Opportunity

Last Year, Dwight Was Promoted in Public – Where is He Now?

I’d like to introduce you to Dwight Blanton. He’s a true citizen of the community, giving back in so many ways.

He volunteers at his local homeless shelter. He is a veteran, still serving in the Army Reserve. He’s a college student and a recipient of a Walmart Scholarship. Even with all of that, he still has the time and passion to serve customers at his day job – something he’s pretty well-known for at the supercenter where he works in Cabot, Arkansas.

A year ago, Dwight was working at a supercenter in nearby Jacksonville, Arkansas, when he was invited to Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting. This meeting brings together thousands of our associates from around the world, and Dwight got a special surprise in front of them all. He was promoted to an assistant store manager. Now, it’s pretty awesome to get a promotion, but not many of us get to share that joy with thousands of coworkers … and get the news delivered straight from the CEO.

We wanted to check in with Dwight to see what his journey has been like over the past year. So we met up with him to find out.

Bo: What was it like being on that stage, in a packed arena, being promoted by our CEO Doug McMillon? What’s your life been like since your promotion?
Dwight: Honestly, it was shocking. I thought it was just a normal trip. They made sure I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was definitely surprised. Since the promotion, it’s been exciting. It’s made me want to strive for more and more. I’ve been taken to a whole new level as far as helping customers and getting involved even more with the community.

Bo: Speaking of community, we learned during the shareholders’ meeting that you’re very involved in a lot of things outside of work. How’s that been for the past year?
Dwight: I still volunteer with the homeless shelter. I serve in the Army Reserves and was recently promoted there, too. That’s been exciting. I’m still going to school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where I’m working on my bachelor’s degree in health care promotions and a minor in psychology.

Bo: What do you like so much about being an assistant manager?
Dwight: I like the teamwork atmosphere – always being able to work together and accomplish one goal. When you face a challenge or a goal is set, sometimes you feel like you have to take it on yourself. I came here with the mindset to do it all on my own, but it takes everyone to accomplish goals and overcome challenges. You’re not going to be able to move forward alone. From the cart pusher up to the CEO, everyone has an important role.

Bo: What advice would you give to other associates looking to get promoted?
Dwight: Never give up. Never quit. I got that mindset from being in the military. I’ve faced a lot of challenges, but I know I can get through it if I just keep going.

Bo: What keeps you coming in every day and giving it your best?
Dwight: I have a passion for the customers and the associates. They make us. When I see our associates giving it their all when they have so much going on in their own lives, it inspires me. I have a Walmart stamp on me. People look at me and see Walmart and that makes me proud.

Bo: What’s the next step on your journey?
Dwight: I definitely have store co-manager in my mind. I always want to go to the next level, so I’m accepting the challenge. What I love about this company is that I can do anything and go anywhere. I want to travel and I know I can do that with Walmart – from here to the home office to anywhere in the country. I’ve always had an interest in drama, so maybe one day I’ll even be a Walmart Radio DJ.

Bo: It was great getting to catch up with Dwight. It’s exciting to hear his story, as well as the successes of so many other associates across the U.S. Dwight is just one example of Walmart’s commitment to help our people do more and achieve more – check out this video to see just what that’s meant over the past two years.

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Business

Found: The Story Behind Our New Natural Beauty Routine

If you’ve ever tried shopping for naturally-inspired beauty products, you know the struggle.

They can be expensive. They’re sometimes not as effective. Makeup colors can be limited, and guess what? That means matching skin tones is a challenge.

As a buyer for cosmetics at Walmart, I’d begun noticing an industry trend, both from our customers’ feedback and focus groups: People care more than ever about the ingredients in the products they’re using. But this was also personal. I’m passionate about using natural ingredients in my home, and I was having trouble finding beauty products that looked good, felt good, and wouldn’t break the bank.

That was last year. Little did I know that a solution was soon to be found.

My team started looking into what it would take to develop naturally-inspired skincare and cosmetics, and that’s when we discovered Hatchbeauty, a company specializing in everything from the development to the marketing of innovative beauty products. They were eager to marry their beauty expertise with our retail expertise to create something truly unique and different – Found, a new line of naturally-inspired beauty products exclusive to Walmart.

Every item within Found highlights a “miracle” ingredient used in ancient beauty rituals. For instance, one of my favorite products, the illuminating drops, uses passionfruit oil to lock in moisture and nourish your skin. We’ve brought these ingredients to life to give customers an alternative featuring natural ingredients that can deliver the same results as traditional, high-end beauty products.

Helping develop Found has been one of the most meaningful achievements in my career, because it has been an intersection where my personal passion and my professional purpose collide. Walmart is committed to selling more products that benefit people and the planet. Found’s 130-product line is never tested on animals, and there’s even a Not Found list featuring what you won’t find in the products, like parabens and phthalates. Every product is 90-99% natural, and the percent of natural ingredients is front and center on every product.

Working with Tracy Holland, founder and CEO, Diana Madrid, COO, and Ben Bennet CCO, was a phenomenal experience, but I was impressed with the engagement from everyone on their team. From the owners to the brand managers to the chemists and product developers, everyone encouraged diversity of thought and inclusion, which made it possible for the customer to be the focus of our development process. I can’t count the number of times we changed direction on formulas, shade range or packaging based on customer feedback. For instance, we received customer feedback that skincare can be a confusing category to shop, so we broke down every item into one of three steps: cleanse, treat and hydrate. Found demystifies the process and helps customers focus on key items to build their regimens.

When I gave my first presentation to our leadership team, I asked them how my makeup looked, and they couldn’t believe everything I was wearing was from our naturally-inspired line. It’s one thing to develop these products – but it’s another thing entirely to actually wear the products and love them! Found has truly been a chance for me to help our customers save money and live better.

You can find Found products at select Walmart locations, Walmart.com and coming soon to Jet.com.

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Opportunity

How Tech is Powering New Paths for One 23-Year-Old

At the age of 23, Luis Gomez is already doing the kind of work he’s always dreamed of.

Three years ago, Luis was a college student and working as a Walmart cashier, with an IT job on the side to make extra money. He took the first step toward his goal of working in tech for Walmart and applied for a job in server operations at the home office. Today, he’s a cybersecurity associate at the David Glass Technology Center.

“The biggest piece of advice I have for anyone just starting out in their career is to take every opportunity that comes your way,” he said. “If you’ve never done something, try it anyway. We’re all moving forward.”

Check out this video to see how a career in tech is not only powering Luis’s dreams, but is inspiring his family and co-workers to do even more for theirs.

Looking for tech jobs like Luis’s? Check out our careers site to see what positions are currently available.

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Business

Walmart's Secret Advantage to Serving You This Holiday Season

The holiday season is a busy time of year at Walmart.

From October through December, hundreds of millions of Americans will visit more than 5,000 Walmart locations to shop for gifts, grab last-minute items for holiday meals and take advantage of special deals that come but once a year.

Now, more than ever, Walmart and its associates will be ready for them.

Based on the success of a similar effort in 2016, the company announced it will be offering extra hours available this time of year to our current associates, rather than hiring thousands of seasonal workers.

“Our associates make the holidays come to life in our stores, and we are thankful for everything they do,” said Judith McKenna, Chief Operating Officer. “As we head into our busiest time of the year, we know associates are ready to deliver for our customers and help give them a memorable and affordable Christmas.”

These extra hours will help staff traditional roles like cashier and stocker, as well as newly created, technology-empowered positions in Walmart’s growing online pickup department.

Here are three big reasons why the company is investing in its people for Holiday 2017:

  1. The way customers shop is rapidly changing. Walmart expects new services like Online Grocery Pickup to take off with the holiday cooking crowd, making the company’s specially trained personal shoppers an even more indispensable part of the team.
  2. The company’s Holiday Helpers program was a huge success last year, and in 2017 Walmart is increasing the number of Helpers across its fleet of stores. These associates are dedicated to helping customers get through stores faster by finding the shortest checkout line and opening registers as needed. They’ll even run to grab items customers may have forgotten, so they don’t lose their place.
  3. Walmart has increased its focus on service through new training, tools and technology. Thousands of associates have completed the company’s Pathways and Academy programs, which prepares them to more effectively serve customers during this busy season.

“The holidays are a special time of year for our customers and associates,” McKenna said. “This is what working in retail is all about, and we know our people have the passion to do even more this year.”

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Business

One Year Ago, We Welcomed Jet … and the Winners are Our Customers

When the Jet.com deal closed one year ago, many people asked, “Why Jet.com?”

At the time, we’d strengthened our e-commerce capabilities and were looking for the right partner to accelerate our efforts. So while it was a logical question to ask, the answer was really quite simple: Jet was the right partner at the right time. Both Walmart and Jet have a deep commitment to serving customers, and saving them money and time. By coming together, we could do all these things, better.

That’s exactly what we’re doing. In August, we partnered with Google for voice shopping. Earlier in the year, we launched Easy Reorder, a feature in our mobile app that helps customers easily access a list of items they purchase most frequently. We also launched free two-day shipping on millions of items – without a membership fee. And we’ve steadily expanded our merchandise assortment. This time last year, we had just reached 15 million items available on Walmart.com and today that number is 67 million items and rising.

We’ve welcomed other innovative online retailers to the Walmart family, including Bonobos, Hayneedle, Modcloth, Moosejaw and Shoes.com. Each of these acquisitions has helped strengthen our expertise in key product categories, provide an expanded assortment and a way to reach new customers. We’re able to provide these new companies the benefit of Walmart’s scale to lower their operating costs, which allows each to invest in the customer experience and grow the business.

We’re also seeing the power of our stores and e-commerce coming together to serve customers. We’re removing friction from our shopping experience – focused on making it fast, easy and fun for customers. Walmart customers now receive a discount for store pickup rather than home delivery, which we can offer by using our vast supply chain and store network to create efficiencies. With stores located within 10 miles of nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, it’s convenient for many of our customers, and saves them money.

In addition to 1,000 grocery pickup locations in the U.S., we’re testing associate delivery of Walmart.com orders in a few stores. By the end of the year, we’ll have approximately 100 automated pickup towers in stores across the country, where customers can pick up their orders within a matter of minutes. And we’re excited about the growth we’re seeing across our e-commerce portfolio. One important metric, Gross Merchandise Value, grew 69 percent in the first quarter this year, and was just as robust the next quarter at 67 percent. That’s proof customers are responding.

Marc Lore, who founded Jet, and now leads our U.S. e-commerce efforts, has proven to be the digital embodiment of Walmart. He has a fanatical focus on serving customers and creating the next generation of everyday low prices. It’s energizing how he and Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart U.S., and their teams continue to partner closely to delight customers in new ways across our apps, sites and stores.

I’m excited about how far we’ve come together, and even more excited about what’s ahead. Here’s to another great year of finding more ways to save our customers time and money, and delivering an easy and enjoyable shopping experience.

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