Walmart’s HRM: Recruitment, Selection, Employee Retention

Walmart human resource management, recruitment process, selection, employee retention, source, methods, criteria, techniques, programs, retail business
An old Walmart store signage in Quebec, Canada. Walmart’s human resource management uses recruitment, selection, and retention approaches to optimize HR capacity. (Photo: Public Domain)

Walmart’s human resource management addresses recruitment needs using different recruitment sources and methods suited to various positions in the organization. The company also uses retail industry-specific criteria in its selection process. To optimize employee retention, Walmart’s human resource management strategy includes a continually evolving compensation program, together with employee-relations management and career development. The firm’s HR managers also use other approaches to improve morale and motivation in the workforce. Through this combination of approaches and strategies to address business needs in recruitment, selection, and retention, human resource management effectively maintains adequate human resources to support Walmart’s corporate mission and corporate vision and related goals for retail operations and planned global expansion.

This article is part of a series on Walmart’s human resource management:

  1. Walmart’s HRM: HR Planning, Job Analysis & Design
  2. Walmart’s HRM: Recruitment, Selection, Employee Retention
  3. Walmart’s HRM: Training, Performance Management
  4. Walmart’s HRM: Compensation, Career Development

Walmart Recruitment Practices

Recruitment Sources. Walmart’s human resource management uses internal and external recruitment sources for various positions. The use of internal recruitment sources focuses on current employees to fill open or new positions at Walmart. External recruitment sources have the benefit of accessing the labor market to address the human resource management objectives of the firm. This combination helps ensure that the retailer is flexible enough in satisfying its HR needs. Walmart uses distinct types of internal recruitment sources. The following are the most significant in the company:

  1. Current employees
  2. Trainees
  3. Transfers

Current employees are a recruitment source, especially for supervisory and managerial positions. For example, Walmart’s human resource management supports the promotion of hourly sales employees to managerial positions. About 70% of the company’s managers started as hourly sales employees and were promoted to their current positions. Walmart uses current employees as the biggest internal recruitment source. The retail company’s human resource management also uses on-the-job trainees as an internal recruitment source. There is only a small number of trainees working for Walmart, such as in positions in sales and marketing. Occasionally, the firm absorbs trainees in the positions for which they trained. This approach has the advantage of minimizing additional human resource management spending and ensuring person-job fit. In addition, transfers are used to temporarily fill positions at Walmart, based on current short-term HR needs. In this human resource management approach to recruitment, some current employees are transferred to other positions or locations to fill gaps in the workforce. Walmart sometimes uses transfers to satisfy high HR needs during Black Friday.

Walmart’s human resource management uses various external recruitment sources. The following are the most significant for the firm:

  1. Respondents to job advertisements
  2. Campuses
  3. Previous applicants

Respondents to job advertisements are the biggest external recruitment source used at Walmart. The company’s website is the main human resource management portal for this recruitment source. Job openings are posted on Walmart’s corporate website for interested applicants. This recruitment source has the benefit of minimizing costs in reaching applicants. In addition, the firm’s human resource management considers campuses a significant external recruitment source. This strategy promotes academic institutions, while also improving Walmart’s human resource management ability to reach out to students interested in working at the company. Thus, this external recruitment source increases the firm’s reach into the labor market. Previous applicants are a less significant external recruitment source used in the retail business. The company’s human resource management objective in using this source is to maximize cost-effectiveness of recruitment. Many of these previous applicants were already evaluated but were not hired or did not pursue employment at Walmart. Thus, in using previous applicants as an external recruitment source, the company does not need to perform another extensive evaluation of these workers, thereby helping to maximize the cost-effectiveness of human resource management.

Recruitment Methods. Based on the recruitment sources used at Walmart, the corresponding recruitment methods are direct and indirect. In using direct methods, the company directly contacts prospective employees. For example, Walmart occasionally recruits at/through campuses. The firm’s human resource management contacts students who might be interested in applying for job openings. The benefit of this method is that it allows Walmart to speed up the recruitment process instead of waiting for applicants. The method also enables the company to apply certain criteria in selecting student applicants. For example, representatives of Walmart’s human resource management can communicate with students in business-related degree programs for supervisory or managerial job openings. However, the direct method of recruitment is disadvantageous because it limits the number of potential recruits.

In using indirect methods of recruitment, Walmart’s human resource management objective is to reach out to a larger population of workers. These methods include advertisements on the company’s website and other media. Indirect methods of recruitment provide most of Walmart’s human resources. These advertisements have a global reach, thereby providing large-scale support for the company’s HR needs. Also, indirect methods can be cost-effective. In using its corporate website for job advertisements, Walmart minimizes human resource management costs in the aspect of recruitment.

Selection Process at Walmart

Selection Criteria. Walmart’s selection criteria depend on the job position. Basic criteria include education and training background and results of criminal background checks. For hourly sales positions, the retail company uses knowledge retention (e.g., on product details) and interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are essential for these positions because sales personnel communicate directly with customers. Walmart’s human resource management also uses analytical and problem-solving abilities and conflict management skills for supervisory and managerial positions. Supervisors and managers are expected to analyze and solve problems and resolve conflicts in the workplace.

Methods & Techniques. Walmart’s human resource management uses structured interviews and job knowledge evaluation for most job positions in the organization. Structured interviews are used to determine details like the applicant’s perspective and expectations about Walmart. This information determines the person-job and person-organization fit. The retailer also uses personality tests and situational judgment tests for many positions, although these tests are typically used for managerial positions, especially for positions in human resource management, finance, and others. Personality tests help in deciding whether the applicant could function well in the context of the company’s culture and nature of business. Situational judgment tests determine analytical and problem-solving abilities. These different tests ensure a comprehensive human resource management approach for the selection of workers throughout the global structure of Walmart.

Walmart’s Employee Retention Programs

Employee retention is a critical concern for Walmart because the company suffers from high turnover, especially among hourly sales employees. To address this situation, the company’s human resource management uses the following retention strategies:

  1. Recognition
  2. Bonuses
  3. Training and development
  4. Promotions
  5. Academic credit and financial support

Walmart gives non-financial recognition for excellent employees, such as top-performing employees in each store. Bonuses are based on business performance, although this strategy is usually used for managerial positions. Walmart’s human resource management includes promotions, training, and development to support the company’s HR needs and increase employee morale. The company promotes hourly sales employees to supervisory, then to managerial positions. Walmart’s financial support for workers’ formal education is a long-term retention strategy for employees pursuing a career to climb the company’s corporate ladder. Walmart’s organizational culture (work culture) also helps make the workplace more desirable and increases the company’s ability to retain workers and limit employee turnover. Thus, this facet of HRM relates to other aspects of the retail business organization, especially strategies and programs addressing social connections in the workplace.