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In Latest Total Rewards Move, Walmart Makes Bonuses Available for Hourly Workers

exterior shot of a Walmart store

After making a slew of compensation and benefits changes over the past year, Walmart just announced its latest total rewards move: a new bonus for its roughly 700,000 hourly employees.

The nation’s largest private employer said that both part- and full-time employees will now be eligible for a financial bonus of up to $1,000 a year. The longer an hourly store associate stays with the company, the higher their bonus potential is, Walmart said.

The move is part of the retailer’s strategy to boost attraction and retention, while also aiming to improve employee well-being.

“For Walmart to be the best place to shop, we also need it to be the best place to work,” Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner and Lo Stomski, senior vice president and chief talent officer, said in a statement. “That idea is the North Star of our journey to build a better company for our associates. Whether we’re investing in compensation, learning and development, well-being, or resources for a simpler day at work, our commitment to associates is strong, and our goal is simple: helping them live better at every stage of their careers.”

It’s the latest in a series of total rewards moves for Walmart. In January, the company announced it was raising the average salary for store managers by roughly 9.4%—to $128,000 a year, up from $117,000. Those workers will also be eligible for bonuses of up to 200% of base salary, based on individual store sales and profit.

In the past year, Walmart also beefed up its mental health benefits, doubling the number of therapy and mental health coaching sessions it provides to all workers and their dependents; added a new financial wellness benefit, offering free financial literacy education for all employees through online provider Khan Academy; and provided employees with access to doula services, covering up to $1,000 for such services during pregnancy as part of a suite of benefits offered through the company’s “Life with Baby” program.

Other employers have turned to bonuses recently, despite some research suggesting that employee bonuses have been on the decline. (Payroll company Gusto, for instance, found that year-end bonuses were down in 2023.)

One of Walmart’s competitors, Target, announced in March that it was doubling its bonus payments to salaried employees this year. And in January, Wells Fargo said it was giving out a one-time bonus of $1,000 to some of its employees.

Still, a recent survey from recruiting firm Hudson RPO found that most workers are unhappy with bonuses. Nearly half of respondents (44%) said they are not happy with the amount of their bonus, and nearly a third (31%) said there is a lack of transparency about how bonuses are calculated. 

“Bonuses are a key compensation tool to reward employees and help with retention,” said Hudson RPO Global CEO Jake Zabkowicz. “However, if there’s a lack of transparency on how bonuses are calculated and a perceived lack of equity and fairness, bonuses could actually be a factor in employee dissatisfaction. That’s why a thoughtful, well-communicated approach to offering bonuses is critical.”


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