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Report
December 8, 2011
Walmart
Employer Brand Positioning Strategy
Overview
Methodology
Summary of findings
• Employment experience realities
content
• Market drivers
• Market perceptions
Positioning strategy
• Positioning essence
• Positioning statement
• Personality
• Message emphasis
Overview
Walmart would like to optimally position itself to attract candidates for management, assistant
management, supply chain, corporate, and e-commerce positions. Specific objectives follow:
•
•
•
•
•
Probe the strengths and weaknesses of the Walmart employment offer
Identify which attributes are important to the target audience
Understand perceptions of Walmart as an employer
Understand perceptions of Sam’s Club as an employer
Identify those distinct selling points that will enable the crafting of a compelling and believable
message
3
Focus group methodology
Employee focus groups (20 groups)
December, 2010 – February, 2011
Bentonville
•
•
•
July – October, 2011
Chicago, IL
• 1 group, Walmart Retail Management (9)
• 1 group, Sam’s Club Retail Management (8)
Dallas, TX
• 1 group, Walmart Retail Management (4)
• 1 group, Sam’s Club Retail Management (3)
Los Angeles, CA
• 1 group, Walmart Retail Management (7)
• 1 group, Sam’s Club Retail Management (6)
Philadelphia, PA
• 1 group, Walmart Retail Management (2)
• 1 group, Sam’s Club Retail Management (8)
National, various locations
• 4 groups, Supply Chain/Logistics) (29)
National, various stores
• 2 groups, college hires (13)
Merchandisers/Buyers (7)
IT (9)
Financial (11)
San Francisco
•
E-commerce (9)
May, 2011
Bentonville, AR
• 1 group, college/interns; Finance/Merchandising (6)
• 1 group, college/interns; ISD, Sourcing Ops,
Merchandising, QA (5)
4
Focus group methodology
Market focus groups (15 groups)
December, 2010 – February, 2011
Dallas, TX
•
August – September, 2011
Chicago, IL
• 1 group, Retail Management (6)
• 1 group, Logistics and Transportation (10)
Dallas, TX
• 1 group, Retail Management (7)
• 1 group, Logistics and Transportation (7)
Los Angeles, CA
• 1 group, Retail Management (8)
• 1 group, Logistics and Transportation (5)
Philadelphia, PA
• 1 group, Retail Management (6)
• 1 group, Logistics and Transportation (4)
Finance (10)
Chicago, IL
•
IT (11)
Jersey City, NJ
•
Merchandisers/Buyers (7)
San Jose, CA
•
E-commerce (11)
May, 2011
Salt Lake City, UT
• 1 group, undergraduates – Business, Finance (10)
Fayetteville, AR
• 1 group, graduate students - Business, Finance, IT (10)
Austin, TX
• 1 group undergraduates – Business, Finance (9)
5
employee focus groups
“People believe in what the company is doing…gets you back
to work every day regardless of what yesterday was like.”
Summary: The employee experience – what’s positive
Walmart:
Stores
Sam’s Club
Stores
Supply Chain
University/
Interns
E-commerce
Corporate
• People
“It is a great company to
work for—people are
treated respectfully and
you quickly become like a
family…everybody watches
out for each
other…associates are so
close.”
• The store environment
and the close-knit family
feeling you get from
working with your “Sam’s
family.”
• Autonomy to run your
own business/function
“You really feel like you are
running your own business,
you are given the
autonomy to make
decisions that make sense
for your facility.”
• Allure of working for the
number one retailer
“They have really shown
everybody how to do
it…excelled at what they
set out to do, defined
success.”
• Rapid growth (past 6-7
years)
• Leaders really want you
to challenge the thinking –
creates an environment of
constantly trying to do
better in a positive way.
• Work environment:
physical location is very
pleasant, modern.
• A place to work and
progress as a long-term
career versus a training
ground
• Opportunity
Fueled by size
“My parents are proud to
see me working for
Walmart. It gives them a
sense of comfort when
they see me moving up in
the organization and
having opportunities to
travel and develop.”
“The biggest balance sheet
around.”
•Ability to work in various
areas
•The ability to work on
something that really
makes a huge impact and
being trusted to do so.
• Culture
“They let you have your
own ideas and play them
out…there is always an
open door policy and
people really listen to you,
not just lip service.
Regardless of title all ideas
are encouraged, heard and
acted upon.”
• Getting to know clientele
and being able to form
relationships with
people—many use the
word “fulfilling” when they
speak about their role.
“You see familiar faces
come through the door and
you have more personal
conversation with them—
it’s a relationship.”
• Continuous learning
“From the moment I joined
this organization people
were so willing to help me
learn, didn’t matter what
level they were they
wanted us to be successful
as a team…seems like
something that all
companies should do but it
is sadly not a reality.”
7
• Rotation programs
“Being able to do four
rotations in one year is
really unique and
enriching.”
“The message about being
the biggest retailer, having
rotational programs and
family values was exactly
what I was looking for.”
Summary: The employee experience – what’s positive (cont.)
Walmart:
Stores
Sam’s Club
Stores
Supply Chain
University/
Interns
Size and opportunities as a
result
“The sky’s the limit. I came
because of opportunities in
China, it is my dream to go
there and this was discussed
in my interview process as a
reality down the road.”
• Personal reward - creating
something sustainable that
helps people live better lives.
“Seeing people shop in your
store and feel thankful that
you help people shop for the
items they need to provide
for their families and create
better lives.”
“People believe in what the
company is doing…gets you
back to work every day
regardless of what yesterday
was like.”
“The well-earned bonus at
the end of the year.”
• Culture
“The company is fabulous at
listening to good ideas and
takes risks on people and
ideas. It pays off and often
these grassroots ideas will
take off company wide.”
• Stability
“You have the security of
being in a company that is
not disappearing and is
constantly growing and
improving.”
“They try to set you up for
success, everybody is given
equal playing field and
opportunity to succeed.”
• Growth opportunities
within the Sam’s franchise
and beyond into Walmart,
A place to build your career
and stay.
“Walmart gives people a
chance, believes in you.”
•The environment
• Rewarding job
• Growth opportunities
People focus
“I like the balance of what I
heard regarding work and
family.”
“The friends you meet here
are lasting friendships.”
• Respect for the individual
with work/life balance, good
for yourself personally and
for the organization as a
whole
• Focus on community and
helping others—(i.e. walks,
direct donations,
championing efforts to raise
money)
“We are providing more
value—making someone’s
life easier.”
8
E-commerce
Corporate
Culture
People are pleasant,
trustworthy and genuine
“The caliber and talent of
people who work here is
wonderful, there is a family
atmosphere where people
really look out for one
another.”
“Extremely open,
transparent, humble, fun,
and made up of wellintentioned people.”
•People are encouraged to
work as a team to get the job
done versus feeling like you
need to be competitive.
•A few who were more
familiar with Walmart’s home
office Bentonville, noted that
the small town
culture/behaviors seem to
transfer to Walmart.com
Summary: The employee experience – what’s positive (cont.)
Walmart:
Stores
Sam’s Club
Stores
Supply Chain
University/
Interns
Work/life balance (3 days
on/off)
• Pay
• Benefits (401k matching
up to 6%).
• Job security
• Ever-changing fast-paced
environment where no two
days are the same
Satisfaction from knowing
that their work will affect
the customer in some
positive way
“When I am involved in
problem resolution it puts a
smile on the face of a
customer—that makes it
well worth it.”
• Encouragement to try
new things/grow
“At Walmart I can step
outside my
boundaries…grow, develop
and hit the next target.”
9
E-commerce
Corporate
Reward
• How supportive Walmart
has been to not let the lack
of a degree hold them
back.
“Valued for the work I do. I
am recognized for the
contributions I make and
that goes a long way in
making you feel good.”
•Hear about people who
worked hard and were
rewarded through their
careers at Walmart
“Makes you believe in the
American dream.”
Make a difference
•Helping the company
improve their systems,
save money and ultimately
help the customer live
better.
“The sense of purpose you
get from knowing that you
are improving someone’s
life.”
Employee views
#1 retailer
Stability
Scope
Development
Mobility
Open
Supportive
Realities
Teamwork
Encouraged
Idea sharing
Community focus
Learning
Accomplishment
Autonomy
Empowerment
Close-knit
Mission
Make a difference
Meaningful
Fulfillment
Purpose
Family
Shared values
10
Rewarding
Respect
Application:
Provides foundation for
positioning the realities
of the employment
experience
external focus groups
“I want to work for the best — someone who is cutting-edge
and at the top in their field.”
Summary: Opportunity considerations
Store Management
Supply Chain
University/Interns
Corporate/Ecommerce
• To have an impact on people—both
associates and consumers. Being able to
impact the growth and development of
their staff and developing relationships
with consumers
• Being able to have every day be
different and exciting
“New challenges ad never boring”
“No day is ever the same”
Specific Employer attributes
• Great people—good management that
will help you grow and look out for you,
people who are upbeat/optimistic/enjoy job
• Positive work environment/atmosphere—
feel accepted, sense of team work,
synergy between people
• Stimulating environment— where you
can grow/become better as a
person/smarter
• Ability to progress/get promoted/ Feeling
of accomplishment
• Being part of a growth industry—
stability/strength/security of industry
• Opportunity to “own” career/grow within
the company— be able to take the
direction you want
• Being part of something
important/meaningful (i.e. Teach for
America)
• Good benefits (healthcare, pay for
graduate school)
• Flexibility (can work at home, free time,
freedom)
• Work/life balance—being happy in their
personal life and having a “quality”
personal life (time to enjoy it)
• Compensation—total package (benefits,
cost of living consideration)
Culture/environment
•Inspiring, empowered, trusting
•People listen, straight shooters
•Value employees
•Open-minded, open to ideas/input
•Intelligent, motivating
•Friendly – laid back, low stress level, high
energy
• Fulfilling but exhausting
• Do not have “down time” in their day, but
this is also a key driver of what makes the
role exciting—the constant change and
pace and no time to sit around.
“No two days are alike and you can’t even
begin to predict what tomorrow will bring if
you try.”
• The variety of skills/functions in their role
• Dealing with the daily store/customer
issues balanced with things like employee
training/mentoring and the excitement of
seeing people grow and develop
professionally.
Specific employer attributes
• Good pay (taking into account the ratios
of hours worked)
• Benefits—health, vacation, 401k, tuition
reimbursement, bonus
• Positive work environment (employeefocused)
• Size of company and opportunities
(many locations equal opportunities for
personal growth)
• Despite hard work the ability to have
work/life balance
“As long as you are clear on the
expectations (i.e. shift, work to be done)
people realize you have a life and respect
this.”
Specific Employer attributes
• Career growth
• Stability of company
• Autonomy
• Training/development
• Benefits—medical/dental, 401k,
vacation, discounts, education, one stop
shop (phones, hotels, loans, workout area,
daycare)
• Salary—competitive, bonus
• Level of responsibility/impact
• Work/life balance-- Good schedule (set
shift, flexibility), time for personal life,
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Growth/development
•Focus on skills development
•Ability to grow and learn
•Opportunity and mobility
•Career path
Stability
•Size of company and sector
•Reputation of company
Empowerment
•Trusted to do your job, helping as needed
•Ability to work as somewhat of an
entrepreneur
•Make/influence key decisions
Summary: Opportunity considerations (cont.)
Store Management
Supply Chain
University/Interns
Corporate/Ecommerce
• Stability—size, longevity, performance
over time
• Growth opportunities (training, education
support, fairness)
• Mobility (for larger companies)
• Structured (identified processes) without
being inflexible
• Work life balance/Quality of life—
flexibility, family friendly, vacation, holidays
(although retail hours are a given)
• What the company stands for
• Name/brand reputation—
pride/credibility/integrity
• Location
• Location—close to family, home
• Diversity/Inclusion—upper management
looks like me, one day I can be there
• Stability/reliability/knowing that company
not going to fail
• Company that community views
positively (ethics, philanthropic)
Flexible
•Location/flexibility (from home, working
hours)
•Work/life balance—want to feel like they
can have a personal life
Compensation
Benefits
Technology
•Cutting-edge
•Invest in technology
Strong brand/reputation
•Product/brand they feel good about
•Work with high end/luxury brands
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Employer brand associations
Location
Compensation
Benefits
Stability
Work/Life balance
Flexibility
Variety
Development
Mobility Advancement
Open
Learning
Market drivers
Brand reputation
Impact
Meaningful
Accomplishment
Autonomy
Challenge
Valued
Stimulating Accepted
Trusted
Fulfilling
Inspiring
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Application:
Describes the universe
of attributes under
consideration by the
target audience.
Summary: Employer brand associations - Walmart
Store Management
Supply Chain
University/Interns
E-commerce
#1 retailer—always busy
• For everybody/affordable
• More of a suburban store/outside
the city
• All about stores/retail positions
• So many stores =
opportunities/growth
• Good on resume
#1 retailer
• For everybody/affordable
• Convenient
“On the positive, Walmart can
be the best thing you see as
you pass through small towns,
means you can find things you
need.”
• Opportunities/growth
• Good on resume
Massive/largest retailer
“Where else could you have the
responsibility to manage a 30
million dollar budget and have
the kind of global impact on the
economy?”
• Doing something right
“You are getting the opportunity
to learn the operational best
practices.”
• Walmart is #1 and must have
great leaders.
“I want to work for the best—
someone who is cutting edge and
at the top in their field.”
“If you’re in operations or supply
chain management it seems like
it would be the place to be.”
• Major global efforts
“In China, it’s exploding and
bringing people out of poverty”
• Social responsibility and
sustainability efforts
• Helps people in need
•Attractive to have as first
employer
“If you have Walmart on your
resume you can work anywhere
after that.”
•Great customer service (i.e.
shop online/pick up in store)
•Good products
15
Corporate
•Take care of employees
• Nice benefits package
• Buyers have lots of leeway
• Door opener/differentiator on a
resume
“They definitely are doing things
right and it would be exciting to
learn from them what makes
them the most successful
retailer.”
• Company is “1st / tops the
charts—this equates to growth.”
Summary: Employer brand associations – Walmart (cont.)
Store
Management
Supply Chain
University/Interns
E-commerce
Corporate
Questions about product quality
• Look worn down
• Women not promoted
• Expensive benefits
• Unreasonable workload and
poor pay.
“It is almost as if they would have
to change their name...it is so
tainted from all the negative
things reported.”
• Arkansas not a place to be
“Saying you work for Walmart is
not something that I would feel
proud to say—people just have
such a negative impression of it
as a company.”
Look worn down/lack of pride—
not consistent
• Management must be
inexperienced to let stores look
like that
• Squeeze vendors but $ not
going back into buildings
• Bad experience/service—
“nicest person is the greeter”
• Questions about product quality
• All about stores/retail positions
• Discriminatory/lawsuits
(women, African-Americans)
“All the things you hear make you
question working for
them…lawsuits, complaints,
vendors being bullied, small
business communities being torn
down.”
• Poor culture—people
overworked/angry/not smiling
• Documentary about
substandard practices
• Arkansas not a place to be
good?”
First thought is about stores
“Immediately people are going to
think you work in the store.”
• Cheap, outsourcing, China
• Cheap with expenses (i.e. share
rooms when traveling)
• Bully with vendors
• Competitive/negotiation power
due to size
• Stuck in Bentonville
“Saying you work at Walmart and
live in Arkansas is not cool or
sexy.”
• Too dominant—takes
advantage of its position
• Too big, hard to advance/get
recognized
• Discriminatory—only gives
raises to certain people, less to
women
• Hurts small business
•Sued by employees
•Not in the same league as the
type of companies they work for
today or aspire to work for
•A place where IT would be more
about standardization and less
about innovation – making the
level of challenge and excitement
very low
•Type of business they are in
“Less than exciting.” Low-frills
environments
“People automatically think of the
stores, the lawsuits, rude
employees – not seen as very
glamorous.”
• Biased against women (citing a
lawsuit)
• Non-progressive
culture/environment
• Old technology
“Behind the curve.”
• Wonder what kinds of IT jobs
would there be in such a massive
organization.
• Not visible as a technology
player
“They are not in the technology
magazines, at conferences,
places where you see/hear the
best talking.”
16
Summary: Employer brand associations – Sam’s Club
Store Management
Supply Chain
University/Interns
Positive
• Those who are familiar with it see it as being somewhat
different in terms of environment
Positive
• They know the affiliation with Walmart but seem to have
less outwardly negative impressions.
“You don’t hear the negative press directed towards them
so you wonder if they might be a little better.”
“The environment is different, even though it is a
warehouse it seems more professional.”
Low awareness
• Seen as part of Walmart versus a stand-alone entity
Negative
• See it as being part of Walmart and assume the same
problems would exist
“it wouldn’t give you any freedom in terms of
merchandising.”
“Sam’s could be a better place to work but you wouldn’t
have much opportunity for advancement, limited stores.”
17
Employer brand associations
Arkansas
#1 retailer
Limited to retail positions
Resume enhancer
Growth
Market perceptions
Lawsuits
Application:
Provides points of
leverage and
counterbalance
18
positioning strategy
Positioning themes
Attribute Positioning Maps
Pragmatic Theme: A career with a future
With Walmart’s extensive scope and success, I have an incredible range of
opportunities within my grasp, now and in the future.
Realities
Market drivers
Market perceptions
#1 retailer
Stability
#1 retailer
Stability
Advancement
Growth
Scope
Mobility
Resume enhancer
Mobility
Limited to retail positions
20
Positioning themes
Attribute Positioning Maps
Aspirational Theme: Everyone has potential
No matter what my role, my learning and development is supported and encouraged by
everyone in the organization, resulting in the challenge and variety I thrive on.
Realities
Market drivers
Market perceptions
Development
Learning
Discriminatory
Learning
Development
Lawsuits
Accomplishment
Challenge
Idea sharing
Variety
Supported
Accomplishment
Encouraged
Impact
Autonomy
Stimulating
21
Positioning themes
Attribute Positioning Maps
Relational theme: Beyond the bottom line
When improving the quality of life for millions is the mission, it extends beyond
our service to customers through our outreach to the community.
Realities
Market drivers
Market perceptions
Community focus
Inspiring
Effect on small business
Purpose
Brand reputation
Meaningful
Meaningful
Make a difference
Fulfilling
Mission
22
Positioning themes
Attribute Positioning Maps
Emotional Theme: The biggest family in the world
We share the same values, treating each other the way we would like to be
treated.
Realities
Market drivers
Market perceptions
Teamwork
Trusted
Huge corporation
Close-knit
Open
Family
Accepted
Respect
Valued
Fulfillment
Open
Rewarding
Shared values
23
Positioning strategy
Positioning essence
The positioning essence is the basic strategic concept - it is a distillation of the various trends that will maximize relevance and
differentiation.
Positively energized
• A career with a future
• Everyone has potential
• Beyond the bottom line
• The biggest family in the world
The positioning essence is used to provide a compass point, or north star, for articulation of the employer brand through using
marketing and advertising vehicles.
“Positively energized” not only addresses the tangible and intangible aspects of employment, but does so as a forward-thinking,
mission-embracing imperative that elevates all dimensions of the Walmart experience. It draws a distinction, highlighting the
opportunity to do well, and to do good.
With the positioning essence in place, the next step is to understand and embrace the positioning statement.
24
Positioning strategy
Positioning statement
• The positioning statement is designed to serve as the strategic basis for the development and articulation of all employment
marketing communications, both formal and informal. Neither the positioning statement, positioning essence, nor the positioning
subsets are meant to represent the actual wording utilized in employment marketing communications. Rather they are designed to
help inform the creative and messaging strategies and execution, providing a constant point of reference.
With Walmart’s extensive scope and success, I feel good about my future, knowing I have an incredible range
of opportunities available to me. No matter what my role, my learning and development is supported and
encouraged by all in the organization, resulting in the challenge and variety I thrive on. At Walmart, we share
the same values, treating each other the way we would like to be treated, all while improving the quality of life
for millions. I belong here.
Subset amplification
• See Message Emphasis
25
Positioning strategy
Message emphasis
Supply Chain
Educate
Inspire
Counter
Educate
Inspire
Counter
Educate
Inspire
Counter
Educate
Inspire
Counter
Focus on
information
Create an
emotional
connection
Alter
misperceptions
Size
Autonomy
University
Rotation program (MBAs)
Mission
E-commerce
Growth
Technology
Sam’s Club
Scope
Mobility
26
Positioning strategy
Personality
These traits have been selected to complement the positioning, and therefore, deliver it in a manner that is more
compelling.
• Passionate – engaged and enthusiastic
• Genuine – sincere, without pretense or contrivance
• Welcoming – open, inviting, accepting
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December 8, 2011
Walmart
Employer Brand Positioning Strategy

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