According to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg, the retail chain announced that some stores would be testing a revised uniform that allows for blue jeans, jeggings, chinos, skorts and shirts of any solid color. Although it sounds like a nice change from the infamous khakis and blue shirts with collars, people are bothered that the retail corporation seems to be doing the least it could do to save itself from an increasingly competitive labor market.
This isn’t the first time that the discount department store is making the news for implementing a new dress code. Just four years ago, Walmart put into place the requirement of wearing either a white or blue collared shirt with khaki pants or black jeans, in addition to a Walmart vest. The reason behind the change was to make it easier for customers to find employees in the superstores. But now, the company is more concerned with pleasing the workers themselves.
As the nation’s unemployment rate continues to drop, Walmart is not the only store experiencing pressure to provide employees with reasons to stick around. However, with the various incentives that could be put in place to keep Walmart employees in their stores, dress code is not the most important.
This move comes after Walmart raised its starting hourly wages to $11 earlier in 2018, in addition to providing bonuses to employees of up to $1,000. The changes came in response to President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, which created a shift in the big-box retail market overall. Walmart also increased paid parental leave at the time; however, some believe that larger management issues still don’t make these minimal benefits worth it.
In terms of Walmart’s dress code, the chain is known for having employees pay for the required uniform items themselves, which poses an additional monetary issue when the dress code is revised. However, Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg told Bloomberg that the changes are not yet permanent.
“We are always testing new ideas and concepts in a small number of our stores,” Lundberg said. “Some of these tests are expanded while others are retired. We won’t know next steps on this test until we’ve had a chance to learn what works and what could work better.”
In the meantime, employees remain divided over a number of issues — but some are expressing their excitement over being able to have a broader range of outfit options for work.
Walmart relaxed their dress code and I’m so happy about it. It’s in test mode now, but no longer have to wear khaki and navy blue!— Joseph Kokoszka (@JosephKokoszka) April 16, 2018
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