Over the years, Wal-Mart has played a significant role in the U.S economy. Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the US with over two million employees. It is also the largest retailer in the US market. Wal-Mart tops in the sales of groceries, apparel, and music among other products (Basker, 2007).
How viable employee relations’ practices have contributed to Wal-Mart’s success
The organizational culture at wall-mart is geared towards respect and satisfaction for the customer and the employee. Such values as efficient service to customers, working towards excellence, and respect for every individual has helped in retaining the employees and growing Wal-Mart’s business as a whole (Basker, 2007). The culture has helped in the development of respect, integrity, and dedication to service among the employees. It has also made Wal-Mart an attractive employer of choice. Wal-Mart also offers attractive advancement opportunities within the corporation. The company reports that the management team is composed mainly of those employees who started out as hourly associates (Wal-Mart Stores 2016). With this retention system, Wal-Mart has a better preference compared to other retailers offering the same services since it allows people to work their way up. Wal-Mart has also over the years worked towards diversifying different areas of its operation. This includes projects such as the development of the Employment Practices Advisory Panel that has been instrumental in evaluating and guiding employment practices (Wal-Mart Stores 2016). Such practices are essential in retaining employees and contributing to the business success.
Efficient coordination and continuous improvement of employee relations between the managers and the employees themselves has also been an important element in Wal-Mart’s success. Wal-Mart has worked towards the creation of an environment that promotes employee empowerment with the primary objective of unifying the employees to help develop team culture (Fishman, 2006). Working as a team has positively benefited the retailer due to increased productivity.
Contributions that employee benefits have in relation to the success of Wal-Mart’s employment practices
Different employers apply the use of a variety of benefits just like in the case for Wal-Mart. The enterprise has been able to use an annual pay rise mechanism that depends on the result of the evaluation of the employee. In a period of six months, all associates get a quarterly bonus which is determined by the level of sales for the case of full-time associates. On the other hand, Wal-Mart also offers an affordable health insurance plan to its employees, this provides a considerably better access to high-quality medical care. The retailer has also managed to diversify its health benefits to other standard plans such as the Health Reimbursement Account and an alternative HRA High with a higher cost but lower deductibles (Wal-Mart Stores, 2016). Such health benefits programs offer the employees with the confidence of an efficient medical cover in case of an emergency. Therefore, Wal-Mart has been able to improve its employee’s living standards and helped in the creation of healthier communities by cutting costs through the use of a variety of benefits schemes (Fishman, 2006).
The major effects of organizational culture and the use of performance criteria on the establishment of a union
Wal-Mart is characterized by the lack of collective employee voice in the dozens of retail chains it owns. This represents a characteristic of an inherently authoritarian organizational culture since none of its employees (Lichtenstein, 2006). The organization culture is what determines the company’s policies and most of its business practices. Wal-Mart’s company policies are based on the contention that its employees do not necessarily need a union representation even though most of the unionized workers still enjoy a higher percentage of wages on average compared to workers without unions. Performance criteria used by Wal-Mart may also thwart the efforts of establishing a union since better-paid workers based on performance are well off, and they may not find it necessary to join a union that advocates for pay rises for lower income employees.
Why Wal-Mart has not been effectively unionized over the years
Wal-Mart has used different strategies in trying to remain without employee unions for an extended period (Lichtenstein, 2007). Wal-Mart might have taken advantage of the loopholes in some of the U.S labor laws and used it to its advantage in efforts against unionization. For instance, the laws that allow employers to oppose union organizing campaigns may have been used to warn workers of negative results in case they organize. Over the years, Wal-Mart might have used the national labor laws that give a go ahead to employers to carry out permanent replacements for workers who strike for economic reasons. This has made most workers to reject union formation due to the probability of potential job losses. Another possibility of Wal-Mart not being actually unionized is due to the weak penalties that are imposed on employers who violate the labor laws. The lack of punitive awards for labor violations implies that organizations with a broad base of resources, such Wal-Mart, may enjoy some level of economic incentive to obey the law.
Basker, E. (2007). The causes and consequences of Wal-Mart’s growth. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 177-198.
Fishman, C. (2006). The Wal-Mart effect: How the world’s most powerful company really works, and how it’s transforming the American economy. New York: The Penguin Press.
Lichtenstein, N. (2006). Why Working at Wal-Mart is Different. Conn. L. Rev., 39, 1649.
Lichtenstein, N. (2007). How Wal-Mart fights unions. Minn. L. Rev., 92, 1462.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2016). Standards for suppliers. Walmart. Retrieved from http://corporate.walmart.com/
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