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Walmart CEO Tells Associates: ‘You Are Our Heroes’

Doug McMillion, Walmart Stores president and CEO

On June 5 during the company’s annual shareholders meeting, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. President and CEO Doug McMillon challenged the company’s more than 2 million associates to win the future of retail “one customer at a time.”

He then shared his strategy to attain that goal: “We’ll save customers money on their everyday needs with an easy shopping experience powered by people and technology. We’ll offer: Value—everyday low prices. Convenience—we’ll be there when and where they want us. Merchandise—we’ll have the items they want and continue to be great merchants. An easy experience—simple and fun. We’ll win one customer at a time.”

McMillon, speaking to an audience of more than 14,000 associates and shareholders, reinforced the integral role Walmart associates play in serving customers every day and the company’s commitment to providing opportunities for them to grow and advance their careers.

Referrring to the company’s recent announcements on scheduling, pay, benefits and training, McMillon said, “With hard work and determination, you can exceed your highest expectations here. I’m so proud of the work we’ve done this year to demonstrate how we’ve always felt about our own associates, our team.

“In our story, the hero is you—our associates. We aren’t more powerful than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. We do have super powers though and they are real. They’re our passion, our commitment to our customers, our caring for one another. Really, our superpowers are those that help us make someone’s day better; their life better.”


Serving customers in new ways

McMillon discussed the evolving needs of Walmart customers and how technology is offering new ways to serve them. “We’ve always said we run our business one store a time. That’s still true. But it’s becoming more than that. It’s now one customer at a time. One customer can shop with us in so many different ways—in stores, on their phones, at homes, a pick-up point. But they just think they’re shopping at Walmart, at ASDA, at Sam’s Club.

“I want us to stop talking about digital and physical retail as if they’re two separate things. The customer doesn’t think of it that way, and we can’t either. Customers just want us to solve their everyday problems with an easy, seamless shopping experience.”

He said Walmart is in position to impact the future of retail thanks to its “2 million associates who want make a difference,” as well as its network of stores around the world.

“Think about the map of our locations. No one else has that incredible network around the world,” McMillon said. “Now, think about our supply chain and experienced logistics team. I get excited about what our technology team is now capable of. As we add new capabilities and join these unique assets together effectively, we’re going to have something special.

Walmart associates in the audience at the shareholders meeting received their new name badges. Each says at the bottom, “Our People Make the Difference”; above is the associate’s name and years of service.
Walmart associates in the audience at the shareholders meeting received their new name badges. Each says at the bottom, “Our People Make the Difference”; above is the associate’s name and years of service.

“We’re approaching this work with both urgency and determination,” he added. “We’re moving fast to exceed our customers’ expectations, while making purposeful choices that will position us for the long haul. This is a turning point in our story, and the investments we’re making today will set the stage for strong and sustainable growth.”

At the meeting, which capped off a week of events in northwest Arkansas designed to celebrate the company’s associates, Walmart announced that it would raise the starting wage for more than 100,000 department managers and specialists; make changes to its dress code; improve the in-store experience for both associates and customers, including the return of Walmart Radio and changes to store temperatures; new technology for all department managers; and new associate badges that read: “Our People Make the Difference.”


Emphasis on integrity, giving back

McMillon also shared his expectations for Walmart leaders as they work to execute his vision, including acting with integrity, leading on social and environmental issues and making a difference in local communities.

“There’s no business result that’s worth more than your personal integrity or our company’s. We’d rather have a bad financial result than take a shortcut,” he said. “We want to show that a business can grow in size and reduce its environmental impact at the same time.”

Walmart Stores operates 11,462 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. Its fiscal year 2015 revenues were $486 billion.

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Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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