Walmart Employee Stories

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Walmart Employee Stories-1

Stories related to Veterans and Walmart are mixed with some having positive experiences while other have had negative experiences. All identified articles about environmentalism/sustainability are positive in nature.

Stories on Veterans

ELISE HACKSTALL
  • This article provides a story on Elise Hackstall who was transitioning off active duty while married to a fellow soldier.
  • After completing the military on boarding program, she started working for Walmart in 2008.
  • Over the next decade, she served in managerial roles in stores throughout Georgia and Tennessee. Today, she's the Developmental Market Manager in Memphis.
  • The article states, "Walmart has offered Elise more than just support" and "her career here has been a perfect match for the skills she honed in the army — like decisiveness and leadership."
  • The full article can be found here.
DONALD HOWARD
  • Army veteran Charles Collier relied on social security disability checks for income and could not afford to buy an air conditioner.
  • After hearing Collier's story, Walmart department manager Donald Howard helped Collier to buy the air conditioning unit he needed. Howard asked Collier to pay what he could and covered the rest of the bill.
  • The full article can be found here.
BRITTANY WALTON
  • Brittany Walton, an employee of Walmart, was recognized for helping a blind customer.
  • The blind man was identified as veteran Mr. Roy, who was new in town and had come into Walmart to buy a mug.
  • Brittany's noble gesture was celebrated on social media and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon also shared the post.
  • The full article can be found here.
JAMES
  • James, a 63-year-old Vietnam veteran looking for a job at Walmart was extremely disappointed by the way his recruitment process was handled. The process ended in him not getting the job.
  • According to James, he was asked to meet maintenance supervisor, Duke, for the job interview but was never interviewed by this person and was only given a 10-minute interview.
  • The full article can be found here.
WALLY LYNN
  • According to Wally Lynn, who is a veteran and former Walmart employee, it was disappointing to see Walmart not offering proper discounts to service members and veterans who have sacrificed so much for the country.
  • Wally believes that Walmart has a long way to go on showing commitment to service members and veterans and that a discount is just the first step.
  • The full article can be found here.

Stories on Environmentalism/Sustainability

REDESIGNED VESTS
  • Walmart recently redesigned its employee vests. The new vests are woven from fabric made of recycled bottles.
  • Apart from being made in an environmentally sustainable way, the vests come in various colors such as green, blue, hot pink and orange.
  • The full article can be found here.
LEE SCOTT
  • Lee Scott ran Walmart from 2000 to 2009 and was credited as having started the discussion around environmental sustainability in the company.
  • His efforts resulted in the implementation of Walmart’s sustainability program, where executives from the CEO on down traversed the globe to better understand the company's impact on the environment.
  • Several company leaders made trips to parched cotton fields, landfills covered with Walmart shopping bags and melting Arctic glaciers, all with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of sustainability and engaging with environmental groups, journalists and critics.
  • The full article can be found here.
JACK SINCLAIR
  • The executive Vice President in charge of all the grocery operations at Walmart, Jack Sinclair, oversaw the deal that brought Wild Oats organic fare to Walmart.
  • According to Sinclair, since Walmart sold more food than anybody else, it was imperative to do it in a sustainable way.
  • The full article can be found here.
ANDY RUBEN
  • Andy Ruben, the company’s Vice President of Corporate Strategy, was one of the first to start discussions about "sustainability," rather than the more prevalent notion of "corporate responsibility."
  • Ruben, along with Scott Ellison of Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting, convened a group of executives for a two-day offsite meeting at the Shewmaker Center for Workforce Development.
  • Those meetings later became the basis for what were later called Sustainable Value Networks at Walmart.
  • The full article can be found here.
SANGUINETTI ROAD TEAM
  • Employees of the Walmart on Sanguinetti Road In Sonora, CA volunteered alongside a group of homeless residents to reduce fire danger in the area.
  • While talking about this initiative, Forrest Armstrong, Manager of the auto care center at the Walmart store said, "Anything we could do to help the community and have a better environment, because we don’t want any fires out here."
  • The full article can be found here.

Research Strategy:

The research team was able to find both positive and negative stories related to veterans as well as positive stories about environmentalism/sustainability from or about Walmart employees. We were unable to find any negative stories about environmentalism/sustainability. Due to the likelihood that Walmart would not promote negative stories about itself, we focused on looking for employee discussions, comments and feedback on the company's social media pages, such as those on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram along with relevant Reddit threads where employees provide feedback on the company. The goal was to find opinions or stories narrated by employees pertaining to any negative or harmful action that may have been taken by the stores or the company as per its policy. However, posts by disgruntled employees were not concerned with the environmental impacts of their employer's actions and were more concerned about pay or working hours. We then looked through stories compiled by sources such as Gawker, Ranker, Whisper, Tickld and Readers Digest, which are all sites which compile true stories as told by Walmart employees and are heavily inclined towards negative aspects of the company. However, among these stories it was again noted that negative stories were mostly concerned with low pay, working hours and work loads. Some stories were also concerned with disturbances on the premises or customers heckling employees. There were no stories relating to environmentalism or sustainability. Finally, we looked into mainstream news sources, such as CNN, CNBC, Forbes, Fortune, NY Times and Washington Post to find articles which either reported on Walmart employees harming the environment or aspects of sustainability, or indicated that company policies ask employees to take actions on the environment or sustainability, but were not fruitful or were deemed counter-productive. However, it was found that Walmart received positive press coverage in regard to its sustainability actions and there were no negative stories. After exhausting all these strategies, we concluded that negative stories about Walmart related to environmentalism and/or sustainability are not available in the public domain.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Walmart Employee Stories-2

Walmart motivates its employees to participate in volunteering programs and help their community by making donations and volunteering. Two stories about Walmart employees helping homeless people and one negative story about a homeless employee were found along with three stories about Walmart employees helping in the agricultural industry, two stories about Walmart employees taking part in education-focused community projects, and two stories where Walmart helped employees with their education.

WALMART EMPLOYEES: HOMELESSNESS STORIES

STORY #1: Assisting the homeless
  • In June 2019, two Walmart employees found a homeless woman living in her car in Tilden Township.
  • The employees provided assistance by giving her food and calling the local authorities and shelters to help her.
  • The woman was given a place to sleep by a police officer and the Helping Harvest shelter, who answered to the Walmart employees' call.
STORY #2: Volunteer work
  • In July 2019, a group of more than 100 Walmart employees, motivated by Walmart's #SparkKindness challenge, volunteered to clean and work at the Hope Center homeless shelter in Fayetteville.
  • The employees are members of the Ramsey Street store and the Hope Mills Walmart.
  • The volunteers painted and cleaned the shelter, removed debris, planted flowers, landscaped the exterior yard, removed trash, and brought donations of hygiene supplies, cleaning products and food.
STORY #3 — NEGATIVE: Homeless Walmart employee
  • A Racine County Walmart employee was charged for taking over $4,000 in cash and products from Walmart in March 2019.
  • The employee, Patrick Green, told the police the reason he did it was because he was homeless and had been living in Walmart's parking lot for several months.
  • The officers confirmed he had been living in his car in Walmart's lot and taking money to pay his bills.

WALMART EMPLOYEES: AGRICULTURE STORIES

STORY #1: Visiting and helping farmers in India
  • In September 2018, Judith McKenna, an employee from Walmart and president of Walmart in India, visited the farms in the Kasimpur village and met with local farmers to understand their agricultural needs.
  • After her visit, she announced a donation of US$25 million through Walmart's foundation to support the local farmers.
  • Through this project, she wants to help farmers grow and create new business opportunities in agriculture.
STORY #2: Teaching Farmers
  • In 2018, Walmart announced that they would be leading a project to help farmers in developing countries by teaching them agricultural skills and business skills, so they can become Walmart suppliers.
  • One of Walmart's employees in India, Shobha Jagathpal, presented the volunteer work Walmart India employees are doing to teach farmers through the #SparkKindness and the #WalmartAssociateChallenge hashtags on Twitter.
  • On her post, she shared the pictures of the employees and volunteers who participated in the 13th hands-on session, where they were taught the principles of natural farming at AuroVeda.
STORY #3: Cobblestone project
  • Shannon Williams is a Walmart employee who was featured in the corporate news for her volunteering work and inspiration to others.
  • She volunteers at the Cobblestone project, a community farm that grows fruits and vegetables for people in need.
  • Since Walmart donates to non-profit organizations whenever an employee does volunteer work, they have donated $13 million thanks to Shannon's work.

WALMART EMPLOYEES: EDUCATION STORIES

STORY #1: Walmart helps with education
  • Janine Johnson, a Walmart employee that works as a Walmart Academy Facilitator, wanted to get a bachelor's degree but was unable to afford it.
  • Through Walmart's Live Better U program, she was able to enroll a for a fee of $1 per day.
  • Thanks to Walmart, Janine is now the first person in her family to earn a college degree and has motivated her sister, Porscha Mitchell, another Walmart employee, to go back to school.
STORY #2: Taking Walmart classes online
  • Dustin Clemons, a Walmart employee, took advantage of Walmart's college education program to provide a better future to his wife and son.
  • He is currently working on getting his associate's degree through the online college education of Live Better U.
  • He plans on getting his bachelor's degree after and become an assistant manager at Walmart.
STORY #3: Samaritan Feet Project
  • Around 150 Walmart employees from the Hurricane Bloomington, and Washington City stores participated in a community project that targets schools with limited resources.
  • The volunteers went to the Legacy Elementary School and LaVerkin Elementary School, and talked to every kid, washed their feet and gave them new socks and shoes.
  • The Samaritan Feet community project is designed to help kids and give them shoes to benefit their health and their education.
STORY #4: Back-to-School Brigade
  • Over 100 Walmart employees from Georgia volunteered to participate in the Back-to-School Brigade program with Tutor.com and Military Kids.
  • The program consisted of collecting donations of school supplies at the Walmart stores.
  • Then, the volunteers helped to sort these supplies, moving donation boxes, bringing empty boxes, and preparing the school materials to be distributed among the military families of the country, to help with the education of military students.

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

To identify nine stories about Walmart's employees related to homelessness, agriculture, and education, we began by searching the publications, news, recognition, and success stories in the official company site. After scanning their website, we also searched through announcements in newspapers and interviews with Walmart employees.

First, we focused on stories from the employee's perspective and articles where they were interviewed. As our second focus, we looked for stories that narrated the story of a Walmart employee or a group of employees, and their relation with the mentioned topics.

Finally, for the agricultural topic, since most of the information available in the news and media was related to the help that Walmart gives to developing countries through their Walmart Foundation program for agriculture, we searched for examples of the employees' involvement in agricultural volunteering and their participation. As requested, we also included a story with a negative connotation.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "When a Walmart recruiter contacted Elise Hackstall about a job opening, she saw an opportunity. She was transitioning off active duty, married to a fellow soldier and wanted to be practical as a military family. "I knew that the likelihood of us moving was very high," Elise says. "I needed to be employed somewhere I could have a job that I could transfer with. That was a big, big thing.""
  • "She completed a military onboarding program, including training in Bentonville, and started with Walmart in 2008. In the decade since, Elise has served in managerial roles in stores throughout Georgia and Tennessee. Today, she's the developmental market manager in Memphis."
  • "Elise says she's never had an issue balancing her military responsibilities with her career at Walmart. Even as new promotions mean more travel and more projects, Walmart's flexibility allows her to complete her work and still have time for her military duties."
  • "Now, she's completing her transition from the Army Reserve to civilian life. The process has just taken a couple of months, and other than some paperwork, Elise says it's been pretty easy. With her transition, Elise plans to continue advancing her career at Walmart, pushing toward even bigger goals within the company. Plus, she'll have more time to spend with her 10-year-old daughter."
  • "Walmart has offered Elise more than just support, she says. Her career here has been a perfect match for the skills she honed in the army — like decisiveness and leadership."
  • "Elise isn't alone. Walmart has long recognized the skills members of our military bring. Since 2013, more than 219,000 veterans have continued their careers here."
Quotes
  • "Army veteran Charles Collier has made due with what he can in his humble home in Lafayette, Alabama."
  • "His dog Mickey and cat Callie keep him company, but for some time, Collier has spent sleepless nights. Not having an air conditioner makes it harder for him to breathe, and because Collier relies on his social security disability checks for basic necessities, there was little money left over to cover the cost."
  • "Wednesday, Collier called the Wal-Mart Supercenter in nearby Valley, Alabama to see if anyone could help him find the right AC unit for his budget. After hearing Collier's story, department manager Donald Howard said he felt in his heart that he had to help."
  • ""I have a soft spot in my heart for veterans because I think they've been dealt a bad hand," Howard said. "My faith and my religion just kept telling me I need to help this man." Howard told Collier he would help him take care of his problem. "You just come on down here. We'll get you one.""
  • "By the end of his trip, Collier came home with a new window unit with enough power to cool his bedroom. Howard told Collier to pay what he could, and that he would cover the rest of the bill"
Quotes
  • "On a recent Saturday afternoon, Meghann Shaw, mother of one, went to her local Walmart to pick up her prescription. And there she saw such an eye-opener that she had to snap a photo."
  • "She saw an employee, Brittany Walton, walking with an elderly man, hand-in-hand. The customer was blind, and all alone, and Walton immediately went to help."
  • "She escorted him throughout the store. With all the hate in the world she gave love. Without the man seeing her, she showed him pure compassion and love. Be the change you wish to see in the world ❤” Shaw wrote."
  • "As soon as I hit public, it was share after share,” Shaw said. Thousands of people soon saw and shared the post, including Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. Then someone who knew Walton shared and tagged her in the photo."
  • "The elderly blind man, Mr. Roy, was new in town and had come into Walmart after a trip to the local Veteran’s Affairs office. He told Walton he was looking to buy a mug for a lady he was sweet on, and they ended up spending two hours shopping around the store."
Quotes
  • "Recent I was called for an interview at Walmart. . . I was asked to come in at 11:15 to meet with the maintenance Supervisor.Duke I was there promptly at 11 pm. I saw Duke and she walked right past me I was never interviewed by the person they told me to ask for"
  • "I interviewed for about 10 minutes and it was over. I believe the gentlemen waiting with me was already picked for the job. I waited for over an hour to be interviewed to sweep floors, clean bathrooms, and empty trash cans. I am sure Walmart pre-hires employees and simply wasted my time because supervisors are required to call in applicants that are qualified to fill the position."
  • "I am 63 years old, a Viet man veteran and had was only looking to put food on my table.I feel Walmart does not deserve to receive another dollar from me. When I pay off my credit card it will be destroyed. If I thought Walmart would give a damn I would send them this Letter, but they don't."
Quotes
  • "As a vet and a former Walmart employee, I'm asking Walmart to support our troops by offering a discount to veterans and active servicemembers."
  • "I worked for Walmart for four years in Pennsylvania and it was so disappointing when soldiers from local military bases would ask if we had discounts and I had to say no. There’s a lot that Walmart needs to do to treat veterans better -- especially the ones who are store employees -- but offering a discount to the servicemembers and veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country is a good place to start."
Quotes
  • "Gone is the familiar blue vest with yellow trim. In its place, Walmart says, will be steel gray vests weaved from a fabric made of recycled bottles with trims in colors that pop, including green, blue, hot pink and orange. The pockets in the vests are also bigger, letting associates carry equipment they need on the sales floor. And each has a big Walmart logo on the back, making it easier for customers to identify employees."
Quotes
  • "For Lee Scott, who ran Walmart WMT, -0.22% from 2000 to 2009, the arrival of his granddaughter not only convinced him the threat of global warming was real but set him on a course that altered the very DNA of the world’s largest retailer. He decided he wanted to use its size and resources to make the world an “even better place for all of us,” changing the way millions shop in the process."
  • "We spent five years studying the program — speaking with Walmart’s sustainability leaders, its suppliers and others who have a stake in the company’s activities such as environmental groups and farmers. Our findings highlight both the promises and perils of what one Walmart executive optimistically termed the “democratization of sustainability.”"
  • "During our extensive research into the implementation of Walmart’s sustainability program, we found many executives from the CEO on down who were passionate about making the company more environmentally friendly. Before the retailer even began its program, corporate executives traversed the globe to better understand what was at stake."
  • "Other company leaders made trips to parched cotton fields, landfills covered with Walmart shopping bags and melting Arctic glaciers, all with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of sustainability and engaging with environmental groups, journalists and critics."
  • "In the speech, Scott laid out Walmart’s sustainability vision to Walmart employees and suppliers. He called for reducing waste, using more renewable energy and selling products that “sustained people and the environment.”"
  • "And last year, the company diverted 78% of its global waste from landfills, instead finding ways to recycle, reuse or even sell the garbage. Its goal is to eventually get to 50% renewables and zero waste in Canada, Japan, the U.K. and U.S. by 2025."
Quotes
  • "One of the most powerful people in the US food industry is a 52-year-old native of Scotland who got his start in the business stacking groceries on supermarket shelves. Today, as an executive vice-president in charge of all the grocery operations at Walmart, Jack Sinclair is still stacking shelves – albeit on a grander scale."
  • "But Walmart does more than convene. Sinclair oversaw the deal that brought Wild Oats organic fare to Walmart customers, at prices said to be below those of other organic brands. He also signed an agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a worker-based human rights group, to improve pay and working conditions for Florida tomato pickers."
  • "We sell more food than anybody else," Sinclair says. "If we don't do it in a sustainable way, we will not have the kind of future that we need."
Quotes
  • "As it turned out, Walmart was seeking advice on how to deal with the public relations challenges it was having with communities, environmentalists and labor. The conversation led to a meeting in Bentonville. It also led Ellison to form a company: Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting."
  • "One of the first people inside Walmart that Jib Ellison tapped was Andy Ruben, the company’s vice president of corporate strategy. Ruben had come to Walmart in 2002 after a consulting role at Capgemini, and quickly became one of Scott’s trusted lieutenants. Ruben and Ellison met at Scott’s suggestion."
  • "The company wasn’t yet talking about "sustainability." The conversation at the time focused on "corporate responsibility." Whatever it was called, it quickly became a major topic at the Home Office."
  • "In September 2004, Scott and Ruben convened a group of executives for a two-day offsite meeting, at the Shewmaker Center for Workforce Development, a "corporate learning" center at NorthWest Arkansas Community College, not far from the Home Office. Assembled was a group of about 35 company leaders, handpicked by Scott."
  • "The meeting broke into small groups, which would become the basis for what were later called Sustainable Value Networks. There were a half-dozen or so networks to begin, on topics such as transportation, supply chain, food, corporate culture — areas where individuals had both expertise and passion, and that mapped to the company’s biggest challenges and opportunities."
Quotes
  • "Charles Floyd Miller Jr. believes there’s a positive change occurring at the homeless camp off the north side of Stockton Road in Sonora. Miller, 71, has lived in the camp since the summer of 2016 and says the residents there have started working together to manage the area better over the past several months. He sees growing support from the outside world for their efforts."
  • "There was evidence of that at the camp Friday morning as a group of homeless residents worked alongside volunteers with weed eaters to reduce fire danger in the area."
  • "The volunteers were employees of Walmart on Sanguinetti Road, who were helping off the clock as part of a program where employees donate their time to a charitable organization and the company provides grants to that organization based on the number of hours volunteered."
  • "There were six employees who volunteered to help cut back weeds."
  • "Anything we could do to help the community and have a better environment, because we don’t want any fires out here,” said Forrest Armstrong, manager of the auto care center at the Walmart store in Sonora."