Introduction:Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is synonymous with low prices and quality products. Wal-Mart formula for success lies in their relationship with customers and its workforce that places Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as the top discount retailer and the largest employer in the United States. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million associates worldwide in more than 3,600 stores in the United States and more than 1,500 international stores. The associate at Wal-Mart is a great strength to Wal-Mart. Programs such as the "Yes We Can Sam" emphasis this. The program is designed to motivate employees to submit ideas that will cut cost for the company. There are many benefits that Wal-Mart offers to its employees. According to the CEO Lee Scott (2006) ÃÂDuring our most recent open enrollment period, we signed up more than 70,000 associates who didnÃÂt have our health insurance before. Fifty thousand of those working men and women were previously uninsured.
And this is just a start,ÃÂInsurance Benefits at Wal-Mart:Wal-Mart offers its employees Life Insurance that offers financial protection for associates and their families in case of death. Eligible associates receive Company Paid Life Insurance, and may also apply for additional life insurance coverage for themselves, their spouses, or their dependent children.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. also provides Business Travel Accident coverage to its workers while on Company business. Apart from this a short as well as a long term Disability Insurance is provided to associates and their families.
Retirement Plans at Wal-Mart:Wal-Mart contributes to 401(k) Plan for its associates to take care of their long-term financial needs especially after retirement. At Wal-Mart associates are eligible for the Profit Sharing and 401(k) plan after working at least 1,000 hours in one year. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. may contribute to all eligible associates' accounts annually, regardless of whether the associate chooses to contribute.
Health and Safety benefits at Wal-Mart:Wal-Mart offers Associates' Medical Plan that provides protection from the unexpected medical event. The Associates' Medical Plan is designed to protect associates from catastrophic loss and financial ruin. Apart from this Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) is offered in some facilities. The Dental Plan provides associates access to a network of general dentists and specialists providing dental care at discounted fees.
. Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D) covers pays benefits to eligible associates if they have a loss of life, limb, sight, speech, hearing, or become paralyzed due to an accident while insured. STARBRIDGE is a limited medical plan that is available to associates and their families who are in an eligibility waiting period. STARBRIDGE is also offered to temporary associates. AflacÃÂ Cancer Insurance is a supplemental insurance plan provided against cancer.
Other Benefits at Wal-Mart:The Associate Stock Purchase Plan allows associates to buy stock in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. conveniently through payroll deductions. The Company also contributes to associates' stock purchase according to plan guidelines. Apart from this Wal-Mart also provides incentives to outstanding workers. It also gives 10 % discounts to its associates on purchasing from Wal-Mart. There are certain other benefits enjoyed by Wal-Mart workers such as extra pay programs and vacation pay etc. Workers are also given financial education benefits.
Wal-Mart encourages its associates to advance in their careers by offering many career paths and opportunities. The company provide the training and professional development to its associates. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. provides on-the-job training and ongoing formal development to build customer service skills. The company is committed to diversity that reflects in its working environment. It also follows an. Open Door Policy whereby associates can discuss their ideas and concerns without fear of retaliation.
The criticism:Despite good benefits offered to its worker there has been some criticism of Wal-Mart According to one report an average two-person family needed $27,948 to meet basic needs in 2005, well above the average full-time earning of an associate earns (Wakeup Wal-Mart.com). Wal-MartÃÂs 2006 Annual Report informs that the company faced 57 wage and hour lawsuits that does not auger well for the company. The company certainly needs to have a look into this.
Conclusions:Wal-Mart is one of the most successful companies and the largest employer in USA. The company provides some great benefits to its employees however off late there has been a lot of criticism of its various employees related policies.
References:Lee Scott (2006), Wal-Mart CEO Previews Health Benefits Improvements, Available http://www.walmartfacts.com/articles/1719.aspx Retrieved 5th July 2006.
Wal-MartÃÂs Annual Report (2006) Available http://walmartstores.com/GlobalWMStoresWeb/navigate.do?catg=453&contId=5700 Retrieved 5th July 2006.
Wal-Mart; Benefits: Available http://walmartstores.com/GlobalWMStoresWeb/navigate.do?catg=609, Retrieved 5th July 2006.
Wal-Mart; Health Benefits: Available http://walmartstores.com/GlobalWMStoresWeb/navigate.do?catg=606, Retrieved 5th July 2006.
Working at Wal-Mart: Available, http://walmartstores.com/GlobalWMStoresWeb/navigate.do?catg=236 , Retrieved 5th July 2006Wakeup Wal-Mart.com The Real Facts About Wal-Mart. Available, http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/facts/ Retrieved 5th July 2006