Walmart, the retail giant has decided to cut 7,000 invoice and accounting jobs in their US stores due to automation. The company which employs around 2.3 million workers worldwide has also decided to induct these affected employees in different roles.
The company had started this ‘pilot program’ in 500 stores where the company scrapped three administrative jobs related to accounting and invoicing. They tried to see if this elimination will work and whether these jobs could be replaced by workers in the home office and by machines. The company realised that the invoicing can be handled by a central office at their Headquarters and the ‘cash recycler’ machines helped in counting money at the stores. This has benefitted the company and was hugely successful.
Walmart has said, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, that the employees will have the option to work in any other role at the company including some higher paying roles like Assistant Store Managers. However, not all transitioning roles are high-paying ones. According to Walmart’s Communications Director Deisha Barnett, the company is “anticipating that associates move into new roles” rather than leave the company.
Walmart believes that putting more people on the shop floor will enhance the customer experiences – a more enriching experience than shopping online.
The transitioning process is expected to extend into 2017, Barnett said.
The Journal also reports that Walmart has been hit hard by competition from online shopping sites, particularly Amazon, and the company has announced store closures and job cuts multiple times over the past year. But in 2016, Walmart has buckled down on revitalizing its business. It cut costs by shutting stores, given wage hikes that have boosted workers' morale, and recently acquired Jet.com – an online retail site – for $3 billion.