Walmart kicked off its 48th annual shareholder's meeting on Wednesday with an announcement that drew cheers from the audience, which included thousands of associates from around the globe.
Under new guidelines that go into effect on June 4, the retailer's employees across all 4,700 stores in the U.S. are now free to wear jeans — of any color — along with shirts of any color or pattern. In another change, management is now free to join hourly employees and wear sneakers at work. (The chain’s iconic vest and name badge will remain as is.) Walmart also is removing most restrictions on hairstyles, tattoos and piercings.
“We want you to wear what makes you feel good,” Todd Harbaugh, executive VP of Walmart Neighborhood Markets, said at the meeting, which was held in the Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark. “ And we want you to be yourself at Walmart.”
In another initiative that is likely to go over big with associates, Walmart said it is piloting a scheduling app, called My Walmart Schedule, that is designed provide associates with more predictability and flexibility to manage family life – and work life. The app is now live in about 500 pilot stores.
Using the app, associates have new options for picking up additional hours to help create a schedule that works for them. They can also pick up unfilled shifts and have visibility to all approved time off requests. If they like, they can even swap and exchange shifts with co-workers, the retailer said.
“If an unexpected thing comes up in your life, you can make sure your shift is covered,” Mark Ibbotson, executive VP of Central Operations for Walmart U.S., said at the meeting.