Investing in our People
We changed the labor structure in our U.S. stores, leaning even more into teams. At that time, we gave a raise to 165,000 associates, and in February 2021, announced wage increases for 425,000 more. These are investments in people who are important to our future, because they provide a great pickup, delivery and in-store experience for our customers. In addition to increasing hourly wage rates, we’ll continue investing to provide career opportunities through our internal education programs and access to affordable college degrees. Because of technology, the future of work will be different, and we want to prepare our associates for that journey. We believe we should do more than provide an hourly wage. We are also making smart investments, including bonuses for some roles, a 401(k) matching program, stock ownership plan, affordable healthcare and other benefits. We have about 75% of our U.S. salaried store, club and supply chain management that started as hourly associates. A few years ago, we made a promise that there would be no better place to learn, grow and build a career than Walmart.
Today, we’re fulfilling that promise across the enterprise, building associate opportunity and investing in the future of every associate. To do that, we’re taking a three-tiered approach to training and upskilling our associates through Teaming, the Walmart Academy and Live Better U. Together, these programs represent our ongoing commitment to associate development and create a future-focused environment where our people can thrive. Teaming: our associates want to be challenged and engaged. Teaming gives our people autonomy and ownership of their work. It helps them develop business acumen, critical thinking and leadership skills that opens doors for advancement. Walmart Academy: Select Walmart stores are centers of excellence where associates learn people-focused skills that result in a workforce with more confidence and capability. All our Academy coursework was converted to virtual instructor-led training. More than 111,000 remote associate trainings were completed in fiscal year 2021. Live Better U: Through our $1 a day college education program, we offer eligible associates the chance to get a college degree from an accredited university, and graduate debt free. More than 25,000 associates are enrolled, and more than 6,000 have graduated since launch.