Will get back with you on Buffet and other details after some checking, but this is for those who wanted more proof of happy employees. Doug's right that there are certainly some associates who aren't happy, as found everywhere, but I'm impressed with some things I've learned from a Walmart Dist. Manager who listed some positive things. In his 15 years with W-M, he's seen many decisions to fire people overturned. He says he's proud to work for a company who does give individuals second chances: As a DM, he says he's spent a great deal of time on people issues to ensure fairness and a pleasant working environment. Some examples he's been involved in or has known about thatinvolved others:
1) When a store manager he liked hiring former inmates whose offenses were such that he knew other associates would be safe. The reward in seeing them turn their lives around was priceless.
2) Morning meetings are important to show associates that they are valued: associates are recognized for doing an excellent job, for good sales in a particular department the previous day, if familly members are sick, for achievements of their children, for volunteer work in the community, etc. The meetings are important tools for maintaining a "store family feeling."
3) In one Walmart, upper management learned that the store manager rarely held morning meetings and was fired. That store manager used the open door policy to ask for a second chance and was given a smaller store three states south. But he had learned how much value upper management places on daily contact with associates.
4) When the DM I spoke with first became a manager, he soon found that he wasn't as fully prepared as he and his superiors had thought. He trudged forward a few more months but felt he needed more time as an assistant manager. He was allowed to step down as a co-manager and within 6 months was offered another store. He felt 100 precent more prepared.
5) He has sat in meetings where he felt an employee had not been treated fairly and has assured the associate that the treatment would not continue. In addition, he has requested in front of the store mgr. that he receive follow-up from the employee to ensure that the environment is pleasant and safe.
4) A recent example was an associate who off and on missed 30 days of work during a 6-month period, was lazy, and took breaks longer than allowed. She used the open-door policy, complaining of nitpicking by an assistant manager who's an excellent role model w/a great track record. The DM listened to the woman for about 15 minutes, then cited her attendance record, history of long breaks, etc., saying he found it hard to believe that the assistant mgr. was the root of the problem. He said, however, that he'd like to see her become a model employee and gave her a second chance. He did tell her to take a "decision-making day" (time off for one day to reflect). The first day back, she took her usual break and then slipped back in the break room again for another 45 min. She was fired the following day.
5) A customer was very rude to an employee. Employee, instead of walking away as they're instructed, became angry and responded verbally with a threat. The associate, usually a model employee, was given a "decision-making" day, returned, and has continued to be a great asset. He was selected to attend the Shareholders' Meeting this coming summer and is thrilled at the opportunity.
6) This one is important and successful: Grass-roots surveys are completed via computer anonymously by all store associates once a year. Employees are asked specific questions about members of management (if info is imparted regularly regarding benefits and store procedures, if treated fairly, etc.) The final score affects a manager's eval. If serious problems are noted, home office personnel send an HR person to the store for further investigation. This process recently shed light on quite a serious problem in a store on the East Coast. A high percentage of employees threatened to walk if the manager was not removed. The HR rep determined the concerns were valid and the manager was placed as co-manager in another store within 24 hours of the investigation. That manager remained as co-manager about a year and then left W-M.
7) The company works w/employees to allow leaves of absences for health problems and for illnesses of family members.
8) I personally know a man (now at the home office) who was assistant manager at a W-M where I shopped years ago, used the open-door policy, and never received any negative treatment as a result.
Hope this gives you people a better feeling about Walmart.