Walmart (NYSE:WMT) announced in a press release today it's boosting the pay of approximately 165,000 of its associates. It has slated increases not only to hourly minimums but to the possible pay range of multiple positions as well. The pay hike isn't occurring in isolation, but is part of a restructuring effort begun by Walmart to adjust to the new post-coronavirus retail model, with much stronger pickup and delivery demand along with other changes.
The pay raise is directly related to the introduction of what the company calls a "team-based operating model" in its Supercenters, aimed at increasing the flexibility of individual stores to respond to customers and local conditions. Walmart U.S. Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith describes the new initiative as a move "creating small teams of associates who will be cross-trained and given ownership of the work and their area for everything from in-stock to visual standards."
Some of the new leadership positions will bear titles such as "team lead," "coach," and "store lead." The teams will work together in the hopes of fostering greater cooperation and team spirit. The statement also relates the team concept to the greatly increased emphasis on pickup and delivery, which will presumably require more employee initiative and decision-making than simply restocking shelves.
The company is providing incentives for successful team leads to stay on and keep their experience available to Walmart, and starting pay for new team leadership roles is rising to $18 to $21 per hour, with possible eventual increases to $30 per hour. Simultaneously, Walmart is raising the minimum pay rate for some skilled hourly workers, including car care employees and deli or bakery workers, from $11 to $15 per hour or more.