May 23, 2023
Building a Culture of Belonging at Walmart
Q&A with Josh Frazier-Sparks, Director of Culture, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Walmart
- What has been Walmart’s most effective action for cultivating belonging?
Creating a sense of belonging is fundamental to our longstanding values as a company – we believe it’s the overarching effect of our respect for others around us. One of the most effective things we have done to lean into belonging as the ultimate outcome for our strategy is a strong enterprise narrative campaign. We have worked to create a “source of truth” document that captures our thinking on belonging. Senior executives across the organization started using this as we kicked off the Belonging campaign at our Year Beginning Meetings. Executives across the organization have embedded this messaging into their narratives and that’s cascading to our associates, which leads to even more conversations on how we continue to create this culture.
- How do you measure changes in your employees’ sense of belonging?
There is one question on our annual employee engagement survey that currently provides us insight here and it’s a simple one: “I feel like I belong at Walmart.” This is an important indicator for us but not the sole one. We also know that the behaviors each of our leaders take daily can create a sense of belonging for their associates and those actions are rooted in our leadership expectations.
- How does Walmart connect belonging with DEI efforts?
Belonging is our goal and our north star for our associates. From a strategic perspective, we believe that if we are successful at a diversified workforce, our associates have what they need to thrive in their careers, and we have inclusive behaviors and norms throughout the organization, we will make progress on our belonging journey.
- What opportunities in workplace belonging are you most optimistic about?
Expanding DEI to include Belonging as an outcome and bringing more people into the conversation. Since every person likely knows what it feels like to be left out at some point during their lives, how do we, in our interactions with others work toward creating a workplace where feeling included is the standard? As the largest private employer in the country, we have a huge opportunity to continue working toward creating a sense of belonging among our associates, customers, and members.
- How have Walmart leaders and managers embraced belonging?
Walmart leaders have been key in our belonging journey – from using it in messaging for their teams and external audiences, to asking how they can accelerate belonging on their teams in moments that matter, demonstrating that they care and want everyone to belong.
- What are the biggest challenges you see in cultivating belonging going forward?
We’re seeing synergy around belonging at Walmart. Our current strategic question is how do we keep the momentum going so we deliver on tangible results that leaders can see and feel. Thus far, results indicate that when our associates feel they belong, their emotional investment can lead to increased business performance. We must make the abstract feeling of belonging tangible.
- Has Walmart implemented civic programs to drive a sense of belonging?
Our Community Relations team works with facilities across the country. As we train our facility associates on best practices for engaging in the community, we put special emphasis on taking time to understand and serve diverse audiences in their neighborhood, striving for our programming to allow everyone to feel recognized and included. We also provide tools and resources throughout the year that help bring belonging to life through engaging in cultural months and holidays.
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