Using a multi-strategy approach to retain OY


A year into the 100,000 Opportunities Initiatives, coalition companies are focusing on how they can better hire and retain opportunity youth. When it comes to retention there are no silver bullets or short-term solutions; as Walmart’s Director of Talent Strategy, Tara Jacobs puts it, it’s a “marathon.”  Walmart realizes that playing the long game has significant returns and estimates that increasing its retention would mean significant corporate savings.  CEO Doug McMillon has made retention a key business priority, resulting in a multi-strategy approach, which includes:

  • Increased Compensation: As of January 2015, Walmart has increased its minimum wage to $9/hour, with an increase to $10/hour upon successful completion of the  Pathways training course.
  • Academies: The company has chosen to invest in frontline managers and develop their leadership and business skills by building 200 training academies across the U.S.
  • Pathways Program:  This entry-level training program was designed to equip associates to be successful not only in their current role, but also to help them take the next step in their career paths.  As associates progress through the training they become eligible for additional compensation.
  • Project 180: Project 180 is a holistic approach toward retention that will create a seamless experience for associates from the moment they accept positions through 180 days of employment.  Walmart has found that once an associate hits the six-month mark, there is a high likelihood they will stay on for a longer period.  The company is placing a big emphasis on building connections with an associate early in their tenure. For example, instead of participating in an “onboarding,” new associates will receive a “welcome,” which will focus more on culture than on policies and procedures.