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Walmart gives employees more control over schedules

 Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A new app is making it easier for Walmart to pick up extra hours while still maintaining a work-life balance.

The discount giant announced on Tuesday that a new mobile scheduling app will be available to all store associates nationwide by the end of November. Called My Walmart Schedule, the new system is designed provide associates with more predictability and flexibility to manage family life – and work life, the company said. The app was introduced in a 500-store pilot in the spring.

The app allows associates to view schedules, swap shifts with other employees and pick up extra, unfilled shifts. In addition to enabling employees to create schedules that work for them, the app also gives associates more control of their time, and allows them to make adjustments quickly when plans change, according to a blog on Walmart’s website.

Features of the App

First, the new app supports employee scheduling consistency with a method called “core hours.” An associate with a core-hour schedule will work the same weekly shifts for at least 13 weeks, giving that associate the ability to plan his or her life around work. Associates in nearly 2,000 stores are on a core-hour schedule. The rest of the company’s stores will have the option by early next year.

The app also gives associates more flexibility when choosing shifts. When the new system develops a schedule, it creates a variety of shifts based on associates’ availability, and when customers will be in the store. The result is a schedule that works for customers and for associates, and eliminates long planning hours for managers.

Finally, it enables associates to pick up extra shifts — including those available in other store departments. Once associates are trained in a certain skill, they can simply go into the app and pick up shifts. In stores where the new system was tested, associates reported that they enjoyed learning different parts of the store, the blog said.

Advantages

“Managers say this new simplified approach has saved them a ton of time – as many as eight hours per week, in fact, allowing them to spend more time on the sales floor with their associates and customers,” Matt Smith, Walmart Corporate Affairs, said in the blog.

By giving employees more control over their schedules, Walmart is also upping the stakes when it comes to have more engaged associates available to deliver better in-store service.

“Walmart’s scheduling initiative is a promising sign that the retail industry is understanding the role that associates play in increasing sales, customer loyalty and overall in-store satisfaction,” said Adam Silverman, senior VP marketing, Theatro.

“With improved communication and organization among associates on the salesfloor, employees are more efficient and can assure that any shopper in the store is served in a timely matter,” he added. “Additionally, with solutions similar to the one Walmart introduced, associates can take pride in knowing that their employer is investing in creating an empowered workforce.”

Read Full Article: ChainStore Age

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