Associates gather for a photo in the early 1970s in front of cash register stations wrapped to look like presents.
Our People Make the Difference
The Original Associates
When Walton’s 5&10 opened, Sam looked close to home for associates. After school and football practice, his sons Rob, John, and Jim would head to work where they’d stock shelves and sweep floors. On Saturdays, his daughter Alice sold popcorn. By the time Walmart opened its doors in 1962, there were 17 stores and hundreds of associates. Though their numbers had grown, Sam’s passion for his associates was as strong as when he was just starting out.
Putting a Practice Into Words
It was easy for Sam to stay focused on people because he didn’t lead from his office. He spent most of his time out and about, visiting the stores. And when Sam visited, his first stop wasn’t the store manager’s office. He started with “the people on the front lines.” He knew those associates were essential to keeping loyal customers, that they treated the customers better than salespeople in other stores, and that “the best ideas usually do come from the folks in the stores.” But it wasn’t just about the front lines, Sam’s passion for his associates extended throughout Walmart.
Diversity and inclusion are enduring values embedded in Walmart culture. From the company’s board of directors to its millions of associates, these values are fundamental to Walmart’s way of doing business. They strengthen company morale, enhance customer service, and provide a positive work environment. But most importantly, they support Walmart’s mission of saving people money so they can live better.
A Passion for People
This passion for people defined Walmart’s culture. It’s as true today as it was back in 1962. It’s why about 75% of managers began their Walmart careers as hourly associates. It’s why Walmart hires and promotes from every walk of life. It’s why Walmart has been recognized for its commitment to diversity. And it’s why over 300,000 associates have been with Walmart for 10 years or more.
Why Walmart is Different
Sam said, “Our People Make the Difference.” It was that simple truth that made all the difference in how Walmart grew from that first 5&10 to the global company it is today. Sam reflected one day on the associates that serve Walmart’s customers, “Not every company president,” he said, “is blessed with the kind of people that make up our Wal-Mart World. And that’s why we’re different.”