Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
When it comes to the season of giving, not every employer is generous.
Business is still business, they might say.
What, though, is the best — and perhaps most businesslike — way to treat employees at the most important time of the year? Especially if you’re a retailer.
Many in the retail world — and shoppers too — might be pained to learn that some companies are more generous than others.
Sadly — and not for the first Holiday season — Walmart appears to hover toward Scrooginess.
You see, in 2016 the company decided to eliminate holiday pay.
This means that employees who work on madly busy days such as Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve don’t enjoy increased pay.
I sense that Walmart may know this doesn’t look good.
Walmart is, however, making its own seasonal gesture. It’s one some might find a touch galling.
As the Guardian reported, from December 5 at 12.01 a.m. to 11.59 p.m on December 6 employees can enjoy, oh, a 10 percent grocery discount — “on most of our grocery items.”
In addition, there’s a 15 percent discount. Only those employees who work all their scheduled shifts from November 27 to November 30 are eligible.
Of course there’s background to all this. Walmart explained its decision to eliminate holiday pay like this:
We simplified our paid time-off policies in 2016 to combine vacation, holiday, sick and personal time into one bucket. We did this to give our associates greater flexibility and more choice to use their time off when and how they want to. As part of this change, we no longer pay holiday pay. Associates can now cash out any unused PTO at the end of the year.
One can imagine, however, the pressure put on employees not to take vacation or personal time off during the busiest periods.
Therefore, they’ll likely put in superhuman effort and tolerance on the likes of Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, without getting much thanks for it.
Perhaps even more significant, though, is the message Walmart’s stance sends to employees.
Offering what to many will appear a paltry, insulting discount feels infinitely less personal than declaring:
We know how hard the crazy Holidays are. In recogntiion of that effort, we want to give you more money that you can spend on the ones you love.
Employees are human. They have emotions. Those emotions have a long memory.
It’s when you need your employees most that you need to recognize them most.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.