- Walmart is the world’s largest private employer with about 2.3 million workers globally.
- Insider spoke with nine Walmart employees to get a better sense of what it’s like to work at the retail giant.
- Workers shared tips for prospective employees, such as communicating openly with management.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Walmart is the world’s largest private employer, with about 2.3 million workers globally, including 1.6 million in the US – and it’s looking to hire thousands more people this year.
Many of Walmart’s employees are based in the retailer’s stores, working the checkout lines, stocking goods, and packing grocery orders, among other duties. Walmart pays about $15.25 an hour on average, according to the company.
But what is it really like to work for Walmart as a store-level employee? And what do workers wish they’d known before joining the retail giant?
In interviews with Insider, nine Walmart employees from across the US revealed what they have learned about managing time off and communicating with supervisors, among other work tips.
Openly communicating with managers and other employees makes the job easier
An employee who worked until recently worked in the grocery department of a Walmart store in Georgia said openly communicating with other employees helped her schedule work shifts around her responsibilities as a mother. She said Walmart managers allowed her to use lunch breaks to pick up her daughter from school.
She also said if her daughter needed something during her shift, she could get coworkers whom she had befriended to cover for her.
“I’m going to shout out my coworkers, I was able to get through a lot of days from my coworkers’ help,” she told Insider. “You have to be a team in order to get something done.”
Insider confirmed the employment status of this employee, as well as others cited in this story. Several workers interviewed asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.
One department manager who has worked at Walmart for about 15 years told Insider that they advise employees to “always keep in mind the core values of self respect and respect for others” in order to get through stressful times at work.
Walmart said gathering feedback from employees is a cornerstone of its culture.
“Sam Walton believed front-line associates are our best idea generators and one of his rules for building a business was to listen to everyone in the company,” a spokesperson said in a statement sent to Insider. “Today, associates’ feedback – both anonymous and direct – continues to create a culture of trust, transparency, and engagement.”
Use your attendance points wisely
One employee in Oklahoma said he tells new hires to beware of accruing attendance points, which mark absences from work.
Workers get one point for missing a shift without managerial approval, two points for missing a shift without advance notice, and two points for missing work during holidays like Christmas Eve or around Thanksgiving, the employee said.
A total of five points can result in termination, though in some cases managers have discretion to remove points, the worker said. Each point remains on employees’ records for six months.
“I personally hate this point system,” the employee said. “I get the reasoning behind it but I believe that having a little more than five points might make it a little better.”
A former part-time Walmart cashier named Gypsy Noonan – who is also a member of the labor advocacy group United for Respect – told Insider of her own experience with the points system. She said that she was once “pointed” for taking off when her young son was sick.
“I helped them out and worked for them on one of my days off,” she told Insider. “But they wouldn’t balance the point out. I thought that was really unfair, seeing as I really had been a model employee for them.”
A Walmart spokesperson said that the company’s attendance system services to ensure that “associates in the right place at the right time.”
“Walmart associates receive their schedules at least two weeks in advance and key retail event dates are updated quarterly,” a spokesperson said. “Like any business, we have an attendance policy that clearly outlines expectations for regular and punctual attendance, as well as steps to follow when an associate must miss work. We understand that there are times when unexpected circumstances arise.”
The spokesperson said that Walmart workers receive regular paid-time-off, which workers can request in advance, as well as protected paid-time-off, which can be used at times “when they are unexpectedly unable to make it to work.”
Your department could have a major impact on your work experience
The department you work in – whether it be grocery, customer service, or electronics – impacts the quality of your job, said one Walmart worker in California.
He said the electronics department – where he works – is more of a “chill job,” while other departments have to handle more customer complaints and do extra work to keep up with demand.
Another worker who helped in the electronics department in another Walmart location in California echoed that sentiment. He said he would recommend that new hires try to land in a department that’s not in the front end – where cashiers and greeters are – due to the higher likelihood of clashing with customers.
A Wisconsin-based cashier said one challenge of working in the front end is managing checkouts.
“We never seem to have enough staff to do checkouts,” the cashier said. “People complain about there not being enough cashiers, but I can’t do anything about it.”
“The good news about Walmart is there is all different types of jobs in our stores, our clubs, our distribution and fulfillment centers meaning there are many, many opportunities to find the job that is right for you,” a Walmart spokesperson said in a statement to Insider.
Beware of the impact the job can have on your mental health.
One front-end employee in Texas said she wished she had a better idea of the stress that the job could entail before she joined Walmart. She said customers have become more “hateful” and rude since the pandemic began, and she recalled an instance where a shopper yelled at her for asking her to move out of the entrance.
“It’s rare that you encounter nice people,” she added.
The employee, who works nights, said she feels her store is understaffed, and she typically continues working past the time that her shift ends to put returned items back on shelves and clean.
The associate also said she gets paid around $11 an hour, less than other associates in other departments who get paid a few dollars more. Walmart confirmed that the minimum hourly pay for certain roles in some locations remains around $11.
“It’s a good job to get you through a period where you need some sort of employment, but I don’t think it’s anywhere anyone should stay for any length of time,” she said.
Other workers said that taking a proactive approach can mitigate conflicts with shoppers.
A Walmart worker in Virginia told Insider that they have found that many customers “are good people and, if you give them a bit of help, most are very nice.”
“Retail is a people business and our first priority is to serve customers,” a Walmart spokesperson said. “Anyone can have a bad day, but overall retail is a very exciting industry to be in right now, there is so much change, new technology, new ways to serve customers and that change will continue which brings a ton of opportunity to launch and grow a career. And no one offers more opportunity than Walmart – we promote 500 US associates every day.”