If you only pay attention to the platitudes and feel-good videos that Walmart Corporate likes to put out, you might honestly think Walmart isn't such a bad company to work for, their market monopolization or hegemony notwithstanding. Well, I hate to break it to you, but in general, employee morale company-wide is practically non-existent. Be grateful for labor-related regulatory compliance and statutes because Walmart wouldn't hesitate to do things if they were *not* in fact illegal. As it is, they skirt the borders of those laws as closely as they can.
Support from Management
Leadership involves not merely someone wielding authority, but having a vision, planning things out, communicating this vision to the team, inspiring and encouraging everyone to do their best, and helping to maintain enthusiasm for the plan. Even if the plan is to simply dig a ditch, these basic tenets apply.
Walmart, by any realistic measure, has no leadership. They have a grand playbook that they, in theory, work from, but anyone who works for Walmart — or has over the course of the last 20 years or so — can tell you there the closest thing there is to a plan is "get the work done at all costs, no matter if you do not have necessary or adequately safe resources to work with".
Occasionally, one will find a sympathetic ear amongst the only range of management which *really* matters: salaried managers, but even then, they don't hesitate to demonstrate they are as beleaguered as you are.
There is no communication, no central planning, no grand vision, nothing. It's all a matter of lots of people trying to be king-of-the-hill, and lots of internecine conflict.
There's very little teamwork allowed to occur. To the extent that stores are staffed, often management tries to give micromanaging instructions to each associate, which often entails taking them out of their own assigned department. Not that associates refuse to help each other, but more often than not there are no — or simply not enough — co-workers to constitute a "team" as such a word is normally defined.
Level of Autonomy
Management at all levels, both salaried and hourly, wants to look important. Therefore, when the opportunity arises, Support Managers (formerly known as "Zone Managers") look over your shoulder, keep giving you instructions of what they want you to do or how to do it, and then other managers will come in, especially if they outrank the one you were previously dealing with, and give you conflicting directives.
Simple: three words...
THERE IS NONE.
They pay everybody the same in the sense that in any given position and at any given level of experience, etc., gender and skin color don't seem to matter.
Attitude towards older colleagues
It depends on the situation, and it probably depends on the management at any given store. However, the older you are, which is to say the less physically able you are, the fewer the positions you can take which you won't eventually get kicked out of, or, potentially, get taken through the coaching process and fired (with documented justification) for.
Again, depending on what you're doing, and possibly age (again, this is definitely position-dependent) you can rise through the ranks. The system itself lives somewhat outside the store, therefore you can take tests to qualify for promotion into management, and with time and patience, there's a real chance you can go up the ladder.
Overall Compensation for your work
Hourlies are inducted at $9.50 an hour (except where the local minimum wage is higher) and after 6 months of success, you automatically go up to $10 an hour. Obviously, certain specialty positions will pay more than this (pharmacy, vision center, etc.) but I'm only commenting on stock standard types of positions.
Hourly managers of departments *without* a cash register make a minimum of $13 an hour, and as I recall, it's $15 an hour for departments *with* registers. In general, people are hired in as part-time associates (specialty positions are probably different). You become eligible to enroll for benefits after 90 days. It *used* to be you accumulated vacation time at half the rate of a full-time associate, and you couldn't take any of that vacation until after two years with the company. Towards the beginning of 2016, this has changed because the entire time-off system was completely overhauled. However, part-timers still are at a disadvantage.
Stores are air conditioned, they are cleaned, there is pest control throughout, there is a breakroom with basic facilities (TV, microwave, etc.) and you'll get a 12 x 10 x 24 inch locker (which most of the time you'll wind up having to share with someone else).
Beyond that, the company follows OSHA and other workplace- and/or labor-related laws. Much beyond that, though, well, you're on your own. Too much work is given with often overly-vague instructions or expectations, no team support, and you can expect to be dragged out of your department to work elsewhere and then not be able to get your own work done.
The newer your management is, the more likely they'll be upset with you for not getting your own work done. The longer they've been in the trenches, the less they'll be upset with you and more likely they'll just shrug their shoulders, sigh, and say "Well, that's Walmart for you."
They put out a nice, expensive, glossy-stock monthly newsletter where they pat themselves on the back using full-page, four color photos of smiling, happy people of different genders, orientations, nationalities, ethnicities, etc., and some stores might even be able to get some of their associates to do community outreach.
It's little more than corporate lip service to anything even remotely like social awareness.
If you're hourly, you won't be asked to work overtime *most* of the time, and when you do, you'll obviously be paid accordingly.
If you're salaried, well... that's a whole different ballgame. And don't think that lawsuits elsewhere (like at Publix, for example) regarding the limits of how far you can be pushed as an exempt associate apply at Walmart. I was assured by people I knew and had a good rapport with who were salaried that Walmart generally does not have those sorts of laws applied to it. It's great being one of the biggest, richest, and most influential companies on the face of the planet.
If I were to say "You will never find a happy Walmart associate", I think you know that *that* would be untrue. There are plenty who are happy. However, I challenge — no, I *defy* — anyone to travel around a store, and a group of stores, and find overall happy associates and a workplace of good morale. Try it: you will not find it.
Positions get created and eliminated on a semi-regular basis. That said, Walmart is not in any financial difficulty at the present, so company stability is not a factor.
Walmart stores comply with relevant ADA and OSHA (and other regulatory) laws, codes, etc.
Technically, yes, Walmart provides an OSHA-compliant workplace. However, you are often expected to perform tasks for which *truly* appropriate equipment is not available.
Walmart goes through the standard "how to lift appropriately" and "be sure to warm up before clocking in" training during the on-boarding process. That said, the whole thing is a wink-and-a-nod, though you'd better be sure *you* don't do anything stupid or they won't hesitate a second to use it against you.
It depends on how you define "challenging". You'll never be asked to do anything that stretches your imagination or really puts your skillset to the limit. You'll be challenged daily to get your own work done, or to be left alone long enough to focus on any particular project, or to get something complete before someone else comes along, or even the same manager, and changes the plans even to the degree of them completely contradicting what was supposed to be achieved previously.
Walmart doesn't care if you're straight, gay, male, female, white, black, hispanic, asian, etc. It's insulting to say, I know, but believe me, as long as it's a warm body involved, they'll hire *anybody*.
They'll fire *anybody* too, come to that.
Suggestions for improvement
- Better pay, better vacation, better communication, better planning, better management, better leadership, better... well, you get the idea.
I like about the employer
They are big, well financed, and are unlikely to go out of business any time soon. On that basis, you're not very likely to lose your job so long as you have no performance-related issues.
I dislike about the employer
Corporate-, regional-, district-, and store-level indifference to management treats associates, to communication, to proper training, being harrassed, threatened, and sometimes verbally abused by management, usually management who have been at this long enough to know exactly what they can legally get away with.