Jun 6, 2024 - News

Walmart makes case for being cool

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Donna Morris, executive vice president and chief people officer for Walmart. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

An estimated 14,000 global Walmart employees are convening this week in Northwest Arkansas for the company's annual shareholders and associates meetings.

Why it matters: The event is the single-largest gathering of Walmart employees, where executives try to boost morale while sharing their visions with frontline workers. It also gives Wall Street analysts a hint of what to expect in coming months.

The big picture: Executives on Wednesday consistently made the case for Walmart being a good employer. They messaged heavily on its 350-acre headquarters campus now under construction in Bentonville, technology available to its workforce, and career path opportunities.

Catch up quick: A few key takeaways from the first full day:

1. Wednesday morning, the company announced it is creating a faster path for employees to become certified skilled tradespeople and will pay bonuses up to $1,000 to some frontline workers.

2. Its business meeting was held Wednesday morning, with shareholders rejecting proposals that Walmart make public reports on racial equity, civil liberties, human rights and workplace safety, and create a wage policy for minimum earnings.

  • Shareholders elected Brian Niccol, chairman and CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill, to the board of directors, replacing Rob Walton, who in April announced he would retire.

3. Media members were taken on a walking tour of the Walton Family Whole Health & Fitness Center and given an overview of the company's new headquarters campus.

  • If construction remains on schedule, office workers will begin moving onto the campus in January, while the full transition will be complete in early 2026.

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