The Strategist

Walmart to introduce a new workflow system

08/12/2016 - 13:10

Walmart is testing a new planning system of employees engagement. It will notify the staff about upcoming shifts in advance. Thus, the retailer wants to reduce dissatisfaction of employees with unpredictable schedules, and save the wage fund.

Daniel Case
Daniel Case
Walmart, with 1.5 million people working in the company, is the largest private employer in the United States. New work hours management system will be tested in about 650 supermarkets and, if successful, implemented in all 4,600 stores of the retailer in the United States, said Mark Ibbotson, Vice-President of Walmart.

The new system is a software that notifies managers and staff about free shifts and schedule changes in real time. The novelty will allow some employees (both full and part-time) to set up their schedule for the next six months. Majority of the retailer’s employees will continue to be notified of the schedule shifts three weeks in advance. According to Ibbotson, it is premature to talk about how many employees will migrate to the semi-annual plan.

The new system is aimed to give employees freedom in creating their own work schedule. Managers, in turn, will have more reliable information about who and when is available now. Thus, effectiveness of personnel management will increase as well, said Ibbotson.

Unlike many other retailers, Walmart prefers to create working schedule in advance. However, there’s a problem with its inaccuracy. The employees are cautious to pronounce narrow time ranges when they are ready to go to work, as they are afraid of not receiving sufficient number of shifts. As a result, they choose very wide intervals. Managers, in turn, assign working shifts, some of which turn out to be inconvenient to employees.

So far, the new Walmart’s system will run in test mode. According to the retailer’s representative, the corporation will poll managers and employees to learn their opinion on the new system.

In July, the US economy created 255 thousand new jobs, and in June, according to revised estimates of the Ministry of Employment, 292 thousand. The government’s data for May also improved (from +11 to + 24 thousand million). Meanwhile, analysts polled by Reuters were waiting for more slow growth rate of up to 180 thousand vacancies.

The unemployment rate remained at around 4.9%.

Now, the business world is waiting for reaction of the US regulator - the US Federal Reserve. Condition of the labor market is one of the most important criteria for the Fed in deciding on the basic loan rate.

In July, the central bank said that the country has almost reached full employment, that is, the actual unemployment rate remains at the natural level. According to Fed’s Chairman Janet Yellen, a healthy economy must create at least 100,000 jobs a month.

Despite the seemingly strong performance of the labor market, the Fed did not raise rates in the summer, bearing in mind external risks to the US economy. The Monetary Policy Controller scheduled the next meeting on 20 and 21 September.