal-Mart can become so much better both in terms of employment and in terms of generating revenue.
- Anon, (2014). 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: http://corporate.walmart.com/microsites/global-responsibility-report-2013/pdf/Walmart_GRR.pdf [Accessed 1 Dec. 2014].
- Makingchangeatwalmart.org, (2014). Making Change at Walmart » Walmart’s Low Cost Strategies Hurting U.S. Sales, Long-Term Revenue Growth. [online]
- Attwood, James (January 23, 2009).
- Choudhury, Chandrahas (December 23, 2012).
- “Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Recognized As Top Company For Executive Women by the National Association For Female Executives” (Press release). Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. April 3, 2007.
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