Walmart latest in retail industry's wave of hirings amid Covid-19 in U.S.
The largest private employer in the U.S. Walmart recently announced a US$500 million total in cash bonuses for employees and new plans to hire 150,000 new associates.
The company made the announcement via a news release this past Thursday in which it detailed its action plan to alleviate job losses in the U.S. amid Covid-19 and respond to increased demand in its stores.
Special cash bonuses to current employees are provided by Walmart as thanks for the "hard work and dedication to serving customers in a time of an unprecedented national health crisis," says the release.
In addition to the bonuses given to hourly employees during this time, the retailer will make the next scheduled quarterly bonuses come earlier than usual, making sure that supply chain associates get benefits a month early.
The purpose of this measure is to get "more cash in hand" to its workers by April. This step adds up to an early payout of about US$180 in total.
Walmart's CEO Doug McMillon explained that the company's associates "have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers" and for that, it "wants to reward our associates for their hard work and recognize them for the work that is in front of us".
Walmart's hiring process shifts
Making 150,000 new positions available to the public, Walmart's additional hiring is a part of its plan to stimulate the economy during the impact of Covid-19.
The hiring process will occur throughout the end of May and will include positions in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.
While the new roles will be temporary at first, the company says that many will "convert to permanent roles over time".
In the larger context of the service industry during the Covid-19 pandemic, Walmart says it has reached out to industry representatives across the restaurant and hospitality industries to "facilitate temporary roles" that may serve as a bridge for their employees "during this difficult time".
Another unprecedented step by the retailer is the expedition of the hiring process. Now, for key roles at Walmart like cashiers and stockers, the typical two-week application cycle has been waived. The process will be a 24-hour cycle beginning Thursday.
In a statement, McMillon said that the steps forward make most sense to what is happening in the U.S. economy currently. as "millions of American who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work", there is a coincidental demand from its stores for workers.
Efforts to decrease impact of Covid-19 on U.S. economy
Two weeks ago, Walmart also announced a Covid-19 emergency leave policy that provides support to associates impacted by the virus.
Other grocery retailers like Amazon and Kroger have recently ramped up hiring processes in response to Covid-19. Amazon said in a statement on Monday that there is "unprecedented demand" for its services - thus making the move to open 100,000 new positions in the company both necessary and a measure to boost the economy.