This paper will focus on a change initiative for Wal-Mart. Next, this paper will analyze how this change will impact the people, products, and processes. Then this paper will focus on the people portion, and provide recommendations to position this change initiative in a manner that results in high performance. Finally this paper will conclude with a summary of how the recommended approach to the change initiative will result in organizational excellence. A company’s image is very important. It shows how a company is viewed as a whole.
Wal-Mart has gotten a bad reputation, and many consumers have stopped shopping there because of this image. The change initiative will be to change consumer’s image of Wal-Mart. The public perception can really affect a company’s profit. According to Margot and Rachel (2011), A 2006 marketing report by Walmart’s then-advertising agency described the public’s view of Walmart as that of a “bad corporate citizen who doesn’t treat employees well and isn’t acting as a good citizen of the planet” (p. 62).
To change Wal-Mart’s Image they will need to change employee’s wages, increase staffing or don’t cut hours, and change the atmosphere. The first change that needs to happen is employee wages. Wal-Mart needs to look at the cost of living in each community where they are located, and pay a competitive wage. Costco pays its employees a competitive wage, and their profits have increased. Ungar (2013) states the following: In an identical economy, how do we explain Costco’s growth vis-a-vis the failures over at Walmart?
Here’s a crazy thought—might it have something to do with the fact that Costco pays nearly all of its employees a decent living (well in excess of the minimum wage) while Wal-Mart continues to pay its workers as if their employees don’t actually need to eat more than once a week, live in an enclosed space and, on occasion, take their kids to see a doctor (para. 3). If Wal-Mart paid its employees more how would it impact the people, processes, and products and services? The impact on the people would be positive not only to the employees, but the consumers as well.
It would raise employee morale. When one goes to Wal-Mart now, one can tell the employees don’t want to be there, and it’s hard to find someone to help. I have heard employees actually say, “They don’t pay me enough to help these people. ” Ungar (2013) sums it up best about employee attitudes by stating, “and with those on site being paid a wage so low that it is difficult to expect much in the way of pride or motivation” (para. 6). If the employees got paid a competitive wage it would motivate the employees to take pride in their jobs.
This would lead to better customer service for the consumer. So in a sense it would not only be positive impact for the people, but would be great for Wal-Mart processes regarding the customer. The impact on the products and services would be the employees would take pride to answer any questions on these items and other services. Also, Wal-Mart can raise wages without having to raise prices on products. According to Bivens (2006) state the following: Wal-Mart could raise wages and benefits significantly without raising prices, yet still earn a healthy profit.
For example, while still maintaining a profit margin almost 50% greater than Costco, a key competitor, Wal-Mart could have raised the wages and benefits of each of its non-supervisory employees in 2005 by more than $2,000 without raising prices a penny (para. 3). Wal-Mart would not need to raise prices. There would be no impact on the products, or the consumers, or the process of everyday low prices. Plus, it would be a step in increasing their public image. The next change increase staffing or reduce cutting hours is another step in rectifying their image.
Wal-Mart now has more stores operating and not enough staff to run them. So what do they do? They cut the employees working hours. The impact is negative for the consumers, their services, and the products. Ungar (2013) states the following: Without enough employees to get the basic work of a retail operation done…Wal-Mart merchandise remains stacked on pallets in the warehouse rather than making it to the floor where customers can find the products they want. At the same time, check-out lines are painfully long and annoying as the overall shopping experience continues to deteriorate.
One is left to wonder about the value of offering products at a lower price if those products are not on the shelves when the customer needs to buy them (para. 4). So the impact on the people, processes, and product and services would be positive. The employees would be happier because they would have enough staff, and hours to get the work done. The consumers would be happier because the product on the shelves, and enough employees not to have to stand in long lines.
The products and services would be better because there would items on the shelves, and employees able to service the customer. The last change would be the atmosphere. Wal-Mart’s atmosphere is not a positive one. When one looks on social media or reviews of Wal-Mart there’s a certain low class theme. When one goes to Wal-Mart sees carts all over the parking lot. Employees outside smoking or cussing at the tables they set up for them. Some of the types of consumers who go there can be rude, and ruthless to other consumers. Overall, it’s not a great shopping experience.
According to City Data. com (2008) the unknown author states the following: From the errant carts strewn about the parking lot to the huddles of employees smoking in small designated areas outside the building, to hearing more languages than I can count, to hearing profanity, to seeing women younger than myself (I’m 22) yammering into cell phones while toting around multiple screaming kids, I just get a bad “vibe” from that place. I realize you “get what you pay for,” but I also find good deals at Target and find it to be a much more pleasurable shopping experience.
I saw just how “low-class” many Wal-Mart shoppers were when we learned of the trampling death of that Wal-Mart employee on Long Island this past Friday and just how many caused a further ruckus when told the store would be closing temporarily to remove the man’s body (para. 3). The changes Wal-Mart would need to make to their atmosphere would help their public image. The first thing is moving the employee break area away from the customers’ view. No one wants to see the employees smoking. They could move it to the back of the store where there are no customers.
Especially, at a time when people are trying to ban smoking from public areas; this sends out a bad image. The impact will be positive to the consumers it will give them a better view when walking into Wal-Mart. The impact on the employees may not all be positive. They may like where they take breaks, and hate the fact they have to go in the back where trucks unload products. They only impact on products would be if the employees got in the way of the trucks that are carrying the products; so this could be a negative too.
The process would not really be impacted unless the employees sneak off to the back to smoke when it’s not their normal break time. This could be solved by putting a camera in the break area. The next change needs to be the carts. They need to have someone out in that parking lot keeping up with those carts. Wal-Mart is bad for having carts everywhere. Many people do not shop there in fear of a cart hitting their vehicle. This would be a positive impact for the people, product and services. The people will see that Wal-Mart takes pride in their appearance.
This would let to more products and services being sold because people would come to Wal-Mart more if they didn’t have to fear their cars being hit by a cart. There would be an impact on the process. The process now does not work because the carts are not being picked up. The process would need to change for the employees, and some may not want the process to change so this could impact the employees. The employees may think the process of getting the carts is not broke, and may not cooperate with the changes. The last change would be towards the consumer. Wal-Mart tolerates bad behaviors in there store from consumers.
This has lead to a bad environment to shop in. Wal-Mart needs to address the customers that are out of control in their store. Places like Target or JcPenney would not tolerate customers harassing other customers; they would be asked to leave. Wal-Mart should adopt this same kind of mentality. This would require a process change, and some employees may not feel comfortable dealing with rude customers. Wal-Mart may need to create a position to handle these types of customers. The impact may be negative to the employees if this change is not handled right. The impact for the consumers would be positive.
They can go shopping in a nice atmosphere without the worry of dealing with other rude consumers. The people would know it won’t be tolerated in a place like Wal-Mart. This is the kind of image Wal-Mart wants to have. The products and services may be impacted at first because the loss of the rude consumers, but once word gets out Wal-Mart will attract more consumers. The changes that Wal-Mart would need to make would impact people. This part will provide recommendations to position this change initiative in a manner that results in high performance. In every one of these changes there will be some people who will want to resist this change.
The way to overcome this resistance is by accepting this is part of the process. It may be frustrating, but this is part of change. Listen to what they have to say, and try to understand where they are coming from. By being supportive, they will eventually become less resistance. The next is defining the goals so all understands. Change is a journey, and if you want to succeed people need to know the destination. Harrison (2004) states that “the critical aspects of individual and group effectiveness for diagnosis on the primary problems and challenges facing the groups and their main tasks, goals, and standards” (p. 7). To sum it up, the goals need to be defined to be effective. By defining goals, it will result in high performance. Then, I recommend Wal-Mart hold the people accountable. For example, the cart removal process needs to hold employees accountable. If the employee responsible is not following through this needs to be addressed. In order for the changes to work one has to follow through with the processes. If Wal-Mart puts this in effect, and then the employees are still letting the carts go in the parking lot, and nothing is done the process won’t change.
In order to get high performance one must make the employees accountable. Also, promote team by being accountable for each other. Corelli (n. d) states the following: Don’t ask people to be accountable only for their actions and job performances, but just as importantly, ask them to be accountable to each other for maintaining high morale. By placing an equal value on teamwork, professional behavior, job performance, and accountability, you will be able to provide better service to both customers and to each other (para. 25). Next, empower the employees to find solutions instead of problems.
The change will come with problems, but if Wal-Mart empowers the employees to find solutions this will help the changes go smoother. Corelli (n. d) states the following: This goes hand in hand with setting goals and establishing accountability. When new procedures are instituted and problems arise, people may wait for someone else to fix them. As you let people know that they are accountable, let people know you expect them to come in not only with their problems, but also with possible solutions. Add your input, too. Changes rarely occur without glitches, so be prepared to brainstorm ways to solve problems and get them out of the way to elp people achieve high performance (para. 27). The last recommendation is to train the people well on all the changes.
Training is essential when making changes. If the proper training is not done then the new change initiatives may not be effective. Corelli (n. d) states the following: By its very definition, “change” suggests that you are attempting something new and different. To create that high performing work place during change, you need to ensure your people have the necessary skills to succeed in the new environment. Education and training must be seen as a top priority.
The time you invest in training will eventually payoff in increased productivity as well as product and service quality (para. 29). All these recommendations will help the change initiative result in high performance. These approaches to the change initiative will result in organizational excellence. The first approach would be initiating the changes raising the wage, increasing the staff, and changing the atmosphere. This will be done after all the research, and training of the staff has been done. Managers will need to think differently; no more get them in and get them out.
The new way is do we have enough staff to stock shelves and service customers. After initiating the change, Wal-Mart will need to manage the change. They will need to make sure everyone is following the changes. Wal-Mart needs to make sure everyone has the resources and materials available to manage through this change. For example, with wage increase can have a pay structure so employees know if they want to move up; they will know the pay. This would give employees something to strive for, and will promote organizational excellence on Wal-Mart’s part. The last is just sustaining the change.
Wal-Mart needs to keep up with the changes; don’t go back to old ways. For example, don’t go back to tolerating rude customers. Let them know that behavior is no longer acceptable at Wal-Mart, and keep up with that change. Wal-Mart needs to change their public image in order to reach organizational excellence. If Wal-Mart makes these changes their reputation will get better. This will lead to more profits, and survival of the big chain. If Wal-Mart keeps going in the current direction eventually they may lose more than their reputation, but their whole organization.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 3 November 2016
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