SINGAPORE: “We believe a focused diversity and inclusion strategy has a direct impact on both our workforce and workplace – supporting sustained business growth. Hiring across gender, age, experiences and cultures has helped us develop a competitive edge as a preferred employer in Asia,” said Scott Price, President and CEO of Walmart Asia.
Mr. Price made his comments today during the Singapore Human Capital Summit, 20
11 “People Strategies for Asia” held in Singapore between Sept 28-29, 2011.
“These are challenging times – millions of people entering the middle class, rising cost of energy, the demand for food doubling. We face unique human resource challenges in Asia – the sheer scale of our hiring, need for a larger workplace pool and the need to attract and develop experienced, high performing talent at the leadership level, commented Price.
“ As the leader of Walmart’s Asia business I have the personal opportunity to influence how we leverage 150,000 unique points of view of our almost 150,000 associates here in Asia to help solve some of these challenges,” added Price.
He added: “We are already seeing the impact of diversity in the workforce and workplace.”
Price shared how a focus on gender diversity is helping Walmart attract, retain and develop talented women managers.
“Interestingly, the International Labor Organization says that women represent 50% of the population, 30% of the labor force, perform 60% of all working hours, receive 10% of the world’s income and own less than 1% of the world’s property. Since a large percentage of Walmart shoppers are women, it makes sound sense for women to have increasing leadership opportunities at Walmart,” he said.
Price added: “In 2009 Walmart set up a President’s Global Council of Women leaders who offer guidance to our women associates across the world. In Asia we have strongly leveraged this. Today 60% of Walmart associates in Asia are women; 44% of Walmart China store Managers are women’; 42% of Japan’s senior leaders (at SVP level) are women. Clearly the Women leadership Councils in Asia are delivering effectively against their goals!
Price also shared how a focus on other areas of diversity is enabling success for Walmart.
“In the area of inclusion of the disabled, we are making some good progress in Asia. Between 1 to 2 % of our workforce is differently-abled. Our efforts to reach out to differently-abled people are coming alive through our associates – a recent example I witnessed was quite heartwarming. One of our Japanese associates working in a store learned sign language in order to serve customers who had hearing and speaking disabilities. This associate was recognized at the Company’s shareholder meeting in the US last year and celebrated by Wal-Mart’s 2.1 million associates globally,” added Price.
“Diversity of experiences and cultures is helping us build stronger, more flexible work teams that are better able to adapt to the constantly evolving changing retail landscape and drive business result. India is a great example where our diverse organization is adapting quickly to the evolving retail landscape,” he said.
Price closed with a few suggestions for organizations intent on leveraging diversity as a competitive advantage.
He commented: “Set clear diversity goals. Communicate clearly the benefits of a Diversity program across levels in your Company. Identify and leverage “Diversity Role models” that will be instrumental in moving the diversity agenda forward. Provide the necessary support from top management and infrastructure/ process for diversity to become an accepted and celebrated part of your business and finally do celebrate the success of diversity and diverse teams.”
Walmart is currently celebrating 15 years in Asia. In 2010 Walmart China received the Best employer award in China by the International Public Management Association for Human Resources in recognition of Walmart’s commitment to talent during the recession hit years of 2009-2010. It has also been recognized as the Best Retail Place to Work and with the Retail Innovation Award of 2010 for Walmart China.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at over 9,600 retail units under 69 different banners in 28 countries. With fiscal year 2011 sales of $419 billion, Walmart employs 2.1 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity.