Walmart is on a mission to hire 100,000 military veterans
over the next five years.
Starting Memorial Day (Monday, May 27), the world’s largest
retailer will offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran within his or her
first 12 months off active duty. Most positions will be in Walmart's
stores and Sam’s Clubs, and the company has committed to an accelerated hiring
process of 30 days from job application to final offer.
There are currently more than 800,000 unemployed veterans in
the U.S., and an estimated 1 million men and women will transition back to
civilian life over the next five years.
“Sadly, too many of those who fought for us abroad now find
themselves fighting for jobs at home,” said Bill Simon, president and CEO of
Walmart's U.S. business, who announced the pledge in January. “Through their
service, veterans give us a land of freedom. When they return, it must be to a
land of possibility.”
And Simon would know. Upon returning from serving in the
Navy years ago, he needed time to clear his head and map out his next move. He took a job
tending bar at an Irish pub in Charleston, S.C.
“That transition from active duty is such a critical period
in your life,” he explained. “They gave me nine great months before I went to
grad school, and I’m eternally grateful.”
Now the largest private employer of veterans, Walmart’s history
with the military traces back to founder Sam Walton, who served as a captain in
the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps during World War II. Over the years, the
retailer has fostered relationships with military academies and associations to
provide career opportunities for veterans and military families.
In 2008, Walmart executives recognized a shortage of talent
at the store manager level; the company’s hiring and development process struggled
to keep pace with its rapid growth. Simon spearheaded the launch of a program
to recruit junior military officers, or JMOs.
"The thinking was that we could bring in world-class
leadership talent that was already trained and ready to go," Jennifer
Seidner, senior recruiting manager, explained in a 2010
interview with Fortune. "And
then we could teach them retail, because we know that pretty well."
Later that year, Walmart tapped retired Army brigadier
general Gary Profit as senior director of military recruitment. The focus on
veterans was quickly ingrained in the company’s overall talent management strategy,
and the hiring pledge announced this year took this focus to the next level.
Profit says hiring veterans is not an act of charity. “While
we’re very mindful of our responsibility to lead from a civic and social responsibility
standpoint, this isn’t corporate philanthropy,” he adds. “This is good
Veterans represent the world’s largest and most diverse
talent pool, thanks to the military’s focus on training and leadership development.
"Veterans have a record of performance under pressure,” Simon adds.
“They're quick learners and team players. These are leaders with discipline,
training and a passion for service. Our nation has invested in their skills and
Profit adds, “A young veteran who has served during these
times is mature far beyond his or her years.”
Walmart today employs approximately 100,000 veterans. To help
nurture an inclusive community, veterans who join Walmart are paired with
veteran employees who show them the ropes and serve as mentors during their
first few months on the job.
The retailer’s commitment to continuous learning and
development and track record of corporate citizenship appeal to soldiers
returning home, Profit notes.
“Ours is a values-based culture that’s compatible with what
they experienced while in uniform and encourages all associates to better
themselves at every opportunity,” he concludes. “It’s about being part of
something that’s larger than themselves, and to which they can add value.”
Learn more about Walmart’s commitment to hire veterans at http://walmartcareerswithamission.com