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Walmart is the largest retail supermarket in the world with a presence in all the major continents. Until recently, Walmart was the most profitable company in the world with profits hitting the $3ooo billion mark. The retail giant has over 1.3 million employees across the world making it one of the world’s largest employers. The company operating vision is to provide quality merchandise under one roof at the lowest prices economically possible. This means that customers are guaranteed access to all their shopping needs under the Walmart roofs at pocket friendly prices. The size of Walmart allows it to buy products at a good bargain and therefore edge out competitors through low pricing. They also import in bulks from countries like China where production is cheaper and this too makes their products more affordable. Walmart has therefore experienced major growth in the US, Europe and every where do their sound sale strategies. However, the company has been accused by various stakeholders of failing their employees in different ways and this has compromised the level of morale and has led to several class suits against the organization.
This organization has failed its employees in several ways and this shows that its management is impersonal and indifferent to the plight of its workers even as top executives continue to draw huge pay checks and benefits. The company has been accused by many of under paying its employees as compared to other major employers. Many have sighted the company’s huge profit as a reason why the company should review the compensation of workers upwards. Many have even claimed that it is unethical for Walmart to use the labor offered by its employees to amass large profits and not share some of that revenue with the same employees. Walmart has pointed out in their defense that their rates are similar or more than many companies across the globe. A counter argument posed by economist on the human resource issues facing Walmart is lack of motivation on the part of employees. This might be due to their low compensation or due to their inability to adequately reward long serving employees or those who show exemplary conduct in their day to day operations. A good example is their rewarding of employees who have served for 20 years with polo shirts. Many analysts have argued that the gift is not equal to the time served and shows a lack of appreciation and a cold management style which does not foster a good working relationship between management and employees.
Walmart has also been accused of unethically hindering the employee’s right to form or join unions to collectively bargain with the management of the firm. Employees working in companies have a right to join or form unions which enable them use collective bargain as a way of getting better benefits and good working conditions. Walmart’s opposition of the unionization of its members might be the main reason for low wages as compared to its revenue and the benefits payable to management. In addition, Walmart has been accused of discriminating against women in terms of both pay and promotions. Other issues which have emerged include failure to pay over time, delaying wages and unsafe practices which endanger the lives of its employees.
There are several legal issues which plague Walmart with most being related to its human resource issues. The company has been facing a suit by female employees alleging that the organization discriminated against them in terms of pay and promotions. They have pointed out that male employees are paid more than female employees. In terms of promotions, only 33 female employees have made it into managerial position in the entire company. Walmart has vowed to fight this class action to the Supreme Court rather than consider making an out of court settlement (BLR, 2010). The legal affairs division of businessweek.com (2005) has asserted that Walmart seeks to show that it’s unconstitutional for the court to allow this class action and wants all suits filed against particular stores. The company has also been sued before by employees regarding wages and over time compensation. However, one of the main headaches for its legal team is the consistent demand by some of its employees to form a union despite the firm’s strong opposition to that idea. Walmart strives to find ways of keeping its employees from unionizing while averting growing pressure to offer better wages and more transparency in promotions.
Addressing human resource issues has emerged as a vital pillar for economic success in this highly globalized work environment. Poaching of employees and high employee turnover are emerging issues in human resource and dealing with them is important for Walmart and other companies. Cost cutting is also important and this raises the question of how to improve production with a reduced work force. The issue of employee health coverage is a pressing problem due to health reforms being undertaken (O’Connell, 2011). Walmart should adopt emerging technologies to improve the productivity of its employees while increasing their wages as way to motivate them. This will in turn reduce turnover and also cut back on the number of suits filed against the firm. The competitiveness of a firm depends on the commitment, motivation and innovativeness of its work force. Walmart must identify talented and devoted employees, offer them more training, promotions and better remuneration to motivate them pursue the companies goals with diligence.