- Walmart will drop the $1-a-day fee for its Guild Education employee learning program, opting to pay 100% of the cost for its workers starting Aug. 16, the company announced Tuesday.
- The company attributed the new policy to changes in the economy and job market, noting that employees who enroll in the learning program "take important steps toward creating a long-term career within the Walmart ecosystem."
- Walmart will also add new offerings to the program, including degrees and certificates in business administration, supply chain and cybersecurity, and new partners, including Johnson & Wales University, the University of Arizona, the University of Denver and Pathstream.
Prior to the pandemic, employers began to invest more in employee development in part to retain workers in a worker-friendly market. Experts noted that the cost of not training employees could actually be higher in the long run, particularly if the training offered directly improves worker performance. But even during the pandemic, employee training investment largely kept up, according to a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Society for Human Resource Management.
Guild Education, Walmart's partner in creation of Live Better U, saw continued expansion during the pandemic, as well — a reflection of ongoing interest in engaging employees via degree and certification programming. In April, the company announced a partnership with Waste Management, while in June it revealed the formation of an advisory board to "help drive insights to the future of work."
But even outside employee degree programs, employers have been investing in ways to train up employees amid turbulent times. On top of Live Better U updates, Walmart invested in cross-training associates during the pandemic to both broaden individual employee skill sets and improve scheduling flexibility, a senior Walmart exec previously told HR Dive.