Walmart — Not a Place for Minorities?

An internal report on a survey of black senior managers at Walmart was shared with Bloomberg. The study was conducted in the latter part of 2020, and consisted of interviews with 56 senior black managers.

Apart from a general recommendations that blacks not seek to build careers in management at Walmart, specific findings include:

  • Lack of diversity in leadership deters Black employees that are looking for support and career modeling.
  • Black workers feel there is a heavier emphasis on external recruitment than developing existing talent.
  • Unequal access to career and growth opportunities and/or information makes it difficult for Black people to thrive and progress.
  • Compared to their peers, Black staff feel that they must perform at an exceptional level and take on more complex workloads with little room for error to maintain their position.
  • Favoritism, internal politics and having to conform to unspoken social norms or present in a digestible manner negatively impacts Black employee morale and motivation.(1)

I’m not sure what “present in a digestible manner” actually means, but many of these complaints seem very similar to the comments that career women have made about glass ceilings. Basically, you have to do better than your peers to be seen as equal.

Is this a surprise? Not really. Company culture is a top-down thing, and when you leadership is based in Arkansas, what do you expect? You’re not going to get the sophisticated multiculturalism you might find in New York or LA, that’s for sure.

As the US changes culturally, that may be the source of the downfall of this retail giant.



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