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Walmart is testing ways to trim the size of its store management staff

Key Points
  • Walmart is testing out a new employee structure within its stores in an attempt to cut the size of its store management staff.
  • The company is trying out having fewer midlevel store managers to oversee workers. These workers would have greater responsibility and their pay would be increased.
  • Walmart has been trying to trim its labor costs, but still needs to retain workers and attract talent.
An employee welcomes customers at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location in Burbank, California, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Walmart is testing out a new employee structure within its stores in an attempt to cut down the size of its store management staff.

The nation's biggest employer is looking to see if it can have fewer midlevel store managers overseeing workers, with these managers seeing both their responsibilities and their pay increase.

Walmart has been trying to trim its labor costs, but still needs to retain workers and attract talent in a tight labor market.

The new structure is already in place at 75 of its stores, and will be expanding to departments across 50 other supercenter locations over the next month.

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Walmart will have its workers, ranked assistant store managers and department managers apply for the positions, which are structured as management teams. Current managers also need to apply for new roles such as business leads, team leads and academy trainers. And the new plan will provide lower-ranking staffers with training, additional support from their managers and better recognition for good work.

Store managers will remain on the top of the structure, with newly created "business leads" ranked under them and "team leads" next in the hierarchy. Business lead salaries will be 10% higher than what assistant store managers currently make and team leads will receive a starting salary of $18 an hour.

These changes come after Walmart has endured decades of criticism from labor rights activists and lawsuits tied to its treatment of workers.

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