Clearly, retailers are expecting a rough run of hiring. The data confirms it; retailers are looking at a major personnel gap for holiday 2016 and are working hard to fix it with hiring events, enhanced discounting and (in Target’s case) pep rallies.
But Walmart is going a different way to head off the retail personnel blues — good, old-fashioned cash.
Walmart has handed out quarterly cash bonuses of up to $500 to almost a million workers at 99 percent of its U.S. stores — a reward for hitting sales, profit and “customer experience” targets. Customer experience is the general catch-all, which includes cleanliness and checkout time, noted company spokesman Kory Lundberg.
Those bonuses are a piece of the $2.7 billion incentive plan launched by Big Blue last year — the same plan that saw Walmart seek to raise its minimum wage to $9 per hour.
“The business plan is starting to work,” Lundberg said. “Customers are starting to notice a difference when they come into the stores to do shopping.”
Walmart handed out around $200 million in Q2 bonuses to 932,000 hourly store workers. During the same time period, Walmart was again the standout success story among big-box retailers, blasting through revenue forecasts and lodging same-store sales growth at 3 percent.
Walmart upped employees receiving bonuses by about 100,000 this year, as recently as two years ago only 76 percent of stores were awarded bonuses for meeting targets, Lundberg said.
The bonuses, however, also come to soften other personnel news. Walmart also announced this week that 7,000 jobs are being cut, though it did note it would try to relocate employees to other stores.