Walmart employees dish on what it's actually like to work at the retail giant

  • Walmart store employees, like all retail workers, have to deal with some trying situations on the job.
  • At the same time, a number of associates told Business Insider that the job’s not all rude customers and unhelpful managers.
  • Here’s a look at some of the best and most challenging aspects of working at Walmart, according to employees.

Walmart store employees – all 2.3 million of them worldwide – have a unique inside view of the retail giant.

They see the best the company has to offer its workers – and, occassionally, the worst.

Walmart currently has a 3.2 out of 5 rating on Glassdoor, and 55% of Glassdoor posters said they would recommend the gig to a friend.

Here’s what associates say are the best – and most challenging – parts of working at Walmart.

The work can vary day-to-day

One employee from Florida told Business Insider that they liked the fact that their daily routine at the store could change based on the day or season.

“There are a lot of different jobs at Walmart, and you can move between them fairly easily,” former Walmart employee Jon Loyd wrote on Quora. “Walmart has a system for putting in job preferences, so you can be considered as soon a position come open.”

Loyd himself said he started out as a cashier and shifted into a maintenance role. He added that he was also trained to work in the electronics department and work at the operator’s desk.

Dealing with many different managers

One Walmart associate of 10 years told Business Insider that they had a hard time “dealing with too many chiefs” at the store.

Another employee of 15 years told Business Insider that they felt the management of their store tended to be “scared to death” of those above them in the corporate chain of command.

That being said, the system ends up working for some people.

Loyd wrote on Quora that “every Walmart has a different culture.”

But he added that the Walmart store where he worked had “great management,” so an abundance of managers was actually a good thing.

“Even if we have to deal with bad managers, there was always another manager to go to for help,” he wrote.

Problematic goings-on in the parking lot

A Walmart employee from Nashville told Business Insider that shoppers often drive dangerously in the parking lot, while another associate from Virginia said that they had witnessed fights go down in their store’s parking lot.

A Reddit poster who said they worked at Walmart also took issue with the driving habits of some customers.

“I had a guy back out towards me while I was pushing a row of carts directly behind his car,” the poster wrote. “I desperately moved the line of carts around his car as he continued to back out. I ended up pushing them right up against the side of his car – scratching it.”

Meeting lots of new people

“You get to meet a lot of people,” an employee of 15 years told Business Insider. “Most are good people. If you give them bit of help, most are very nice.”

And another employee from Wisconsin said that the best part of the job was becoming friends with coworkers.

Understaffing in the store

One employee from Wisconsin told Business Insider that they felt their team didn’t receive “enough help or equipment to do the job.”

A Walmart manager also wrote in a 2017 Reddit AMA that their store experienced a distinct “lack of staff,” which they said was the reason so many cash registers often went un-manned on busy days.

“As a manager, I spend a lot of time on a register myself trying to cut down lines but there are a lot of managers who won’t take it upon themselves to do that,” the Walmart manager wrote.

Previous news reports have indicated that the issue of understaffing at Walmart is a company-wide phenomenon.

“Understaffing from the sales floor to the front end has greatly affected the store,” Walmart customer service manager and union-backed OUR Walmart member Janet Sparks told The New York Times in 2014.

This problem isn’t unique to Walmart, though. In 2016, employee engagement platform WorkJam found that 89% of retail stores were understaffed each week.

And employees reported that the problem of understaffing came with a potentially positive byproduct: many stores constantly have a lot of hours available for employees who want to take them on.

“Working with Walmart is actually fantastic,” associate Carolyn Warhurst wrote on Quora, citing the abundance of working hours and the constant stream of customers. “Because they have constant customers and people have constant needs for daily essentials and supplies, they always have hours!”

Getting recognised for hard work

Thomas Cooper/Getty Images

“If you work hard and don’t mess around, your managers will usually give you the hours and call you in over other associates,” former Walmart associate Crystal Linn wrote on Quora.

But becoming a go-to associate also comes with its own challenges.

“They will start to call you in constantly and, if you say no, they will get upset,” Linn wrote. “Especially if you have a history of going in, so then they expect you.”

Rude customers

Like all retail workers, Walmart associates sometimes have to deal with some pretty nasty customers.

Linn blamed the abusive behaviour on the “bad stigma surrounding Walmart employees as being ignorant and high school drop-outs. Customers will treat you as such.”

“I even had a woman ask me once, ‘Do you even know what an electric can opener is?’ after I showed her where the handheld ones were located,” she wrote on Quora.

Godfrey wrote that some customers behave “as if you’re not much better than an untouchable or something.”

“I was in college and then graduate school while working there part-time, and still I’d have customers call me ‘dummy’ to my face because they were unhappy with something,” Godfrey wrote.

The company donates more money than you might think

“Walmart does so much for communities, but it rarely puts that information forward,” an employee of 12 years told Business Insider. “Whether it be natural disasters, raising money for disadvantaged people, or rebuilding communities, Walmart has always been there silently getting people and places back on their feet.”

Walmart has consistently been ranked as one of the most charitable companies in America. In fact, according to Walmart’s Giving Back report as published on The Motley Fool, the retail giant gave $US1.4 billion to charity back in FY2016.

Are you a current or former Walmart employee with a story to share? Email [email protected]

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