Sustaining Employee Performance: Walmart Case Study

Walmart is the world’s leading retailer and has a large workforce.  Cashier and supervisor position are common positions in all Walmart’s outlets. The responsibility of a cashier is to enable the company to exchange value with the customers. Cashiers compute the value of products the Essay writing services customer wishes to buy from the outlet and give an invoice. Cash equivalent to the value of the goods is retained by the cashier in exchange for the items purchase.  Cashiers in the company occupy the lowest level in the organization hierarchy, and they report to the supervisor. They interact with the clients directly making it necessary to have outstanding communication and interpersonal skills.  They also need to carry out their operations quite fast and at the same time not compromising service delivery. All cashiers use transaction processing systems that require them to have adequate computer skills.

The job of supervisors is to oversee employees. They guide the employees in execution of specific tasks.  The number of supervisors in retail outlets depends on the size and diversity of operations. Operations in Walmart’s outlets are divided into specific sections where each section is assigned a supervisor. The number of employees under a single supervisor varies among sections. Supervisors are held accountable for the performance of the employees. They are required to closely monitor the performance of each employee to ensure employees contribute positively towards the realization of organizational goals. Supervisors explain goals and policies to the employees to ensure efforts are channeled towards a common purpose.  They also evaluate employee performance that is used as a basis for making key human resource decisions such as promotion and training.

Performance Management Systems

Performance management systems bring the managers and employees together to facilitate evaluation of individual’s contribution towards the realization of organizational goals (Longenecker, 2001).  Emphasis is put on planning, monitoring, and reviewing employee performance.  These activities ensure employees make positive contributions towards the realization of organizational goals.  Examining operations at Walmart reveals that the company does not use performance management systems.  It is essential to use the systems due to their many benefits they create for an organization. Clarification of the goals to the employees is one of the main advantages of the system. Managers understand organizational goals better than the employees making it necessary to clarify these goals. Performance management system brings the manager close to the employees where they clarify every significant goal in line with the organization’s departmental and overall plan. The system links employee’s performance to the realization of organizational goals that is a source of motivation. Most employees fail to understand the importance of their role to the organization.  A performance management system leads to the identification employees weaknesses that provide a basis for training. It enables the managers to stay close to the workers enabling them to identify the workers’ weaknesses. Objectivity in training is promoted when the managers are able to identify specific skills shortfalls in employees (Longenecker, 2001). The system also enables managers to assign employees jobs that are in line with their skills that lead to improved performance.

Job Evaluation

Job evaluation is the process of determining the value of a job relative to other jobs in the organization. The evaluation provides a basis for compensation since jobs perceived to be more valuable are compensated higher than lower valued jobs.  Job evaluation is preceded by a job analysis where pertinent information about a job is gathered to support ascertainment of the value of a job (Smith et al., 2005).  Some of the methods of job evaluation are ranking and   grading.  Each of these methods has strengths and weaknesses when applied in evaluating cashiers and supervisors.

Ranking method is the simplest job evaluation approach. It involves ranking jobs from highest to the lowest depending on their value to the organization. A job can be judged based on the duties, demands, and the responsibilities of the job holder (Levine et al., 2002). The method has some advantages that make it   one of the most preferred. Firstly, it is economical on time that makes it ideal for evaluating numerous cashiers and supervisions.  Secondly, the method is economical thus supporting cost reduction. On disadvantages, the method is not standardized. For instance, a cashier may have more responsibilities than the supervisor thus making it inappropriate to use responsibilities as an aspect of job evaluation. Another disadvantage is that it is unmanageable when many jobs are being evaluated. Walmart has many positions that may compromise the method’s application.

Grading method involves putting jobs into classifications. A classification is comprised of jobs requiring similar skills or with similar difficulty(Levine et al.,2002). The method makes pay determination easy by putting jobs into classes where jobs in the same class are paid similarly. Establishing a class for cashier and another one for supervisors makes it easy to determine pay for each class. The main disadvantage is that it cannot properly evaluate complex jobs that cannot fit in any class. Supervision differs regarding the span of control and skills requirement. Some supervisors oversee technical areas such as IT or catering. Others oversee a large number of subordinates that complicates their work.  The method does not provide room for recognizing such differences.

Compensation Plans

Compensation plans detail how an employee is paid for services rendered (Zoltners et al., 2006).  The supervisors should be paid salaries and bonuses. Supervisors are permanent employees meaning that they should be entitled a salary.  The salary should be revised periodically in line with the supervisor’s performance.   Bonuses are given to induce performance (Colt, 1998).  The human resource manager should set specific targets to the supervisors and give bonuses whenever these targets are met.  For instance, the supervisor in food production department should be given a bonus based on the reduction of wastages in production activities. Supervisors in departments that deal with customers directly should be given a bonus based on customer satisfaction. The cashiers should be compensated on an hourly basis and a commission. The commission should be based on sales turnover to motivate them to adjust to heavy workloads.

It is essential to implement employee benefit plans to the two categories of employees. Employee benefits are rewards given to the employees in addition to the basic pay (Kozak,2010). The employee benefit plan will be of benefit to the organization if implemented on the two categories of employees.  The ideal benefit plan should include a health insurance cover and workplace flexibility plan. The plan would motivate employees as they would feel appreciated. It would also reduce turnover rate due to the increased satisfaction.  High turnover rate is of great concern since it leads to a drain of skills.


Colt, S. B. (1998). The sales compensation handbook. New York: AMACOM, American Management Association.

Kozak, B. (2010). Employee benefit plans. Durham, N.C: Carolina Academic Press.

Levine, E. L., Ash, R. A., Hall, H., & Sistrunk, F. (2002). Evaluation of job analysis methods by experienced job analysts. Academy of Management Journal, 26(2), 339-348.

Longenecker, C. O. (2001). Building High Performace Management Teams. Industrial Management, 43(6), 21.

Smith, B. N., Benson, P. G., & Hornsby, J. S. (2005). The effects of job description content on job evaluation judgments. Journal of Applied Psychology, 75(3), 301-309.

Zoltners, A. A., Sinha, P., & Lorimer, S. E. (2006). The complete guide to sales force incentive compensation: How to design and implement plans that work. New York: AMACOM.


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