A happy, former Walmart employee

You don’t often hear this side of the Walmart story (H/T Carpe Diem). Here are a few of the things this former Walmart employee had to say:

I worked hard and came back during a break from college to be promoted to work in the photo lab (more responsibility, higher rate of pay). I also saw many full-time employees that I worked with move up to become department managers, assistant store managers, and even move on to the corporate office.

Every evening I would go to a meeting with the store manager, who would tell us the stock price, how much we had sold that day, and if there were other expectations before we left for the night.

I also saw the opposite end of the spectrum. Some fellow associates seemed content to do the bare minimum and didn’t go anywhere in the company because of it. In fact, they are still at the same level.

In my opinion, these are also the employees that you hear speaking negatively of Walmart’s employment practices. They want something for nothing from the company and they aren’t getting it.

The Performance Appraisal Myth

Each year, HR departments do their duty and administer the performance appraisal process.  Most folks seem to detest it.

There are good reasons for that.

If you work for company that does not do a good job of training and developing its people*, the performance appraisal process functions about as effectively as a New Years resolution treadmill.  It doesn’t.  It collects dust for a year, then there’s a flurry of activity for a short period and it’s forgotten again for another year.

If you work for a company or boss that does a good job of training and developing  people**, then the performance appraisal process is superfluous.  Good performance feedback occurs regularly.  These are like the fitness people who don’t need a New Years resolution to encourage them to stay in shape.  They have established the behavior and priority to exercise and these companies maintain the the behavior and priority for associate development. So, performance appraisal process becomes one of housekeeping and documentation.

Here’s how to tell which type of company you work for:

*In good economies, other companies tend not to recruit heavily from these companies and the folks who do leave, usually do so out of frustration.

**In good times, other companies actively recruit from your workforce and there’s usually a good number of people who leave through these opportunities, which opens doors for others to advance and replace them.

So, make a point in your next interview to ask your potential new boss whether the company’s talent is recruited away or if they leave on their own accord.  That can tell you a lot about what you may be getting into.