Walmart’s Christmas plans do not include seasonal hires
The Christmas selling season is fast approaching and early indications are that seasonal hiring may be on the rise. Walmart, however, will not be a major contributor to the increase after announcing it would forego bringing on thousands of new employees, opting to give more hours to its permanent staff.
Walmart’s approach to staffing for the holidays is not new. Last year, management offered more hours to permanent associates who appreciated the extra work. According to the company, the change resulted in positive feedback from customers.
“We know our associates have the passion to do even more this year,” wrote Judith McKenna, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Walmart U.S., earlier this week in a company blog post. “We’ve increased our focus on service through new training, tools and technology. Thousands of associates have completed training in our Pathways and Academy programs, which prepares them to more effectively serve customers, especially during this busy season.”
The chain plans to give extra hours to a wide range of employees including cashiers, stockers, personal shoppers and Walmart Pickup associates.
The retailer also plans to bring back its “Holiday Helpers,” employees who are responsible for reducing bottlenecks and customer stress at the checkout. The associates, who wore bright yellow vests and jingling hats, helped the retailer address the number one complaint among Walmart customers — slow checkouts.
Walmart was among the retailers posting the biggest improvement in their customer satisfaction scores during last year’s holidays, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The chain saw its score improve nine percent compared to 2016, although it was still last among retailers evaluated.
Walmart rival Target has taken a different hiring tact for the holidays. The retailer recently announced plans to hire 100,000 seasonal employees for the holidays, significantly more than the 77,500 it hired last year. Target said it would add 4,500 people to staff its distribution centers and fulfillment facilities as more of its business moves online.
- Walmart’s Holiday Hiring Plan: More Hours for Current Associates – Walmart
- Does aggressive seasonal hiring portend a merry retailing Christmas? – RetailWire
- Will checkout elves make Walmart’s customers merrier this Christmas? – RetailWire
- Has the retail industry upped its customer service game? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you approve of Walmart’s decision to increase hours for existing associates rather than hire large numbers of seasonal store workers? Do you see any potential downside to this approach?