Editor’s note: More than 2.2
million associates bring our stores and clubs to life every day. Sparking
Conversation is a series where we get to know these individuals. Juanita
Granger is zone merchandise supervisor at Walmart store #1985 in Laurel,
Maryland, where she oversees jewelry, shoes and apparel.
did you choose Walmart?
A: When I was a kid in
Louisiana, I used to shop with my mom at Walmart. It had everything we needed,
and everyone was so friendly. So when I moved here to Laurel and saw there was
a Walmart, it was the first place I applied for a job. If it was a good place
to shop, I figured it would be a good place to work. I was right. After just
six months in the shoe department, I became department manager.
us about any highlights of your career or favorite positions you’ve held.
A: Teaching and training
others – that’s my highlight. I love helping other associates and sharing
everything I know. That way they can move up and feel empowered to do things on
do you like best about your job?
A: Coming to work and my
fellow associates always being here ready to go. They’re always smiling and
happy to see each other – it’s like our second family here. You may come in one
day sad, and by the end of the day, you’re happy. We do everything together as
a team. Also, I love fashion, and so my department is great for that.
have you approached reaching your career goals with Walmart?
A: I’ve had so many
mentors and people I’ve seen move up the ladder. When I first started as a
part-time associate, another associate in the shoe department where I was
working suggested that I consider taking [the department] over, because she
said I was learning everything she was teaching so rapidly. I was promoted in six
months, and a few years later I moved up again to zone merchandise supervisor. My
work ethic also comes from my parents. They were my role models growing up and
always taught us that to get what you want, you have to work for it. So now I
give that back anywhere I can.
your career impacted your personal life and family – if so, how?
A: Sure – it’s allowed
me to get a new car, and buy a house!
Q: Do you have any words for other associates?
A: Keep striving for the top because whatever you see as your goal, you can succeed. Walmart is a place you can go wherever and however far you want to go.
Big numbers aren’t always easy to grasp, but I have one for you – 42 million. That’s how many Americans struggle with hunger, according to the USDA. To break it down a little more, that’s one in eight of us.
For the next few weeks, there’s an easy way to join the fight against hunger. By making a purchase at your local Walmart store, using your social media channels or donating at the register, you can support Walmart’s “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign and help Feeding America secure 100 million meals on behalf of member food banks.
A lot of our associates are taking it a step further by volunteering with their local food banks, like Mario Young, a department manager at one of our Charlotte, North Carolina stores.
“I've been volunteering in the Charlotte community for more than six years and with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina for over a year,” Mario said. “I love helping with different projects and especially with helping other people in the community. Through Walmart I have been able to reach more members of the community in need and am always one of the first people to volunteer for events like the one today."
Only a few hours from Charlotte, in Charleston, South Carolina, even more of our associates are giving back. Along with the Lowcountry Food Bank, our associates recently helped 300 Greeleyville Elementary students and their parents have an amazing Easter. What started off with a massive egg hunt ended with the parents being able to stock up on fresh produce – 15,000 pounds of it to be exact – donated by Walmart and distributed by our associates.
From April 17 – May 15, you can join the efforts in three easy ways.
Purchase Participating Products: For every purchase of specially marked products both in-store and online, the manufacturer will donate enough to help you secure one meal on behalf of Feeding America member food banks. For every Discover card transaction made in-store and online, Discover will donate the equivalent of one meal, up to $1 million.
Donate at the Register: You can make a donation to Feeding America member food banks at the checkout in any Walmart store.
Online Act of Support: We have already met our online act of support goal of donating up to $1.5 million to Feeding America on behalf of member food banks. You can still show your support by continuing to use #FightHunger on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and like or share Walmart provided content. You can also visit Walmart.com/FightHunger to show your support through a click.
Strive for more. Most people seek that in their careers. Wouldn’t it be great if your company backed you in your effort, even provided you with the resources and training to do it?
We created a place for our associates that does just that. It’s called Walmart Academy.
We’ve put a lot of support behind our people, especially over the last two years, as we’ve committed to help them do more and be more successful in their careers. Developing the Walmart Academy training program was a big part of that.
Everyone wants to do their best, feel confident in their job and know there’s a path to grow their career. This is where Walmart Academy comes in. It’s a dedicated location, in or near a Walmart Supercenter, where our front-line hourly supervisors, department managers and assistant managers receive two to six weeks of training.
And it’s more than just training. It helps our associates see a clear path to advancement. Just look at recent graduates Lee Griffin and Kinder Kaur, who both have grown in their careers. There are many more stories just like theirs – more than 52,000 associates have graduated since our first academy opened in 2016.
Margie started as an Overnight Stocker, was recently promoted to GM Support Manager and last week graduated from the...
We have a lot of passionate associates, and we’ve seen great success with this program so far. It’s exciting to see our people feeling confident and even more empowered to take charge of their careers. Our customers are seeing a benefit, too. As these graduates are going back to their stores and implementing their new skills, they’re helping transform our shopping experience to be a consistently positive one.
The Crotilla is a hybrid bakery item exclusive to Walmart. A combination of a croissant and tortilla, this flatbread can be used for everything from breakfast sandwiches to Indian food. I wanted to know what goes into arranging a food marriage, so I talked to Bradlee Underwood, senior buyer for Walmart Bakery, to get the back story.
E: Because the item was exclusive to Walmart, and brand-new, was there extra pressure to get it right?
B: Because it would be our customers’ first encounter with the Crotilla, we wanted all aspects of the product to be perfect. That meant everything from making the shape correct – the perfect size to fit in a toaster – to ensuring the Crotilla had enough layers. One thing we are especially proud of is the Crotilla’s high quality: It’s made with all butter, and baked fresh in our bakery every day.
E: What about the Crotilla is going to pique the curiosity of, say, a young professional?
B: We’ve been talking a lot about how to help busy customers save not only money but also time. Our millennial customers will appreciate the convenience factor – Crotillas are portable and perfect for a meal or a snack on the go.
E: I know as a mom shopping for my family, I have certain “go-to” foods I buy every week that I am confident my kids will like. What is going to make customers switch up their mealtime routines with a Crotilla?
B: In the same way Walmart is looking to surprise and delight customers, I think parents want to surprise and delight their families. The versatility of the product is really going to impress our customers. You can add Nutella and bananas for breakfast, or dress up a burger for lunch, or even make mini pizzas in the toaster oven for a fun dinner one night. And since Crotillas are easy and not messy, kids can pitch in help make dinner, too.
So, what goes into a Crotilla? Anything you want!
The Crotilla is available in 832 Walmart stores nationwide. Look for it in the fresh bakery department.
The following letter from Walmart CEO Doug McMillon was taken from our 2017 Annual Report, which was released today. Read the report.
Dear shareholders, associates and customers:
As I sit down to write this year’s letter, I’m feeling proud of the progress we’re making at Walmart and, most specifically, the passion and hard work exhibited by our associates. I’m encouraged by the way we’re moving with greater speed to better serve customers.
Our business is getting stronger. In the U.S., we’ve delivered positive comp store sales for ten consecutive quarters and we’re hearing from our customers that their experience continues to improve. Sam’s Club comp sales improved throughout the year and members are increasingly using our digital tools like Scan & Go and Club Pickup. Outside the U.S., 10 of our 11 markets posted positive comp sales this past year. Across our business segments, e-commerce growth is accelerating. Our strategy to serve customers through e-commerce and our stores in a seamless way is gaining traction. The momentum we’re seeing is real and I’m excited about what the future holds.
We’re clearly living in a time of transformative change. The world is moving faster and the magnitude of the changes, and their influence on business, seem larger than I can remember. In retail, the things made possible by technology are fundamentally transforming this industry. These changes are creating compelling ways for customers to save time and gain easy access to products and services they didn’t have before. At Walmart, we’re harnessing the power of technology and the investments in our associates to create new ways of serving customers and provide associates with more opportunities to grow their careers.
We’ve been preparing ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities presented and we have four objectives that we’re focused on this year. First, we want to make every day easier for busy families. Customers are time-crunched, so we want their shopping experience with us to be fast and easy — truly seamless — in all the ways they want to shop: in stores, on their mobile device, or through pickup and delivery. I’m excited by many of our recent initiatives — like the free 2-day shipping offer with a $35 minimum order from Walmart.com, the expansion of online grocery around the world, and Sam’s Club’s launch of Scan & Go across the U.S. — because of the convenience these initiatives provide. The strategic acquisitions of Jet, ShoeBuy, Moosejaw and ModCloth, as well as the alliance with JD.com in China, provide customers with a broader assortment as well as more ways to save time and money. It’s truly been a significant year of progress on this front.
Our second key objective is to change the way we work. We’re focused on becoming more of a digital enterprise. We’re working to increase productivity with more efficient internal processes and creating more real-time information at our fingertips, supported by more advanced analytics. We’re providing in-store associates with the tools they need, like apps and tablets, to make it easier to gain insight into our performance. Our goal is to increase our speed, effectiveness for customers and productivity throughout the business. We’re also working to strengthen the performance mindset of our culture and fight bureaucracy that can plague large companies. A strong and effective culture is foundational to success and we’re shaping ours to drive performance and create even more opportunity for our diverse group of associates in an inclusive work environment.
Third, we will deliver results and operate with discipline. We were founded on an everyday low-cost mentality but we think we have opportunities to work in new ways and find a path to a lower cost base. This is vital for our future. We’ll be smart with how we allocate capital to drive long-term value for our shareholders. We’re after efficient growth. We will focus on growing more through e-commerce and comp sales in our current store fleet and rely less on new store growth in the U.S. We’ll also continually look at our portfolio to make sure we’re positioned to win. We’ll invest in our core business with store remodels, technology and customer initiatives like online grocery and pickup, while at the same time being open to divest non-core assets if it’s in our best interest.
The fourth objective is to be the most trusted retailer. During this time of change, customers are watching the companies they spend their time and money with more closely than ever. The way we earn their trust is through our associates doing the right thing every day — being creative, curious, ethical, service oriented and embodying our purpose of making lives better for others. If everyone could see inside the company I’ve come to love, they would feel even better about the company.
We’re doing things people would expect from Walmart: focusing on lowering prices — not by cutting corners, but by being better at delivering great items more efficiently than our competitors; and constantly innovating to save customers time as well as money. We’re also doing things that might surprise some people. We’ve made significant investments in our associates, providing the career opportunities they deserve and skills necessary to be successful at Walmart or wherever their career takes them. Over the last decade, we’ve become one of the most environmentally sustainable retailers (and companies) in the world and we’re raising the bar even higher. We’re investing in making our supply chain safer and more transparent so customers can be confident that the products they purchase are sourced the right way. And, we have embraced the journey towards the concept of “shared value” as espoused by Dr. Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, which challenges us to create a business model that is not just good for shareholders but better for everyone: customers, associates, suppliers, communities and society in general.
We’ve worked hard over the years to earn the trust of those we serve and do business with around the world. By no means am I saying Walmart is perfect. We’ll make honest mistakes along the way, but we won’t let up until we get it right. Our purpose is simple: we save people money so they can live better. We take both aspects of our purpose seriously.
We want to thank you for believing in us…for investing in our future. We are a company of the future. As I stated earlier, we’re operating from a strong foundation built by those before us and taking action aimed at strengthening our business this year and beyond. We’ll continue to strengthen our stores around the world, we’ll continue to build our e-commerce and digital capabilities, and we’ll put them together in a way that saves customers time and money. And as they choose to shop with us, we’ll be doing things behind the scenes to create shared value for all so they are confident that their trust in us is well-placed.