Do you always get what you pay for? Walmart decided to see if the old adage was true when applied to human capital. With a recently renewed focus on employees, the retail giant decided to institute a new entry-level skills and training program called Pathways. Once employees complete the training, they guaranteed to receive a minimum salary of $10 an hour. Long-term associates also have received raises, to ensure that their salaries are at or above the new $10 hourly level. Furthermore, all employees are now eligible for quarterly bonuses, based on store performance.

The results of this $2.7 billion investment in Walmart’s workforce already have been impressive: Customer satisfaction is up 59 points, same-store sales have increased for seven consecutive quarters, consumer traffic is on the rise, and general store cleanliness has been improved.

In addition to the Pathways course for new hires, Walmart has increased sought out new methods to support the advancement of its existing associates. For example, in early 2016 it opened 200 academies across the United States to teach advanced skills to department managers and hourly supervisors. As a result of these changes, Walmart also has enjoyed a reduction in employee turnover rates. It thus appears that Walmart is well on its way to proving that it really does pay to invest in your workforce.

Discussion Question:

  1. Does the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” apply to retail employees?