Wal-Mart is one of the world’s biggest retail store. Its phenomenal growth has made it an economic force, a cultural experience and an organisation that generates much controversy from the way it operates. The store was founded in 1950 on the premise of providing its clients with lower prices than they get from other retail stores. This principle of offering cheap prices for its goods has guided the culture of the organisation and the growth of the store to become one of the world’s largest retailer store (Wilbert, 2010).
The Wal-Mart's Role in Retail Industry
The big nature of the Wal-Mart retails store means that the firm has great power in shaping the nature of the labour markets globally and has changed the way this industry operates in the world. The store has been able to keep the prices of its goods cheap by the use of advanced technologies, a good corporate culture and the desire to push suppliers of their products to sell their products at very cheap prices. The store has over 6222 retail centres and stores around the world and employs about 1.6 million people worldwide (Wolbert, 2010).
The firm has enjoyed good reputation over its use of advanced technology like pioneering the use of bar coding technology and radio frequency identification technologies in its stores and for very cheap prices for its products. However, The Company faces major criticism from the way its human resource department treats its workers. The company has been criticised for the merge wages it pays its workers and poor consideration of health care insurance plans for its workers (James, 2004).
Criticism of the Wal-Mart
The part time employees of the company are the ones paid the least earnings. The company has also been criticised for demanding that the workers who work on an hourly basis to work overtime without being paid in some of its stores. The managers of the stores work for more than seventy hours a week and most employees arrive at work before six thirty and leave late at night ins some stores although the normal day is supposed to be a nine hour day (Robinson, 2010).
One aspect of the human resource department of Wal-Mart uses to keep employees from forming labour unions is the use of anti union videos shown to new employees as part of the employee orientation. It is mandatory for the employees of the company to attend the presentation of these videos. Wal-Mart stores are therefore opposed to the unionisation of its workers because it believes that its salaries and perks matches the similar work environments of the communities in which the retail store are located. The company claims to have excellent work conditions for its employees and has a program for promotion, job security and training programs and a system of addressing employee complaints and therefore it believes it is able to run employees affairs without the need for outside assistance or unions (Wilbert, 2010).
The company keeps the wages extremely low because the entry level pay for a new employee is eleven dollars per hour but the wage increase per year is very merge compared to the wage in other retail stores. The health benefits scheme of Wal-Mart employees is also very poor employees pay forty percent of the health insurance from their own pockets. The poor support Wal-Mart offers to its employee sponsored health insurance schemes leaves many employees of Wal-Mart stores depending on the federal health insurance for their medical care (Robinson, 2010).
Unionisation of the employees of Wal-Mart stores can make them have access to employee sponsored health insurance and beer working hours but the company has maintained the policy of having an anti union policy as part of the company policy. The managers of the company also threaten; intimidate any employee’s that may try to get into unions. The company also maintains a hotline for the company’s supervisors that ensure that employees are prevented from forming any unions (James, 2004).
Advantages of the Wal-Mart
However, the case is not all gloomy working for Wal-Mart and there are some benefits that employees gain working for Wal-Mart. for example, employees can switch departments as they wish and there are potentials for career growth in the company. The employees also enjoy some other benefits like enjoying a 10 percent discount on everything except groceries. However these benefits are merging for part time employees of the company (Wilbert, 2010).
One aspect of the human resource management that drive many workers of the company mad is sometime the line managers may get rude with the employees but this depends with the store .it is also common for the management of the company to Pull employees of the company from their respective departments to work for nay departments when the stores are extremely busy this makes the employees of the company really mad For being moved around (Wilbert, 2010).
The management of the company also imposes some strict deadline for their employees that make them to work under pressure. The management dictates all what should be done in the store and there are few avenues for the employees to share their views in the running of the Wal-Mart stores. The scheduling of work also sometimes drives the workers mad. It’s possible for the employees to work at night then suddenly they are shifted to work in daytime shifts irritates the workers but all this depends with the store (James, 2004).
Working for Wal-Mart can therefore be a good or a grim experience depending with the store. Despite all the misgivings that the employees, the employees of the company continue to work for the company although is some cases, the company is such a behemoth in the way its human resource department treats its workers.