Walmart is the world’s largest retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets. The company was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, with the aim of providing customers with all-year cheap deals to enable them to live better.
Communication is important when it comes to business, as it is crucial to the message across to stakeholders.
The corporate world is dominated by two types of communication and they are internal and external. The purpose of internal communication is to transmit information between various business units and departments within the organization. While the purpose of external communication is to maintain relationship and provide information regarding the corporation with the outside parties.
Sam Walton initiated face to face for their internal communication back in the days. Face to face is a form of oral communication. This allowed him address his employee’s problem immediately. I feel that this form of communication enhanced the employee’s working spirit because it makes them feel that they are an important asset to the company, as the top management makes an effort to listen to them. This method encourages employees to voice out the limitation they encounter during the job. This enables the Walmart associates to make continuous improvements. This method ensured that communication went from executives to low level management and encouraged employees to give their opinion to the executives.
As time flew, Walmart grew in size and technology advanced. Walmart developed and used their very own six satellite communication channel which connects all the stores worldwide. This satellite channel provides a two-way voice and one-way video transmission between its headquarters and all their stores. The top management makes all the decision. This information is conveyed to the other stores through the satellite system to standardize everything throughout all the stores.
The primary mode of communication is still oral communication but the mode of delivery changed from face to face mode to audio and video method. I feel that this made is less effective, as communication flows from the top to down management and there is no information flowing from low to top management.
Walmart has three strategies for external communication which are to provide information and response, manage public affairs and government relations and finally promote business by telling stories. Walmart have adopted the digital communication strategy to send message outside of the corporation.
Walmart have a total of six Twitter handles with @WalmartHub being the “parent” handle. @WalmartVeterans tweets their hiring initiatives and other efforts involving veterans, @WalmartGreen which tweets about sustainability, @WalmartGiving is dedicated to promote its philanthropic efforts, @WalmartAction manages public policy issues and @WalmartHealthy deals with healthy foods. These twitter and Facebook accounts help to communicate their ideas outside of the company.
Walmart uses pull communication to provide message to the customers. Walmart updates about all their current events and sales on their website and social media. Apart from these, Walmart runs a hotline that answers media calls. These are effective in providing information which are needed by the customers
Walmart works on their public policy priorities and complies with the government policies. Walmart provides that policies on their website. This transparency on their policies enables Walmart to build and maintain a good relation with the public and government.
Walmart promotes business through stories. These stories are focused on the four pillars: health care, sustainability, opportunity, and community. Walmart demonstrates its care for society through its actions. This form of communication a good representation of actions speak louder than words.
Walmart showed that it cares for the society by providing healthcare products and services for discounted prices. Senior citizens, can get eye care at roughly 3,000 in-store vision centers and free health screenings. Walmart also operates 19 urgent care clinics at its selected stores. Customers can visit the clinics for between $59 and $99 and receive routine and urgent care services, including lab tests and immunizations. Walmart effectively communicated their concern for healthcare through their actions.
Walmart encourages its suppliers to join initiatives in reviewing best practices to run the business without harming Earth. Walmart have posted regarding Project Gigaton which aims to reduce emissions one Giga ton by 2030, on their social media. This is effective in showing the audience that Walmart cares about the environment.
Walmart also helped the society by donating funds when there was a hurricane in Florida. Walmart did a fund raiser for the Florida Hurricane 2018 and Walmart matched customer donations two-to-one with cash donations up to $5 million for disaster response and recovery. Walmart Emergency Operations Center provided support during the Florida Hurricane.
Walmart communicated their goodwill through their action of extending a helping hand to the society. This was communicated to the customers through social media, in an informal way. I feel that this form of communication is effective as it brings the customers closer to the corporation and help Walmart to build a good reputation. This attracts the potential customers and investors.
Existing and potential investors can access their quarterly reports on their websites. The highlights of the quarterly reports are presented on the first page in point forms with the CEO message thanking everyone who contributed. Information is communicated to investors in written form and formal style. I feel this is effective as it displays Walmart’s Professionalism as they present the breakdown of earning in a formal manner.
In a nutshell, Walmart incorporates oral communication and technology to deliver information internally. However, I feel that there the internal communication is only one way from top to low management. I think that Walmart should also encourage communication from low to top management for continuous improvement. Walmart uses its social media and website to communicate outside the corporation about their vision to help people live better so that they can achieve their mission of being ‘number one’ retailer. Walmart also communicated their efforts and care for society through actions of extending a helping hand. These communication made Walmart become world’s largest company by revenue, according to Fortune Global 500 list in 2018.