- To expand and unify its various development offerings, Walmart June 2 announced the creation of a single global Walmart Academy to serve its 2.3 million associates around the world.
- The new Walmart Academy will focus on employees developing on-the-job skills, growing future skills and developing managers through leadership training.
- The initiative expands on the already-existing Walmart Academy, growing the company’s myriad training offerings — including its College2Career program — to all associates worldwide. Live Better U, the company’s free college benefit, remains a U.S.-only offering.
Walmart remains one of the largest employers in the U.S., and was among the first waves of retailers to offer some form of college benefit; Live Better U, the college program, was made free to employees in 2021. In its wake, hourly employers of all stripes increased their upskilling offerings, pressured in part by a tight talent market worsened by the pandemic.
Companies leaned on L&D during the pandemic and the department has seen higher budgets since 2020 — a trend that will likely continue, according to a TalentLMS and Society for Human Resource Management survey. Reskilling remains a top priority for employers as HR practitioners look toward the next three years, according to a Willis Towers Watson analysis. Employers expect pressure in organizational agility and foresee changes to employee work models that may drive the increased reliance on L&D.
Learning benefits may also see increased adoption because of employee demand. Prior to the pandemic, hourly employees expressed a desire to be promoted from within rather than seek a job higher up the ladder at a different company. Walmart, in its announcement, emphasized its intention to build leaders already at work in its stores and previously highlighted efforts to connect associates with jobs at other areas in the company.
Upskilling may be especially important for young workers, a Jobs for the Future report noted earlier this year. Employers may want to take another look at their offerings to ensure development plays a part in their benefits, the report said.